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Hungary, Tatarstan Latest To Go FOSS

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the on-the-bandwagon dept.

Government 129

christian.einfeldt writes "It seems as if almost every other week there is news of another government migration toward Free Open Source Software. Two of the most recent such moves come from Hungary and the tiny independent former Russian republic of Tatarstan. On April 2, the Hungarian government announced that it will be modifying its procurement rules to mandate that open source procurement funding match expenditures for proprietary software, according to Ferenc Baja, deputy minister for information technology. In Tatarstan, a Republic of 3.8 million inhabitants, the Deputy Minister of Education announced that by the end of this school year, all 2,400 educational institutions in Tatarstan will have completed a transition to GNU/Linux, following a successful pilot program it rolled out in 2008."

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MMM FOSS (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27545507)

I guess they were hungry for FOSS.

Re:MMM FOSS (1, Offtopic)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545661)

Well mr. AC, since you went out and did your research, (and I don't have class until 6 tonight) I went out and did mine. A hamster weighs approximately .12kg, and the height of my zeppelin (how else would it be portable?) is 7700m. Assuming that I used frictionless turbines in a vacuum environment and superconducting wires, the hamsters would take about sqrt(2*7700/9.81)=39.62 seconds to reach the bottom. The power generated is .12*9.81*7700/39.62=228.78 watts (enough to power a laptop). The amount of hamsters I require for the day long supply is 60^2*24/39.62=2180.72 (yes .72, it's en evil contraption, use your imagination). This does not include the hamsters required to provide the mechanical energy to grind up the other hamsters and move them up a conveyor belt. Now you may ask, "isn't this going a bit far? Do you have a grudge against hamsters? Isn't This device terribly inefficient?" Well I just happen to be a humble college student that works part time at a farm that's run near an over-efficient hamster breeder (which is where the mind control device herds them from). Hamsters nearly ruined my dads farm, and the soft hum of my laptop is a nice replacement for the reminder that even though I cant hear the sound of hamster entrails crashing to the bottom of the hamster feeder, those little bastards are paying for what they almost did. And just to shove a little more spite in their face, I waste a profuse amount of time on the internet posting on Slashdot.

Re:MMM FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27545691)

I did the math. It checks out.

Re:MMM FOSS (1)

Mozk (844858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545959)

I've honestly never seen this before, and it's one of the few trolls on here that I've actually laughed at. Nice work if it's original.

Re:MMM FOSS (1)

Mozk (844858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545961)

Self-reply:
No, it's not [slashdot.org] .

Re:MMM FOSS (2, Funny)

linhares (1241614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546721)

In Hungary, Steve Ballmer usually gets eggs [youtube.com] .

Re:MMM FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27547755)

You mean they're Hungary for chips with Tartars foss?

There's a place called Tararstan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27545511)

Home of fish and chips.

Re:There's a place called Tararstan? (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545659)

Home of fish and chips.

No, it's Tatarstan. Home of candy and fizzy-drinks, where toothbrushes fear to tread.

Re:There's a place called Tararstan? (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546099)

Motto:"We put holes in teeth!"[/cavity goon]

Equal spending but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27545515)

Isnt FOSS free? In other words, it won't make sense!

Might just be a buzzword conglomeration... (2, Interesting)

samriel (1456543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545529)

Free Software != !cash software. They may have to pay like $10,000 for the source code for some big program, or to develop said program and OSS it.

Re:Equal spending but... (3, Funny)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545533)

It makes perfect sense. For every one million OpenOffice installations, a government department can buy zero copies of Microsoft.

Re:Equal spending but... (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546817)

Here in Brazil there's all this hoopla [softwarelivre.gov.br] from the Federal government concerning FOSS. At first I thought it was hypeware, but after seeing intalations of linux and firefox in random government spots, it seems real enough for me.

Re:Equal spending but... (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545753)

Isnt FOSS free?

Not when you factor in that political decisions in Hungary only have one purpose: to steal as much as possible before the upcoming elections. Everyone knows they stand a snowball's chance in hell to get re-elected. "Gyurcsány takarodj!" (Gyurcsány GTFO) almost made it into the national anthem since 2006 [wikipedia.org] .

At least they're not naming Microsoft directly anymore.

Doing the math... (3, Interesting)

Argumentator (1524195) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545521)

"Mandate that open source procurement funding match expenditures for proprietary software"

In other words, their expenditures for proprietary software must equal to $0.00?

