Europe, Gartner and Open Source

Few days ago the Italian MEP Marco Cappato made public a EC report
analyzing the feasibility of a migration to open source software on desktop workplaces.

The study was conducted in 2005, and contains two deck of slides from Gartner’s analysts Michael Silver and Nikos Drakos. Both presentations are worth reading, even if some guesses are not supported by facts.

Michael Silver’s presentation (section 4.2, page 37) totally missed the point about what really are impedements to OSS office products. He didn’t mention EAI nor custom applications, focusing on Microsoft Access replacement and fidelity (actually two minor problems in the OpenOffice.migration).

Talking about innovation, Silver says:

As long as they [] concentrate on compatibility, can they introduce significant innovation and discontinuity.

I couldn’t disagree more. Low end disruption - as described by Clayton Christensen in his book “The Innovator’s dilemma” – happens when technology advances faster than customers’ needs. I am not original in saying that, referring to Microsoft Office’s over delivery.

Gartner pays more attention to open source now, though.

Andrea Di Maio, vice president and distinguished analyst in Gartner Research, in his The Growing Appetite for Open Source in Government states that open source enables a way to procure software and IT services that is different. Faster.