Vol 71 Issue 3 2004-01-19 Article 11988 from section "Free and Open Source Software"

Government will Suspend the Purchase of New Microsoft Software

Mercury News recently reported on Israel's adoption of the open source
movement in software, commenting on its recent decision to suspend
purchases of Microsoft's productivity software in favor of cheaper open
source alternatives. Open source advocates are hailing the move as a
significant move towards open source.

While the long-term ramifications of the development remain unclear, in
the short-term, Israel's government plans to continue to use their
existing Microsoft products without upgrading to newer versions. During
this period, the Israeli government will encourage the development of
cheaper open source alternatives to Microsoft.

A spokeswoman for the Finance Ministry, who asked her name be withheld,
commented to the Associated Press, "The move with Microsoft was a purely
economic decision. The Israeli government will not be purchasing new
products from Microsoft but will implement its contract to secure
existing systems."

The move by Israel seems to substantiate a recent trend in global
governments towards open source, primarily Linux. Federal agencies in
France, China and Germany all recently made the decision to use Linux on
servers and workstations. Britain, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, China and
Russia are also investigating open source alternatives to Microsoft.

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