Germany is poised to see sales of open-source software and services grow substantially over the next few years, particularly in the public sector, according to a report published this week.
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In its report "The market for open-source software in Germany", Soreon Research projected that sales of open-source software and services will rise from €131m (£91m) today to €307m by 2007.
"When we talk about sales of open-source software, what we mean is a service that a vendor provides in copying the software on a CD and distributing the disc to a customer," said Soreon spokesman Christian Lipski.
SuSE Linux, for instance, offers enterprises a package which includes CDs and documentation, as well as the right to receive patches and updates and to use the company's hotline for technical support.
The study said the sale of open-source software in Germany will account for only €10m of the €131m in sales projected for the year. The majority comes from support services, which will generate €81m in sales, followed by training at €27m and installation services at €13m.
The number of companies and organisations deploying open-source software in Germany will increase from 12% today to 18% by 2005 and 24% by 2007.
The study was based on interviews with 150 companies and organisations in the private and public sectors, excluding the agricultural market, using 10 PCs or more. "Based on this, 12% amounts to roughly 310,000 companies and organisations using open-source products in Germany," said research director Steffen Binder.
Soreon estimated that the public sector will account for around a quarter of sales of open-source software and services in 2007, up from 6% today.
The major reasons companies cited for using open-source software were cost, security and stability.
John Blau and James Niccolai write for IDG News Service