Subject: Extremadura Regional Government of Spain drop to Debian and ODF all the computers
From: "Jesus M. Gonzalez-Barahona" <>
Date: Sat, 29 Jul 2006 12:19:46 +0200

[This is not exactly about an fsb, but is creating a lot of
opportunities for fsbs, so it may be of interest here. Apologizes if
that's not the case.]

Probably most of you have heard about Extremadura policy on libre
software in education, and maybe you know that they have, for several
years now, GNU/LinEx, a flavor of Debian, as the only software in all
computers in public schools across the region. The move described in the
press release below, from my point of view, is a decisive step further
in the direction of having a public administration based on libre
software and open standards.




Extremadura Regional Government of Spain drop to Debian and ODF all the

All the computers of the Junta of Extremadura (goverment state of Spain)
will be running free software within a year. This project makes the
Regional Government the first Public Administration to adopt standards
upheld by international organizations, that favour "technological
innovation and the reduction of user dependency

The councillor for Infrastructures and Technological Development, Luis
Millán de Vázquez de Miguel, met the press this Friday to inform about
the agreements reached in the last board meeting of the Government held
last June 25. In said meeting, it was agreed that all the computers of
the Junta of Extremadura would have to be adapted to free software
office tools and gnuLinEx (the local flavour of Debian GNU/Linux) within
one year.

Thus, as from now on, all workers of the public administration must use
open document formats (ISO/IEC DIS 26300)  for their office applications
for information and creating administrative processes, as well as PDF/A
(Portable Document Format ISO 19005-1:2005) for Exchange Documents, when
guaranteed unalterable visualization is required.

Vázquez de Miguel has underlined the fact that the Junta de Extremadura
"is the first Public Administration to adopt these standards" and that
all the international organizations related to ITCs agree that this is
the most important step towards "technological innovation, the reduction
of user, company and public administration dependency on proprietary,
non-compatible applications, and the increment of interoperability
between systems and applications on a global scale."

The councillor explained that a version gnuLinEx, adapted for the public
administration, will be established as the obligatory operating system
in workplaces of the civil servants of the Junta and that the OS will be
gradually introduced to all administrative organizations of the Junta de

The deadline for the plan "is one year counting from the date the
agreement is approved", Vázquez de Miguel said, and he added that at the
end of the period, all the computer work carried out by the civil
servants of the Junta must be done so on the GnuLinEx operating system
and that all additional software must be open source or be distributed
under a free license.

"This is an important initiative that the Junta de Extremadura has been
working on for a long time, accumulating experience and analysing the
impact on our organisation so as to guarantee its success", the
councillor declared. He underlined the fact that the agreement will have
"a profound impact".

According to Millan, there are a number of advantages of switching to
free software and even more when used by the Public Administration, with
important consequences.

Amongst others, the councillor pointed out the long life of documents,
which will guarantee the conservation of all the administrative
documents for longer periods of time. It will also improve the
relationship with the general public due to the fact that, by conforming
to standards and free software, the public is not obliged to acquire
proprietary software. According to de Millan, free software also
improves security, autonomy and rationalises public spending.

In this respect, the councillor pointed out that adopting free software
will allow the administration to "not be so exposed to the tensions of
enforced migrations", allow the administration to be have a say in the
choice of the applications and reduce the economic costs of support.

There is also a plan of migration support that is being prepared at the
General Direction of Telecommunications and Networks, which addresses
issues for system administrators and computer managers of each Council,
that offers a wide range of information and allows to develop
communication tasks amongst employees and adaptation training processes.

The Junta has also received collaboration offers, for example from El
Corte Inglés through their Expert Center (including a cooperation
agreement signed by the Junta de Extremadura and the computing division
of El Corte Inglés), Intel, and other large companies, such as Bull
Espańa S.A. "with which we have especially interesting agreements" due
to the large body of practical knowledge this project is going to
generate and its application to other administration and organisations.

For the future, Vázquez de Miguel has announced that at the end of
August the project will be presented un New York at the United Nations.
A month later, it will also be presented in "The City of Knowledge" of
Panama and in other related countries.


The Council of Infrastructure and Technological Development carries out,
within its area of competence, The Global Project for the Society of
Information and Knowledge of Extremadura, the aim of which is to
guarantee the universal access of the citizens of Extremadura to new
technologies and communications so as to improve their quality of life.

According to the councillor for Infrastructures and Technological
Development, Luis Millán Vázquez de Miguel, the year 2002 signified a
change in development of the project when gnuLinEx was created and used
as general-purpose operating system for public education in the
Autonomous Region of Extremadura. "A software that has evolved the
technical aspects and the implementation of computer standards, backed
up by European institutions and international standardization
organisations", remarks Vázquez de Miguel.

The councillor highlights the fact that the situation of free software
in the region has had "strong influences" in international press, which
have been following what has been happening in the region, covering
matters related to the application of the information society.

He also points out that, in the area of the public administration, "we
in the middle of the development what we call the Modernization,
Simplification and Quality Plan for the Administration of the Autonomous
Community of Extremadura (2004-2007)". For this plan, Extremadura relies
on the Regional Intranet, "the foundation of the interdepartamental
communications of the Junta de Extremadura".

For Vázquez de Miguel, to make a headway in the integration of the
Information Society in modern day Public Administration and in the
global society, it is fundamental "guarantee the control and
administration of aspects so important as technological independence,
interoperability between computer platforms, homogeneous information
systems, computer security for information systems, real technological
innovation and conformance to open and free standards."

More info

The News in spanish

Jesus M. Gonzalez Barahona        | GSyC (DITTE)
Edificio Departamental II (ESCET) | /
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos       | tel: +34 91 664 74 67
c/ Tulipan s/n                    | fax: +34 91 664 74 94
28933 Mostoles, Spain