Extremadura abandons its custom Linux distribution
The autonomous region of Extremadura in western Spain, which has pioneered the use of open source solutions in public administrations since 2005, has abandoned the development of its custom LinEx distribution. The Spanish newspaper Público reports that the project was abandoned after control of the Centro de Excelencia de Software José de Espronceda, which was responsible for the development of LinEx and other projects, was handed over to the central Spanish government in Madrid. In May 2011, the Extremadura branch of the Spanish Partido Popular (PP) party won the government elections in the autonomous region.
The Debian-based LinEx Linux distribution is said to be in use on over 70,000 school and university computers and more than 15,000 health care workplaces, but it is hardly used by other administrative bodies. Developers who are familiar with the distribution have pointed out that there is now virtually no difference between LinEx and the Debian standard distribution, because LinEx developers have introduced upstream code into the Debian project and have contributed to the Debian Edu project.
There is no consensus among developers on the significance of the LinEx project's abandonment. Some say that discontinuing the custom distribution does not mean that the strategy of using as much free software as possible will be abandoned; according to these developers, there are even plans to migrate further Windows systems to free software. Others fear that the abandonment of the LinEx project is the beginning of a deliberate political plan to abandon the free software strategy altogether.
Extremadura isn't the only public administration to discontinue the development of a custom Linux distribution. In May 2011, the German government said that among the reasons for migrating the German Foreign Office's Linux systems back to Windows were the high maintenance costs of the custom Linux distribution.