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Re: [Fsfe-uk] The Business

From: Alex Hudson
Subject: Re: [Fsfe-uk] The Business
Date: 30 Mar 2003 21:32:33 +0100

On Wed, 2003-03-26 at 09:13, Alex McLintock wrote:
> >Does anyone have a current copy of The Business?
> I assume you don't mean the novel by Iain Banks also called "The Business"?

Actually, I have no idea :) I was just quoting the website I read it on
- they presumed the reader would know who/what "The Business"
is/was/will be. As far as I'm aware, they could be referring to that
novel ;)

> >Open Forum Europe are publishing some research on the take-up of "open
> >source" within small businesses, there's an article about an article
> >here:
> I met these guys around a year ago, but then everything went quiet. I 
> probably spoke up too much in their meeting :-)
> They will be very useful for high level talking to CTO's and MD's. Sadly I 
> believe there is a fee to join their organisation. But that may have 
> changed, and you guys may of course be called upon as "experts".

We have never had any real contact with them, but I believe that they
might not be as useful an organisation as they sound. Certainly, we have
been told that they are pro-software patents (for example), which would
mean that we would probably oppose them and see a lot of their briefing
as damaging to our movement. I suspect they are very much "open
source"ers, in that they are focussed purely on the cost issues :/

Anyway, to swing back on topic, "Computing" this week also has an
article about this research ("SMEs examine use of Linux", p5, Computing
27/03/2003). This is a bizarre article.

Firstly, the research itself - conducted over 60 organisation in the
public, retail and financial sectors. This seems a strangely low figure
(in fact, barely significant, I would have thought). Trend Consulting
conducted the research, and it appear that's it's actually *them* who
are publicising it - the last sentance of the article is "The OpenForum
was contacted about its research but declined to comment" - this is a
lobby group?

Secondly, and more interesting I think, they have a couple of people in
the article to quote against the research. The first is Peter Scargill,
national IT chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses.
Unsurprisingly, his comment is that the cost of software goes beyond the
up-front payment, and that "Linux" may not be all that much cheaper than
Microsoftware. But the second quote is from Mary-Anne Novitzkas, "Shared
Source" manager at Microsoft. Clearly, the shared-source strategy is
being picked up on as basically being just a reaction to "open source". 
Obviously, we knew that, but it's interesting to see that others see it
for that as well, rather than being something a bit more progressive.

Anyway, the headline of the research continues to be "66% of UK SMEs are
considering adopting 'open source' software". There doesn't appear to be
anything really interesting about it, other than the fact it's getting



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