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Open Source Development Labs (ODSL) has opened up an office in Europe to support the use of Linux and open source software in the region. The non-profit corporatation, employer of Linus Torvalds, is setting up shop in the old continent five years after ODSL's inception and after already establishing offices in Tokyo and Beijing.

Industry veteran Claude Beullens has been appointed ODSL's director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and sole employee in the region. But Beullens' presence in Luxemburg represents more than a token commitment to the region, we're told. Government interest (from the City of Munich and others) and the location of leading open source projects makes Europe a strategic priority for OSDL and its members, 75 technology firms. Beullens won't be on his own because he'll be able to draw on the strength of the open source community as a whole.

Chief exec. of Open Source Development Labs, Stuart Cohen, explained that it had established offices in Asia before Europe because three of the seven firms that came together to form OSDL were Japanese. The "fast growing" Linux desktop market in China and India had prompted the opening of a Beijing office, he added.

Cohen was due to speak at the Commonwealth Technology Forum conference in London on Monday but decided not to visit the UK after the terrorist attack on London last Thursday. He made his speech using a live video link. "My family asked me not to go to London. The timing was bad but this has no effect on our plans for Europe," he said.

ODSL was set up in 2000 to accelerate the acceleration of Linux and open source in the enterprise. It looks at technology, business, legal and market issues in the adoption of Linux but this doesn't necessarily mean that ODSL is against proprietary software or even Microsoft per se.

Cohen pointed out that proprietary software from firms such as Oracle and SAP is often run on Linux servers. He predicted that proprietary and open source software will continue to co-exist and even held out the possibility that Microsoft might one day release applications that ran on open source platforms. "I would not be surprised to see Microsoft making products that runs on top of Linux in the future," he said. ®

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