Re:Doing the math... (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545601)

Don't confuse open source with free.

OSS could be free, but it could also cost money. Money for training, installation and updates.

Red Hat, Novell/Suse Ubuntu, etc all have support packages programs available which government and education departments may want to utilize to help assure smooth and continued operation.

But presuming the outlay for proprietary software would have similar requirements, you can see that for every copy of windows they could obtain an unlimited number of Linux desktop copies.

This will might allow them spend their money on custom or specialized applications which just might happened to be proprietary.

Meanwhile, the technical community that develops in that environment will have a whole different skill set than those that develop in the Microsoft mono culture.

Western governments, still dependent on Microsoft are sandbagging themselves into a smaller and smaller dry-hole against the rising tide of Linux everywhere else in the world.

Re:Doing the math... (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545765)

This seems to happen in places where money, and especially foreign exchange are at a premium. A big advantage for the Tatarstan Ministry of Education is that they don't have to commit to lots of purchases in US dollars. Instead, as you point out, they can make their own engineers who will work for local currency, and educate their people at the same time.

Re:Doing the math... (4, Informative)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545807)

Tatarstan [wikipedia.org] is part of Russian Federation, which means that they can hire programmers and IT people from anywhere in Russia, not just from its own, much smaller, population. UNIX (*BSD and Linux) is well known in Russia.

Re:Doing the math... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27546061)

Uhm, No. Tartarstan is what happens when you don't brush your teeth. :p

Re:Doing the math... (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546709)

Tatarstan is a made up country bordering Elbonia and about 1000 kilometres to the east of Genovia and Latveria.

Re:Doing the math... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27546959)

Females per 1000 males: 1,161

Is that normal? Sounds like a good place to go on holiday..

(if you like females :)

Re:Doing the math... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27546131)

This seems to happen in places where money, and especially foreign exchange are at a premium.

I believe that money is at a premium in all educational institutions. The college where I teach CS is looking at an $X million budget cut and our department is set to lose 2 lecturers.

But can we wean our people off MS? Can we heck as like.

Re:Doing the math... (4, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545699)

As in 'training' costs for open source software versus proprietary closed source licence fees, it also allows money to spent spent on customising open source software for specific long term applications versus throwing away money on 'temporary' software licence fees (the reality being they often last no longer than two years in actual use).

Re:Doing the math... (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 5 years ago | (#27547279)

Other way around. If you spend $20,000 on MS Office, you're allowed to spend up to $20,000 on OpenOffice. And presumably deposit the change in a convenient Swiss bank account.

Re:Doing the math... (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 5 years ago | (#27548103)

"In other words, their expenditures for proprietary software must equal to $0.00?"

I know you are trying to be fun here but then, you know not all operations allow for the commutative operation.

They said "open source procurement funding match expenditures for proprietary software" not "propietary software procurement funding match expenditures for open source". So no: it doesn't mean expenditures for propietary software must equal to $0.00".

In the other hand, it says "expenditures" not "expenditures from licensing". If you think installing 1000 copies of whatever doesn't involve expenditures you are not only not funny (no: your previous message, while attempting to it was not funny) but stupid too.

Desktop Linux (3, Insightful)

derrida (918536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545527)

That's the way to the desktop. Through governments and big organizations.

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

voss (52565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545571)

It sounds weird but how do you think dos/windows got into homes? Its because its what the kids were using in schools.

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

ibbie (647332) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545803)

Er, you must've been lucky. My high school had old arse Apple IIe's (which was an upgrade from the Apple IIc they had, years prior, but still) when I had a nice, Win 3.11/DOS box at home.

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27548219)

The IIc was an update of the IIe, not the other way around (and they were on the market at roughly the same time, the big difference being that the IIc was smaller and more self contained).

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545865)

Um, no, no, no. Apple introduced dirt cheap computers into the education market so people would be familiar with them and end up buying them. On the other hand, DOS systems were already dirt cheap so businesses looking to field many computers would choose the DOS systems even though they (in some respects) were inferior to the Apple boxes. So between school and work most people chose to go with the cheap option they would be using for their professional lives which was DOS.

