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EU GNU is Not Unix Government Open Source Software Linux IT

Spain's Extremadura Starts Move To GNU/Linux, Open Source 182

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the better-living-through-free-software dept.
jrepin writes "The government of Spain's autonomous region of Extremadura has begun the switch to open source of it desktop PCs. The government expects the majority of its 40,000 PCs to be migrated this year, the region's CIO Theodomir Cayetano announced on 18 April. Extremadura estimates that the move to open source will help save 30 million euro per year. Extremadura in 2012 completed the inventory of all the software applications and computers used by its civil servants. It also tailored a Linux distribution, Sysgobex, to meet the majority of requirements of government tasks. It has already migrated to open source some 150 PCs at several ministries, including those for Development, Culture and Employment."
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Spain's Extremadura Starts Move To GNU/Linux, Open Source

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  • by Pirulo (621010) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @12:08AM (#43587471)
    ...to realize the obvious
  • by Zontar The Mindless (9002) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {ofni.hsifcitsalp}> on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @01:14AM (#43587647)

    I work for a multinational company, whose open source (GPL) software product is ubiquitous, and whose customers apparently are saying that you're wrong.

  • by unixisc (2429386) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @02:16AM (#43587851)

    One way of looking at this is that governments would be insourcing, rather than outsourcing, their OS needs. You are right - on the Linux side, support does cost money. On the Windows side, ultimate obsolescence and upgrades are what would cost money. Since these computers wouldn't be used to play professional games (just the simple ones like Mines, Network and so on), the hardware can be as old as it likes (as long as it's still reliable) and since the governments would now be rolling their own distros, as did Munich or Portugal,

    The hard lesson came to these guys w/ XP - they can either continue running an unsupported OS (in terms of bug fixes, antivirus & so on) or they can cough up €€€ in upgrading to Windows 7 (might as well go directly to Windows 8 if they are doing it NOW, and add whatever utilities they need to get back the start menu). Or they could bite the bullet this one time, switch to Linux (where they'd have the option of rolling out their own distro), and then maintaining a software division to write whatever apps they need, particularly ones in their native languages. Even the last sounds like good news for governments, since everywhere, governments like to expand and have more things to keep them busy, and ergo, more jobs for their voters. I just see win-win-win-win-win in all of this.

  • The Windows 7 GUI feels more polished, especially in the area of app installation.

    I used to work for a state government agency -- more than ten years ago. Anyway, I was given a computer to use, a login for various things, MS Office to type stuff on, and I was completely forbidden to install anything. I suspect for large entities, including governments, ease of application installation isn't really an issue because the users aren't going to be doing the installing.

    Anyway, I left the state and opened up my own business. At first I made copious use of open source because every penny mattered, and then later just because it was familiar to me and worked fine. I can say that for basic word processing and spreadsheet work -- like what 99.999% of what anyone actually does, Open/Libre Office has been just fine over the years (daily frequent usage). In fact, I don't even know how to use most of what LibreOffice offers because in reality, it doesn't matter -- I'm not a book or magazine publisher. I just need to write letters, envelopes, and certain industry specific atypically formatted documents, but nothing a background image, center, bold and italic can't handle.

    Recently I had to install windows (7, in a VM) for a special project and I had no choice about this. This is the first version of Windows I've had in a decade (I'm a Linux and OS X user), and you know what, at first it was fucking hard to use. Not because it's actually hard ... but because it was unfamiliar. Except, after a few hours or so with it, it sort of clicked and it's as easy as anything else. Just like in my office -- the assistants all use OS X machines, and every new employee goes through a little reorientation with the computer if they aren't OS X familiar, but after a few days, nobody notices (except the total idiots, but it's a good test because it has been well proven to me, that if you can't translate the task from one icon to another, you probably belong in a job where you can listen to music all day and make coffee). Anyway, after a few days, they just use it and do their work without difficulty. I suspect that most people will be able to do the same thing, especially if the IT guy is the one doing all the installation and then telling them "to do that, just click on this icon right here ..."

  • by Casandro (751346) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @02:35AM (#43587903)

    No, in the instances companies and organisations switched from Windows to Linux the support cost went _down_ not up. There's plenty of good reasons for that, like the ability to not only remotely log into such machines, but also the ability to script that. Or the idea of a package manager where you can do updates of _all_ your software automatically. Or the idea that all configuration is stored in text files which are trivial to edit and fix if something goes wrong.

    One if the more extreme examples is currently seen. Microsoft dropped support for Windows XP... without providing a successor. Now many companies are faced with switching to Windows 7 only to be faced with the same problem in a few years. If Windows XP would have been free (as in speech) software, they could have just gradually replaced parts of it with newer versions, making the change gradual instead of abrupt, maybe even keeping some parts for compatibility.

    Free Software isn't dependent on single organisations or persons. Just look at Ubuntu. If you don't like Unity, switch to Xubuntu or Kubuntu. If you don't like Shuttleworth switch to Debian. You'll have (more or less) the same software on all of those, but you have a choice.

  • by Casandro (751346) on Tuesday April 30, 2013 @02:41AM (#43587919)

    "In fact often those Linux admins are far better at administrating windows systems then your typical windoze admin."

    That's actually something I refused to believe. The most "modern" Version of Windows I've used was Windows XP, and I even barely did anything with it. Yet recently I was working with someone who earned his money fixing Windows. We ran into a fairly trivial problem, the owner of some files was set wrong so you couldn't access it via the network. The Windows person didn't know how to fix it. I had to look it up and found the way to do it. (believe me it's absolutely counter intuitive, you need to enable something in the dialog where you set how file listings look like)

    I always find it hard to believe that there are people working in IT on Windows systems out there knowing even _less_ about Windows than I do.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

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