if you're at all interested in such topics, this paper is a good read; even though it's over 287 pages long it's rather readable with good amounts of whitespace and graphs. (sidenote: it's funny how papers for politicians and marketroids are so easy to read while academic papers tend to be these multi-columned, tiny font monsters.)
i just have to share some of the money shots in the paper regarding usage of free software on the desktop in european government. now, we've been getting hit harder and harder by the press for not making numerical progress in the market. (which i've always taken to mean we're succeeding; i mean, if we aren't, why care to spend breath and column inches on us?)
i've pointed out numerous times that our growth is not going to be even across all demographics and that this is completely expected and not a sign of failure. no growth anywhere would be failure; moderate growth in one or two places would be disappointing. lackluster results amongst certain groups while doing well with others, however, would just mean we have more work to do. remember, on the desktop we're the late comers to the game.
so that said, how are we doing in government? they note on page 20 that in Sweden, Britain and Germany use ranges from 3.4-13.7% in small companies and 2-6.5% in large companies. oh look, we're doing better in smaller firms. again, no surprise. many of us have been saying that's the case for some time all while too many continue to obsess over the "enterprise" when that is not where our bread and butter tends to be, by a factor of 2. still, even 6.5% penetration is pretty good.
on the next page there is a graph showing that some 16% of respondents in an end user survey done in western europe had "significant live use" of open source personal productivity software, with another 7% or so (the graph is a bit hard to read) having "some live deployments" and another 4-5% having "limited live deployments". those are numbers that stack up quickly.
and there there is this graph on page 29 showing the use of foss in european governments as measured in a survey of over 900 such bodies:
kde is used in 10.2% of these places; heck, we're tied with perl for usage. if you add on gnome's 5.5% we end up with a nice foray into the teens for the free software desktop. firefox is doing even better having topped 25%.
and that's where my heart fluttered a bit. because up until this point i was telling myself, "these are places that use kde. these may not be reflective of market share since they may reflect mixed environments." but then i looked at the firefox numbers later on as measured by actual web usage and there it was: the numbers lined up.
the sceptic in me argue that perhaps firefox is more apt to be deployed throughout a governmental department and so the numbers line up, but even then how much could that skew things given the other numbers? it feels pretty good.
and so this was a very nice way to end the week: news of a market where we are making real strides. they even seem to be rather proud of the project, mentioning kde a few times as a sign of innovation and experience in this arena for the european market. even though i personally hail from canuckistan, it still warms my heart =)
i look forward 5 years and ponder what we'll think about these numbers then. i'm betting that we'll chuckle and go "remember when 10% of europe's governments was reason for cheer? ooh, those were the innocent days weren't they."
p.s. today is also the third anniversary (+1 day) of being pronounced dead by eric raymond on an internet radio show. what a maroon =)