Dead Men Left

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Chavez and computers

Via Histologion, news that

50% of Venezuela Government Software will be Open Source by 2007

...According to a presidential decree passed in December 2004, Venezuela’s public administration must present a plan within three months for how it will raise its usage of free software. The best known example of free software is the Linux operating system, which is steadily gaining in market share worldwide, relative to the private operating system Microsoft Windows. Following the president’s approval of the plans, the departments of the public administration will have two years to implement it.

This is a profoundly sensible move, for at least one major reason. Anybody who's seen the gross failings and absolute shambles of privately-sourced public sector IT over the last decade or so will appreciate just how badly private firms can screw the public sector. By maintaining tight proprietory control over the systems and the intellectual property needed to maintain them, EDS, Siemens and Accenture have all taken handsome amounts of public funds for inadequate - often catastrophically inadequate - IT services.

Breaking out of these monopolies, and tapping into the vast resource that is open source software should both remove Venezuela's dependence on unreliable private providers, and produce big savings whilst they're at it.