“Control can mean money. Quite a lot of money,” says leading open source expert

My latest interview piece for I Magazine:

Roberto Di Cosmo
Roberto Di Cosmo

The idea of being outside of the system – not part of the establishment – must be high on the list of reasons why the open source movement attracts so many devoted, often fanatical, followers. Rebelling against the perceived control that proprietary software (most notably Microsoft) and closed standards yield is exciting and just a little bit dangerous.

It’s not hard to understand, then, why a country such as France, whose national identity is so closely tied to rebellion and revolution, would find a natural affinity for this community-developed software. Open source embodies the idea of people uniting around a shared belief to achieve a goal.

While creating an open source database might not be quite as dramatic as beheading aristocrats with the guillotine, there is at least some common ground with the French revolutionary motto of liberté, égalité, fraternité.

With a zeal that could almost be described as revolutionary, France’s public sector has taken to open source and open standards like few other governments around the world. From the Ministry of Finance to the military, free software and open standards have not only been accepted, they are actually stipulated.

For more go to I-CIO.

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