Russia’s latest five-year plan calls for switch to Linux– Eric Brown

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed an executive order calling for Russia’s government to switch from proprietary operating systems such as Windows to Linux, starting in 2Q 2012. The switch is part of a five-year plan to transition to free software by 2015.

As noted in reporting the story, working from a translated CNews Open report, Russia has a large installed of Microsoft Windows users. Many if not most of the Windows installations in Russia are pirated. Yet the move should still prove to be a major financial setback for Microsoft, especially in regard to less pirated server versions, suggests the story.

Vladimir Putin goes all out for Linux
Source: CNews Open

Putin’s executive order calls for a switch to Linux and other free software for the five-year period from 2011 through 2015. The transition affects all Russian federal agencies and any organizations funded by the federal budget.

In addition, the executive order calls for the establishment of a repository for Linux distros and other free operating systems by the second quarter of 2012. By this same deadline, a pilot program will be implemented using Linux and other free software in government and fiscal institutions. The program will be concluded in the third quarter of 2014, says Cnews Open.

The CNews Open story quotes Alexei Smirnov, CEO of Russian Linux distribution company ALT Linux, as saying that Russia is moving toward Linux and other software not only to save money, but also to funnel any remaining software expenditures to Russian firms instead of foreign software companies. In addition, Smirnov said, the move to open source should “spur innovation development of economy.”

With the global recession, there has been a continuing emphasis in using Linux in IT programs pushed by emerging economies. These include major efforts to switch to Linux in government and education in India and Brazil.

While cost has been the major motivator, many countries also prefer Linux and open source software for its ease of customization and independence from U.S. control. For example, Russia’s former Communist bloc partner Cuba developed its own version of Gentoo Linux last year called Nova.

Tailored for Cuban society, Nova is being actively encouraged as a replacement for Windows. A report this week from China’s Xinhaunetsays that Cuba has made “significant progress” in the transition to Nova, and that it plans to have the majority of government agencies switched over from Windows by the end of 2011.

Windows fell out of favor for because of cost, and was also a response to the hassles in updating and acquiring the operating system (OS) due to to the U.S. embargo against Cuba. In addition, Cuba was said to have had concerns over U.S. government spying via the OS.

Spying may also be a consideration in Moscow. Others have speculated that Putin’s announcement was tied to the recent chill in Russia’s diplomatic relations with the U.S.

Eric Brown


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