“open source may provide solutions to the various needs of public agencies, including:
- Affordable software for individuals, businesses, and governments;
- Increased security and reliability;
- Reduced costs and less dependency on imported software technology and skills;
- Access to government data without the barrier of proprietary software and data formats;
- Ability to customize software to local languages and cultures;
- Educational resources for local developers, lowering barriers of entry to the global
Those are the conclusions of a paper by Soo-yeon Hwang, “ADOPTING OPEN SOURCE AND OPEN STANDARDS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR: FIVE DECIDING FACTORS BEHIND THE MOVEMENT” 2005. In my opinion those findings are still true today.
There has been much controversy and FUD-slinging at governmental migration to GNU/Linux and FLOSS but a little research finds many successful stories. Munich is nearing completion and already reports being ahead of the game after stepping off the Wintel treadmill. Brazil is nearing completion of deploying 500K GNU/Linux desktops in schools and has been using GNU/Linux widely in government.
Brazil is not slowing down its move to FLOSS. SERPRO, the government’s IT company is the largest in latin america. It recently sponsored FTSL (Technology Forum on Software Libre) and in an interview proclaimed the benefits and vigour of FLOSS in Brazil. SERPRO is dedicated to FLOSS. They agree as I do that FLOSS is the right way to do IT:
“For Serpro, the option for free software reflects the accession of a new business model that seeks technological innovation, cooperation, freedom and sharing among State agencies and society. The company maintains initiatives in open source solutions for all segments of the company and the services provided to customers, ranging from infrastructure development and monitoring telephony and multimedia features.
Serpro systematically supports free software community events throughout Brazil as a return of social benefits generated by this technological choice, the company and the Brazilian State. The investments reflect the commitment of Serpro with the technological independence of Brazil, because it believes that these spaces there are opportunities for growth of the creative potential of IT professionals, thus investing in the country’s technological intelligence, and collaboration resulting from these initiatives.”
Isn’t sharing grand? I recommend governments at all levels use GNU/Linux and other FLOSS applications. It works well in schools. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. SERPRO runs Debian GNU/Linux on its servers.