Does state-mandated free software permit freedom?
19 Sep 2007

Does state-mandated free software permit freedom?

Tailing the news that India is making

19 Sep 2007

Tailing the news that India is making Linux compulsory in schools, the Russian government is working to create a national operating system for schools:

Russian OS is to be installed on every school computer in Russia by 2009. Furthermore, every pupil will get the opportunity to operate the applied software produced in Russia, Leonid Reiman, acting Minister of Communication stated at a press conference. Experts and market participants consider the terms within which software is to be developed quite reasonable. According to Mr. Reiman, that might significantly reduce Russian dependence on foreign software…

Again, I ask, can we expect free software to correlate to freedom? By soliciting bids for the selection of a sole distribution vendor to develop and implement a monolithic, Russian OS, is Russian OS an effort to boost software freedom or is it an effort to increase state control?

Linux Today reader Artem Vakhitov notes that the project is probably not as ambitious as the Minister stated. As he understands it, “several Russian Linux vendors and solution providers, including ALTLinux, formed an alliance to jointly participate in a bid to develop and implement a FOSS operating system and necessary software packages for Russian schools.” There is no guarantee that the government will actually move ahead with the plan. (See the ALT Linux statement…)

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