EU report in favour of adopting open source software

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

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An EU Commission-funded research studied costs and benefits of adopting open source software, such as Linux or OpenOffice.org instead of proprietary software such as Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office.

The study was conducted on six organizations from European nations. The study concluded that:

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in almost all the cases, a transition toward open source reports of savings on the long-term costs of ownership of the software products.

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In addition,

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Costs to migrate to an open solution are relevant and an organization needs to consider an extra effort for this. However these costs are temporary and mainly are budgeted in less than one year. The major factor of cost of the new solution – even in the case that the open solution is mixed with closed software – is costs for peer or ad hoc training. These are the best example of intangible costs that often are not foreseen in a transition. On the other hand not providing a specific training may cause an adverse attitude toward the new technology. Fortunately those costs are limited in time and are not strictly linked to the nature of the new software adopted.

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The study also reported that they found "no particular delays or lost of time in the daily work due to the use of OpenOffice.org" (p. 283) instead of Microsoft Office.

This is bad news for Microsoft, who is in a legal battle with European Union over its monopolist behaviors. It is also competing with a number of open source software distributors for the market. Microsoft recently released an update to its popular operating system Windows, as well as to its browser Internet Explorer and its office productivity suite Microsoft Office. These products are competing with distributors such as Red Hat, Firefox, and OpenOffice.org.


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