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Open source tour of Europe: SwitzerlandMatthew Aslett, June 6, 2008 @ 11:58 am ET
To coincide with EURO 2008, I’m embarking on a virtual European tour, taking a quick look at open source policies and deployment projects in the 16 nations that are competing in the tournament.
Switzerland is co-hosting EURO 2008 along with Austria and will be kicking off the tournament with a game against the Czech Republic on Saturday. The country is of course famous for its neutrality but has shown itself to be less than neutral when it comes to open source (see what I did there) with the federal government having adopted an open source software strategy as long ago as February 2004.
The policy had three core priorities: equal consideration for open source and proprietary software packages; the sharing of software among federal agencies; and the implementation of pre-requisites for open source adoption (such as standardization, technical support, training, assessment and legal considerations). Given the latter it was probably an example of one of the most forward-thinking open source software strategies.
More recently it has been suggested that the policy should be extended even further such that the use of proprietary software would need to be justified if open source alternatives are available.
The Swiss government has also shown that it is prepared to put the strategy into practice, with the Swiss Federal Office of Construction and Logistics issuing a tender for a decision-support software system in February 2005 that met the open source strategy.
Later that year Novell revealed an agreement with the government of Switzerland to migrate 3,000 of its servers to SUSE Linux. Local administrations have also followed suit with Zurich deciding in 2005 that open source and proprietary software should be treated as equivalents but that open source would be the preferred option if the project was reasonable.
More recently it was revealed that the Swiss canton (region) of Solothurn would complete the migration of 2,000 desktops to Debian by the end of the year, while the desktops used by 70,000 students and 7,000 teachers in Geneva are in the process of moving to Ubuntu and OpenOffice.org.
The Optaros effect:
Switzerland has certainly proved to be a happy hunting ground for open source consulting firm Optaros, thanks to its offices in both Geneva and Zurich. The company’s case studies include the Federal Supreme Court’s use of Alfresco to control its repository of legal documents; the State of Vaud’s e-government system (also based on Alfresco) and workplace condition tracking application (SugarCRM, MySQL, Apache, JasperSoft); Swisscom Hospitality Services’ broadband Internet service; and Swisscom Mobile’s Labs customer engagement site.
And another thing:
The flag of Switzerland is one of only two square sovereign-state flags, the other being the flag of the Vatican City. (Facts like this are what Wikipedia was invented for.)
As always we welcome your input. If you have examples of open source adoption in Switzerland that we’ve overlooked, please leave a comment below. For more stops on the European tour, see this post.
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