Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS)

Transparent and collaborative software development as a driver of innovation in the digital economy.

Our scope of services

Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) has established itself as an innovation driver in the digital economy. FOSS has long been more than just free: Transparency and openness are driving its proliferation, especially for use in dynamic and sovereign data spaces. Companies benefit from FOSS not only as users, but also by making it available and building communities.


At Fraunhofer ISST, digital innovations are realized, among other things, through the development and deployment of FOSS. In cooperation with industry and research, collaborative solutions are created for the implementation of digital ecosystems. FOSS enables the joint development of technologies for sovereign data exchange and makes the development process and source code transparently visible. This transparency and openness combined with a FOSS license not only increases trust in the technologies, but also enables adaptability and flexibility as needed. But FOSS also brings significant risks and multiple challenges. An open source position cannot be revoked and requires careful planning and concrete design along with an open source strategy. The open-source strategy guides the selection of technologies and projects, the sustainable development of open-source communities and includes a suitable open-source business model. This is accompanied by legal aspects and the technical implementation, such as the use of platforms like GitHub and suitable tools.

Open Source
© ©Skórzewiak - AdobeStock
Picture: OpenSource - ©Skórzewiak - AdobeStock


The range of services offered by Fraunhofer ISST includes consulting on strategic development as well as support for practical implementation and the expansion and maintenance of international FOSS projects in particular with the help of innovative and established tools and methods.


Development of FOSS

  • Eclipse Dataspace Components (software library for building sovereign dataspaces), contains among others the Connector component and trust-building technologies, as well as an implementation of the IDS1 Dataspace protocol.
  • Support of the practical implementation with suitable tools and methods for collaborative software development
  • Collection and preparation of best practices and tools
  • Targeted development of open-source communities
  • Focus on an international multi-stakeholder environment


Strategic use of FOSS         

  • Analysis on the strategic use of FOSS to achieve specific business objectives
  • Design and risk analysis of FOSS activities


Use of FOSS

  • Working with FOSS source code
  • Selection, deployment and evaluation of usage licenses


Available software/applications



Free and open-source software contributes to solving demanding challenges in various industries. Whether in the domains of energy, logistics or mobility, FOSS projects offer new opportunities for the release and reputation of existing and established products and the collaborative development of innovative and complex software solutions, especially in the area of sovereign data ecosystems.

IDS = International Data Spaces

Here you can find a selection of released application examples from the competence field "Free and Open Source Software" of the past years. You are looking for further information? Just get in touch with us - our contact persons will be happy to answer your questions and talk to you.


Example 1:

Eclipse Dataspace Connector 

The Eclipse Dataspace Connector (EDC) provides a framework for sovereign, cross-organizational data exchange. It implements the International Data Spaces (IDS) standard and relevant protocols related to GAIA-X. The Cloud Connector is designed to be extensible to support alternative protocols and to integrate with different data ecosystems.

External project page 



Example 2:

Dataspace Connector 

The Dataspace Connector (DSC) is an open source software for sovereign data exchange. Even after the data has been exchanged, the data provider remains in control of what happens to the data. Based on the International Data Spaces reference architec-ture, the DSC enables the extension of data with guidelines and conditions and their processing.

Internal project page


Example 3:

IDS Messaging Services 

The IDS Messaging Services (IDS = International Data Spaces) facilitate the development of IDS Connectors by establishing interfaces for communication with other IDS Connectors and central IDS components such as the Metadata Broker, DAPS, Clearing House, and AppStore.



Example 4:

DIVA - data catalog for efficient management of corporate data

DIVA (Data Inventory and Valuation Approach) is a data catalog developed at the Fraunhofer ISST based on a modern microservice architecture, with the goal of meeting the agile requirements of data management. In addition to basic functions for integration, documentation of type-dependent meta-information and data search, DIVA can be flexibly expanded by integrating detached services (such as quality check, GDPR relevance, keyword extraction).

Internal project page

Example 5:

Nucleus - Open Source Framework for Modeling Domain Models in Java 

NUKLEUS is a framework for modeling domain models in Java. The central aspect of Nucleus is the separation between the textual representation and the validation of data. Nucleus does not follow an object-oriented approach, but establishes a taxonomy of data types based on subset relations. Validation of data type values is done by executable bytecode generated from parameterizable patterns. In addition to these validation rules, access to data can be controlled via usage control policies.

Internal project page



List of scientific publications

DUPARC, Estelle; CULOTTA, Carina; OTTO, Boris. Evaluating Platform Openness in Logistics based on a Taxonomic Analysis. In: Proceedings of the 55th Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences. 2022.

MÖLLER, Frederik und Barbara STEFFEN. Analyzing and Evaluating today’s Power of Open Source: The Open Source Value Canvas. In: Proceedings of the 55th Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences. 2022.


SCHMIDT, Michael; CULOTTA, Carina; NETTSTRÄTER, Andreas; DUPARC, Estelle. Die Rolle von Open Source in der Silicon Economy. In: Silicon Economy. Springer Vieweg, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2022. S. 19-40.