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

Dec 28, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed an order yesterday calling for the federal government to switch to Linux from proprietary operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, starting in 2Q 2012. The move to Linux is the most significant change in an edict encouraging a transition from proprietary software to free alternatives throughout the Russian government through 2015.

As noted in reporting the story, working from a translated CNews Open report, Russia has a large installed base 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 server installations, where pirated Windows implementations are less common, 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, says Cnews Open. The order affects all Russian federal agencies and any organizations funded by the federal budget.

In addition, the executive order is said to call 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.

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 Xinhaunet says 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.

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