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17 January 2011, 09:05

Russia to switch to open source by 2015

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According to a report by the EU's Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR), Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has signed a plan to "switch federal authorities to free software." The communications ministry is to start the process this year and by the end of 2014, all federal institutions are to have started the migration. The Russian government will be setting up a support centre with a repository for open source software used by authorities.

In a report from the Wall Street Journal, Russian political scientist Evgeny Morozov says economics is probably not the only reason for this move. Of course, Russia will save quite a bit in license fees, but Morozov says the main goal is to become less dependent on foreign software vendors for the sake of national security. He says the Russian initiative is similar to Iran's plan to set up its own open source operating system, and he points out that China is also increasingly interested in open source. Morozov says these countries want to protect themselves from the possibility of backdoors in software from the US.

The Russian Ministry of Information Technology and Communication is to launch Putin’s open source migration and had already looked into the matter in the spring of 2009. Indeed, Russian schools began switching to Linux in 2009. Last year, work on the the development of a Linux desktop for Russian authorities began.


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