A few weeks ago, researchers at the United Nations University in Maastricht, Netherlands, released the results of a study sponsored by the European Commission in which they found that open source software is indeed cost effective. Though spending may increase in the short term, the long term savings are worth the investment, according to the authors.
Citing the study, the INQUIRER reports that if companies in Europe wanted to purchase the equivalent of the current open source code-base, it would cost �12 million (or $15,544,806). If they wanted to produce it in-house, it would take 131,000 real person years of effort. Theoretically, all of that represents potential savings with open source software.
The report is posted on the EC's Web site (in .pdf form), but the EC is backing away from the study results faster than anti-war legislators are distancing themselves from President Bush. An EC spokesperson clarifies the commission's position this way, according to Yahoo News:
We would like to stress that we are absolutely neutral in our assessment: we are neither against nor in favour [of open source]. The Commission's policy favours open competition, interoperability, standards and vendor independence. That's what we would like to stress. We are not against it [open source], but we are not supporting either side of the field.
We have to wonder why the EC would go to such lengths to issue the statement rather than letting the research speak for itself. The Yahoo News story indicates that the Initiative for Software Choice is at work. It wouldn't be the first time.