back to article EU open source study highlights economic benefits but says Union is 'on the back foot' with industrial policy

A new EU study of the economic impact of open source has mixed news. The economic benefits are huge, it said, but the EU is "on the back foot" when it comes to implementation. The study comes from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG Connect), and was written by …


    not easy

    "... it's now up to the Commission to make it happen - and that will not be easy" - very true.

    First you have to beat more than 6 Million US-$ from Microsoft left in Brussels last year. Plus the lobby expenses from other companies (Apple,, Google, you name it).

  2. herman Silver badge

    Err... Microsoft, Apple, Google and Facebook all depend heavily on FOSS. Microsoft Windows is a legacy system used only by a billion or so desktop computers. Everything else, from embedded widgets and cell phones to super computers - several billion devices - use FOSS.

  3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Dodgy basis for comparison

    Lots of German companies are heavily involved in open source but for many reasons they don't host their large projects on GitHub.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As usual, they miss the most important point

    (IMHO, of course).

    What they should mandate are Open Standards, and by that I don't mean the gaming that Microsoft id to pretend to have an Open Standard as well (although I'm not sure how they could prevent that).

    There is an open document standard (and no, it's not MSOOXML), but there also needs to be standards for contact, calendaring, data exchange, directory structures - the main goal is cutting short the proprietary games that lock people in, and promote interoperability. Who is going to code something if the API they rely on changes tomorrow because it threatens the vendor? Anyone who has been watching Microsoft over the years already KNOWS the games they play (and how they stifled innovation as a consequence). Get Open Standards right, and the rest will follow.

    That said, it's unlikely to happen as that would deprive the politicians involved from luxury lunches and cushy followup positions in the big players similar to what happens with Irish Data Protection officials..

  5. elsergiovolador Silver badge


    The report is missing the fact that many OSS contributors are not paid in any way shape or form. In many countries this is illegal - for example, in the UK you cannot volunteer at for-profit company.

    Unless the OSS project is ran by charity or other non-profit organisation, then those projects may eventually find themselves in a hot water if they accepted contributions without paying at least a minimum wage.

    Given the above, of course any economic benefit OSS provides comes from a poisonous tree if you will. Of course it will be "economically beneficial", if it is based on free labour.

    1. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Exploitation

      Where's the difference between free [ slave ] labour and voluntary labour ? No-one is forcing people to contribute to Open Source development.

      If a condition of, say, benefits is that one does 'voluntary' work, or is sentenced to Community Service, then that work is quasi-slavery as one is coerced in order to survive.

      To choose to work without money reward is not slavery. And much less slavery than the capital model of being paid a wage whilst most of the rewards go to the employers, and all one's intellectual achievements are patently assigned to them.

  6. hoola Silver badge

    Open Source or Free

    One of the big issues is that Open Source is often assumed to be free. This is all well and good but large organisations need support they can rely on. This has to be paid for and by the very nature of things that tends to push IT procurement down the commercial route.

    If there were mature companies able to offer support on Open Source to commercial SLAs then it might have more traction. You only have to look at the CentOS 7 to CentOS Stream fiasco to see the damage that can be done.

    If people are developing for free then whilst there are benefits to saving money at the other end, if everyone contributed for "free" it rather skews the viability of the concept.

    In many ways it is like the UK farmers and hauliers that were happy to pay the lowest possible wage to (usually) Eastern European labour who then found themselves stuffed when the supply dwindled.

    That is not excusing those commercial concerns at the other end of the chain who do take the piss but that is a free market. If companies are still prepared to pay, someone if going to take the money.

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