Some days ago, Geoffrey Mobisson posted his blog with Open Source Notes from the Left Bank: OSS Adoption in Europe. In particular, he said: “Europe has so clearly established itself as the most dominating “consumer” of open source enterprise applications”.
Looking at his own reasons, I mostly agree with reason n.1 (i.e.: “The combination of cost sensitivity, government policy, and mistrust has led European government agencies to supremely value “control of their destinies”…perhaps more so than their US counterparts. Clearly open source gives them this control: on cost, on features, on scale, on customization”), and reason n.2 (“Open source applications, buttressed by their optimal flexibility, clean architectures, and open development environments, offer the European regions to shape a core of business features to their regional needs. The US regions have much less of a need in this dimension. These characteristics, that are inherent to open source, are vital in Europe.”)
Few time ago, Matt Aslett in 451 CAOS blog, about comparison between different attitudes to open source adoption in Europe and North America, said: “Based on our experience and observations, there are differences: Europeans tend to be more concerned about the philosophical benefits of open source, and North Americans tend to be more pragmatic. Europeans are more concerned about reducing vendor dependency, and North Americans are more concerned about lowering costs.”
I think it’s true and “value at large” is key for European adopters. The market (adopters and IT companies, in an European IT market mainly made by large or medium-small systems integrators) feels it.
I’m acting both as a systems integrator and a software editor and I share with adopters these key element in open source: cost reduction and flexibility. I usually value the latter more than the former, taken that with open source you could spend less, but you surely spend better (mainly in customization and knowledge).
The 451 CAOS Climate Change research confirms that flexibility is a significant factor, and adopters indicate that that open source is meeting an increase in there flexibility expectation more than the cost-savings one after their real adoption.
But I like to add more key elements to “value at large”, as follows: source code availability (I mean: control and independence in development and productivity), no vendor lock-in, focus on knowledge and skills, reduction of waste of time, money, materials .. and more, a sustainable growth.