When Euro OSCON hits Amsterdam in October it will be nearly 3 years since I wrote this post calling for a European OSCON. Since then I’ve been bugging the O’Reilly team at every possible moment and I’m really happy that at last, this year will see the conference take place in the Netherlands.
My personal experiences over the past 3 years show that the Open Source scene in Europe has grown rapidly - especially when it comes to the adoption of Open Source by large corporations. When I think back to the early days - say 5 years ago - then I remember not being able to get any meetings with corporate customers to talk about this “free software”. They were still able to fork out tons of money to get custom built solutions. So, there was no need for them to use Open Source.
But things changed. Cost-cutting became king - and corporations in Europe initially saw Open Source as being a way of cutting back on the cost of application development. Obviously that is only partly right - if at all - as Open Source still needs to be customized, adapted and supported for use inside the enterprise.
Over the past year or so I’ve been hearing more arguments that stress the fact that companies are able to change the application quickly and easily, because of the availability of code. They are glad that they don’t need to wait for some release cycle of a commercial product. Getting their hands dirty is an increasing trend here too (or as Doc Searls would say - DIY IT).
Something that makes Open Source adoption in Europe difficult is the fact that we are many countries, each one with their own culture and language. The past years have seen pan-European companies emerge. Companies that need applications with international language support. Those companies also require support for Open Source in their native language. Companies will ask specifically for a native speaker or documentation in their respective languages. Working together on a European scale is also not as easy as perhaps people in the US would think. There are cultural differences that can make life pretty hard.
In all I’m already sure that Euro OSCON will be a success and Amsterdam is a great city to visit. Hope to see you all there!