Fast forward a few years and we still have the same thing (though, in many schools it is mixed Macs along with Windows boxes), businesses (save for publishing, photography and other arts places that almost always use Macs) still use Windows, not because its really better but because its cheaper (and some mission-critical apps may not work emulated in WINE on Linux), and people still choose Windows because its what their work uses and its cheap.

Re:Desktop Linux (2, Insightful)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 5 years ago | (#27547233)

Windows isn't exactly cheap in a company environment, but it does require very little development resources compared to FOSS for most deployments.

For a company, this means that you have less in-house development which means you can buy personnel on the market which is already proficient with the infrastructure you use, and that there is no need to develop software in-house.

Especially for smaller companies, this pans out mostly okay. For larger companies, Linux may make sense as the cost of in-house development and Microsoft licensing may start to get on even footing.

Apple certainly isn't aiming for corporate users - they do not offer any system management, monitoring tools, software deployment, policy enforcement, etc. Their server offerings are extremely few, and their server software is only designed for department use.

I have no idea how Apple runs it's internal IT, bu then again they have an user base that constists largely of technically proficient people, and my suspection is that they probably just grant local admin rights to all their users - it would be interesting to read on "How Apple does IT".

Re:Desktop Linux (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 5 years ago | (#27548133)

"Especially for smaller companies, this pans out mostly okay. For larger companies, Linux may make sense as the cost of in-house development and Microsoft licensing may start to get on even footing."

But if the "larger company" happens to do things the way it is supposed to be (that is, allowing redistribution of their not strategical in-house development) which is quite expectable from a government organization, then you can have these customizations on smaller companies too, which then start to get on even footing regarding open source too.

Instead of money going to some big pockets for doing nothing, it will go to local companies for doing things, and at a lower overall cost. A win-win proposition in my book.

Re:Desktop Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27546733)

Well it worked for microsoft...

Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27545547)

Give the fools their tar tar sauce...

it's called being delusional kdawson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27545553)

"every other week there is news of another government migration toward Free Open Source Software"

yeah right.

Re:it's called being delusional kdawson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27545657)

The line was in the original. And while he is exaggerating, there has been a fair bit of such news lately.

Re:it's called being delusional kdawson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27545861)

only because /. keep sposting dups and reruns containing some random bloggers opinion and rebranding it as "news"

Re:it's called being delusional kdawson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27546399)

And it's a good thing. If enough BIG deployments take place (like, oh, I don't know, maybe an entire government), perhaps the Linux brain trust will throttle their stupid addiction to put shit in the kernel that's really cool and shiny but broken or essentially useless. Or just plain silliness, like Compiz. Wiggly windows: How many man hours did people waste on that? How about the early days of the CFS, or the 2.6.xx kernel that super-sucked.

Calm down boys, you're gonna win. Don't be so antsy about it.

Expect More of This (3, Interesting)

rossz (67331) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545561)

With the world economic situation putting strains on government money, they will be forced to consider cheaper alternatives. OSS can be much cheaper, but its cost is not going to be zero. You have to consider training and support. Even so, substantial savings can be had by going the OSS route. Companies like Microsoft must be shaking in their boots. If OSS gets a decent foothold in government, it will cause an expansion in the private sector. Years from now when the economy improves, OSS will be firmly entrenched.

Hopefully, financially responsibility in government will occur elsewhere as a result, but I'm not holding my breath.

Re:Expect More of This (4, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545619)

> OSS can be much cheaper, but its cost is not going to be zero. You have to consider training and support.

On the other hand, we all know that children arrive from the womb conversant in the ways of Windows?

You can't seriously think this requirement ONLY applies to opensource, can you?

Re:Expect More of This (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545763)

No, but these governments already have computers, and they are switching to free-libre software. The fact that they are switching is where the training costs are incurred -- temporary, yes, but costs that must be overcome if free-libre software will gain a foothold.

Re:Expect More of This (4, Interesting)

Savior_on_a_Stick (971781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545847)

Let me postulate this:

MS awakes tomorrow, and jumps with both feet on the foss model.

However, they also charge for support.

Now, given MS existing penetration, could the *nix companies compete?

MS has depth of support that few linux companies can approach.

I indirectly worked for them briefly after the 95 launch as a support rep.

I had a case escalated to the point where MS paid for the customer to ship their PC to Redmond so that the engineering department could comb through it to diagnose a low level driver that was flaky.

The result was a hotfix that replaced the floppy driver used for Toshiba notebooks.

The whole process took very little time - a couple of weeks.

