Open source saves € 2 billion per year for the EU

    EU flagA newly released report by the European Commission entitled “The Economic Contribution of Open Source Software to the Innovation and Competitiveness of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Sector in the EU” ( pdf version , 1.8 MB) states that using Open Sourse (in terms of the report: FLOSS - Free, Libre and Open Source Software ) in the public and private structures of the EU saves the treasury of its member states in total up to € 2 billion per year.

    The authors of the report (scientists and businessmen from the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain, France and Italy) conducted a detailed analysis of how and to what extent open source software is used in various organizations. Somewhere, it completely replaced proprietary software; somewhere, two seemingly opposing ideologies coexist quite well.

    The study was carried out on concrete examples from life in six cities and provinces of European countries - both from old and from new EU members. With noticeable differences in the depth of penetration of computers and, accordingly, in the attention to issues related to them by local authorities, several general trends are visible.

    The cost of switching to free software, which was calculated according to several parameters, mainly rests on the main one - the cost of retraining personnel. This process always takes a lot of time, even if you intend to use both FLOSS and closed programs. In this regard, the head of the research team, Rishab Aiyer Ghosh , insists on the revision of school and university education in computer science. In his opinion, it is necessary to train students on a basis independent of specific brands and platforms.

    Ayer Gauche also urged that donations to FLOSS developers be a charity and that sponsors receive appropriate tax breaks, especially since in the future such donations will bring additional profit to the treasury.

    The report provides such figures on the financial effect of using open source software: the currently available database of ready-made freely accessible code frees up 131,000 “person-years” of programmer and designer work for organizations, which equals approximately € 800 million of saved money; in addition, closed-end software vendors opened their program code for approximately € 1.2 billion, saving another 565,000 “man-years”.

    The reaction to the report from the representatives of Initiative for Software Choice - an organization lobbying for the interests of developers of proprietary software - is so far restrained, as they have not yet managed to study it in detail. However, even now, with some irony, they notice that since the Open Source community has achieved such success, there is no need to introduce any other tax incentives for them.

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