France leads the open source market in Europe


A strong cultural and historical background favours open source.

France leads the European open source market, with penetration in IT services and software higher than that of other countries, says the French company Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC) in a survey published during the Paris Open Source Summit (POSS 2017).

In France, the open source market reached EUR 4.46 billion in 2017, with annual growth of 8.3%. Open source represents 9.9% of the total French IT market, compared to 6.4% in Germany and 6.5% in the United Kingdom.

Open source software’s market share is forecast to increase slightly in all European countries over the next few years. According to PAC, by 2021 the penetration of open source in France will be 11.5%, yielding a total open source market estimated at EUR 6.09 billion. This compares to forecasts of 7.6% in Germany (EUR 5.60 billion) and 7.6% in the UK (EUR 5.76 billion).

In 2017 the total open source market in Germany reached EUR 3.99 billion, and EUR 4.10 billion in the UK. The global European open source market amounted to EUR 19.54 billion.

“A strong culture that has supported open source historically”

“The French open source market is larger in terms of volume than in other major European countries, because of a strong culture that has supported open source historically,” PAC said.

“Germany, which is marked by a strong historical footprint of some major traditional vendors (like SAP), still has a free software market that matches the average of other European countries.”

PAC added that the other European countries, including Spain, Italy, Portugal, Norway, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Austria, “express their willingness to develop the open source market”. This trend is stronger in smaller countries, including Greece, Ireland, Malta, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, the survey showed.

In France, ministries and local administrations used to be one of the main drivers for open source and free software. Working groups like Mimo, the Vitam project, and the creation of a reference list of free software are some examples. In 2012, the Prime Minister published a memorandum encouraging administrations to favour open source software. The French national IT department is also largely using open source to develop government IT projects, and in so doing it contributes to open source communities.

“Open source values infuse into [French] politics,” said Mounir Mahjoubi, the French Secretary of State in charge of digital affairs, at POSS 2017. “We’re trying to multiply these techniques across the state.” According to Mahjoubi, “contributions [to the open source community] are also an essential part.”

Now, as well as the public sector, big French companies are starting to adopt open source software and contribute code to communities, presenters at POSS 2017 noted.

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