Sure, linux *can* respond as quickly, but as a rule it doesn't.

Case in point - the glaring flaw in the glibc libraries of RH 6.2 that made it wholly unusable on multiprocessor servers because threads would start spawning and eating up resources until the system crashed.

Yeah - it was that bad.

Yeah - RH knew about it, and so did many developers in the community.

No, no one ever did fix it iirc.

It remained broken until 7.0 came out, and it had it's own serious flaws.

So, can linux compete from a support standpoint?

Re:Expect More of This (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 5 years ago | (#27548209)

"So, can linux compete from a support standpoint?"

I don't think that's the point. Not at least from Microsoft's point of view. Microsoft's point of view is "I'm top of the hill" so in any change to the 'statu quo' I'm facing ending worse than now, since there's no high up I can go. That's why Microsoft fights nail and theeth to open source: for them it can only mean a change for the worse.

On the other hand, if this means Microsoft comes to compete on equal foot, quality and service-wise, with alternatives, instead of FUDing and using unethical and sometimes illegal practices, I for one would welcome our new microsoftian opensource-aware fair playing overlords.

Re:Expect More of This (1)

rossz (67331) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545885)

With our public schools teaching Windows and Microsoft Office as part of the standard curriculum, the training costs to business and government is vastly reduced. A whole generation is entering the workforce with a solid (cough) foundation in a very specific set of commercial software. When/If FOSS becomes the norm that would change, but in the mean time, a lot of people will need to be retrained.

Re:Expect More of This (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546553)

With our public schools teaching Windows and Microsoft Office as part of the standard curriculum...

My experience (and that of my father's) does not match yours. Given your UID, I would imagine that my anecdotes are more recent than yours. :)
I went to a rural high school in the very late 1990's. The only computer education I received from the State was a touch-typing course. My father is currently teaching in a suburban high school. The students in that school receive even less computer training that I did. The majority of their touch-typing class is devoted to internet browsing.

Re:Expect More of This (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 5 years ago | (#27547041)

My experience is the opposite, and is current. My son must turn in his reports in ms word format. That is what they use at their elementary school.

Re:Expect More of This (1)

ion.simon.c (1183967) | more than 5 years ago | (#27547055)

Have they stopped teaching handwriting in elementary school?

Re:Expect More of This (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 5 years ago | (#27547129)

No, they teach printing in grade 1, cursive in grade 2, and grades 3+ do their reports on the computer.

Re:Expect More of This (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 5 years ago | (#27548249)

"My son must turn in his reports in ms word format. That is what they use at their elementary school."

Is he using Microsoft Word 2.0? For, you know, chances are that by the time your son is stablished on the job market current Word version will resemble today's much like Word 2.0 resembles to current.

I never understood the (circular) argument. Companies choose Microsoft because that what was thought to our children ten years ago; and we must teach Microsoft to our children because that's what will use in ten years. Not specially when closed software earns their money by selling licenses so they are going to change their products even if only for the sake of it in order to sell new licenses. They may have a point if they used something like Emacs which not depending on selling licenses you can expect core functionallity to stay the same but, closed software?

Re:Expect More of This (1)

rossz (67331) | more than 5 years ago | (#27547239)

My experience is based on what my stepdaughter took in school. I did make it a point to complain that the local schools were wasting money on commercial software when free alternatives were readily available. I also voiced my displeasure in them teaching to the advantage of one corporation. I told them they should be teaching skills that were more generally useful, not how to format paragraphs in Microsoft Word. Unfortunately, the woman with the title of "technology expert" at the grammar school barely knew how to turn the computers on. Just one of the many reasons why California schools are doing so poorly.

Re:Expect More of This (1)

msormune (808119) | more than 5 years ago | (#27547471)

The OP is not saying that, he's just saying OSS costs is not going to be zero...

I'm a PC, and I'm four and a half (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27547991)

On the other hand, we all know that children arrive from the womb conversant in the ways of Windows?

No, but per Microsoft's latest TV commercials in the United States: "I'm a PC, and I'm four and a half." Children will be familiar with Windows after having used it to start PC games at home.

Re:Expect More of This (3, Interesting)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545835)

OSS can be much cheaper, but its cost is not going to be zero.

