Open source: What you should learn from the French

With open source embraced at all levels, the real benefits of a passionate community arrive

Benefit 2: Uniting technology for the good of many

The capability to pull together various open source parts to create a single, unified platform may be France's most important open source benefit. It's what led to the amazing feat of government, education, and industry coming together to foster an environment for leading-edge open source development.

Miguel Valdes, co-founder of the Bonita Project, which has developed an open source workflow system, believes French open source developers have a better understanding than their US counterparts about reusing code and integrating with other systems. "France is definitely the good place to be when working around open source," says Valdes, a Spaniard living in France. "The French social model was appropriate for innovators and entrepreneurs to start working on alternative solutions [to proprietary software], fostering the creation of new projects in which a good mix of experienced professionals and skilled computer science students work together."

Put another way, French open source developers have played a major role in laying the groundwork on how to aggregate six, seven, or more open source projects into a comprehensive platform, says Massimo Pezzini, a Gartner analyst.

Benefit 3: Liberation leads to creativity

It's not surprising that open source aggregation and integration skills have developed rapidly in France and spread elsewhere in Europe. "In the US, open source projects tend to be narrow and only for leading-edge organizations, whereas in Europe they're mainstream," Pezzini says, adding that France leads the way, followed by the Nordic countries. "European organizations have a business opportunity to combine multiple [open source] point projects into solutions for virtual private networks, SOA enablement, business intelligence," and so on, he says.

Consider the French word for open source, logiciellibre, meaning "free software" in the sense of "free as in speech, not free as in beer." Logiciellibre could easily be the rallying cry of the global open source community. Freed from the shackles of narrow point products, secretive software components and forced workarounds, French open source developers are encouraged to experiment creatively and liberally.

Recognizing the advantage of such effective creativity when applied across the entire IT spectrum, French universities are in the forefront of teaching open source to the new generation of developers and IT managers. "The key [for the US] is to introduce more support for open source in universities and colleges," Pezzini says.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Kaneshige

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?