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Is Open Source Different In Europe Than In the US?

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the i-hear-gravity-is-heavier-over-there-too dept.

Software 399

An anonymous reader writes "The first Europe Open Source Think Tank just concluded and Larry Augustin posted some interesting observations on open source in Europe versus the US. Essentially, he says that users in Europe care more about the open source nature of a product than do US users. US users are just trying to save a buck while European users actually care about access to the source code. Do Slashdot readers observe the same thing? Are the reasons for using open source software different in other parts of the world as well?"

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For shame (5, Insightful)

illuminum (1356693) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136257)

Are we Americans really this stupid on this many levels?

Re:For shame (5, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136281)

Yes. From TFA:

Primary reason for adopting Open Source:
-(Europe) Avoid vendor lock-in.
-(US) Cost.

Key driver of commercial Open source business creation:
-(Europe) Creation of a local software industry.
-(US) Venture capital/entrepreneur-driven to create big business and make money for investors.

Dual licensing business models.:
-(Europe) Not true open source. Proprietary business models using Open Source for PR and marketing.
-(US) Widely accepted as the most common Open Source business mode

Software sales model.:
-(Europe) Channel oriented: VARs and SIs.
-(US) Direct.

Open Source business models.:
-(Europe) Service and support subscription focused; 100% open source software.
-(US) Don't want to be in services business. The focus is on products, typically proprietary add-ons or an Enterprise Edition paired with an Open Source product edition.

Expectations around "Open Source" products:
-(Europe) All code is available under Open Source. There is often a community governance of community participation model.
-(US) Same, but not necessarily all products are available under an Open Source license. Commercially licensed versions of the products are commonly available. Projects are managed by a commercial vendor.

...and the best reason for using open source anywhere: Not having to worry about those pesky BSA raids [screaming-penguin.com] !

Re:For shame (4, Insightful)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136645)

Primary reason for adopting Open Source:
-(Europe) Avoid vendor lock-in.
-(US) Cost.

...because let's be brutally honest here: the US cares less about sending money to Redmond, Seattle than Europe does. For Europe it means a loss of value on the continent, but for the US the money stays 'at home', and contributes to local jobs, taxes, etc.

So yes, Europe cares about Open Source in a different way than the US. It might very well be the only way that serious software development in Europe can compete with the US...

Re:For shame (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136925)

In all honesty being that I work for a Global company, Europe has I think a much higher quality of life. They are not rushed, they take their time and smell the roses. They have more free time as well and vacations. I am a geek as well and as a geek when I take vacation I typically end up looking into a new technology or exploring something I do not have the time for while working. However I get interruptions while I am on vacation from work as well.

Therefore, they take the time to look through the source code. Here in the US, we do not have the time, so basically we just buy something that gets done what we need to get done open source or not. Even if had the source code we wouldn't look at it. There are applications we have purchased in the company that we also purchase the source code for, however when we have problems we do not look at the source we call support, because we need an answer and we need it now.

Re:For shame (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136743)

-(Europe) Avoid vendor lock-in.

Except, you DO get vendor lock-in with FOSS, because you can't use anything EXCEPT FOSS. Also, in the US, companies are more interested in reliability- hence why they will BUY commercial software when there are "free" alternatives.

For example, ask any company about the nightmare of going from OpenSQL to a real SQL database. Not only is it insanely difficult, but the FOSS alternative is vastly inferior.

But hey, if you'd rather have source code than a product which works well, more power to ya. Most people just don't consider work time to be play time, that's all I'm sayin'.

Re:For shame (2, Insightful)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136833)

-(Europe) Avoid vendor lock-in.

Except, you DO get vendor lock-in with FOSS, because you can't use anything EXCEPT FOSS.

I do not know what FOSS software you are using, and under what license, but I do not think I have ever used FOSS software whose license included the condition of never using anything but FOSS.

Also, in the US, companies are more interested in reliability- hence why they will BUY commercial software when there are "free" alternatives.

Do you really believe Europeans are less interested in reliability?

Re:For shame (5, Interesting)

Kadagan AU (638260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136813)

But were there Americans involved in these discussions, or just a bunch of Europeans talking about what Americans think?

Re:For shame (5, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136889)

Also from TFA:

This isn't a scientific survey, but reflects opinions I heard consistently from multiple people over the two days of the conference:

I have a salt shaker if you'd like a grain with that.

Re:For shame (1, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137149)

No, From TFA

Primary reason for adopting Open Source:
-(Europe) Avoid vendor lock-in.
-(US) Cost.

Open Source doesn't stop vendor lock in. You decide to base your infrastructure on Open Source Products it is just as expensive to switch what ever standard then it would with a closed source app. You have a Linux infrastructure and you find that it doesn't do what you need it to do anymore, however a windows network does. Costs about the same as going the other way or from a Microsoft infrastructure to a Sun Infrastructure. If you spend millions on a Linux Infrastructure you are stuck on Linux. If it decides to go in a direction you don't like, sure you think you may be able to maintain the source but that can get so expensive that it is cheaper to switch to an other app then staying with it.

