AppHub - Providing easy access to innovative open source solutions

Peter Deussen, Fraunhofer
Focus Area: 

Open source software is the generic name for both a legal construct to share intellectual property and an approach to cooperative software development. While this approach has demonstrated its ability to produce world-class software, the potential benefits and efficiencies of open source are not, however, always achieved, indeed, far from it. In particular, many collaborative research projects that put their results under an open source license fail to deliver software that is useful for the European economy due to insufficient software quality, the lack of a supporting community, and proper productisation of their results.

Who benefits and how: 

The AppHub project has been created to foster the market uptake of research and innovation activities in Europe and thus to provide an easy access to innovation to the European industry. AppHub supports open source projects in implementing more efficient community and market outreach strategies. In addition, it provides the European Open Source Marketplace for enterprise computing open source software that includes rapid deployment of software assets into cloud infrastructures. Thus, European industry has can directly experiment and evaluate innovative solution without devoting resources for installation, configuration, and operation.

In North America, open source is a market strategy. The North American industry dominates the software industry. Open source being an avatar of the software industry, it is also dominated by the North-American software vendors. In Europe, open source is a collaborative process. Probably over 50% of collaborative projects with financial contribution from the European Commission deliver their results under an open source license. But because the European software industry is not dominant, most stakeholders do not see open source as a market growth strategy but only as an efficient way to develop software and share intellectual property. They see open source as a collaboration process and they ignore its strategic value. For this reason, open source raises scepticism as to its potential market impact and most projects remain independent, non-organized, and run the risk to be bypassed by the market and, ultimately forgotten.

The implication is that accessing innovative solution produced by European research and development projects by the European industry and software market is very difficult. The evaluation of software produced by those projects requires devoting considerable resources for the installation, configuration, and experimental operation of such software and thus represents a major economic risk in particular for SMEs that often outweighs the economic benefits of using open source solutions.

To contribute to a resolution of this situation, the AppHub European Open Source Marketplace has been created. The AppHub Marketplace combines unparalleled expertise in open source community management, EU research projects and a breakthrough technology in software asset management. It is based on three interrelated services:

  1. The AppHub Directory allows placing software assets as part of an enterprise computing reference architecture and thus identifying rapidly ways to compose various open source assets into a service architecture.
  2. The AppHub Factory lets users build and maintain full software stacks as templates using a visual "point and click" interface or APIs.
  3. The AppHub Store provides users with self-service access to pre-packaged business and IT applications via a customizable, white-labelled app store, and to deploy them in various cloud infrastructures.

The AppHub Marketplace addresses the following challenges:

  • Better connect EU-supported open source projects with the European industry. By providing a marketplace for open source software made in Europe, AppHub will reduce barriers to open source adoption and will make it easy for potential users and integrators to deploy and run the software produced by EU-supported open source projects on many different cloud service providers' platforms.
  • Improved market readiness and reputation of EU-supported open source projects. AppHub will provide EU-supported projects with a full service support that will make them better prepared for market acceptance.
  • Build global visibility and build market position of EU-supported open source projects. AppHub will help enhancing the global recognition of EU open source projects through improved community support, better open source management of open source projects, and greater ease of access to the software. EU-generated open source software in general promoted through AppHub will gain greater visibility and a better market position.

The AppHub Marketplace is available at