All countries make a big distinction between (a) importing foreign goods and (b) paying their own citizens in local currency. Countries sell only so much on international market, and so they can only buy an equivalent amount of goods[*]. Here not only you free a part of your foreign trade up for other necessities (like patented medical materials or instruments,) you also create jobs for your own citizens.

[*] Does not apply to the USA, which is still living off of its credit card.

Re:Expect More of This (1)

Curmudgeonlyoldbloke (850482) | more than 5 years ago | (#27547773)

You mean like "Today Tatarstan, tomorrow a slightly larger Russian republic in Central Asia"?

Re:Expect More of This (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 5 years ago | (#27548151)

"With the world economic situation putting strains on government money [...] substantial savings can be had by going the OSS route."

What does this exactly mean? If some choice is really cheaper (like not cheaper in front costs but more expensive in the long run) do we allow government to overexpend if it happens to be a buoyant economy situation? If it's cheaper, it's cheaper, economic situation has nothing to do.

pebble in the puddle (2)

10am-bedtime (11106) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545567)

I'm reminded of a pebble dropped in a puddle. The initial splash causes ripples that lap the sides, wetting them enough so that flies settle to eat there. The pebble, meanwhile, lies there and is only seen again after all the life surrounding the puddle has erupted and moved on, after the baking sun is done its drying.

So it is w/ Free Software in the United States.

It's not bad being outside, it seems. Lighter and more free.

Re:pebble in the puddle (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27545757)

WTF does that even mean?

Re:pebble in the puddle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27546003)

Yeah, WTF??? it the pebble OSS? are the flies Microsoft. I don't get it.

Re:pebble in the puddle (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546515)

It means that 10am-bedtime needs to sleep more?

Pentagon report (Eyes Only): (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27545613)

Emergency civilian corporate aid black op authorised.
Mission priority: Alpha.
B-2 Stealth bomber carrying elite commando of Microsoft sales ninjas in orbital personnel deployment pods despatched from a private airport near Seattle.
Destination, Tatarstan.
Emergency use of ECHELON mind control sub system authorised by NSA.

Hard to be optimistic about Hungary (4, Informative)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545733)

After some searching, I haven't actually found much more in the Hungarian news than was reported in TFA. So, I can't add many details.

What I can say is that there is a fair chance that the coalition that rules Hungary today will not be in place six months from now. Secondly, Hungary needs immediate cost savings. It is not in any position to spend money now to save money later.

This might be part of the motivation. Hungary's currency is in collapse, so it is much cheaper for the government to pay local developers in forints for software and systems than it is to pay Microsoft and Novell in dollars or euros.

I'd love to know the internal machinations that went on here, but I suspect that someone took the opportunity of the fall of the forint and the foreign currency debt problem (an enormous problem) to push an open source agenda. Whether this will hold up, or whether MS will make a counter offer allowing the Hungarian government to pay cheaply in forints remains to be seen.

Re:Hard to be optimistic about Hungary (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545891)

I'd love to know the internal machinations that went on here, but I suspect that someone took the opportunity of the fall of the forint and the foreign currency debt problem (an enormous problem) to push an open source agenda. Whether this will hold up, or whether MS will make a counter offer allowing the Hungarian government to pay cheaply in forints remains to be seen.

That at least is a MS getting a taste of it's own medicine. I rather like the idea of improving FOSS further and forcing MS to take that medicine as frequently as possible.

Remember folks, a threat has to be credible to be taken seriously and it seems that MS is getting it more and more these days. Let's keep it up.

Remember also Procurement Departments that even though MS is smiling and making reassuring noises now, they WILL try for bigger cash later when they think a change of administration or circumstance will allow them to beat it out of you. Threaten FOSS migrations again....and again...and again.... As I say, a taste of their own medicine.

Re:Hard to be optimistic about Hungary (1)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546097)

After some searching, I haven't actually found much more in the Hungarian news than was reported in TFA. So, I can't add many details.

I've now found more on this (in Hungarian) [origo.hu] . My ability to read Hungarian is limited, but I do see that according to Gábor Bódi (whose government job title, I can't even begin to translate, but it is pretty high up) "this will be a trial year, with many possible outcomes of this initiative."

If I am reading that article correctly (and it is very possible that I am not), while the proposal clearly talks about open source software (nyílt forráskód), much of the justification appears to be in protectionist language about supporting domestic markets and innovation.