Key driver of commercial Open source business creation:
-(Europe) Creation of a local software industry.
-(US) Venture capital/entrepreneur-driven to create big business and make money for investors.

Yea like local software industry will be remaking the wheel. Local Software developers will write software for Windows or Linux it doesn't matter for custom use. That is the bulk of the software development not making applications. Application Development is so 1990's anyways. Besides America majority of its wealth is from small companies not the big ones. If there is no Open Source local software will be witting software for non Open Source bases. No difference. The only one is that the Big companies with Open Source needs to change their model. And probably loose a lot of good developers in the process and effecting the global economy.

Dual licensing business models.:
-(Europe) Not true open source. Proprietary business models using Open Source for PR and marketing.
-(US) Widely accepted as the most common Open Source business mode

Sure hanging onto an ideology is much smarter then using what works in real life. Duel Licensing allows flexibility in the software by allowing non open source to work with Openish source code. Hey I want to use my closed source library as it is the only library that does the job, it is 30 years old but it works well and no need to remake it. But it isn't GPL so I can't add it to a GPL license. Oh wait there is an other licence for the app that makes it work. Wow I am in business not just being MR. Therory Idealistic.

Software sales model.:
-(Europe) Channel oriented: VARs and SIs.
-(US) Direct.

Once again the impression the American Echonomy is based on Large Corporations. Most of our economy is small companies that need to go threw VARs for software, still buying software is kinda passe. As most applications can be more affordable via SAAS.

Open Source business models.:
-(Europe) Service and support subscription focused; 100% open source software.
-(US) Don't want to be in services business. The focus is on products, typically proprietary add-ons or an Enterprise Edition paired with an Open Source product edition.

Not true. There are a lot of Service companies out there. Customers don't want to be Locked to a service vendor (see your top one). Add-ons often add the most bang for the buck. As you are not fiddling around doing the same thing over and over again. You find a guy who specializes in X and does it well. Then some loosey-goosey group of people who try to do everything mediocre.

Expectations around "Open Source" products:
-(Europe) All code is available under Open Source. There is often a community governance of community participation model.
-(US) Same, but not necessarily all products are available under an Open Source license. Commercially licensed versions of the products are commonly available. Projects are managed by a commercial vendor.

What is wrong with that. Open Source doesn't fit for everything... Sorry Blame "The Man" or whoever. But not everyone like GPL Open Source Model. Giving peole a choice is not a bad thing.

The problem is the Europeans are looking at their side with full vision and the American side with stereotype blinders. Yea the big companies make a lot of noise but most of the work happens on a small level. We are more of a diverse people then Europe thinks. They Either see us a Cowboys or NYC Business men. While the truth Americans a diverse group of people spreading a large area, with many sub cultures in our own.

Re:For shame (2, Insightful)

sadgoblin (1269500) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136307)

Stupid? I dont think so. Selfish? Hell yes.

Re:For shame (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136327)

Are we Americans really this stupid on this many levels?

We elected Bush. Twice. Yeah, I'd say we are. Ugh.

Re:For shame (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136569)

And given the same choices, I'd do it again.

Re:For shame (5, Funny)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136863)

Well... one could argue that that is precisely the mark of stupidity ;)

Re:For shame (-1, Redundant)

jadedoto (1242580) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136445)

We're not...

Re:For shame (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136505)

Are we Americans really this stupid on this many levels?

Yes you are.

Re:For shame (0, Redundant)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136561)

Someone should mod this guy a troll or flamebait. What a worthless first post for this article.

Re:For shame (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136667)

Ask a stupid question, get a lot of stupid answers.

The short of it is that the people of the US all have ADHD and very short attention spans. We work for short term gains and care nothing about anything more than a year out. Since the 80's, we have become a society of instant gratification junkies and have come to expect it from everything we interact with. And we habitually do things without knowing why we do them or even understanding what we are doing.

Say what? (1, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137147)

The short of it is that the people of the US all have ADHD and very short attention spans.

Speak for yourself. There's a lot of people in the USA that are able to defer gratification and invest their time and money wisely and profitably, for both the short and long term.

Re:For shame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136827)

No, just you.

Re:For shame (0)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136849)

Not at all. When it comes right down to it, open source has quite a foothold in American servers. In addition, the majority of the software that Europeans replace with Open Source was developed on our west coast, so we're keeping the development local. If the roles were reversed, I'm sure you'd see more Americans pushing for open source over the "foreign, closed software".

not only open source (0, Troll)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136263)

but anything else for we are slimmer and enjoy even better sex than you lifeless broke fucking retards...
but you voted yourselves into it...

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136267)

European Open Source is entitled to medical care and won't be driven to bankruptcy by medical bills.

The influence of perception software marketing (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136283)

I did enjoy this set of observations, but must disagree with some of the conclusions.

Under "Software Sales Model" he states:

        "The direct model doesn't seem to be widely excepted here [Europe]."

and then goes on to speculate

        "Perhaps it's because the VARs and SIs in Europe are more heavily invested in Open Source than they are in the US."

