Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Open Source Software in Spain

Attending the OSiM conference in Madrid gave me the opportunity to find out more about the open source community that has developed in Spain.

Turns out that there is small open source community in Spain. One person I talked to ascribed it to lock-hold that Microsoft, especially Windows, has over the market. Another person said that, in general, Spanish developers and IT personnel are not early adopters. Spain is a country populated by a people and culture in the late majority (in Geoffrey Moore – Crossing the Chasm terminology).

The way open source is leaching into Spain is through municipalities who are adopting Linux in their data centers. They then branch out into other open source applications, projects and solutions such as jBoss, Apache and others projects. It is not yet a large market for open source vendors like MySQL, SugarCRM and other commercial solutions according to several people although they have certainly found some early adopters. Bit is the leading Spanish company and open source vendor offering a stack which has found customers in both Spain and the US.

Turns out that in most schools (both primary and secondary) in many regions (such as Extremadura, Andalucia, Valencia and Galicia) teach computing using exclusively Linux-based platforms. According to Paul Brown, editor Linux Magazine Spain, “this will lead in the near future to a generation of users, developers and administrators who will be very familiar with open source solutions which will impact the market to some degree.”

In addition to Paul, several people I talked to believe that open source will “take off” as soon as the systems integrators and developers who symbiotically are tied to the municipalities learn more about OSS and adopt it in solutions. They have strong relationships with medium and large sized corporate clients.

At OSiM, I learned that several telecommunications and mobile companies have open source solutions including Telefonica – the Spanish phone company.

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