Less plausibly, it seems that it is talking about a plan to spend 12 thousand million Hungarian forints (54 million USD) on this. I cannot believe that I am reading that correctly. The current government is exceedingly unpopular because it has been trying and failing to push through austerity measures. I can't see that a country with a population of 10 million could be talking about spending that kind of money now. So let's just assume that I'm misreading that and hope someone who actually reads Hungarian comments on this.

PS: I just discovered when typing in the above that slashdot doesn't do UTF-8. That sucks, but it's a good thing I only had to do acute accents instead of some real Hungarian specialties.

Re:Hard to be optimistic about Hungary (1)

cheoppy (1352767) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546977)

You are reading that correctly, they plan to spend 12 billion (or thousand million) forints on that. By the way they plan to spend the same amount of money on MS and Novell softwares, which they already did in the previous years. I think it is not extraordinary in Hungary that they spend that much money, when the country has a financial problem, this country can be so weird sometimes.

Re:Hard to be optimistic about Hungary (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 5 years ago | (#27547195)

<quote> Less plausibly, it seems that it is talking about a plan to spend 12 thousand million Hungarian forints (54 million USD) on this. I cannot believe that I am reading that correctly. ... So let's just assume that I'm misreading that and hope someone who actually reads Hungarian comments on this. </quote>

Hungarian reading person here. As for your question:

Yes, the number is right, it's about 54 million USD as maximal spending allocation for OSS - same amount as for MS and Novel - as it reads.

Let's hope it is true.

Re:Hard to be optimistic about Hungary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27547695)

It is not more than a new trick from the Hungarian political elite and his maffia to steal money. In fact, the actual gouvernment has only one year left (maximum) and has to push to get it can. In Hungary, every gouvernment contract contain 2/3 part payed to politicens and 1/3 to the accomplishment.

Re:Hard to be optimistic about Hungary (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 5 years ago | (#27547017)

I'm not optimistic either about the sincerity of this attempt. The guy who made this statement might not be a minister from next Tuesday, when there'll be a new PM, who will reshuffle the government. I also hope that Hungary might have a snap election too. This reeks as if the minister was trying to look as if he did something neutral/good in the last few days he has.

In any case, the language the minister used is a bit deceptive. Unfortunately after taking a close look at what he said, it seems the money can only be spent on _licences_. Training costs, etc. are explicitly excluded from funding (have to be covered by the given organizations themselves).

If this gets followed through though, it is a step-up from the previous mindset of MS only that is highly prevalent in the hungarian government.

Re:Hard to be optimistic about Hungary (1)

Wodin (33658) | more than 5 years ago | (#27547591)

In any case, the language the minister used is a bit deceptive. Unfortunately after taking a close look at what he said, it seems the money can only be spent on _licences_.

On the plus side, you can "buy" a hell of a lot of licenses for Open Source software with 12,000,000,000 florints!

Inch will get you a mile (0, Redundant)

smchris (464899) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545759)

Hungary won't change many attitudes in the U.S.

Re:Inch will get you a mile (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545871)

Hungary won't change many attitudes in the U.S.

Why would that matter?

Re:Inch will get you a mile (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545887)

Sure, Hungary might not, but there have been many, many, many countries that have switched to OSS. And whenever a few more do, then Red Hat, Novell, Sun and a ton of other US based companies in OSS can say, "Hey, we are based in the USA like MS is, and all these countries have switched to OSS and have saved X dollars, why not use a pilot program in X department and look at the cost savings" and then OSS will have a larger foothold in the USA.

Geography lesson? (2)

Oyjord (810904) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545771)

"...independent former Russian republic of Tatarstan..." Someone needs a basic lesson in geography and contemporary world politics.

Re:Geography lesson? (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545789)

Indeed. Perhaps they were confused by the common phrase "former Soviet Republic", which refers to entities that were formerly Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs), but became independent around 1991, like Ukraine.

Republics of Russia, though are subnational entities that are still part of Russia (pre-1991, part of the Russian SFSR). They are one of several kinds of top-level subnational divisions of Russia, others including Oblasts and Krais and so on. The Republics are those with a traditional non-Russian population, so have some autonomy in the areas of language use. But they're effectively what other countries call provinces or prefectures.

Re:Geography lesson? (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27547227)

The Republics are those with a traditional non-Russian population, so have some autonomy in the areas of language use. But they're effectively what other countries call provinces or prefectures.