        I disagree with the speculative part. To support my thinking, another quote:

Under "Open Source Business Models"

        "Support and service subscription models clearly dominated the thinking among the Europeans here at OSTT. This contrasts with our thinking in the US that services models are not scalable and that the models should be product based."

        For me, those observed perceptions actually lead to the Europeans needing more stringent care about your vendor's model. Basically, if you're going to rely on someone else for support and service, you have to be very cautious about "not getting locked in." If you're buying your product like Lego blocks and supporting it yourself, from the great single-piece-leggo-auction-free-for-all, then you are free to choose the occasional Duplo block, if it solves your problem, and if you find you have too many of them, you can replace them later, because in this case you buyer is taking on more of the role of the solution-archtitecht.

        I get to see both methods work. In my work place we buy lots of RedHat support licenses for our commercial endeavors and enjoy it's tremendous stability as a platform. In my home computing life, when I need a software widget, I click freshmeat first, try to find the open source version of something, Paypal the author $10 if it's nicely done, but if none of them suit my needs, then I'll try shareware next, and (if I'm desperate) commercial software last. This model gets the job done, and I don't believe it's any less-healthy to the software world.

Primary vs Secondary (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136311)

I use Open Source for two reasons ....

I like Open Source ideals (free, as in speech)
I like Open Source results (free as in beer)

I also live in the US, so please categorize me correctly in the "save money" column, until I move to Europe, when you should categorize me in the other column.

This isn't an XOR problem, so who cares which is "more important", especially when the result for using Open Source is the same either way?

Re:Primary vs Secondary (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136387)

Unless you're contributing back to the software pool, or donating money to projects, you are clearly "save money" orientated.

Re:Primary vs Secondary (5, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136415)

For me, the biggest benefit is avoiding license hassles. Saving money and "yuo have teh sorce code so fix it yuorself" are both great also, but take a back seat to being able to just stick an install CD into another machine without having to worry about licensing.

Re:Primary vs Secondary (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136559)

Yes, and also if you want to try new software it makes it much easier. Simply download it and go ahead. No need to worry whether you have some restricted trial version. And if you decide to use it, you don't need to care about getting the paperwork done for getting the money (which might not apply widely, but where I am this is a big hassle, and from "Hey we should use it" to "Hey the package has been delivered" usually 3 months pass by).

Re:Primary vs Secondary (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136995)

Not necessarily. You can find software that is dual licensed and open source and free for evaluation or personal non-profit use, but you need a license for business or for-profit use.
You can also find software that's open source but where the license specifically forbids use in certain circumstances.

Yes, it's fully possible to pirate open source software. Free as in speech doesn't imply free as in beer. Often it is, but don't make the assumption without checking.

Re:Primary vs Secondary (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137111)

Strictly "free as in speech" means that even if the first generation product isn't free as in beer, anybody who bought it can make a second generation one that is (think RedHat/CentOS).

Re:Primary vs Secondary (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136775)

For me, the biggest benefit is avoiding license hassles. Saving money and "yuo have teh sorce code so fix it yuorself" are both great also, but take a back seat to being able to just stick an install CD into another machine without having to worry about licensing.

Something being open source doesn't imply that you can legally take the install CD and use it on another machine. Just because the source is free doesn't imply that the usage is free. That's usually the case, but you shouldn't assume it. So, you need to check the license, which was what you were happy about avoiding -- back to square forty-one.

Re:Primary vs Secondary (2, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136939)

Bingo! One classic example for me was two weeks ago. A friends computer was trashed from spyware. It was easier to just wipe it and reinstall. He didn't have the original Compaq disk (computer from 2003). I used another genuine OEM disk. After installing, it wouldn't authenticate itself. So I have to get ahold of Microsoft....

I tried the online service, which failed. I used the online chat with the service rep (jerk), who told me that in order to use a different disk, I had to pay $99 to relicense the computer. That it had the license tag, fully intact, didn't matter. Or I could call Compaq and buy a new install disk, and wait a few weeks for it to arrive. In the end, I had to call the 888 number, gave it the 200 digit number (good god...) and it passed just fine.

Over 30 minutes wasted on a legally licensed machine because they wanted to charge me another 99 bucks. It would have been easier to pirate a copy. Even easier to use an OS that doesn't have draconian licensing. It isn't a matter of MONEY, (already paid for). It is a matter of my TIME.

I was treated like a pirate for simply trying to do what should be a simple and common thing: reinstall an operating system in a legal manner.

Re:Primary vs Secondary (5, Funny)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136949)

Please find your CD jacket, turn it upside down, light a candle, and read the reflection of the antipiracy sticker in the mirror. This is your 50 digit registration code. Once you enter your registration code the software will use your modem to dial 1-900-act-ive1 to activate your software. If you do not have a modem please write down the code on a 3x5 piece of paper and include a self addressed stamped envelope and we will send you a second registration code that you will enter before calling 1-900-act-ive2 to speak with a live representitive that does not speak your native language that will give you your activation code.

