European Commission Backs away from Open Source

Lora Bentley

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.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Feb 2, 2007 5:51 AM Roy Schestowitz Roy Schestowitz  says:
The EC responded in this way because of criticism from ISC, which is a Microsoft-funded lobbyist for lockins. So, yes... last week, the convicted monopoly abuser, through this proxy (they haveseveral around the world), attacked the credibility of the EC. This is notthe first time attempts are made by Microsoft to hurt the EC.This is also happening in Asia. They call these bodies "software neutrality"or "software choice", but these are actually intended to lobby against OpenSource (or any risk to their funders). BSA is a similar example, but itserves other purposes, like SCO. Reply
Feb 2, 2007 12:59 PM aussiebear aussiebear  says:
Why are they doing this? (staying neutral)Because the EC doesn't want to be accused of having an anti-Microsoft agenda. Have you factored in the anti-trust case against MS from a political point of view? Clearly not.This is what annoys me about journalists in general. To spin a story and make it look interesting with a catchy headline.Its blogs and articles like these that encourage me to ignore the news and blogs like this altogether. Reply

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