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Government Software Linux News

Hungary, Tatarstan Latest To Go FOSS 129

christian.einfeldt writes "It seems as if almost every other week there is news of another government migration toward Free Open Source Software. Two of the most recent such moves come from Hungary and the tiny independent former Russian republic of Tatarstan. On April 2, the Hungarian government announced that it will be modifying its procurement rules to mandate that open source procurement funding match expenditures for proprietary software, according to Ferenc Baja, deputy minister for information technology. In Tatarstan, a Republic of 3.8 million inhabitants, the Deputy Minister of Education announced that by the end of this school year, all 2,400 educational institutions in Tatarstan will have completed a transition to GNU/Linux, following a successful pilot program it rolled out in 2008."
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Hungary, Tatarstan Latest To Go FOSS

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  • Doing the math... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Argumentator ( 1524195 ) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @08:18PM (#27545521)

    "Mandate that open source procurement funding match expenditures for proprietary software"

    In other words, their expenditures for proprietary software must equal to $0.00?

  • by samriel ( 1456543 ) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @08:19PM (#27545529)
    Free Software != !cash software. They may have to pay like $10,000 for the source code for some big program, or to develop said program and OSS it.
  • Expect More of This (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rossz ( 67331 ) <ogre@geekbiLISPker.net minus language> on Saturday April 11, 2009 @08:26PM (#27545561) Homepage Journal

    With the world economic situation putting strains on government money, they will be forced to consider cheaper alternatives. OSS can be much cheaper, but its cost is not going to be zero. You have to consider training and support. Even so, substantial savings can be had by going the OSS route. Companies like Microsoft must be shaking in their boots. If OSS gets a decent foothold in government, it will cause an expansion in the private sector. Years from now when the economy improves, OSS will be firmly entrenched.

    Hopefully, financially responsibility in government will occur elsewhere as a result, but I'm not holding my breath.

  • Re:Doing the math... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @08:37PM (#27545601)

    Don't confuse open source with free.

    OSS could be free, but it could also cost money. Money for training, installation and updates.

    Red Hat, Novell/Suse Ubuntu, etc all have support packages programs available which government and education departments may want to utilize to help assure smooth and continued operation.

    But presuming the outlay for proprietary software would have similar requirements, you can see that for every copy of windows they could obtain an unlimited number of Linux desktop copies.

    This will might allow them spend their money on custom or specialized applications which just might happened to be proprietary.

    Meanwhile, the technical community that develops in that environment will have a whole different skill set than those that develop in the Microsoft mono culture.

    Western governments, still dependent on Microsoft are sandbagging themselves into a smaller and smaller dry-hole against the rising tide of Linux everywhere else in the world.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @08:41PM (#27545619)

    > OSS can be much cheaper, but its cost is not going to be zero. You have to consider training and support.

    On the other hand, we all know that children arrive from the womb conversant in the ways of Windows?

    You can't seriously think this requirement ONLY applies to opensource, can you?

  • by tftp ( 111690 ) on Saturday April 11, 2009 @09:49PM (#27545835) Homepage

    OSS can be much cheaper, but its cost is not going to be zero.

    All countries make a big distinction between (a) importing foreign goods and (b) paying their own citizens in local currency. Countries sell only so much on international market, and so they can only buy an equivalent amount of goods[*]. Here not only you free a part of your foreign trade up for other necessities (like patented medical materials or instruments,) you also create jobs for your own citizens.

    [*] Does not apply to the USA, which is still living off of its credit card.

  • by Savior_on_a_Stick ( 971781 ) <robertfranz@gmail.com> on Saturday April 11, 2009 @09:52PM (#27545847)

    Let me postulate this:

    MS awakes tomorrow, and jumps with both feet on the foss model.

    However, they also charge for support.

    Now, given MS existing penetration, could the *nix companies compete?

    MS has depth of support that few linux companies can approach.

    I indirectly worked for them briefly after the 95 launch as a support rep.

    I had a case escalated to the point where MS paid for the customer to ship their PC to Redmond so that the engineering department could comb through it to diagnose a low level driver that was flaky.

    The result was a hotfix that replaced the floppy driver used for Toshiba notebooks.

    The whole process took very little time - a couple of weeks.

    Sure, linux *can* respond as quickly, but as a rule it doesn't.

    Case in point - the glaring flaw in the glibc libraries of RH 6.2 that made it wholly unusable on multiprocessor servers because threads would start spawning and eating up resources until the system crashed.

    Yeah - it was that bad.

    Yeah - RH knew about it, and so did many developers in the community.

    No, no one ever did fix it iirc.

    It remained broken until 7.0 came out, and it had it's own serious flaws.

    So, can linux compete from a support standpoint?

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