"Luis Millan Vazquez de Miguel, a college professor turned
politician, is succeeding where multibillion-dollar, multinational
corporations have failed. He is managing to unseat Microsoft Corp.
as the dominant player in the software industry, at least in his
little part of the world.
"Vazquez de Miguel is the minister of education, science and
technology in a western region of Spain called Extremadura, a
mostly rural expanse of olive trees and tiny towns with 1.1 million
inhabitants. In April, the government launched an unorthodox
campaign to convert all the area's computer systems, in government
offices, businesses and homes, from the Windows operating system to
Linux, a free alternative.
"Already, Vazquez de Miguel said, more than 10,000 desktop
machines have been switched, with 100,000 more scheduled for
conversion in the next year. Organizers regard the drive as a
low-cost way to bring technology to the masses in the impoverished
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