For obvious reasons what’s happening in the emerging markets such as India and China is getting a lot of attention but it seems worthwhile to underscore that Europe is really playing a major role in getting our industry to move forward.
If you’re not convinced I suggest you take a look at the news section of the Open Source Observatory and Repository Europe website.
I find it fascinating to see the prominent place open source and standards issues are taking in the political arena, the number of decisions various European administrations are making in favor of open source and standards, and the cost savings some of these administrations are reporting.
This is demonstrated by the following few examples:
The French candidate for the European Parliament Marielle de Sarnez says public administrations’ interest in free software is essential. “This is an issue of competitiveness for the EU in the information technologies sector, as well as the condition of our technological independence.”
Two parliament members of the Italian Democratic Party want Italy’s public bodies to favour free software. By 2012 all IT systems should be based on such software, MPs Vincenzo Vita and Luigi Vimercati proposed in a bill last month
The city council of the city of Amsterdam on Wednesday decided that OpenOffice and Firefox should become default applications on all 15.000 desktops in use by the administration.
Nine Swedish municipalities have asked ten software application firms to start supporting OpenOffice.
The Danish municipality of Gribskov has saved two million DKK, about 270,000 euro, over the past two years by switching the public administration and schools to OpenOffice, Michel van den Linden, responsible for IT in the municipality says in an interview with the Danish IT news site Computerworld.
The French Gendarmerie’s gradual migration to a complete open source desktop and web applications has saved millions of euro, says Lieutenant-Colonel Xavier Guimard. “This year the IT budget will be reduced by 70 percent. This will not affect our IT systems.”
And the list goes on and on. Good luck to those who think they can still stick to the old model of proprietary software and vendor lock-in. This is like standing in front of a train coming at full speed in my opinion.
On a personal level I’m obviously interested because I’m European and still have strong ties to the old continent but this, along with many other changes I observe, makes it clear to me that the United States are no longer where “things” are happening. At least not the way it used to be. The change is coming from other places in the world, like Europe.