Once activation is complete every time you start the software it will connect to our server that is online most of the time to verify your access. This process is very quick due to our server's high speed 56k modem. Also, periodically while you are using the software it will take a screenshot and send it to the server for a specialist to determine if you are using the software in accordance with the EULA. This is to ensure the highest quality service support.

Re:Primary vs Secondary (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136461)

Because if the primary reason for using open source software is to save money, it is easy for a proprietary vendor to try and gain an edge in a particular market by lowering or eliminating their acquisition price and focusing on service contracts. There is nothing inherent to open source that guarantees that it will cost less to buy than proprietary code, nor is there anything inherent to open source that guarantees that the long term costs will be less than with proprietary code. Some of the most stable, reliable software platforms on Earth are proprietary -- z/VM, VMS, etc.

When the primary reason is to remain free from vendor lock-in, or to have the freedom to modify the code as needed, or the freedom to redistribute the code as needed, then it becomes much harder for proprietary vendors to compete.

Re:Primary vs Secondary (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136673)

"There is nothing inherent to open source that guarantees that it will cost less to buy than proprietary code"

This is 100% false. Even if the proprietary code supplier gives code away, the support costs are set by the proprietary source vendor, not by open market. With Open Source, one can change support vendors or even grow your own support at any time. Vendor lockin is a cost, even if the actual cost is less up front, it rarely is long term.

And that is just for Source Code support. Now, lets talk about data lockin and now we're really adding to the long term costs.

I currently manage a system that has YEARS of data locked in a proprietary format, and the software just plain sucks. But there is no easy (ie "cheap") way to move to another vendor at this point. So, we are stuck, until it becomes too painful to live with.

Re:Primary vs Secondary (1)

QuantumHobbit (976542) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136715)

I think both reasons fail to acknowledge the true reason people use software, what works best. In the US at least (the only place I have experience), the main reason people use a particular piece of software is that it works better than the alternative. Most Firefox users don't use is because it's open or because of the cost but because it is safer and has more features than IE. I turned a colleague onto OpenOffice.org after Excel repeatedly crashed on his important work. People are leaving Windows for Macs, which are more closed and somewhat more expensive, because "they just work better". If open source wants real large scale adoption the focus should be on beating closed source software in features, and usability regardless of cost and ideals.

In Europe all Open Source is written in Arabic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25137001)

In Europe all Open Source is written in Arabic.

The future of Europe is a brown hand pulling a white plug out of the socket.

Yep, it's true (1)

cybiko123 (1223650) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136331)

I can definitely attest to this. I've tried converting many people to open-source, and the first thing they say is "It's free? I'll take it!".

Re:Yep, it's true (2, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136657)

What's really bad is when someone with that mindset is told, "Yes, it is free to acquire, but the long-term costs are higher, here are pretty charts and graphs to look at," and they swallow it hook, line and sinker.

Oh behold the difference.. (2, Funny)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136335)

>> Are the reasons for using open source software different in other parts of the world as well?

In Soviet Russia open source software uses you.

I know, I know.. Mod me down now. Thank you.

well, DUH (1, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136363)

Americans have always had more choices and as such were not as dependent on needing an alternative. One thing that shocked me was how much my brother in law pays for the same exact software down under. I can see it in pricing on a lot of things.

America had several advantages, a larger number of people united by one language and culture with open borders for a longer time. The free movement of ideas has no limits when it came to states but country lines are a whole 'nuther thing. Plus, how long has it been since all the checkpoints have been removed?

Same idea, with freedom being offered comes the orgy effect... you can't get enough

Re:well, DUH (1)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137117)

America had several advantages, a larger number of people united by one language and culture with open borders for a longer time

You must be refering to Spanish and that fence we are building along the southern boarder.

3rd choice not offered? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136369)

I think the third reason is that we just want the software to work. that partly negates FOSS only software or being completely engrossed in FOSS only ideas. Just an opinion from someone who likes Linux a lot but needs functionality to be supreme over free only...

EU Attitudes In General Are Different (3, Interesting)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136377)

When I go to conferences you can always pick out the Americans from the Europeans. During breaks and what not the Americans are busy checking their blackberrys and working while the Europeans are hanging out, drinking a beer and socializing. Their attitudes generally seem more laid back and hippie like than the Americans. It could be that most of the Europeans I see at these conferences are professors while we (the Americans) have real jobs in addition to publishing papers.

Re:EU Attitudes In General Are Different (4, Funny)

outcast36 (696132) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136605)

Also, Europeans are drinking delicious beer and have cooler cell phones. I always hunt these guys out and drink with them. Of course, I have a blackberry from ancient times and they all get a laugh at my expense. Good times.

Re:EU Attitudes In General Are Different (1)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136633)

Ok, I guess you have a point.

I'm a French PhD student working in a German research center, and I just happened to see your post during working hours :D

Re:EU Attitudes In General Are Different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136911)

You are right. I have a friend who was born in Korea. She start working at Seoul and the move to NY. She was very happy, as the work pace was quite slower in America.

She now had moved to Europe one year ago. She has been shocked again. The European pace is even slower that the American one.

The strange thing is that Europeans seen to achieve the same results in a much more relaxed ambient.

