12 March 2009

Russia Rolls Out Open Source for Government

Russia is rapidly turning into open source's best-kept secret. A little while back I wrote about plans to roll out free software to all schools; more recently, there has been talk about creating a Russian operating system based on Fedora. And now there's this:

На сайте Минкомсвязи РФ опубликованы проекты документов, посвященных переходу органов государственной власти на свободное программное обеспечение. В документе «Методические рекомендации по разработке и приобретению программного обеспечения для использования в органах государственной власти и бюджетных учреждениях» имеется рекомендация органам госвласти и бюджетным учреждениям отдавать предпочтение свободному ПО при выборе программных средств, за исключением случаев, когда СПО не обладает необходимой функциональностью.


Также опубликован проект плана перехода органов государственной власти и бюджетных учреждений на использование свободного программного обеспечения. Проект включает ряд действий, необходимых для поэтапного внедрения СПО в российские госструктуры, включающий обучение государственных служащих, проведение пилотных проектов по внедрению СПО, поддержку разработки свободного ПО в России.

[Via Google Translate: The site Minkomsvyazi Russian Federation published a draft document on the transition state authorities to free software. The document «Guidelines for the development and acquisition of software for use in public authorities and budget organizations» has recommended authorities gosvlasti and budgetary institutions to give preference to free software in the selection of software, except when the ACT does not have the necessary functionality.


It also published a draft plan of government bodies and agencies to use the budget of free software. The project includes a number of actions required for the phased introduction of ACT in the Russian government, including the training of public servants, a pilot project on introduction of ACT, support the development of free software in Russia.]

Aside from the scale of these plans, which foresee all Russian government departments using free software, and civil servants being trained in its use (a shrewd move), what's particularly interesting is the formulation that open source will be the default except where it does not have the necessary functionality. This approach has been adopted elsewhere, and is reasonable enough, although it's important not to allow lock-in to proprietary formats to lock out open source solutions based on open standards.

Whatever happens in detail, Russia's announcement is not only important in itself, but also provides a useful addition to the roster of governments making the switch to free software. As the latter grows, so will the pressure on other countries to follow suit.


Anonymous said...

Great, Free software to another corrupt regeme. China, north korea.

Does not matter, as long as they use your precious open source.

I guess if the terrorists were to adopt open source as well that would be a good thing...

Its sad when open source is more important that personal rights and real freedom.

Glyn Moody said...

Look at this way: if the software is free - as in not controlled - it gives freedom to the user. This makes it easier for them to use that software against oppressive regimes.

This is precisely why Richard Stallman invented free software: to spread freedom in the widest sense. So I think your misgivings are unfounded.

Anonymous said...

well, russia isnt actually oppresive regime.

Anonymous said...

> Its sad when open source is more important that personal rights and real freedom.
I don't know what kind of freedom is "real" but you can do anything in our country if you have a working brain. It's more like anarchy.
Personal rights are fucked though, that's true.

TripleII said...

Great, Free software to another corrupt regeme. China, north korea.

This is one stupid statement. It would be OK in your eyes if they continue to buy Windows and Office though right? Of course, in that case, you have a corrupt regime selling to a corrupt regime.

BTW, it isn't anyone's precious open source, it is the worlds, free for ANYONE to use. Unfortunately, ANYONE includes the Mom and Pop shop trying to make a living with lowered market entry prices through North Korea.

Anonymous said...

Free software to another corrupt regeme ???

Would it be ok for them to be a corrupt regime if they were paying USA, via MS Windows ???

Also, they are not prohibiting MS Windows, they are just saying "we will use OpenSource in our institutions", just like most other countryes say "We will MS Windows in our institutions". The big diference is the price, and the money that doesnt go to U$A and M$ !!

Anonymous said...

Russia is a country that is still developing in many ways. This news is just another indicator that the Russian government is improving things for it's citizens.

Sure there is corruption in the government. Does that mean the media should only show the bad things and not any of the good things?

The comparison with terrorists is also invalid, since then it would not benefit a large group of people, since the software would be aiding in terrorizing others.
This move however will benefit a very large group of people, such as people working in the government, children, etc. Open source software has also created so many jobs already with local programmers being able to produce solutions, fix bugs, etc. With closed source software one often fully depends on a foreign company to solve problems. It's not an ideal situation at all.

BogdanBiv said...

Don't take the trolls' bait. Just let them alone and they will leave... after a while.

I only wished that their developers contributed to upstream projects - ie Fedora- and make their improvements available to people outside their country.

Unknown said...

Free software to another corrupt regime????
Sorry, but I'm here in China and it is a complete and total MS shop. The only OS available on any computer for sale in the PR China is windows, period. I tried to buy a cheap Ubuntu lappie from the Dell store here: no dice, windows only. Lenovo, a Chinese company, just dumped their Linux OS moves.

So, that idea is as wrong as could be, MS is the big friend of the corrupt and repressive regimes of the world: and you could, if you wanted to, figure out why a monopoly would fit in quite well with the needs of a state controlled system.