Last week, my organization, ACT, announced its intention to scour the European
report and read and analyze this lengthy (and heavy) 287 page study. The goal: go beyond the executive summary and provide an in-depth analysis of the report, and in the process initiate a real conversation about the paper and its conclusions. As the recent
disputes over the report suggest, informed analysis is still sorely needed.
In a nutshell, the authors of the UNU-Merit report argue that an aggressive commitment to FLOSS – Free/Libre/Open Source Software – will provide an innovative spark for the EU. Using what the authors suggest is Europe’s competitive advantage in open source developers, the European ICT industry will be able to better compete with America’s tech leaders.
It is a provocative and ambitious strategy. But is it sound? If the EU desires to adopt FLOSS as its competitive advantage in ICT, would the data and proposals presented in the UNU-MERIT study help? How do they authors support their strategy in the 274 pages that follow the executive summary?
Those are some of the key questions I hope to answer in the coming weeks. Starting with Section 6 next week, we’ll analyze the report section by section, identifying the value but also the pitfalls of the report.
I’m also looking forward to constructive feedback from TLF readers. The report implicates software licensing models, market analysis, innovation, immigration, antitrust/competition policy, interoperability, and even society/culture. It’s impossible to be an expert on everything! But the long and the short of it is that the paper and its policy implications deserve to be topics of conversation, not just bits of rhetoric.
Full commentary on sections 2 through 5 of the study (essentially the paper’s introduction and reason for being) is here.