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[vox] Fwd: Governments Go GaGa for Open Source
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[vox] Fwd: Governments Go GaGa for Open Source

Hi all,

Didn't know if you'd seen other references to this, but I got this article
today from the DevTalk mailing list from Software Development magazine

Study: Governments Go GaGa for Open Source
Red Hat CTO complains of European bias in the results.

What's your favorite flavor of Linux? If you answered Debian, you're not alone: 
The recent Free/Libre and Open Source Software Survey and Study, sponsored by 
Dutch and German research institutions, found that 48% of respondents favor that
distribution, much to the dismay of Red Hat CTO Michael Tiemann. In a letter to 
the study's authors, Tiemann complained that these market share numbers are 
biased due to the fact that 70% of the 2,784 respondents live in the European 

"As CTO of Red Hat, I can say that I see lots of US-based open-source 
development that I don't see reflected in your survey." Tiemann suggests that 
the data "may be valid, but it can only be tested by partnering with a US-based 
research group and seeing if they can duplicate the data."

It's understandable that for-profit Red Hat, a Raleigh, North Carolina, company 
that has thus far successfully squeezed blood from a turnip-er, money from the 
open-source market-would be dismayed with a second-place result compared to 
Debian, which is free. Red Hat was the distribution of choice for 13.8% of the 
respondents, followed by Mandrake (9.8%) and SuSE (9.2%). 

Though the European focus of the study (available at 
http://www.infonomics.nl/FLOSS/report/ <http://click.softwaredevelopment.email-
publisher.com/maaavnEaaTmdha93pilc/>), conducted by the University of 
Maastricht, in the Netherlands, and Berlecon Research, of Berlin, may have 
skewed some of the numbers, few negate the evidence that governments are 
increasingly attracted to open source for their IT needs. The survey finds that 
motivations for adopting open source over proprietary software include lowering 
costs by avoiding vendor lock-in, increased security due to public review of 
vulnerabilities in source code, interoperability via open standards, and freedom
of information. These motivations are similar to those identified in legislation
requiring open-source software in government projects currently being considered
in Peru and other Latin American countries (see 
http://www.pimientolinux.com/peru2ms/ <http://click.softwaredevelopment.email-
publisher.com/maaavnEaaTmdia93pilc/> for more information). 

The study profiles the use of open source in the public sectors of several EU 
member states, listing France and Germany as the countries with the highest 
level of free software activity and the best prospects for growth. Adoption of 
open source, though influenced by ideology, is driven mainly by practical, cost-
saving motives, according to the report. 

Some of the study's demographic findings mesh with the stereotypes: Most free 
software developers are male (98.9%), over 75% are 30 or younger, and the United
States is the most attractive country for those considering moving abroad, with 
roughly one quarter of the European OS developers who leave their home country 
moving to the United States or Canada. 

Open-source activity has spiked since 1998-the year when the term "open source" 
was coined to describe Netscape's planned release of its browser source code. 
According to the report, the growing, youthful makeup of the open-source 
population portends "a rising generation" that will have increasing influence as
its members age. Nearly half of respondents (49%) spend five hours or fewer per 
week at OS activities, sharply contrasting to the same developers' activities on
proprietary software, where 58% spend 21 hours or more. However, although it's a
less-than-fulltime pursuit, the majority of respondents report that they take 
their open OS activities "very seriously." 

-John Reitano 

Hope this is of interest!


Jake LeBeau
vox mailing list

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