Published on 20 Mar 2006 at 9:37 pm |
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Brussels, Belgium, 15 March 2006 - In a surprise move today, the EU Council of Ministers announced it was approving the admission of Linux to the EU, with full voting status. This marks the first time the EU has admitted a non-nation-state entity to its ranks.
"The traditional concept of the territorial nation-state is obsolete." said Jean-Pierre Bourchard de Groot, Minister for IT Acquisitions. "For too long we have clung to the idea that community is defined by geography, but let’s face it, who even knows his neighbors anymore? One’s friends are all online. The EU should admit new communities based on their online status, not geographic location."
Ministry spokespersons claimed that Linux is a truly European Community, having been created primarily in Europe and by Europeans. Its widespread deployment is said to reflect the power and influence the EU seeks in world affairs. Thus, the acquisition expands the EU not only in terms of population, but information. Ministers claim that the EU now owns 55% of the world’s data, namely all that stored in open-source databases.
"It’s a bold move" said Dr Ima Semarté, a foreign policy specialist at the Barkings Institution. "With one move they’ve expanded globally, but more importantly, they have asserted first claim to cyberspace. This is a milestone as important as Christopher Columbus claiming the New World."
Speaking on condition of anonymity, ministers were frank about the reasons for the surprising move. "The EU constitution is dead." said one, "and there is no way member states are going to support further eastward expansion. We’re up to our armpits in Polish plumbers as it is. So this is the only way to grow. Grab Linux. It’s ours, now."
Linux is installed on nearly 300 million machines worldwide, according to IDC. Revenue growth is forcasted to be above 20% CAGR for at least the next five years.
But not everyone agrees with the EU’s move. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan praised the bold nature of the move, but expressed concern over possible implications for the UN. "If we are to begin admitting so-called ‘free’ software, I am concerned that the UN may not have access to the sources of money its officials have come to rely on." Annan denied rumours that Microsoft had already applied for permanent membership on the UN Security Council. "They have enough veto power as it is," he said.
Asked at a press conference about the EU’s move, US President Bush said, "EU? What’s that?"
Linus Torvalds could not be reached for comment.
Copyright 2006 Oliver Heaviside
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