O’Reilly.net: European Union Researches the Benefits of Open Source Software

“A major research project under the name Free/Libre and Open
Source Software: Survey and Study, or FLOSS, recently explored
reasons behind the widespread use of, and support for, free and
open source software. This is, to my knowledge, the first
large-scale, rigorous study concerning any aspect of free software.
It involves interviews with thousands of developers and hundreds of
businesses, with carefully-chosen questions and a correlation of

“Equally significant is the funder of the study: the European
Union. These government representatives have displayed a growing
curiosity about, and sympathy for, the free software phenomenon;
see, for instance, the recent announcement concerning OpenEvidence,
a project in digital certificates and signatures. The EU is an
excellent body to sponsor a sympathetic but demanding inquiry into
the purposes and processes of free software development. (The study
was carried out for the EU by Berlecon Research GmbH and the
University of Maastricht. The business survey involved only
European participants, but the developer survey was


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