So true (3, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136913)

This was ages ago, before the bubble burst when international web-design companies seemed to make sense. I ended up working for a company that was partnering with an american firm. Never fully understood the reasons for it, and it soon fell apart anyway but part of it all was a videoconference with our US counterparts.

We had our meeting after-work and the US was of course just waking up then, but still, the difference was very start. The US, smoke-free, drinking water. We on alcohol and smoking... pot.

Oh not all of us, but that was still when smoking in the workplace was okay and being Amsterdam where softdrugs are legal, they smoked it. Kinda drove the point home to me that this whole venture was doomed from the start, just because two companies are succesful in their own market doesn't mean they should work together in a global market.

As for general attitudes, the US is generally more business friendly where as europeans tend to put people first. Discuss: Longer work hours lead to more productivity, if you want to earn more you got to work longer hours, the state should not be people's nanny and impose work-hours on the people.

On the whole, if you agree with this statement it would be likely that you are an american citizen.

If on the other hand you agree with: Work should be distrubuted evenly, workhours should allow for enough free time to have a social life outside work and the state should together with employers and unions supervise that work hours are reasonable. Then you are most likely a european.

To contrast, I seen americans working ordinary jobs for no extra pay doing 80 hours a week without question while most people in europe have less then 40 hours work. I am not going even to start the flamewar which economy is more productive (it ain't europe that is having tent-camps erected for people put out of their home, oops)

But the simplest thing might be that buying MS is supporting MS, an American Company run by an American living The American Dream(TM). To a european, buying MS means sending money abroad to make a rich, and not very sympathetic, guy even richer.

Re:EU Attitudes In General Are Different (4, Interesting)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137053)

A friend of my dad's told me the different between NA and Europe once. He said North Americans live to work, while Europeans work to live. I've found it to be quite true, myself not withstanding.

Open source is irrelevant! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136379)

It's Free Software that matters. (Open source is only a subset of Free software. Irrelevant per se.)

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html [gnu.org]

Goddamn!

We're broke! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136383)

Haven't you seen the news? We need all the bucks we can get!

Re:We're broke! (3, Insightful)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136671)

Haven't you seen the news? We need all the bucks we can get!

It's actually quite the opposite. We've printed too many.

The answer... (1, Offtopic)

TractorBarry (788340) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136393)

> Is Open Source Different In Europe Than In the US ?

Oui ! Ja ! Si !

Sorry about that.

Re:The answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136767)

Nai (sorry about my Greeklish, Slashdot does not support Unicode).

Get real (2, Insightful)

wigaloo (897600) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136397)

Oh, good grief.

Free Software, and its ideals, essentially originated in the US. Most of the big projects have too.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:Get real (2, Insightful)

boteeka (970303) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136691)

That is true indeed. Also corporatist software development companies (like Microsoft) originated from the US too. Also, the internet is originated from the US. It is also true that all of them are declining in the US.

Re:Get real (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136859)

C'mon.
American -- GNU Hurd
European -- Linux.
Any questions?

Re:Get real (2, Insightful)

wigaloo (897600) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136861)

How can this factual post be modded -1 troll? It is a clear case of moderator abuse if I ever saw one. My posting history shows that I do not troll.

So, what is the agenda here? Why suppress consideration that Free Software and most of the big F/OSS projects originated in the US? I'm not even from the US, yet it is plain obvious to me the enormous contribution that has been made by the likes of RMS, linus, etc in fostering awareness of the source-code access issue.

Re:Get real (1)

wigaloo (897600) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136943)

My bad. Linus is obvious Finnish. I'm a little outraged that my original post got modded troll...

Re:Get real (5, Informative)

Chrisje (471362) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136903)

Are you sure about that? Can you substantiate that claim with some numbers and quote a source?

In the 80's you saw a lot of creative programming come out of the Eastern Block, from what then still were Soviet satellite states. They had to squeeze all the functionality they could get out of bad/cheap/old hardware and therefore made software on a shoestring budget that really did interesting things. To this day you have very decent software development shops in unlikely places like Slovenia, Bulgaria and whatnot.

Then there are the "celebs". Linus Torvalds, as you might recall, is Finnish, "DVD" Jon Johansen is Norwegian and Matthias Ettrich of KDE Fame is German. I know a fair amount of Germans that did/do open source stuff, and Suse is originally German. Furthermore, Israel boasts a very high quality R&D community in both commercial and Open Software while Computer gaming was invented by a British professor with an overgrown oscilloscope and time to kill.

All in all I have to be a little bit skeptical about that post of yours. After all, Americans surely didn't invent cars and motorcycles, and to this day they can't build 'm properly either. I very much doubt they invented the Linux kernel. :-D

Re:Get real (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25137133)

Open source history [wikipedia.org]
It is short on details, but open source is older than the 80s.

Re:Get real (0, Redundant)

wigaloo (897600) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137151)

All of which is compiled using gcc, written by Richard Stallman, an American. His Free Software movement predates most other significant open contributions.

