Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Advancing Freedom

Free Software has been advancing in many regions of the world, giving freedom to computer users. Though we hear an occasional news about somebody going to migrate to Free Software, we never realise the extent to which people have migrated. It is interesting to take a look at all the migrations over the last few years and see to what extent GNU/Linux has penetrated society. Let us look at some of the migration news on the web.

1. In 2003, Munich city in Germany decided to migrate all its 14,000 computers to GNU/Linux, although Microsoft had quoted upgrading the computers. After legal battles delayed the migration, by 2005, they had decided to adopt Debian GNU/Linux, overlooking the offer from Novell SuSE. (see: http://www.news.com/Debian-wins-Munich-Linux-deal/2100-7344_3-5689003.html)

2. In 2005, schools in Indiana state started migrating to GNU/Linux. By 2007, 100,000 children were using RedHat, SuSE and Ubuntu on their desktop computers. Ultimately, 300,000 children are expected to be using Free Software. (see: http://www.news.com/Indiana-schools-enroll-Linux/2100-7344_3-5820237.html?tag=nw.1 and http://www.techlearning.com/story/showArticle.php?articleID=196604800)

3. In 2005, the government of South Korea started migrating all its 10,000 schools to GNU/Linux. They used Buyeo, a Korean version of Linux, that was tested in 190 schools for two years. (see: http://www.news.com/Korea-brings-homegrown-open-source-to-schools/2100-7344_3-5755892.html?tag=nw.2)

4. The Extremadura province of Spain decided to migrate all its school computers to GNU/Linux, in view of the severe shortage of funds. They eventually migrated all machines being used in government offices. By the end of 2005, they had some 80,000 PCs running GNU/Linux, of which some 66,000 were in schools. (see: http://www.osnews.com/story/12611)

5. By 2007 summer, all schools in the Windsor Unified school district in Northern California migrated to Novell SuSE GNU/Linux. All 5000 students and 250 teachers are using Free Software. (see: http://searchenterpriselinux.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid39_gci1245710,00.html)

6. In 2007, all 2600 or so schools in Keala state in India migrated to a customised version of GNU/Linux meant for Kerala schools. The state government also decided to promote Free Software for all governmental use. (see, for instance, http://www.news.com/Indias-Kerala-state-goes-open-source/2100-7344_3-6194118.html?tag=nw.3)

7. By 2007 end, the government of Macedonia had decided to install Ubuntu 7.04 on all computers in their schools, as part of their effort to provide one computer per student. This amounted to some 180,000 computers. (see: http://www.ubuntu.com/news/macedonia-school-computers)

8. ELCOT, the Tamil Nadu Electronics Corporation, migrated all its computers to SuSE GNU/Linux by 2007 end. Now they are in the process of migrating school computers to Free Software. This involves something like 1900 servers and 30,000 desktops. (see: http://www.expresscomputeronline.com/20071217/casestudyspecial11.shtml)

9. Many educational institutions in Italy migrated to Free Software, starting from 1998. (see: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/8309)

These are only the stories that I could find on the web. There are surely many more such stories that I could not find or those that are not available on the web. Also, stories of migration my companies often do not reach the media -- the Life Insurance Corporation of India, for instance.

The list is already impressive, and, I am sure, does help Free Software enthusiasts feel happy. I also hope this list would help those who are debating migration to take a decision soon.


1. A recent study reveals that the development of Free Software (they call it Open Source, though) is proceeding at an exponential rate. Which means, we can expect to see more new features and more new applications appear more frequently. Which is really good news! (see: http://www.riehle.org/publications/2008/the-total-growth-of-open-source/)

2. Another study shows that Free Software (again, they call it Open Source) is being adopted more frequently by large companies, eating into sales of proprietary software by about $60 billion a year! Wow! (see: http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/0,1000000121,39397439,00.htm)


1) Chennai schools are moving to Free Software: see http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/Corporation_school_teachers_to_be_trained_in_computers_/articleshow/3592760.cms

2) VietNamNet Bridge – The Ministry of Information and Communications has issued an instruction on using open source software products at state agencies. Accordingly, by June 30, 2009, 100% of servers of IT divisions of government agencies must be installed with open source software. http://english.vietnamnet.vn/tech/2009/01/822425/%3C/a
(Added on Jan 12, 2009)

3) Cuba decides to migrate. http://www.cio-weblog.com/50226711/cuba_open_source.php (Added on Feb 12, 2009)

4) The Central Silk Board, Government of India, has opted for Free and Open Source software for its MIS. The tender specifically states "The software/solutions shall be based on Free and Open Source Technologies." http://indiansilk.kar.nic.in/tender/Tender.htm (Added on February 15, 2009)

5) The Government of Canada is thinking about Free Software. http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2009/02/12/tech-feds-open-source.html?ref=rss (Added on February 17, 2009)

6) The French police migrating their 90,000 computers to Free Software.
(Added on March 23, 2009)

No comments: