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Open source tour of Europe: SpainMatthew Aslett, June 27, 2008 @ 5:41 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.
Perennial underachiever Spain booked its place in its first major final for many years with a convincing win against Russia and helped me prove that I do maybe know something about football by ensuring, as hoped, that the last two countries covered were the EURO 2008 finalists. Will Spain and Germany also be in contention for the title of EURO 2008 Open Source Champion? Stay tuned on Monday as I declare one of the 16 nations the winner.
Given that Spain is composed of 17 autonomous communities, it is not surprising that when it comes to open source adoption the country has seen more projects at the regional level than national projects. However, there have been some policy initiatives that have state-wide impact.
The Criteria for the Security, Standardisation and Conservation of applications used by the State administration, adopted in June 2003, called for the adoption of adopting open source software when it is available and when is satisfactory for the task.
It was reported in June 2005 that, in assessing a Linux desktop migration project in the Ministry of Public Administration, the Court of Accounts found that Spanish central administrations could drastically reduce their software licensing costs by adopting OSS on a larger scale.
In 2006 the Director-General for the development of the Information Society, David Cierco, announced that the government would be providing €12 million to support open source software research projects. €3 million of which is in the form of grants and €9 million in state loans.
The same report referenced above noted that The National Plan for Scientific Research, Development and Technological Innovation (2004-2007) includes a specific budget line for OSS projects, representing 5% of the total budget for R&D for Information Society technologies.
Later that year an almost unanimous resolution of the Spanish parliament urged its government to promote free software. “The resolution got 299 votes in favour. One abstention and one vote against the resolution later appeared to have been mistakes.”
Later a commission in the Spanish parliament approved a law that grants Spanish citizens the right to use software of their own choice when they communicate electronically with the government.
As reported by FLOSSmetrics an early success story was the Virtual MAP Project of the Ministerio de Administraciones Públicas (Ministry of Public Administration) which implemented Linux on 220 servers. Further information on this can be found in this case study.
Otherwise, the most significant projects are regional. The most famous Spanish Linux open source adoption project has to be Extremadura, which set out in 2002 to rejuvenate its services and boost IT literacy by making free software available to everyone and building a regional intranet. A full case study of the project is available here. Additionally, in December 2004, SUSE Linux Enterprise was selected as the chosen operating system for the region’s healthcare systems. More often than not, however, Extremadura is deploying LinEx, its own Linux distribution designed for use in regional administration and schools.
Another significant project followed in Andalusia which in 2005 decided to make its own software it owns available via an open source repository to reduce duplication of effort and promote competition. As part of the project, Andalusia created Guadalinex, an adapted version of LinEx for its own schools, libraries and public Internet centres. A full case study is available here. http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/6950/470 More recently Andalusia selected Alfresco’s records management solution for implementation over the next three years.
In May 2005 Valencia announced that it would migrate to open source software as part of what it saw as its democratic duty as a public administration. The deployment began in the regional education system as part of project Lliurex, which is another which regional Linux distribution that officially went live in October 2004.
Asturias announced its adoption of open source in December 2004, while Galicia launched its Forxa open source repository in January 2007 while the Galician city of La Coruña’s Corunix project created (you guessed it) another custom Linux distribution for education. Meanwhile Trisquel is Galician language Linux distribution developed by the Universidad de Vigo and sponsored by the government of Galicia
The Open University of Catalonia started up the first International Master’s in Free Software in 2003, while in 2004 the Catalan Government created lafarga.org, to promote the use of open source software. Later that year the Catalan Ministry of Education announced a call for tender for open source software for the region’s schools. In April a hundred schools began the migration to Linkat, a Linux desktop and server distribution based on SUSE Linux. Meanwhile the Catalan capital, Barcelona, began its own open source pilot in July 2005.
In the region of Aragon, the University of Zaragoza began promoting the use of open source software in January while the city council embarked on a pilot desktop Linux project in April. Unusually, rather than create another new distribution, Zaragoza opted for SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop from Novell.
The most publicized Spanish open source vendor is probably Openbravo, the ERP and point of sale vendor. Others include automated application deployment vendor BitRock, consultancy company Warp Networks, and its related eBox platform.
And another thing:
For an England fan the most depressing moment of any international football tournament is when – following England’s inevitable elimination/failure to qualify – the BBC commentator happily reports that “there will be English interest in the final thanks to the fact that the referee’s Grandmother was born in Cleethorpes”. It is in this spirit that I mention the open source adoption project underway at Specsavers, which has standardized on open source for its 600 high street optician stores. The project is partly the brainchild of Specsavers’ global architecture manager, Nigel Spain.
As always we welcome your input. If you have examples of open source adoption in Spain that we’ve overlooked, please leave a comment below. For more stops on the European tour, see this post.
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