Look, I get your point, and am not trying to run down the considerable contributions made around the world to F/OSS software. However, to subjectively declare that Europeans somehow care more about the source code than folks in the US is just plain silly.

Wow (-1, Redundant)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136401)

I never thought the ongoing "Here's why Europeans are better than Americans" saga would include "use of open source" as a bullet point, but, here we are.

Not just open source, _freedom_! (2, Insightful)

Bromskloss (750445) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136419)

Open source is good and well, but you also want the freedom to use your software as you wish and distribute your derivative works. Having access to the source code doesn't automatically grant you that. That's why we want free software.

Yes, cost, but that's not the whole picture (2, Interesting)

dfdashh (1060546) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136443)

I live in the U.S. Yes, cost is the argument that most often wins me management support with open source apps, but it also serves as a huge eye-opener for them when they've seen what it can do (visibility, quality, responsiveness of the community, etc).

I'd be curious about this. (4, Insightful)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136469)

I (a Californian) use OSS at home and at work simply because it is better than most of the closed-source offerings. I also prefer open source so that I know what is running the application, or at least know more than a few eyes are looking through it. I feel it is more secure that way.

I'd be happy to pay for OSS if needed. I do pay for my openSUSE versions and Crossover Office.

Question (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136471)

Would it have anything to do with the fact that the biggest software shops are U.S. based?

Question (3, Insightful)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136647)

Would it have anything to do with the fact that the biggest software shops are Bangalore based?

There! Fixed that for you

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136689)

No, you didn't fix anything. You just made a stupid comment.

Yes (2, Funny)

Elky Elk (1179921) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136485)

In Europe, OSS is metric

I agree (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136517)

I have some OSS out there, and the ONLY donations I've gotten in 3 years and 22,000+ downloads have been from EU countries. US people (of which I am one) just complain that I don't log into their servers, install the software, customize it, etc. for free for them. They (US users) seem offended when they ask me to customize the software for their company and I quote them a price. And then one [US user] even had the nerve to customize my front end, and then try and charge people for the software package!

I disagree (2, Informative)

RalphWigum (519738) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137171)

I also run/program/maintain a relatively small open source initiative for 4 years and have had the exact opposite experience. With the exception of one German company and one Mexican company, all of my donations and customizations, and contributions have come from US companies or individuals. The Europeans are constantly the ones with negative comments on the boards, yet when asked to contribute, do nothing. And when I mean contribute, I will take anything - coding contributions, documentation help... anything. Maybe it is the nature or function of most OS software that determines attitude. Since my software is more directly business/accounting related, perhaps US people are more apt to see the value and ideals behind the software. Perhaps Europeans see the value and ideal behind more technical or "academic" related software?

In our economy (1)

jskline (301574) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136523)

It obviously breeds greed and many a business run on an open source solution just to save money on capital investment. Usually its easy to find employees savvy enough to manage your OS installation and you save some real dough when it comes to licensing issues you didn't have to fret over.

In Europe, I suspect that they are more akin to it because of technological innovation more than anything else which is really where we all should be. Having once had to recover a Windows server after a drive corruption problem, there is something to be said for reliability. We always will have the war between Microsoft and the open source camps which always translates to money, greed, and profits; vs. learning, educating and moving ever forward. Microsoft is just a marketing company. They really don't invent anything. I vote for moving forward and learning. Its a whole lot more fun.

When I was in Switzerland (1)

carahan (1286884) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136529)

There were a number of students that were interested in using an open-source business model. Yet they even lacked an idea for a project at that point. Nonetheless, they were in the Open Source Software Engineering course hacking away at various sourceforge projects along with everyone else. None of the Americans particularly cared when business model was used as long as it was viable. The Swiss seemed to have some sort of conception that open source was at higher level morally - which I still don't understand. So, yes, I did see an inclanation in Europe toward open-source regardless whether or not such a model would apply to them.

Generalize much? (0)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136531)

Of course, French kids...in between surfing porn and preening their myspace pages...appreciate the open-source and GNU philosophy on a much deeper level than YOU do.

So, Europeans avoid "Vendor Lockin" by ensuring the VAR channel oligopoly? lolwut?

i am an american (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136533)

i use open source software because of not only the ideals but because one of the best products out there is *BSD. when microsoft or cisco or whoever can make a better network product than openBSD, i'll buy it. there are lots of commercial products out there that cant compete with open source products like dban, unnoc, nfSen, openIDS, eraser, python, perl, ...where do i stop? i'm missing thousands of projects here...

Gee not a little biased. (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136557)

A study from Europe says Europeans get it while people in the US don't?
I loved the bit on dual licensing. I first heard about dual licensing when I started to hear about KDE. QT and MySQL both where dual licensed and one was from Europe and the other from Australia.
Give me a freaking break.

Re:Gee not a little biased. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136895)

From Australia? Which one?
As far as I know, they are both from the Nordic countries. QT from Norway and MySQL from Finland/Sweden.

/the little Fact Nazi

Re:Gee not a little biased. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136979)

I thought that MySQL was developed in Australia. I guess you are right. Looks like it was Sweden.
Okay all European.

