Nowbody calls me Ignacio. I’m plunchete, man!

Open Source and the Spanish companies

Posted in OpenSource by plunchete on August 7, 2007

While I have been take part of the Google Summer of Code, concretly on the project Apache OpenJPA, I had seen how some companies are contributing with this proyect, companies like Bea, Sun or IBM. These companies have their own JEE Aplication Server and they have a similar client market, but they are working in the same Open Source proyect, these companies pay their employers to work on the project, concretly Bea donnated the base code to Apache.

What is the reason to do this? In Spain is very rare that a company open their code, but is realy rare that a company pays its employers to contribute on a Open Source proyect. Clearly Bea, Sun and IBM are a large software companies, they cannot be in a mistake. But why spanish companies do this?

How many Spanish companies contribute with Open Source? Only a few.

How many Spanish companies take advantage of Open Source? Almost all of them.

The best example of a Spanish company who believes in Open Source is Warp Networks this company is from Zaragoza (my city) and with only a handful people and a great product eBox, an this product is going to be going to be the official Ubuntu server management tool.

But this is a rare case in Spain and I don’t know why … but this is Spain, people think different, bosses think diferent and companies think diferent.

Will other companies follow this example? What do you think?

5 Responses

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  1. Venkman said, on August 8, 2007 at 9:53 am

    Hi

    I’m guessing the culture of Open Source hasn’t yet permeated into Spanish companies. But the problem is probably a larger one. From what I’ve seen I doubt most of them even understand software licences in general. I’ve seen… I’ve been told by managers such things as “well, if we can download it, it means we can use it, doesn’t it?”.

    Still, some collaboration does happen. It’s mostly in the form of bug fixes for now, but this opens the road for people to understand the Open Source model and could lead to them contributing new features not very far in the future.

    Anyway… I hope you don’t mind the off-topic, but I’d like to ask if you know if Warp is hiring. Or if you know of any other _interesting_ companies hiring in Zaragoza. I know about the ‘big ones’ (EDS, TB-Solutions), but I’m looking for a job there to move to Zgz. Any hint or help will be appreciated (I leave my email, in case you prefer not having this on your blog: gnz.garcia(en)gmail.com)

  2. Nachico said, on August 8, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    Hi,

    thanks for the link and the kind words🙂

    My opinion about why there are so few open source companies in Spain is that there are actually very few open source companies around the world, not only in Spain. Open source is a tendency still in a very early stage and you would be surprised on how many business men from supposedly developed countries still don’t get it.

    The main problem in understanding open source is the mentality shift it requires, as you have to move from an industrial/postindustrial age thinking, where things work in top-down hierarchical manner, with a small group of tie-wearing executives pouring out all the commands, to an Internet age thinking, with hierarchical levels based on meritocracy and development carried out in a distributed and collaborative manner.

    This shift is not easy to do, specially if you have been trained on industrial premises, but it is essential to really understand the open source movement.

    In my opinion, there are two aspects in a country’s culture that can ease this shift in society: how horizontal organizations are (from companies to families or political parties) and how much information society is developing. Unfortunately in Spain we are behind other countries in both aspects. For example, Nordic countries have typically horizontal organizations and are on the top list of information societies, so no wonder they have so many open source companies (MySQL, Edgewall, Trolltech, …).

    However, Spain has some excellent sides regarding open source: public administration is one of the most proactive in this sense, and the Spanish community movement is also very active. So there is space for hope. And, the same way as nowadays every Estonian wants to develop a Skype, if we had in Spain a very successful open source company it could work as a catalyzer. So, keep on betting on us🙂

    Man, this comment got long! I think I will put it in my blog too😉

    Venkman, regarding your question whether we are hiring, the short answer is yes. The long answer is that we are always looking for new warpers who have a good fit in our corporate culture. We try to hire only good open source developers who have experience cooperating in open projects, feel comfortable with the use of collaborative tools and know the social rules to communicate in such an environment. A good candidate should also show passion and initiative. We also try to hire new people when we can see some stability for a new job, as we try to sign an indefinite term contract right after a test period. Anyway, I just sent a link to this comment to our HR manager, letting him know about your interest.

  3. […] just finished writing a comment at plunchete’s blog and it got so long that I thought I could add it to my own blog. In his […]

  4. Spanish Translator said, on September 28, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Actually I agree with the previous comment. Open source tendency has just begun to develop, and is on the basic level not only in Spain, but in many other countries. Years will pass before it becomes popular.

  5. Maximus said, on December 20, 2007 at 9:04 am

    I would like to see a continuation of the topic


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