Roberto 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.
"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?