A software revolution is starting in Geneva: by 2009, the entire
cantonal administration there will give up proprietary programs,
such as those sold by prirvate firms like Microsoft, and replace
them with free and open software, such as Linux.
“We want to guarantee our software independence,” explains
Jean-Marie Leclerc, general manager of the State Center of
Information Technologies. “This is not directed against Microsoft;
it is simply a question of not depending more on only one company.
Also, one cannot imagine an open administration without adopting
Programs such as Linux can indeed be modified freely by the
user, contrary to its Windows competitor, for example, which
Microsoft keeps under strict control.
And free software has another sizable advantage: it’s free! The
State will save millions on software licences.
“One cannot quantify the savings yet, because it will be
necessary to finance the migration from one system to another, and
train users,” Leclerc stipulated. “But the financial criterion is
Geneva’s move is being made in spite of very being equipped with
the latest Microsoft operating system, Windows XP. Additional
purchases will be necessary to ensure the transition towards free
software, which will be set up at the latest in 2009.
“But we will start as soon as we can: as soon as a service is
ready to roll towards the new system, we will do it,” ensured
Geneva is not alone in its interest in free software: many
government administrations have started to Linux adoptions. Here in
Switzerland, the Geneva’s neighboring canton of Vaud is also
planning to move towards free software.
“It is good news,” said a delighted Anne Possoz, scientific
collaborator with FPSL and advocate of the free software. “I have
never understood how a public administration can agree to be
dependent on a company of another country. If Microsoft decides one
day to give up such or such product, the customer can do nothing!
Whereas with free software, all we have to do is hire some software
engineers to continue to use the program.”
Original Story (in French)