Open Source Consortium Launches in Europe

A coalition of over 60 European open-source service providers earlier this week united to form an organization dubbed the Open Source Consortium (OSC).

The group’s stated purpose is to act as an independent reference point to give an unbiased “proprietary-vendor free” voice for all organizations deploying or contemplating open-source software alternatives.

Borne out of a fusion between the open-source movement and prime-mover demand from the public sector, founders say the consortium was formed to bring impartial clarity to the open-source debate.

“The open-source movement is fast achieving definition as it evolves from the nascent fervor of its protagonists into a credible corporate alternative,” said OSC executive director Mark Taylor. “That definition requires an independent voice.

Open-Source Intermediary

“We are minded to question … whether proprietary vendors can be entrusted with the future of open-source deployment across Europe. With this in mind we aim to liaise with the UK and EU authorities on establishing clear guidelines to safeguard the ascendance of this exciting new alternative.”

Most of the group’s members are based in the UK and new members are admitted only if the majority of their business revenue is generated from open-source products and services.

Stacey Quandt, senior business analyst and Open Source Practice Leader for the Robert Frances Group, told LinuxInsider that the OSC is an interesting open-source intermediary that is unlike any organization in the United States.

Broad Goals

“Unlike the Open Source Development Lab that is funded by vendors to promote Linux as an operating system, this organization is focused on promoting open-source software overall,” she said.

The group claims to offer indemnity insurance, which is a hot topic in the open-source movement these days. But Quandt said it is difficult to discern from the entity’s literature what its technical definition of open-source is. It does appear to be different from what Hewlett Packard and other vendors offer as indemnity insurance, she said.

“It appears that OSC is an organization of consultants positioning themselves to implement open-source solutions,” Quandt said. “The real question is what level of open-source expertise do OSC and these companies offer?”

Quandt said any company considering joining with OSC for insurance purposes needs to understand to what degree it is in a position to provide protection against intellectual property infringement.

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