To reach more users, we need to reach them. For this we need more than technology: confidence, sustainability, quality, services. How do you train people? How long will plone exist? Things like that.
That was one of the reasons to start the ZEA network. It is an organisation of 22 partner companies. It involves promotion, some projects and now also open source research.
If we have a clear message to decision makers as a reliable technology, if we show up in a lot of research reports on open source: that is good for the partners and for plone. ZEA has pretty good relations with some universities. Being involved in research could also mean more funding.
The EU floss impact report was a study on the impact of free and open source software on innovation and competitiveness of Europe. ZEA helped that report because of its connections with and knowledge of those 22 SMEs that are a member of ZEA. (Xavier showed some of the figures from that report, there's a readable abstract on ZEA's website.
For ZEA, it is important to stay in touch with the researchers that make such reports because we can give them accurate information on our part of the IT sector. In the first draft of the EU report, zope/plone wasn't included and they also missed several case studies. ZEA helped them to include zope/plone and helped them with case studies. A core of that case study was the CommunesPlone project of some 20 Belgian local governments that also has a lot of contacts with other individual developers and SMEs. That kind of software ecosystem was exactly one of the things they wanted to show off in the report.
Current research in the EU - in so far that it has to do with open source - is mostly research on the impact of open source, the quality, the structure of projects, etcetera. There isn't yet much actual programming going on in this kind of research, but the percentage of actual programming is expected to rise.
There are all sorts of enlightening results coming from the analysis-type or results. Analysis of turnover of project contributors in an open source project: in a nice, regular pattern. Analysis of dependencies in projects. Project structure comparisons. Etcetera.
There is work to be done, though, to translate the findings of these research projects
My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.
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