Re:Gee not a little biased. (2, Funny)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137021)

I guess you were relieved when gravity was verified on both sides of the Atlantic...

why (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136573)

If americans care less it's probably because it's "actually" less important for them. The software business like most high technology is dominated by the US. This means that US companies are closer and more responsive to US customers. However, foreign users have to deal with "ported" software that is not initially targeted to them. This lack of control and consideration causes problems for them.

So obviously they'd like to be at the center of the software they use.

Open source can bring them closer or at the very least allow them to take code that is mostly what they want and tailor it to their precise needs.

However, it will not allow them to move the center from the centers of the high tech industry. Open source, regardless of who supports it will remain largely driven by forces in the most industrialized and highly 'technological' centers in the world. Thus unless something changes in europe or the US... the center will probably still fall on the US at least for now.

This Fp fo8 GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136593)

came as a complete were nullifiied by

Working for an American Firm (3, Insightful)

saterdaies (842986) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136599)

Working for an American firm, I find that cost is usually the deciding factor.

This drives me nuts! I'm not much of an open-source fanatic, but I've found that every time we buy an expensive piece of enterprise software, we've been sold huge expectations with little follow through. For example, we recently bought a product and we asked the company whether it worked with Firefox and Safari. They assured us that they had plenty of customers using it with those two browsers. So, we plunk down my yearly salary for the product and a support contract and low-and-behold not only doesn't the site work, it actually displays an error message saying you must use IE6.

Now, this presented problems for me since we have a bunch of Mac users who couldn't use it for lack of IE6. Now those users are set up to use a Windows remote desktop solution for it.

Basically, that proprietary software simply makes my life harder. We look at open-source solutions and we get a good idea of what we'd have to do if we used it which is always more than what a company claims we'll have to do with their system that just handles things automagically for everything! In the end, I have to spend more time on the proprietary system we paid big bucks for.

Re:Working for an American Firm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136907)

I agree with what you say. It seems that when you buy proprietary software, it's is so inflexible. The provider creates an ideal system on which to run and if you vary from that spec it simply will not run.

I find that programmer exposed to proprietary software, do not understand the concept of coding safely. They, like the vendor, assume everyone has the same hardware and OS.

My experience with OSS, specifically Apache, has been that it run well everywhere and exposes you to good practices.

Re:Working for an American Firm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25137071)

So, we plunk down my yearly salary for the product and a support contract

Unless you're the CEO of an investment bank, that wasn't expensive enterprise software.

But I take your point. In my experience, the more you pay, the less it delivers. And expensive software always need expensive coddling.

Re:Working for an American Firm (2, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137085)

Do not pay for something that you have not tested.

Put the requirements in the contract.

Re:Working for an American Firm (1)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137099)

On the flip side, if your company purchased a program for a huge sum of money without even testing it first, shame on your company. You could have had the same problem with an open source package. And you might have paid your own in-house or contract developer the same amount of money up front and yearly, in order to reprogram an open source software to fit your needs and then maintain it on a regular basis.

So is the reality that we have lower expectations from OSS, and thus we expect it to be free, or do we want something free so badly that we lower our expectations? Nothing in life is free. We make certain concessions, usually in functionality, and get by with free or cheap software. For enterprise software, is there really anything free open source that does what an enterprise needs? Who out there programs complex client-server applications for nothing?

So while having something open source might have helped in your situation due to the fact that you could have a programmer modify the product to meet your needs, it still might very well end up being more costly tio implement than a proprietary software that was well researched, tested, and determined to meet your needs.

Re:Working for an American Firm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25137101)

So, we plunk down my yearly salary for the product and a support contract and low-and-behold not only doesn't the site work, it actually displays an error message saying you must use IE6.

Stating the obvious probably, but did you try switching the user agent on firefox to make the product think you were running ie6? (same probably applies to Safari).
Also, did you try running ie6 on Mac OS using the Mac Wine equivalent (?Cider) (no idea if this works but worth a try).

If it's mission critical... (5, Insightful)

torsner (13171) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136635)

I collegue of mine with an excellent track record as IT and R&D manager in the European Call Center industry once said (and I agree):

- "if the application is mission critical, then we need the source"

yankies don't care about their rigths (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136641)

They just don't care. They renounce they right to privacy (Patriot Act, faulty biometric passports etc.), right to private use (wide acceptance of DRM, legislation like DMCA). Hell, they even buy stuff from companies like Apple, which puts NDA in most ridiculous cases, like eg. Apple Store Rejection Notices.
So it shouldn't be any surprise at all, that they don't care much about right to modify and reuse source code.

Own views... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136755)

Somehow I suspect this has to do with differences of consumer orientation towards their purchase of merchandise, software or otherwise. Commercial (closed source) software business has traditionally smelled a lot like One True Microsoft Way - which is likely to have formed based on American consumer habits. Just my own European perspective, but still.

