Wales 1 Serbia 0

The Welsh Assembly Government has just published its IT strategy. Sitting in there a small paragraph (3.2) about how Open Source Software is important to the local economy as it enables reuse of local skills rather than relying upon global providers.

It’s a seriously important insight and its the first time I’ve ever seen this vital point in an official document.

We raised this in our evidence to the Public Administration Select Committee in its Inquiry “Smaller Government: Bigger Society?”. While it would be nice to claim some credit no doubt they got there by themselves. Nevertheless it’s clear that the Welsh Government “gets it”.

What of Serbia?

As ever I’m grateful to my favourite IP blog for the report this interesting snippet where we discover that now 11,000 scientists can use legal software purchased from Microsoft at :

    “a significant discount for the purchase of USD 755,000 (EUR 525,000)”.

Congratulations… No doubt the Serbian scientists looking to do some world beating research will be pleased not to get a grant because the money was spent on software.

While at last the myth is beginning to subside that Linux is difficult for normal people we’re talknig about scientists here. For all the scientists that didn’t know (both of them) here’s a helpful aide memoire:

      What do 95% of the world’s 500 fastest computers

use

    ?
      What software do they use in the

Large Hadron Collider

    ?
      That

distribution

      is derived from

Red Hat

      by

Fermilab

      and

CERN

      (where Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the

World Wide Web

    ) and others.
      Here’s one set of software for

mathematical modelling

      Help with

image analysis

      High quality

production

    of scientific papers.
      One set of tools to help with

science education

      A set of

educational tools

    to share around campus.

And how much How much does it all cost you? It’s Free as in beer saving the rest of the EUR 525,000 and it’s legal.

But Serbia didn’t get that either.

— Gerry Gavigan, Chair, 2 August 2011

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