[OSGeo-Discuss] [Ica-osgeo-labs] How to quantify the economic impact of OSGeo software? Your help needed for a research article

Margherita Di Leo diregola at gmail.com
Thu Jun 4 08:26:39 PDT 2015


On Thu, Jun 4, 2015 at 4:38 PM, Suchith Anand <
Suchith.Anand at nottingham.ac.uk> wrote:

> Very good point and here is where we need help (maybe from an Economics
> expert).
> There are many studies already done which we can build upon. For example
> the Economic impact of open source software on innovation and the
> competitiveness of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
> sector in the EU at
> http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/ict/files/2006-11-20-flossimpact_en.pdf
> So any ideas/inputs greatly welcome.

A common strategy of proprietary vendors is giving nearly for free their
products for education and training, for example the agreements proposed by
Microsoft to Italian universities [1] and the Italian Ministry of education
[2] - I'm sure they propose similar agreements all around the world but I
cite the Italian example because in the past few days has raised the
indignation of many, although this doesn't come as new because such
agreements have been in place for several years now and they are only
renewed from time to time. In order to make an estimation of the real cost
that such an agreement implies, you can not refer to the agreement itself :
you would read that the proprietary vendor "donates" something, and the
government receives without giving nothing. The hidden cost, however, is
the missed empowerment of a generation, that will most likely depend upon
the software that they have learned to use at school. How would you
quantify this economically? This is a tough problem!
I only cited Microsoft but there are plenty of examples, in nearly any
field of application. In GIS the impact is even worse because it's a more
specialized software, therefore if you want to move to open source having
learned proprietary, the learning curve is steeper.
Anyway, I would like to thank you for bringing this up, because it's
utterly important to speak about this. Furthermore, analysing the "market
of open source software" is extremely interesting, if you consider how
relatively new is, and new models of business could be considered also
learning from the strategies of proprietary vendors.

Best regards,

Dr. Margherita DI LEO
Scientific / technical project officer

European Commission - DG JRC
Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES)
Via Fermi, 2749
I-21027 Ispra (VA) - Italy - TP 261

Tel. +39 0332 78 3600
margherita.di-leo at jrc.ec.europa.eu

Disclaimer: The views expressed are purely those of the writer and may not
in any circumstance be regarded as stating an official position of the
European Commission.
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