Open source: What you should learn from the French

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A decade ago, European countries leapt out of the gate to take the lead in the radical open source movement -- none more so than France -- and left U.S. developers in the proverbial dust. Through policies and high-profile projects, the French Republic for years has been advocating for all open source all the time, in government and education.

And France is not stopping: This summer, an economic commission set up by French President Nicolas Sarkozy recommended tax benefits to stimulate even more open source development.

Today, France is arguably the most fertile ground for open source development in the world. The well-known and respected OW2 Consortium for open source middleware has its roots there. Giant corporations, such as France Télécom, have embraced open source whole-heartedly.

The fruits of this labor reveal a lesson that U.S. developers would do well to take note: Everyone prospers when working together under a single, shared technology vision.

Benefit 1: A focus from the outset

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