22 May 2005 bolsh   » (Master)

GNOME and OSC (2)

It was interesting to see Jeff pointing to some response over at KDE to an article which referred to a press release we sent out this week.

It's interesting to look at the nature of the relationship of GNOME and OSC to see what we're getting out of it, and how that relates to the claim that we're not going after MS market share any more.

Why are we interested in OSC? Here's a clip from the press release:

The move reflects the GNOME Foundation's support for the work of the OSC. Examples of such work include the OSC's involvement with the recent BECTA announcement concerning the future of Open Source solutions for UK schools, and involvement with the Open Source Academy initiative, which promotes adoption of Open Source software amongst the public sector and is funded by the Office Of The Deputy Prime Minister.

What do we get out of it? Here's a quote which Owen kindly provided for the release:

Says Owen Taylor, chairman of the board of directors of the GNOME Foundation, "The GNOME Foundation welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with the OSC and increase adoption of Free and Open Source Software in public administrations in Europe. We are excited about the value we can bring to governmental organisations through the OSC."

So where are we positioning ourselves? Clearly, we are positioning ourselves as the desktop environment of choice for public sector deployments of free software. That's hardly surprising - more and more public sector organisations are seeing not just cost savings, but also a release from vendor tie-in by moving to free software. And would anyone really expect us to reccommend anything other than GNOME for these migrations?

We have, after all, a track record in the sector to envy - working with LTSP, we have deployed GNOME on the desktop in the telecentros project in Sao Paolo with an estimated 400,000 users. We have worked with the education ministries of Andalucia and Extramadura ona deployment to an estimated 200,000 student users in schools.

With Canonical, we have a partner who is positioned clearly for the public sector, specifically in Africa. In Sun Microsystems, we have a partner who is working to install 1,000,000 GNOME desktops in China. There are notable deployments of GNOME in the public sector in the UK already.

So the real story here is that GNOME is fast becoming the de facto free software desktop for the public sector, and we are working with the OSC to make sure that GNOME is presented as an option to decision makers in that sector. That's taking market share from Microsoft, and positioning GNOME to take that share. Is that really surprising?

Aside from that, it's interesting to see journalists look for an angle - GNOME vs MS isn't a story (yet), GNOME vs KDE is. It was surprising to see someone read as much into it as they did, though. For the record, the relationship between KDE and GNOME has never been better.

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