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Public Services and Government Branches Compelled to Adopt Free/Libre Software

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software at 5:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Democracy requires accountability

Voting box

Summary: As Free (as in freedom) software becomes the norm it is evident that proprietary software companies — not Free/Open Source software proponents — need to work hard to justify procurement through them

Desktop GNU/Linux is coming to more store shelves [1], even if it’s being branded “Chromebook” or whatever [2]. It is abundantly clear — and Intel agrees — that GNU/Linux is the future of the desktop, branding questions aside. Linux/Android already dominates mobile.

It has become harder to dismiss GNU/Linux or Free software as “hype” or “passing fad”. Governments are being pressured by voters to explore Free/libre options and in this process of public advocacy we see changes across Europe [3-5]. Ben Balter calls for “[o]pen standards, open formats, [and] open systems” [6] because only by freeing up data and code can the government earn trust.

There are many success stories for Free software this month. In a matter of days the movement of Free software will officially turn 30.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Retail Shelf-space For GNU/Linux PCs

    I was reading a decent article about buying PCs with GNU/Linux installed. It all comes down to retail shelf-space and even in a country like Brazil where millions of GNU/Linux PCs are manufactured each year, it is difficult to find them on retail shelves.

  2. Exploring the Samsung ARM Chromebook 3G

    Back in late 2010, Google announced a “Chromebook”—a low-cost, entry-level netbook that would run Google’s own operating system, ChromeOS. Google’s vision of ChromeOS, although based on Linux, basically would be a giant Web browser, with all the apps on the machine running in the browser. ChromeOS would be a nearly stateless computer, with all the user’s apps based in Google’s cloud, running the Google Apps suite.

  3. France’s Defence ministry dutiful studies free software
  4. Open source to formalise European railway specifications
  5. Touring Norway’s municipalities kindles open source interest

    A two-month tour by Friprog, Norway’s free and open source software resource centre group, visiting all municipal administrations, helped to raise the profile of this type of software solutions, says Morten Amundsen, the centre’s director. “We turned up several applications that the administrations want to share with others; and helped broker a deal with a proprietary software supplier to support a connection with an open source application.”

  6. Four tips for building better apps for government

    Government CIOs have ample resources to do a great job for their communities and citizens. They have smart, well-intentioned people working for them and more low-hanging fruit than most private-sector CIOs dream of.


    Open. Barriers to the free-flow of information just add friction and more often than not, you just end up shooting yourself in the foot. Make open the default. Open standards, open formats, open systems. Expose process. Prefer social and cultural norms to technical constraints. Don’t lock it down unless you absolutely have to. Trust people.

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