Europe’s untapped potential in open source software

Europe’s untapped potential in open source software

Editor's Note: this is a guest post from Johannes Landgraf, who founded O4B, the first conference on European commercial open source.)

When it comes to commercial open source, Europe is home to powerful, largely untapped potential that can transform the way corporations deploy & teams build technology.

Almost all successful companies that have demonstrated significant growth over the last 10 years have become software companies at heart. It does not surprise that products enabling developers to build applications quicker, more collaboratively and more data-driven are becoming a trillion-dollar market.

Case in point is the success of developer-first companies such as Atlassian (market cap of $42bn), Twilio ($32bn), Datadog ($26bn), Okta ($25bn), CrowdStrike ($29bn) MongoDB ($13bn), Elastic ($9bn), Databricks ($6bn), HashiCorp ($5bn) Confluent ($5bn) and several others.

As developers love speaking about and fiddling around with open source software (OSS), open source is becoming an unrivaled strategy for companies aiming to win the hearts and minds of developers (I wrote about the underlying rationale of going open source with Gitpod here 👈). 

Momentum in Europe’s commercial OSS ecosystem is increasing (again)

In the pre-cloud era, Europe has been a stronghold in open source software with players such as MySQL, SUSE and Canonical. However, the recent successes of ‘second-gen’ OSS companies almost exclusively happened in the US. While European developers oftentimes initially drive the underlying open source projects (Elastic, GitLab, ForgeRock, Gradle, CloudBees etc.) the vast majority of economic value is captured by non-European (i.e. US) companies. This is starting to change. 

After speaking with several European technology decision-makers, founders of commercial OSS companies and VCs investing in OSS companies, the general sentiment is that Europe is at an inflection point and and momentum of commercial OSS is finally accelerating: 

European’s commercial OSS Landscape 

To support the community and showcase Europe’s most exciting commercial OSS companies, we are excited to publicly announce Europe’s Commercial Open Source Landscape (>> The dynamic market overview was built in collaboration with Balderton, Gitpod, Kinvolk, Kubermatic and Speedinvest (special kudos to Dominik Tobschall). We want to stress that this is a community effort and if you would like to add a company please reach out via DM to @jolandgraf or @DominikTo

O4B - Bringing Europe’s commercial OSS community together

To break down siloed communities for European founders and educate and foster knowledge sharing across European corporations we initiated O4B - The Open Source Business Forum. O4B is a non-profit European community effort aiming to establish best practices and frameworks around commercial OSS and demonstrating that the European open source community is open for business. 

It is important to emphasize that, for us, O4B is really not just another conference (*), it is about building a lasting European community of commercial open source to allow our continent to better capture the enormous economic value behind open source.

If you would like to join that community effort, please sign up.

(*) O4B is completely non-profit and every surplus will be donated to Covid-19 relief measures.

Featured image credit: Bruno Godínez / Pixabay

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