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'Open source can fix Latvia's unlicensed software problem'

'Open source can fix Latvia's…

Anonymous (not verified)
Published on: 02/12/2013 News Archived

Public administrations in Latvia should switch to using free and open source solutions, instead of unlicensed software, argues Leo Trukšāns, a lecturer at University of Latvia, in an open letter on behalf of the country's Open Technology Association (LATA). This would avoid irregularities and at the same time save substantial amounts of funds.

In October, Latvia's audit office (Valsts kontroles, VK) reported that one-fifth of all software in use by public administrations is unlicensed. In his comment, Trukšāns explains that this is a good occasion to push for free software: "We call on the authorities and institutions that are cleaning-up their IT systems, to search for long-term solutions that save tax-payers' money, reduce IT vendor lock-in and avoid breaking the rules."

Trukšāns's letter was published by Delfi, a widely-read IT news site and by Open News, a Latvian news site on free software.

"Of course, switching to open source software may require some efforts, but it pays off in the long-term. But it will change the way costs are structured, reducing the costs for licence fees, and increase investments in local specialists."

Schools and towns

The university teacher also argues for the use of free software in education. In his letter, he points to three examples. First there is the Ozolnieku school, using Linux, LibreOffice office package and other tools for teaching and administration. A second example is the Priekules high school, which calculated that with proprietary software it could organise PCs for half a class room, yet with open source it could equip an entire classroom. Third is the Gulbenes county public school, that reported to have saved 3,000 lats (about 4200 euro) by using open source.

Latvia also has several municipal administrations that use open source, Trukšāns writes, including the administration of the city of Valmiera, which is using free and open source for the city administration and also in the town's schools. "It saves money, and allows them to fit the software to meet their needs. Even during the financial crisis, the city scaled-up its IT system and deployed new software solutions. And all the software the city develops is made publicly available."


More information:

Open letter by Leo Trukšāns (in Latvian)
Open letter by Leo Trukšāns (in Latvian)