A consortium of Victorian businesses supplying services and technology based on free and open source software are looking to further push the cause of open computing within government agencies and corporate enterprises.
According to Con Zymaris, CEO of open source services company, Cybersource and a prominent member of the Open Source Victoria (OSV) movement, the industry cluster now has 65 member organisations.
The movement claims to promote the cause of open source software, open protocols, open document and data standards.
With governments in Australia recently scoping the potential of legislation which mandates their agencies to consider open source options, OSV is looking for additional interest from the channel.
"We aim to raise the profile of the open source movement in Victoria and encourage other resellers, consultants and developers to target this area which is both lucrative and growing," Zymaris said. "We are very keen to talk to anybody who is a channel player and who believes there is money to be made in relation to open source software. It could be in terms of value-added services or anything else that can conceivably be added as a business component to the open source platform.”
Zymaris said that Australia was "somewhere in the middle" of the international field when it came to adoption of open source by government and probably lagged 6-9 months behind the US in terms of usage by corporates.
There was a lot of interest here but countries such as Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, South Africa and Brazil were leading the way, he said.
"In Germany, a recent survey showed that more than 500 agencies at all levels of government had either moved partially or wholly across to Linux and open source in the last 12 months," Zymaris said. "In the US, a Goldman Sachs survey showed that 63 per cent of the top 200 companies have moved partly to open source solutions. That's huge and Australia is lagging behind a little."
Another member of OSV, Rod Clarkson, said that governments had been only deploying "proprietary platforms and applications which are only available from a single vendor". This "hamstrings competitors, limits innovation and costs the taxpayers".
"OSV knows that open source is a viable competitor within the government marketplace," he said. All we are asking is that open source software be given the opportunity to compete on a level playing field."
Zymaris said: "The bottom line is that there are very few Victorian-based software companies that make substantial licence fees by reselling their product.
“When you look at services and hardware from an open source perspective the revenue received from a licencing margin is far less than there is potentially from these services."
More information on Open Source Victoria is available at www.osv.org.au/