A former Romanian secretary of state, Constantin Teodorescu, is calling on the country's public administrations to switch to Linux and other open source solutions. "The Romanian government should contact the budgetary heads at all public administrations and explain that they can switch everything to free software", he writes on his blog on Friday. "Let's get this straight, and end this tragedy".
He responds to a warning by Romania's 'Special Telecommunications Service' that three quarters of the country's public administrations will face a major IT crisis if they continue to use a decade-old proprietary operating system that is no longer supported by its manufacturer.
Between 2007 and 2009, Teodorescu was state secretary at the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. Now an independent IT consultant, he is working with IQM Company, contracted by the National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority. This government agency runs one of Romania's largest public database systems, used by more than 5,000 people, including 2,500 veterinarians across the country.
Four years ago IQM began its system, based on free software included operating system Linux and relational database management system Postgresql. Exactly one year ago, a study on the use of free software by the National Sanitary Veterinary and Food Safety Authority was published by the Open Source Observatory and Repository.
IQM manages the system usefd for the National Agency for Payments and Intervention in Agriculture, which uses it to collect and validate requests of farm subsidies. It is part of a system that keeps tabs on the country's farm animals, recording for example the number of animals born, sales, slaughter and results of laboratory analysis.
The system is bigger than any of the systems at the ministry of Health, says Teodorescu: "We track over 85 million animals in this system and everything is on Linux."
His plea for a switch to free software solutions follows TV and newspaper reports that the country's public administration are facing a major ICT crisis by continuing to rely on the aged proprietary computer operating system. Upgrading to more recent versions of the same proprietary operating systems would not only require new proprietary licences, but also new computer hardware. According to the Romanian news site Hotnews, the Ministry for Information Society in November last year appointed a commission to negotiate with the vendor of the proprietary operating system.