Embracing the use of open source software could save the EU hundreds of billions of euros every year, a new report has claimed.
The yet-unpublished research was conducted by the OpenForum Europe (OFE) think tank, under instruction from the European Commission, and its results reportedly highlight that the benefits of the open source ecosystem aren’t well understood by European entrepreneurs.
"There is something slightly counter-intuitive about open source," remarked Sachiko Muto, OFE’s CEO speaking to ZDNet. She added that most businesses fail to understand “how you can use something that is free to build a viable business model and make money."
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To analyze the impact of open source software in terms of economics, OFE engaged economists who had prior experience illustrating the effect of technology in tangible terms.
One of the economists was Harvard Business School's Frank Nagle, who has previously carried out a similar study to understand the consequences of open source software on a firm’s productivity.
In their bid to underline the positive impact of open source software on the economy, the economists estimated that in 2018 there were at least 260,000 open source contributors in the EU. Together they produced a volume of code equivalent to the full-time work of 16,000 developers. In terms of economics, these contributions stood between €65 billion ($77.8 billion) and €95 billion ($113.7 billion).
Based on this, the OFE report concluded that even an increase of 10% could potentially increase the EU's GDP by almost €100 billion ($120 billion) per year.
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