The Brazilian government plans to migrate from Windows to Linux 80% of all computers in state institutions and state-owned businesses, informed the daily newspaper “Valor”. This will be a gradual migration, that will begin with a pilot project in one ministry and which will be completed over a period of three years, according to official sources cited by the financial daily.
The goal of the migration is to save money by finding alternatives to expensive proprietary licenses. Highlighting the gradual phase-in approach that the Brazilian government has adopted, Sergio Amadeu de Silveira, the president of the National Institute of Information Technology, stated that “We are not just going to do a hasty migration”. He proceeded to say that “our main concern is the security and the trust of our citizens. The biggest resistance to any change comes from the existing cultural inertia”.
The government, De Silveira explained, created two weeks ago the “Chamber for the Implementation of Software Libre” to pave the way for the upcoming migration.
A small part of the 2,095 million reals (about USD $700 million) that the Brazilian government budgeted for information technology spending goes to Microsoft, owner of the Windows OS. The government’s decision to adopt Linux, according to De Silveira, will boost the popularity of the operating system among businesses and consumers. Moreover, it will foster the production of local software and “democratize access to knowledge”, said De Silveira.
This is the kind of step that the Indian government should take – it will not only save us a lot of money (governments cannot do software piracy easily!) but also give a huge fillip to the domestic software industry, and make India a leader in open-source software deployment.
India needs a dual strategy to software: use as much of open-source software within the country, and use what the world uses in terms of proprietary software in those organisations which provide services to the rest of the world. The two can co-exist easily. Piracy of software will not make us a world leader in IT, increasing domestic consumption of software and computers will.