Monday, October 6, 2008

Open Source Census Finds FOSS Everywhere

The Open Source Census, which I mentioned back in April, just dropped a press release this morning about the data it's been collecting. I chatted the day before with Kim Weins, senior VP of OpenLogic, a key co-sponsor of the census, and how they found a few ... surprises in the results.

Well, maybe they won't be total surprises to people who're intimately involved with the business and culture of open source, but I imagine they'll still raise a few eyebrows. For starters, there is quite a lot of open source software, of all stripes, being deployed on Windows machines.

This includes software deployed as an escape from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) (OpenOffice, etc.), packages used as support or infrastructure tools (zlib, OpenSSL, Perl, Samba), and things that have their own legacy as well -- like Firefox, which appeared on a whopping 84% of the systems surveyed. The vast majority of the top 20 or so packages also appeared on both Windows and Linux systems, so a good deal of what's being used is platform-agnostic.

Another revelation, which probably comes as a surprise only if you haven't been following open source news: Open source adoption in Europe far outpaces that of the United States. I chalked that up to two things: 1) a larger governmental role for open source adoption in Europe, and 2) less existing fidelity toward Microsoft by default there. "Governments and financial service companies" were the biggest leaders as far as use of open source packages, but a chunk who identified themselves as "Other" or "All Others" made up nearly half right there.

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