Under the arrangement, German federal, state and local government offices would be entitled to steep discounts on IBM hardware that runs Linux. In many cases, the software would replace more expensive, proprietary software such as Windows and Unix. Financial details of the agreement weren’t disclosed.
Governments world-wide have been promoting a shift from proprietary software such as Windows to open-source products such as Linux. They argue this not only saves money, but reduces their reliance on a single corporate software provider and helps avoid compatibility problems when people use non-Microsoft products such as Web-browsing software Netscape and Opera.
One of the first instances I have come across of a government taking the lead with respect to Linux. Expect more such initiatives soon — for emerging markets, it is a no-brainer.