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Open source tour of Europe: CroatiaMatthew Aslett, June 23, 2008 @ 10:55 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.
Croatia became the first team to exit EURO 2008 on penalties on Friday night after an extraordinary game against Turkey. Manager Slaven Bilic has assembled a side with a string team ethic and no little skill that will likely pose more of a challenge at the next World Cup. When it comes to open source adoption, Croatia is also building for the future based on a policy designed to limit its reliance on software vendors and boost the local IT industry.
Croatia’s functionally-titled Open Source Software Policy (PDF, available from here) was adopted in July 2006 and published along with guidelines for developing and using open source software in the government institutions.
As Linux.com reported at the time, the policy guidelines include government institutions choosing and/or develop open source solutions as much as possible, the government supporting the use of open source programs and open standards outside of its institutions, and the government supporting the use of open source solutions in educational institutions, with both closed and open source solutions will to be equally presented to students.
The policy was developed to reduce dependency on suppliers, promote interoperability and was inspired by the European Commission Action Plan 2000. While Croatia is not currently a member of the European Union but applied for membership in 2003 and is expected to become so in 2010. The fact that its guidelines for information society mirror the EC’s is not coincidental, therefore.
Boosting the local economy is also key driver. According to Linux.com, Domagoj Juricic, deputy state secretary at the Central State Administrative Office for e-Croatia explained it like this:
“Open source software enables more rational distribution of state budget funds, because it creates the environment in which domestic suppliers and manufacturers may be more actively involved in any phase of the development, maintenance, and use of the systems.”
Even before the policy was published, open source projects were underway at Croatian public administrations, including the adoption of Linux on the mainframe in Zagreb as part of its eCity project.
Last year manuals for OpenOffice.org were distributed to all state employees and teachers with the aim of increasing adoption of the open source office suite while the Croatian government joined the Croatian Linux Users’ Group and the Croatian Society for Open Systems in organizing the Open Systems Day conference in April. Contrary to its name, the event ran for three days.
And another thing:
Croatia’s annual Open Informatics award is given to Croatians contributing to the promotion, development and use of open standards and open source. This year’s award went to Mario Zagar, professor of Electrical Engineering and Computing at the University of Zagreb.
As always we welcome your input. If you have examples of open source adoption in Croatia that we’ve overlooked, please leave a comment below. For more stops on the European tour, see this post.
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