11.01.13

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Jamaica’s Ministry of Health and Interior Ministry of France Pave the Way for US to Embrace GNU-Inspired Software Freedom

Posted in America, Europe, Free/Libre Software at 7:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Getting back liberty

Statue of Liberty

Summary: Public sector moves to Free/Open Source software (FOSS) show an international trend which even the home of most giant proprietary software multinationals seems to finally follow

THE painful news about the French Ministry of Defence and Microsoft is easily superseded by plenty of wonderful news about public services/government departments embracing Free software all around the world (even here in the UK there are some examples which are not publicly advertised). It turns out that corruption (such as bribery) from proprietary software giants is not enough to conquer everything which the taxpayers are funding. An important point needs to be made here. The situation is vastly different when it comes to private businesses, which are usually accountable to nobody. That’s what makes the public sector so unique and worth debating in public.

Good news comes from the French police [1], which explains Microsoft’s role in losing its grip (Windows XP patching cycle is ending). The French Interior Ministry, as it turns out [2], is also moving away from Microsoft (on 200,000 PCs). What an amazing number! And just to think that Mozilla so foolishly stopped developing Thunderbird any further, leaving people vulnerable to surveillance-friendly E-mail alternatives (E-mail on the Web cannot properly facilitate encryption).

Jamaica flagIn other exciting news, Jamaica is moving to freedom with GNU Health [3]. It is a “project of deploying GNU Health within their Public Health Care system.” [4]

Jamaica suffered European occupation for centuries, so hopefully its embrace of GNU will aid its autonomy and Independence, not to mention domestic job creation for programmers. Now it remains for the United States’ Department of Health and Human Services to follow suit [5] and fulfill its promises.

My online friend, who is French, said a week ago [6] that “[s]omething is becoming increasingly obvious: FOSS has come of age.” He is very much right and the point he makes was made here before. We take for granted now what we once really craved for. The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is getting stronger now, adding a General Manager [7] called Patrick Masson, formerly UMassOnline’s Chief Technology Officer (University of Massachusetts, which is a public university).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. ‘It was a huge risk’: How the end of XP support helped France’s gendarmes embrace Ubuntu – fast

    The French gendarmerie began its switch to Linux almost 10 years ago: plans to expand the use of productivity tools in the force while at the same time keeping a lid on costs meant that proprietary software was given the boot.

  2. French Interior Ministry: open source 5 to 10 times cheaper

    France’s Ministry of the Interior says its use of Thunderbird, a free software email client, running on its 200 000 PCs since 2008, is five times cheaper than the use of the ubiquitous proprietary alternative. The ministry recently started using the combination of GLPI and OCS, free software tools for managing computer assets, software licences and configuration files. “This is 10 times less expensive than the previous proprietary tool.”

  3. Jamaica Ministry of Health adopts GNU Health

    The mission is in the context of the agreement signed between Jamaica Ministry of Health and GNU Solidario, to cooperate in the implementation of GNU Health, the Free Health and Hospital Information System in this country.

  4. Jamaica Ministry of Health adopts GNU Health

    “Success requires hard work” is the meaning of this Jamaican proverb. With a bright Caribbean sun and an even brighter welcoming crew, GNU Health unshipped in a new bay this week. In cooperation with the Ministry of Health (MoH), a group mission of GNU Solidario visited Jamaica and inaugurated officially the project of deploying GNU Health within their Public Health Care system.

  5. Open-source advocates to government: Let us help you fix healthcare.gov

    Much of the constructive criticism is coming from members of the “open source” community, a passionate but loose-knit group that advocates openness and collaboration as a means of writing better computer software. Their desire to help solve the federal government’s website woes in part stems from an early decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to make the healthcare.gov code available for examination – a promise that was never fully fulfilled.

  6. Expanding the battlefield for Free & Open Source Software

    The title of this post may sound rather belligerant, but it is for a reason. Ever since this Summer -longer in fact- I ended having several conversations with people from the FSF, OSI, April and FSFE (as well as other orgs). Something is becoming increasingly obvious: FOSS has come of age.

  7. OSI Names New General Manager

    Newly Appointed General Manager Patrick Masson Joins OSI from University of Massachusetts

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A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    November 1, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Gravatar

    The US Department of Veterans Affairs is the largest health care provider in the US and runs on FLOSS infrastructure called VistA. The client, CPRS, is tied to Delphi and thus to Windows and I’m not sure if Lazarus falls short or by how much. There are several flavors of VistA, stemming from the original FOIA VistA which is in the public domain. At least one is GPL. One has a java based client, OVID, but how well that fits with which flavors, I do not know.

    But combined, VistA in all its variants, is widely used, perhaps the most widely used. It’s even used in other countries. It’s just fairly low-profile for the time being.

    There is also the Astronaut VistA installer for those that wish an easier way to test the software. It’s not a small or simple thing by any means, but Astronaut makes the installation a snap.

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