EU Official Claims American IT Abuses Open Source

    June 1, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The head of software technologies at the EU Commission’s Information Society and Media Directorate General attacked major US firms.

The European war on America continues unabated. As the EU Commission seeks to force Microsoft into what could be a disastrous opening of its source code, a trade war between the trading partners has exploded on the Boeing/Airbus subsidy issue.

Now, another member of the EU has found reason to complain about America. Jess Villasante says IBM, HP, and Sun use the open source community as mere subcontractors.

Speaking in Amsterdam at a conference on open software, Mr. Villasante contends companies do not encourage the open source community to develop commercial projects. Instead, businesses simply offer open source products under their brand name.

“Companies are using the potential of communities as subcontractors — the open source community today [is a] subcontractor of American multinationals,” said Mr. Villasante.

Mr. Villasante seems to discount the support those companies have offered to the open source community, as well as their ability to encourage businesses to adopt open source technology. Businesses have been reluctant to adopt projects unsupported by a formal company; having IBM or Sun backing a project can give it more perceived credibility.

And companies like Sun have contributed to projects like OpenOffice and others. Meanwhile, the EU has adopted a software patent directive that is seen in some quarters as damaging to open source.

Mr. Villasante sidestepped the question by saying not everyone in the European Commission supports that particular bit of legislation.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.