The economic impact of open source on Europe
January 16, 2007 Leave a comment
Matt has some summary information on the report I mentioned here. Here are a few snippets from his post:
Rishab Aiyer Ghosh and UNU-Merit put together this insightful report on the impact of FLOSS (an unfortunate acronym for free/libre open source software) on the European economy. It was financed by the European Commission's Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry.
Why does it matter? The paper starts by suggesting that the information economy accounts for ~10% of the GDP of most developed nations, and more than 50% of their economic growth. Think about that. If even remotely true, it means that the kind of IT we espouse matters a great deal. It's fundamental to our future economic growth. Do we want closed or open economies? I think the answer to that is obvious.
There are a couple of observation made in the post that I agree with. While the study points out the F/LOSS adoption is higher in the EU than it is in the US, commercial adoption is almost certainly higher in the US. The post covers some additional top level highlights, such as % of code contributed by individuals vs. firms vs. institutions, the direct impact of open source on the European economy, innovation, % of software developers in the U.S employed by proprietary packaged software firms (it's lower than you guessed) and more. The conclusion:
So what does this mean for Europe? The report challenges us with the following scenarios:
Europe faces three scenarios:
CLOSED, where existing business models are entrenched through legal and technical regulation, favouring a passive consumer model over new businesses supporting active participation in an information society of “prosumers”;
GENERIC, where current mixed policies lead to a gradual growth of FLOSS while many of the opportunities it presents are missed;
VOLUNTARY, where policies and the market develop to recognise and utilise the potential of FLOSS and similar collaborative models of creativity to harness the full power of active citizens in the information society.
I'm looking forward to reading the entire report even more now. Just have to make some time.