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Open source saves EU organisations 12bn euros

By   |  January 23, 2007

A new study on free and open source software and its contribution to the European Union economy has found that in “almost all” cases, a transition toward open source would offer organisations savings on the long term costs of ownership of the software products.

The report, funded by the European Commission concludes that free software could offer organisations significant savings with little effect on their business.

One of the benefits of free software, the report concludes, is the significant savings businesses enjoy with the reduced research and development costs associated with free software.

The report does caution, however, that an initial “extra effort” may be required to migrate to a free and open source solution. “However, these costs are temporary and many 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.”

The report found that “the existing base of quality FLOSS applications with reasonable quality control and distribution would have cost firms almost Euro 12 billion to reproduce internally.

“This code base has been doubling every 18-24 months over the past eight years, and this growth is projected to continue for several more years.

“This existing base of FLOSS software represents a lower bound of about 131 000 real person-years of effort that has been devoted exclusively by programmers,” the report says.

The report makes a number of points regarding migration to free and open source software, including:

– “Before buying, upgrading proprietary office software one needs consider that has all the functionalities that public offices need to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.”

– “It is not always justified to base the migration on the promise of lower licence costs, although in our study initial purchasing costs are lower for the OSS.”

– “There are no extra costs due to lack of productivity arising from the use of”

The full report can be downloaded here.


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