Europe tries to make open source its own

Europe tries to make open source its own

Summary: The only weakness I see, if it exists at all, is a reluctance on the part of some to embrace the entrepreneurial opportunity which open source provides. I'm talking about the open source obligation, the idea that if you're given freedom you must use it.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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Roberto Galoppini, picture from Java Open BusinessRoberto Galloppini (right) writes from Rome about how everyone there wants to talk about open source, but few want to do much about it.

One speaker at a recent conference even suggested a "Euro-centric" public license in place of the GPL. That drew yawns.

One editor went so far as to agree with me, at my snarkiest, that perhaps more fanfare is needed.

Like on the "Iron Guts Kelly" M*A*S*H episode where the late Keene Curtis  is covering up the death of a General in HotLips' tent, "And rockets. I want plenty of rockets."  

"That's for the red glare," says Hawkeye.

Seriously, Europe has made enormous contributions to open source, and to the open source movement. Didn't mySQL just break the record for the price of an open source startup? Isn't DVD Jon from there?  What of those great German and Dutch programmers?

I would argue that right now Europe is doing a lot more for open source than the U.S. Their continuing resistance to software patents, their enforcement of antitrust sanctions against Microsoft, these provide a legal framework for open source which will exist no matter what Americans do.

The only weakness I see, if it exists at all, is a reluctance on the part of some to embrace the entrepreneurial opportunity which open source provides.

I'm not just talking about the business opportunity. I'm talking about the chance to learn, to download, to tweak, to do, and the nerve to take the risk of time needed to make something happen.

I'm talking about the open source obligation, the idea that if you're given freedom you must use it.

This impulse shines throughout Europe. Not just in the software business.

Even Italy is filled with cutting-edge designers, people who actually benefit from knock-offs because they can sell the sizzle and they're forced to innovate every season.

Maybe the glass is just half-full. Would it help if Eben Moglen were a Mogleni?

Topic: Open Source

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12 comments
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  • Yes, Europe is extremly troubling for Microsoft.

    The adoption rates for FireFox are some of the highest in the world. Since there are no software patents, MS IP threats are neutered there. They do NOT want to see a huge pocket of open source adoption.
    DonnieBoy
    • Adoption vs. contribution

      I suspect what many in Europe find disquietly is a lack of open source contributions, especially from southern Europe. I noted in the post that there are many very important open source contributions coming from northern Europe.

      And if Europe is Europe, then isn't all of Europe Europe?
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • Regional differences in Europe ...

        Scandinavian countries for example tend to have a higher proportion of open source contributors because these countries typically have a stronger social welfare state, are better educated, and have higher standards of living versus their southern European counterparts.

        So it's a reflection of the culture that the open source model seems to flourish in these areas. ;)
        MisterMiester
        • FOSS and Norway

          Maby there are a lot of Norwegian software contributors, but in the business I only see Microsoft in Norway (except on the web market). They can talk about the ODF and Open Office. But still the Norwegian state and businness use Microsoft Office. Maby only 2% of the system administrators can "use" the Linux OS. Norway is in my opinion the European Microsoft country.

          - from a Norwegian
          halgeirr@...
          • Do You know about Trolltech?

            Trolltech's main office is in Oslo;

            http://trolltech.com/company/locations

            Do you know about Trolltech and their business model?

            http://trolltech.com/company/model

            They also sponsor a little know open source desktop known as KDE:

            http://www.kde.org/support/thanks.php

            and were recently purchased by Nokia:

            http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3724231

            I thought you would know this as a "Norwegian". :)
            MisterMiester
      • Britain and America unite!!!!!

        And go wah wah wah, me me me, money money money.

        Many british and many American people, on the other hand, are seemingly very "European".

        Europe is the fertile ground. Not too "communist", not too "capitalist", just humans going about their daily stuff.

        It's not about who can shout the loudest at the rest of the world. It's about what can we all build together.

        Open Source. Gotta love it.
        fr0thy
      • Sabayon Linux is from Italy

        And while it is a distro rather than a programming product or company (a la MySQL) per se it is very attractive, well packaged and freely available.

        The Extremadura region of Spain has their own distro which is used in the schools (and possibly in government offices as well, but I can't confirm that).

        The Gendarmerie of France is converting 70,000 desktops to Linux in order to reduce system issues and save $10 million a year in licensing costs.

        Perhaps the next great FOSS project is incubating somewhere in Southern Europe right now.
        Still Lynn
  • "Euro-centric" public license

    I can see why that would draw yawns. It's the content of the license that matters, not where it came from.
    John L. Ries
    • I agree...

      ...and I think Europeans do too. If they like they can translate the GPL into Italian, or any other European language which makes it look better to them. I know those translations are readily available.
      DanaBlankenhorn
      • Missed point?

        I dont think Euro-centered refers to the language of the license, a trivial matter, rather to the intentions and consequences of the license.
        Xarruc
  • Freedom obligation

    I've been trying my best to push free software, to encourage people to value freedom, but I never think of it an obligation. This is new.

    Is this kind of freedom a gift or a privilege?

    Look at soldier, are they fighting for their country's freedom as an obligation or an honor?

    We do have an obligation because we are fighting. If we don't keep attacking, we will lose.
    sillyxone
    • We're already winning

      which is why that sick monopoly is looking for consolidation.

      It's pumped out enough overhyped shite (as the best food you can eat) for long enough that only the [I don't care/too apathetic] brigade aren't tired of them.

      America you really have a problem. You might all be legally forced to use this shite, while the rest of the world whizzes off into the future, all because your greedy control freaks can't let go.

      Here in the UK there was a bit on the BBC one Sunday, with some old duffer (who was supposed to look wise) trying to promote the idea of a Microsoft sponsored school. At one point, whilst scrambling for justifications (for his backhanders I'll hazard a guess) he said "A lot of people think that Microsoft is trying to take over the world ....."

      No shite man.

      Without Open Source, society would just get sicker and sicker, all in the name of bigger numbers. Pathetic.
      fr0thy