The education sector in the Basque Region is increasingly switching to free and open source, reports ESLE, an industry trade group representing free software IT service providers in the autonomous region in Spain. This type of software is helping schools in computing, mobile learning, open data and 3D printing, ESLE writes in a first strategic review, published in December.
Several of Spain's universities are now actively using, developing and distributing free software solutions, including the University of Granada, Zaragoza, La Laguna, Seville and Cadiz.
The region's government sector is also switching to free and open source, appreciating the increased efficiency and cost savings that this type of software solutions offers.
Last summer, the group started working on a first report for its new 'Observatorio Estrategico del Software Libre en Euskadi'. "This is intended to be a strategic review, which we'll update once a year", explained Eneko Astigarraga, ESLE's president. The first report was shared with ESLE members and Basque Region authorities in December, with summary appearing on the group's blog in March.
According to the report, more and more public administrations in the region and other parts of Spain value how free and open source allows them to reduce costs while increasing productivity. In particular, they value how this type of software enables them to exchange knowledge and information.
Over 90 percent of all public administrations in Spain are using free and open source for server solutions, ESLE reports, citing numbers compiled by Cenatic, the Spanish government open source resource centre. However, ELSE notes that there are challenges. The two main threats to the use of free software in public administrations are a lack of funds for innovation, and insufficient political or managerial support.
Last year, the trade group also started its 'Pulsométro del sector' reports to track the confidence of free and open source software enterprises in the autonomous region. Its 2014 report, which was published earlier this month, shows that ESLE's members - service providers specialising in free and open source - are more upbeat about their turnover and growth perspective than other firms in both the region and throughout the rest of Spain.
ESLE is planning to update these Pulsométro studies every six months.
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