Except that this one declared independence (which is not uncommon) and Russia seemingly acknowledged it (which is unheard of):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tatarstan#Tatarstan_today [wikipedia.org]

Re:Geography lesson? (1)

Riven.exe (1230284) | more than 5 years ago | (#27548423)

In your link:

Republic of Tatarstan is a federal subject of the Russian Federation

What words of "federal subject" you don't understand? Term republic often cause confusion in the west, because Russian republic have more freedom than American states, have distinct ethnicity, but still is part of Russia. It's close with how Scotland have autonomous status in UK.

FINALLY the year of desktop Linux in Tatarstan!! (2, Funny)

jmcbain (1233044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545805)

Well it's about time! We can rejoice, my FOSS brothers.

Tatarstan is not former (5, Informative)

petr999 (1530231) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545815)

Tatarstan is the subject of Russian Federation and actually is the same way independent as any other one.
More to say: sovereign independence of Tatarstan is the thing both impossible because it has no any outer state borders AND inevitably should lead to total destruction of Russia which is not the case to happen.
As a fact, the "pilot education program" about FOSS is the Alt Linux disk set packaged with a book for schools, is performed in several regions of Russia, Tatarstan is simply among them.
I even know someone in person from altlinux moscow based development team who is originally from Tatarstan.
Hope this is a fix to correct the info.

Re:Tatarstan is not former (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27546015)

In Soviet Tatarstan software frees YOU!

Re:Tatarstan is not former (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27546077)

Even the guy who submitted the summary didn't read his own link.

For those that don't want to invest the twenty seconds necessary to read the above:

*** Tatarstan is part of Russia. ***

Re:Tatarstan is not former (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546763)

"More to say: sovereign independence of Tatarstan is the thing both impossible because it has no any outer state borders AND inevitably should lead to total destruction of Russia which is not the case to happen."

THat's
1) Off-topic
2) Pile of bullshit

Subversion (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545849)

Linux is coming to you from 2 directions, the totally visible one that is your very government using/standarizing on it, and the subtle one that are cellphones and netbook bios.

At this rate wont be surprised a lot if Windows 8 ends being a MS version of Wine running in top of linux.

See, we don't need free trade. (-1, Flamebait)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545975)

This is just proof positive that the way forward for the world is to let ideas flow freely across borders, and, as a consequence, let each country make its own goods. The argument that free trade betters humanity is just a lie perpetrated by the various industries and appeasement politicians that benefit from it. All you need is share to ideas.

Re:See, we don't need free trade. (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546073)

The argument that free trade betters humanity is just a lie [...] All you need is share to ideas.

It's true that free sharing of ideas is a good thing. However "making your own" is not always the most cost-efficient thing to do. As matter of fact, it usually is NOT. Look at large transnational corporations. Do they make their own office furniture? Do they make their own computer hardware? Do they manufacture all pieces of the buildings that they are in? No, they don't - because it's cheaper to buy.

Same applies to countries. If your country is small and poor, and if you need to outfit an office with 10 computers, do you want to start with a chip fabrication facility, then R&D house, then PCB manufacturing, then electronic assembly? That'd be a neat thing to have if that's what you have in mind for the country; but it will take decades, and billions of dollars in investment, and you need to have highly educated workforce also.

That's why international trade is alive and well. Some goods are bought because they are simply unavailable in the destination country (usually raw materials, energy etc.) Other goods are bought because they are cheaper in other countries (like all the electronics in China.) Yet another category of goods is bought because it's too difficult (or takes too long) to make them at home (that applies to most weapons, except simplest, and to most aircraft, and to many medicines, and to many IP/core designs.)

So, for example, if you are sick you have two options: (a) to buy a bottle of pills from a foreign manufacturer and be on your feet within a few weeks, or (b) to start your own medical research (needlessly duplicating already done research!) and hopefully within 5-10 years come up with a possible drug that may or may not heal you. Your choice. Most people I know would pick (a), and then if they are really into medical research they are free to invent some other drug for some other condition.

