A World-Beating Report on Global Open Source

Something entitled “Report on the International Status of Open Source Software 2010” sounds pretty dry, as does its summary: The objective of this report is to understand the role played by open source software in the Information and...

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Something entitled "Report on the International Status of Open Source Software 2010" sounds pretty dry, as does its summary:

The objective of this report is to understand the role played by open source software in the Information and Communications Technologies sector around the world, and to highlight its economic and social impact, on both advanced economies and emerging countries, by analysing the ecosystems that foster the development of open source software: the Public sector, the Private sector, Universities and Communities of Developers.

But it turns out that this 150-page report from the Spanish CENATIC Foundation offers the best country-by-country analysis of the growth of open source around the world that's currently available. Whether intended as such or not (it's aimed principally at Spanish businesses), it forms an invaluable consolidated description of who's been doing what where – complete with online links to referenced material.

As such, I strongly recommend that anyone interested in the larger and longer-term trends in the world of open source should download it [.pdf] - it's free – peruse it (although maybe not over the holidays) and keep it for future reference.

Here's a small sample to sure how spot-on its judgements are:

In the public sector, Europe has experienced greater penetration. Germany, France and Spain lead Europe in the adoption of OSS. Government support for OSS adoption has been key, although different instruments have been used to implement policies. The German Government has launched policies promoting and supporting OSS, and the French Government has centralised the promotion of OSS implementation within the Administration and public companies. Meanwhile, the adoption of policies promoting open source software in Spain has largely been the responsibility of the Autonomous Communities, which have developed initiatives in this area, working under a clear policy framework established by the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade and by the Ministry of the Presidency. Surprisingly, more advanced Information Society countries such as the Nordic countries, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands show a lower degree of OSS development. The key difference appears to be the lack of support given to open source software in the early stages by their respective governments. Recent legislation and policies promoting the adoption of open standards and OSS enacted by these countries over the last few years will undoubtedly make it possible for them to close the gap with the leading countries.

"Lack of support": yup, that explains the UK's poor showing compared to its European neighbours, sadly....

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