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Barcelona plans move to open source software

The city of Barcelona plans to move its workers to open source software, with proprietary applications being the first to be replaced.

A report in the Spanish newspaper El Pais said the initial goal was to replace Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office with Firefox and LibreOffice.

Later on, the city plans to transition its users to a Linux distribution and get rid of Windows; it is already running a 1000-user trial with the Ubuntu Linux distribution.

Francesca Bria, commissioner of Technology and Digital Innovation at the Barcelona City Council, was quoted as saying: "The funds that come from the citizens have to be invested in systems that can be re-used and open to a local ecosystem."

This makes Barcelona the first municipality to join the European project Public Money, Public Code which is an initiative of the Free Software Foundation Europe.

The city plans to use Open-Xchange to move away from using Microsoft Exchange for its email system.

In order to increase the internal development of technology, the city council plans to hire 65 programmers, half of whom will join the Municipal Institute of Computing this month.

As far as outsourcing of work associated with the transition to open source is concerned, the council claims to have developed ethical standards to engage "local companies that work with open source and agile methodologies".

Ironically, Barcelona's announcement comes as the poster-boy of Linux enthusiasts, Munich, begins a move back to Windows after experimenting with a Linux rollout. The move back to Microsoft's operating system, however, appears to be driven by political considerations, and not technological issues.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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