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UPDATED: Linux to become official OS of choice in Norway?

Mar 30, 2001, 20:10 (63 Talkback[s])

Reader Svein writes:

Seen in this article in a Norwegian news paper, Statskonsult (a consulting department of the Norwegian government) is recommending that Linux is to be introduced into all schools and public institutions.

At first they see it as a server operating system, with gradual penetration into the desktop realm.

In the statement it is said that they see it as a goal to replace the commercially licensed operating systems with the freely licensed ones. As well as releasing back into the community the sourcecode for their own special applications that the goverment owns, as well as demanding that code generated through grants for scientific research is also given out as open source. If they plan to GPL it or not is not mentioned in the article.

Such a recommendation can, of course, not go unnoticed, so both the Linux and Microsoft defenders have come out with a response, which can be found here. Basically the Linux people say that they are provoked by a statement saying that Linux is yet not a viable alternative to Microsoft Windows on the dekstop many places, and the Microsoft defender is saying that the choice of OS to use should be facts-oriented, and not political choice, as they should look on stability, economy, user friendliness and security, not on ideology. They also spew out the usual "TCO" stuff we always hear from them (especially here, since the government is usually using their own IT people who they can just as easily train in Linux as in MS products, for support.).

The report is here, but unfortunately only in Norwegian.

This whole thing seems to be an ongoing trend in Europe these days, after UK put forth the proposal of an EU-wide ban on software patents, as they stifle innovation in an ever growing field of commerce, and the minister of commerce in France pretty much echoed the thoughts of their British neighbors.

Thanks to Jon Grov for the translation of the last few paragraphs providing recommendations from the Norwegian Statskonsult:

10.3 Recommendations

  • Linux is a product which should be supported by the government, in order to support further development, and as a potential alternative to Microsofts operating systems. Currently, Linux is best suited as a server-operating system.
  • The government should support the development of free software, in order to establish alternatives to existing software. New open software could support further development of existing software, and could prevent too much uniformity in the software that is being used by the governmental sector. This support could be provided as research- and development initiatives.
  • When research- and development funds are granted, one constraint could be that all developed software should become available as free software.
  • The government should further consider if it is possible to release source code in their ownership as free software.
  • The government should encourage use of Linux and free software in schools and in the rest of the educactional system. This is motivated by the idea that pupils and students should be introduced to several distinct products, in order to give them a better foundation for later choosing the products of their own preference.
  • To reduce licensing costs, used PC's given to schools could be equipped with free software.
  • The infrastructure should be based on open standards implemented as free software. Open standards implemented as free software should be required in the infrastructure used by the government. One area in which implementation of open standards and solutions could be profitable, is in an eventual establishment of an infrasctructure for distribution and handling of digital certificates.