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Open source tour of Europe: PortugalMatthew Aslett, June 20, 2008 @ 5:01 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.
After a fine start to the tournament, it looked for a while like Portugal would be among those likely to go all the way to the final. Unfortunately for Ronaldo and co, the team’s defensive frailties were all too clear against a rejuvenated German side and that was the end of that.
Open source adoption in Portugal is also something of a tale of what might have been after a bill that would have mandated the use of open source software in public administrations was rejected in 2003.
As part of its obligations under to meet the European Commission’s goals to improve the competitiveness of the European IT industry, like all member states Portugal promotes greater use of free software in the public sector. A non-binding resolution promoting use of open source software in public administrations was adopted in 2002, as noted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The bill rejected in 2003 would have gone further. Introduced by the left wing block it would have required the use of open source software, but was rejected by the government which preferred a more pragmatic and non-discrimination approach.
More recently, in October 2005, the government’s Technology Plan for an Agenda for Growth (PDF in Portuguese) stated that promotion of non-proprietary open source operating systems, where appropriate, was a part of mobilizing Portugal’s IT industry.
A proposal that the Portuguese parliament should move its desktops to open source software was rejected in October 2007, although it was agreed to revisit the issue a year later. The parliament did vote to make all its documents available in open electronic formats, however.
Many of the country’s open source projects to date are in the education sector, triggered by the government’s five-year agreement with Sun, signed in 2004, to provide open source technologies – including Linux and OpenOffice.org/StarOffice – to Portuguese secondary schools.
More recently the Associação Ensino Livre (Association for Free Education) was founded to increase the use of open source software in education, while the Education Ministry launched a new website designed to promote open source usage.
Outside the education sector, the Institute of Technology is migrating to OpenOffice, the Ministry of Justice has used an open source system based on JBoss, PostgreSQL and Linux for the dissemination of information on referendum results and the Ministry of Internal Affairs used JBoss to create a new traffic fines management system.
Portugal has a number of consortia designed to promote the use of open source including ESOP, which was founded in August 2007 by the likes of Angulo Solido, Eurotux, and Caixa Magica, among others.
And another thing:
As reported by Privacy International, the National Data Protection Commission (Comissão Nacional de Protecção de Dados, or CNPD) is, amongst other things, responsible for investigating the potential for electronic voting, and in 2005 recommended that that software involved in such systems should be open source and capable of being audited before and after voting.
As always we welcome your input. If you have examples of open source adoption in Portugal that we’ve overlooked, please leave a comment below. For more stops on the European tour, see this post.
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