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Update: Linux Bill Introduced in Finland

Jun 18, 2002, 13:28 (48 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Kyösti Karjula for this link. ]

A group of Finnish MPs have signed a bill requiring national and local agencies to migrate their IT systems to the Linux operating system.

The bill, according to Finland MP Kyösti Karjula, is not a legislative act. In Finland, general bills such as this are meant to act as encouragement to the government at-large. It is similar to, for example, a resolution in the US Congress, which convey's lawmaker's wishes and intentions, but does not enact an actual law.

"The parliament cannot make a law which dictates that national and local agencies should use only Linux," Karjula said in a brief statement to Linux Today this morning. "[With] a general bill, MPs can require the government to do something."

This general bill from the MPs is adding impetus to an already on-going process.

"The Finnish state administration is already considering moving IT-systems to Linux," Karjula explained.

The MPs who signed the general bill cited Linux's security and reliability over that of other operating systems, according to a press release issued today. According to Finland's Ministry of Finance, the move to Linux will also result in economic benefits, with substantial savings to that nation.

"Free software and technological independence boost entrepreneurship and encourage local development. For these reasons, the bill is important. The Finnish government should be taking advantage of Finnish Linux," stated Karjula, the first to sign the bill. Finnish-born Linus Torvalds is credited with writing the Linux kernel in 1991.

The Ministry of Finance has estimated that annual savings of 26 million euros could be made by using Linux in state agencies. Several towns in Finland are already planning to move their IT systems to Linux.

News of the bill was welcomed by Finnish Linux company, SOT Finnish Software Engineering. "As a Finnish citizen, I am proud to see a concrete interest in Linux and the open source environment at the parliamentary level here in Finland, the home country of Linux and of Linus," said Santeri Kannisto, CEO of SOT.

The Finnish bill was inspired in part by Germany's recent decision to embrace Linux and Open Source software. Linux has also found favor within the post office of China, the French ministries of culture, defense and education, a recent open source software initiative in Peru, and among many other government agencies in Europe and Asia.

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