Europe Faces Battle Over Open Source Vs. Proprietary Software - InformationWeek

Europe Faces Battle Over Open Source Vs. Proprietary Software

A recent survey of Europeans found overwhelming support for open source software. Meanwhile, a new software industry alliance looks to represent vendors' interests.

With a study noting the gains of open-source software over proprietary Microsoft software reverberating throughout Europe this week, a new software industry alliance pledging cooperation among its members was launched Thursday.

The European Software Association (ESA) was unveiled in Brussels with a goal of speaking as a common voice for a fragmented industry. It has 26 members including Microsoft.

Although the ESA had its origins in meetings with Microsoft's Bill Gates, it maintains that it is not a surrogate for the software colossus.

Earlier in the week a survey conducted by researchers at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands was presented at the O'Reilly Open-Source Convention in Amsterdam. The survey of 955 respondents in various European countries revealed that 70 percent favor increasing the use of open-source software.

According to researchers, nearly 30 percent of the respondents who said they were not using open-source software were indeed using it, an indication that open-source software has infiltrated many IT installations without administrators realizing it.

In another Maastricht University finding, 79 computers with open-source software were serviced by a single IT administrator versus 66 computers for proprietary software, leading the researchers to suggest that open-source software requires fewer administrators than proprietary software.

"In open-source software (OSS), Europe is at the forefront," said Florian Mueller, a European software developer and open-source software advocate. "There are a variety of reasons. In the public sector, center-left governments have typically been more OSS-friendly than right-wing ones.

"Also, there are economic studies which show that Europe has a trade deficit in software versus the U.S. in the tens of billions of dollars per year, so there is obviously some hope over here to become a little more independent from a few large and mostly American vendors."

In addition to Microsoft, the ESA membership includes Business Objects SA, Dassault Systemes, LogicaCMG PLC, SAP AG, as well as several small and medium-sized firms. At a press conference launching the ESA, its chairman, Jeremy Roche, said the group's purpose is to provide "a voice for the European software industry, which we have never been able to achieve because we are so fragmented as an industry." Roche is CEO of software financial services firm Coda PLC.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2018 State of the Cloud
2018 State of the Cloud
Cloud adoption is growing, but how are organizations taking advantage of it? Interop ITX and InformationWeek surveyed technology decision-makers to find out, read this report to discover what they had to say!
The Staying Power of Legacy Systems
Mary E. Shacklett, Mary E. Shacklett,  4/15/2019
Q&A: Red Hat's Robert Kratky Discusses Essentials of Docs
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  4/15/2019
How Cloud Shifts Security Balance of Power to the Good Guys
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  4/11/2019
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
A New World of IT Management in 2019
This IT Trend Report highlights how several years of developments in technology and business strategies have led to a subsequent wave of changes in the role of an IT organization, how CIOs and other IT leaders approach management, in addition to the jobs of many IT professionals up and down the org chart.
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll