UK lagging in open-source uptake

The UK is lagging the US and the rest of Europe when it comes to taking up open-source alternatives, according to a new survey.

According to a survey conducted by open-source content management providers Alfresco, the US is leading the charge toward open source, holding more than a fifth of the market.

But with less than 5% of the market, the UK lags behind France, Spain, Germany and Italy. “The US buys it because it’s better value,” claims Dr Ian Howells, Alfresco’s chief marketing officer. “The EU is driven by government. The EU is trying to get value for its citizens.”

The different growth rates in European nations suggest differing levels of public sector support, he says. “It reflects how governments want to sponsor and support open-source in their organisations,” said Howells. Governments are also increasingly favouring open-source software and systems because it protects interoperability – meaning documents will still be readable in 20 years time.

In addition, he said open-source is making good growth internationally. “Enterprise software starts in San Francisco goes to London, but eventually hits Paris and Frankfurt,” says Howells. “But open-source is global immediately.”

The survey also found that Red Hat has been growing at twice the rate of Novell’s Suse since the November 2006 patent agreement between Novell and Microsoft. “Within our community, Red Hat took off and Suse didn’t,” Howells claims. “This finding suggests that customers may not like the terms of the deal as more information became public.”

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