Computer software is on the opposite side of the scale - easy to get into, easy to develop, easy to distribute. If you also have enough of educated people in the country then F/OSS software is the right thing to do. But note that F/OSS code is far more than mere "ideas" - it is a complete product which just happens to be free. Exchange of pure ideas across borders would require reimplementing those ideas within each country, and I don't see how it would help anyone. I can send you a complete set of JPEG screenshots of KDE, how long will it take you to recreate it all? And what is the chance that software compiled for Bolivian KDE will run under Paraguayan KDE? (Hint: WINE)

Option (c) (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546303)

You forgot option (c)

(c) Examine the formulation of the pill that somebody else made, and make a copy

That's the thing, is, that, all but the smallest countries actually have sufficient population to manufacture what they need. If anything, adopting protectionist measures encourages the development of automation to cope with labor shortages. The United States, for example, became an industrial power because of protectionist policies in the 19th century. Otherwise, she would have been blown out of the water by the United Kingdom, which was the world manufacturing leader in those days.

I can send you a complete set of JPEG screenshots of KDE, how long will it take you to recreate it all?

How many developers are -really- on KDE? That's the thing. Industrialization and parallel development can occur extremely rapidly in a country. Japan went from a feudal 16th century technology base to an industrial power in barely 50 years. Germany went from a middle european stomping ground for France to exceeding the UK in scarcely a fortnight. South Korea has industrialized extremely rapidly, and best of all, look at how far China has come in the last 30 years. All of those countries, even the USA, in its heyday, got their start by copying and then improving on someone else's inventions. The USA and Germany robbed the British. Japan robbed the USA and now China robs everyone. It's only the silly idea that an idea should entitle one to exclusive rights to resell it that holds countries back.

Re:See, we don't need free trade. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546531)

what is the chance that software compiled for Bolivian KDE will run under Paraguayan KDE? (Hint: WINE)

What is the relevance of that at all? If KDE apps can run under GNOME, and KDE3 apps can run under KDE4 (and vice versa), I seriously doubt Paraguayan KDE will have a problem with Bolivian KDE.

looks like... (2, Funny)

Fissure_FS2 (220895) | more than 5 years ago | (#27545989)

... Tatarstan will get a lot of plaque from Microsoft for this move.

(yes, I originally read it as "Tartarstan")

At first glance... (1)

Mr_2_718281828459045 (1444505) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546083)

I thought this had to do with being hungry for tartar sauce.

Independent republic of Texanistan (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546117)

Texas, Hawaii, and if you believe the rhetoric, Vermont and California were independent nations at one time.

Alaska was once controlled by Russia.

Singapore (1)

AnonymityCowardily (890293) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546231)

The singapore armed forces went for open source office software about a year ago but you donÃt hear that on slashdot

Yay Hungary! (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546239)

Yay Hungary! My grandfather would be so proud. Many years ago he called me and said, "I hear there's an alternative to this Microsoft bull shit. Make it happen on my computer. Oh, and I just got my Hungarian keyboard in. Make that work too."

Let me get this right... (2, Funny)

ignavus (213578) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546541)

Russia - which used to be the bad guy - is adoptng Linux - which is the good guy - while the US - who is supposed to be the good guy - keeps hanging onto Microsoft - which are the bad guys?

So who are we supposed to support if they ever go to war?

PS: are they going to change the name of the capital of Tatarstan to Linuxgrad? And they could also have a Stallmangrad. Think of the tourism income from geeks...

Please, get your facts right! (1)

sipan (112591) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546579)

Please fix the factual error - Tatarstan is neither tiny (it is bigger then Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) or independent.

And the reason... (1)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546665)

There is no such a thing as free klobasa!

In Soviet Russia (1)

unixhero (1276774) | more than 5 years ago | (#27546779)

In Soviet Russia, the Tatarstan-window manager owns you!

Anonymous Coward. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27546985)

Tatarstan is not _former_ republic of Russia, it is one of Russian states.

Not tiny, not former, not independent (2, Informative)

Noiser (18478) | more than 5 years ago | (#27547039)

Tatarstan is not tiny - it is one of the most populous and important regions of Russia. Its capital Kazan is one of the most important cities in Russia.

Tatarstan is not independent - it is an autonomy within the Russian Federation.

Tatarstan is not a former Russian republic - see above.

independence ain't dependence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27547681)

"the tiny independent former Russian republic of Tatarstan"

better fix that before you incur the Ruskie wrath (though you'd deserve it for your ignorance)

Tiny independent Texas (1)

FilatovEV (1520307) | more than 5 years ago | (#27548315)

I hope the tiny independent republic of Texas, former state of the U.S., will make a good use of Linux-based systems in its national education.
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