The more I look outside the Czech Republic the more I’m surprised how strong the Linux community in the Czech Republic. We always looked at our neighbour – Germany, where there are huge events such as LinuxTag and a lot of active FLOSS contributors, and felt there is not much going on in the Czech Republic. But that’s logical, Germany has 8 times more citizens. In fact, the Czech Linux community is one of the strongest per capita and there is quite a lot going on here.
There are three big Linux portals that are professional or semi-professional (Root.cz, ABCLinuxu.cz, LinuxEXPRES.cz) and bring articles and news from the world of FOSS every day. There are also FLOSS-oriented websites which are not so big, but still very active (OpenOffice.cz, Linuxsoft.cz, Fedora.cz, SUSEportal.cz, Ubuntu.cz,…). There were also two paper Linux magazines (LinuxEXPRES and Linux+), but they closed up. The market was too small for them and paper magazines don’t have good times generally. There is a digital magazine though - OpenMagazin. We don’t have such big events as in Germany, but there are still quite a few big conferences. LinuxAlt and (Red Hat) Developer Conference are attended by hundreds of people. LinuxExpo, which used to be the biggest event in the country (with 2,000 attendants in the best years), didn’t take place this year, but hopefully will be replaced by another Linux conference in Prague. Local LUGs organize events every month. The strongest one is in Brno, followed by Prague.
A vibrant Linux community was one of the reasons why Red Hat and SUSE chose to start their development offices in the Czech Republic. And those offices keep growing. The Red Hat one has over 400 engineers and the SUSE one about 100.
That’s not bad at all for a country with 10 million citizens. Linux in the Czech Republic also has one of the highest market penetrations in Europe (according to StatCounter). All countries higher in the list have government programs which support Linux and FLOSS. Unfortunately, the Czech government has no such programs. We have no “Munich” or “Gendarmerie Nationale”. Quite the opposite. Government organizations, that adopted Linux, were under big pressure, and many of them eventually gave up. So unlike in other countries with higher Linux adoption, Linux in the Czech Republic is doing well in spite of the government.
Of course, people complain that it used to be better, and there should be more active community members, but there is never enough active members and as I said at the beginning when I looked at possibilities to promote Red Hat and Fedora in other countries in the region, I found out that Linux communities are not so vibrant as in the Czech Republic. Hopefully, we’ll keep up and especially Fedora community will be more and more active.