In this Microsoft-style consumerism, purchase itself is an gratifying event - you live and earn money to be able to gain gratification from shopping. Product can be single-use gimmick - it doesn't worry the consumer that it is so, since the actual shopping event can produce considerable part of gratification produced over its whole product lifetime. It's important that purchase doesn't require tedious work and is simply productized to avoid any sort of confusion or other brain activity that would distract shopping event - much more important than the fact that product would serve purpose, or that it would have predictably long, useful and adaptable lifetime for the user.

Guess what I think about Europeans? Many of them hold these shopping-improving features as actual drawbacks.

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. (1)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136777)

Open standards help prevent vendor lock-in, not whether or not you have access to the code. While you could look at the source of an open source application to reverse engineer a file format, users generally do not write code or even look at code so the code would be of little use if the format was proprietary to a specific open source application.

Having said that, most users only pay lip service to vendor lock-in or whether code is open source because it is the in thing to do these days. At the end of the day, they want the cheapest and most usable solution that best fits their needs.

I think open source has a place in software development in terms of pushing open standards and protocols by providing the plumbing for our connected world but I'm not sure if open source is as useful for desktop applications and games where successful games and apps are the result of market research, usability studies and a lot of professional QA.

reflected in the choice of desktops (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136793)

It's also probably why US tends to prefer Gnome and Europe tends to prefere KDE.

Not a hard rule, just a trend observation.

Obviously Different (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25136807)

Euro-source is trendier, thinner, and loves its sins without regrets, you filthy gun-loving, god-worshipping American pigs!

Missing option (1)

Falstius (963333) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136831)

I have free, and legal, access to XP, Vista, and of course Linux. I use Linux because it is easier for me to set up, has a better software selection for me and is more powerful. I use open source products in general because of either the quality or trustworthiness.

Same as with Hybrid Cars (1)

cyberspittle (519754) | more than 5 years ago | (#25136855)

Intersting thing about hybrid cars. Early adopters were concerned about the environment, while the late adopters wanted to save money on their gas bills. We all have different reasons. I happen to think that Americans are more honest. Europeans want to appear better than their peers. Do you think a European is honest enough to say they are cheap? I know I am. I use Linux not because I hate Microsoft, but rather because I can't afford to pay for Windows, then Microsoft Office, then the next software package, etc.

as a U.S. American (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137025)

i love having access to FOSS source code, i build some cool custom systems starting with just a core OS that does not include X, gtk or qt and hand rolled the rest by hand with my own personal preferences when it comes to dependencies , some Linux users might think of it as a Frankenstein monster but they boot up quickly and have excellent response time launching & running applications (better than any run of the mill distro)...

i like free as in beer just as much as the next geek and especially like free as in freedom! RMS really is on to something so listen to his philosophy on software freedom...

It disturbs me... (3, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137031)

What bothers me the most about all of this is that in this day and age we're still finding communal efforts of this nature being divided by geography. Just goes to show that the function hasn't followed the form.

You may call it bragging rights, I call it a lack of vision.

Eh, I agree (4, Insightful)

gravis777 (123605) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137059)

I think that in the US, the mass population that is, NOT the IT crowd, likes Open Source because they are trying to save money. The perfect example of this is Open Office. Let me tell you, my mom, pastor, sister, and my best friend all could care less if they had access to the source code. I would be shocked if a single one of them could program "Hello World". However, they LOVE the thought of not shelling out a couple of Hundred bucks to Microsoft. Not because they hate Microsoft, but because they want to save money. The sister I mentioned earlier also just graduated graphic arts school, and is a Gimp user, not because she has access to the source code or anything like that, but because it is free.

I pieced together a few computers for a church before, and we went Linux with Open Office, once again, because its free.

None of these were because they thought Linux, Open Office, or Gimp were better, in fact, all of these people would have prefered the pay program. People like free. People will do stupid stuff to get stuff for free. You know how many users I had to remove spyware and viruses from because they tried installing free 3D or Living Screensavers, 1000 free smilies at smily central, or animated coursers? In fact, I have tons of friend's myspace pages that I refuse to goto until they clean up their code and get rid of all those evil ActiveX and JavaScript controls.

You ought too see how many people will drive 30-45 miles across town to save 20 cents a gallon on gas. I point and laugh at those people.

Yet, not a single one of these people mind paying $18 for a pizza, $24.95 a month for dialup, or $120 a month for their cable bill.

a shock and a half... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25137127)

...snotty Europeans claiming zat zey understand more about ze true value of X zan zose chimpanzees across ze pond.

As a European, I must say that France has been bitter ever since West Point did a better job at symbolising revolutionary France than the Polytechnique. France regressed immediately, America advanced throughout C19, and France now exports a legacy symbolism that in no way reflects fairly right-wing, short-term, capitalist ideals that its currently elected government actually supports.

I don't buy it on dual licensing (4, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25137139)

Ok, off the top of my head, these are the "European" Open Source (tm) projects I can think of:
  • KDE - GPL, but depends on QT which started is/was dual licensed.
  • Linux - GPL.
  • MySQL (now part of Sun) dual licensed
  • InnoDB (now part of Oracle) dual licensed
  • Virtual Box (German, now part of Sun) dual licensed.

So of the 6 European Open Source projects I can name of the top of my head, 4 are dual licensed.

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