Open Source Could Benefit from Economy Woes, U.S. Unpopularity

Lora Bentley

The economic downturn could be good for open source, according to Ubuntu creator Mark Shuttleworth. And Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst says the fact that foreign companies don't want to pay a U.S. "IP tax" doesn't hurt open source either. Both were speaking at this week's Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco.


A weak economy means businesses are forced to "do more with less." That leads to innovation, and often that innovation happens around open source products, Shuttleworth told audience members on Tuesday. eWEEK reports that Shuttleworth joined other open source executives, including MySQL VP Zak Olaf and Roger Burkhardt, CEO at Ingres, for a panel discussion on the future of open source. Their sentiments matched well the findings of the North Bridge Venture Partners "Future of Open Source" survey. The story says 81 percent of respondents think "economic turbulence is good for open source."


On a similar note, InfoWorld quotes Whitehurst as follows:

I never thought I would say this but actually, being very unpopular in the world, as frankly the U.S. is these days, is a huge benefit to open source.

Companies in countries like Russia and China don't like to be "shackled by U.S. IP laws," he said, so the opportunity to move to an open source model is "extraordinary."

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