More than half of all German companies use Open Source

German companies are world leaders in the use of Open Source software. In a survey of IT procurement officers from Germany, Great Britain, and the US/Canada, 59 percent of those in Germany said that they use OSS in their companies. The figures were far lower in Great Britain and the US/Canada at 48 and 38 percent, respectively.

80 percent of those surveyed said that the main benefit of Open Source was that no licensing fees had to be paid. In addition, the companies used OSS because they found it to be more flexible, because they wanted access to the source code, because they use open platforms, and because they want to be independent of proprietary providers such as Microsoft. Those surveyed said that the main drawbacks were the lack of long-term support, exemption from the rights of third parties, possible incompatibility with current IT infrastructure, and a lack of familiarity with OSS in the company. Nonetheless, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks for 60 percent of those surveyed.

The study conducted by business intelligence specialists at Actuate found that decisions to migrate to Open Source now take place close to the executive level; two thirds of the time, the IT director makes the decision, with CIOs making the decision another third of the time. The study therefore concluded that Open Source has become a strategic issue for many companies. It also helped that more than 70 percent of those surveyed see open software as the preferred option when new software is rolled out. (Craig Morris) / (jk/c't)