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Canary Islands' government increasing and encouraging open source use

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The government of the Canary Islands will increasingly be using open source applications. It is moving to open source for its telephony needs and will install a handful of open source applications on governmental desktop PCs. "We are strongly encouraging the use of OpenOffice."

The government is also considering to make available as open source Platino, software it developed to make government services electronically available to citizens and enterprises. The application stack, based on a service-oriented architecture, is already available to all public administrations on the island. So far, the application is used by the Canary Islands' government and the Cabildo de Tenerife, the governing body of the island of Tenerife.

A formal decision has not yet been taken, says Rafael del Rosario Verdu, chief computer engineer for the Platino project. However, making the software available using an open source licence "would best fit our current intentions for sharing it with other public administrations."

The government is organising seminars together with the two universities on the islands, Universidad de La Laguna and Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The aim of these workshops it to train a number of computer science undergraduates to become Platino specialists, in investment in the software's future development.

Less proprietary licences
Robert Moreno, director general of Telecommunications and New Technologies, says that the amount of money the government has budgeted for buying proprietary software licences will be lowered to 750,000 euro, a reduction of 25 per cent compared to last year. "We will use these savings on further developing Platino. And we're strongly encouraging the use of OpenOffice."

With his remark the director general confirms reports that the island administration is considering to switch to either OpenOffice or LibreOffice. Reports on such a move followed close on the heels of the signing in March of a 2.3 million euro, four-year licence deal for a proprietary office suite.

The government announced in May that it will move to open source for its telephony services. This should result in a further savings of 700,000 euro.

In June, Las Palmas, the largest city in the autonomous community of the Canary Islands, announced it will start using LibreOffice on all of the city's 1200 desktop PCs.

More information:
ABC news item (in Spanish)
El Dia news item (in Spanish)
Platino (in Spanish)
Universo Canario news item (in Spanish)
OSL ULL commentary (in Spanish)

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