Red Hat today published a new study together with Georgia Tech mapping open source activity across 75 countries. Officially called the Open Source Index (OSI), the final score is made of a number of factors including policies, practices in the Government,
Industry, and Community. Topping the list current is France with a score of 1.35. Spain is second at 1.07, Germany third at 1.05.
The United States came in 9th overall according to the study, Canada came in 28th.
The idea of attempting to map open source use and activity is an interesting one, that may potentially yield benefit to academics. The total score is made up of an activity number combined with an environment number. By the study’s own admission the environment score is ‘speculative’.
“Environmental factors are more speculative,” Red Hat’s FAQ on the study states. “Even a country that does not have a high degree of current penetration of open source may have a high number of internet users and information technology patents. These factors may indicate a favorable environment for open source software to take hold. Still, the correlation between a countries score on the activity and environment is quite high.”
What I personally would like to see, from a similar type of study in the future, is an actual census of open source usage and some kind of per capita ratio based on that figure. So for example, wouldn’t it be great to know that there are more Linux (and/or open source) users in a give country by volume, but that a different country has a higher density of users?