THE SPANISH REGION of Extremadura has announced that it will switch 40,000 government PCs to open source software.
The government of Extremadura has worked out what many already know, that open source software can deliver significant cost savings over using proprietory software. The region's government has decided to switch 40,000 PCs to open source software, including a customised Linux distribution called Sysgobex.
According to the Extremadura government's calculations, the switch to Linux and open source software will save it €30m a year, an amount that should come in particularly handy given Spain's economic challenges. The government has already migrated 150 PCs to open source software in various ministries, including the department for Development, Culture and Employment.
Extremadura's previous government had already switched 70,000 PCs in secondary schools and 15,000 PCs in health care to a local Linux distribution called Linex. It said that PCs using its Sysgobex Linux distribution will be able to access health records and that because they can be centrally managed, it expects to save on administration costs.
Extremadura's decision to migrate 40,000 PCs to open source software is far larger than that of Munich, which was the first large government to announce that it would ditch closed source software in favour of open source. However Extremadura's planned migration is still considerably smaller than the 90,000 machines that the French Gendamerie is switching to open source.
The UK government has previously talked up the benefits of open source software and with more regional governments making the jump and citing financial benefits, the case for using taxpayers' money wisely by moving to open source software products is becoming increasingly more compelling. µ