Georgia Tech University and Red Hat, a leading open source company (incidentally co-founded by Canadian Bob Young) recently released a new global open source ranking. The study identifies 75 countries with the most open source activity, including development and adoption by both government and industry. Most of the top ranked countries are European, including France, Spain and Germany as the top three. Australia ranks fourth and the Unites States ninth.
Canada ranks a miserable 28th worldwide, dragged down by a government ranking of 34th (industry adoption ranks 17th and the open source community ranks 16th). This should (though it likely won't) send alarm bells within government. Not only does it mean that Canadian taxpayers are less likely to benefit from cost benefits of open source, but Canada finds itself behind virtually every "peer" country that it competed with for tech talent and investment. In addition to the countries noted earlier, Canada sits behind virtually every major European country, leading Asian economies such as Japan, China, South Korea, and Thailand, as well as fast growing economies like Brazil and India. The study's methodology may be subject to debate, but there should be no debate about the need for government to lead by example in the adoption of open source software.