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[News] Public Sector Pushed Towards Free Software

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Digital Health

,----[ Quote ]
| A major difference between the two companies is Medsphere uses open-source 
| software, which is software in which the programming code is freely available 
| for anyone to acquire and modify. For example, the Web browser Internet 
| Explorer is a Microsoft product and its programming code is property of 
| Microsoft. However, the Web browser Firefox is open source, meaning any 
| computer user can modify its code.     
| Open-source computer programs have the advantage in that they are free, so in 
| the case of Medsphere, the state-run facilities paid for the installation and 
| training for how to use the records system, not the software itself. Epic 
| uses its own software.   
| Dr. Edmund Billings, chief medical officer at Medsphere, said his company 
| provides an affordable option for many hospitals that simply can't afford the 
| higher priced services companies such as Epic provide.  
| "You can buy a Cadillac or you could buy a Honda, and most people can't 
| afford Cadillacs," he said. 
| The low cost of open-source software has caught the attention of Sen. Jay 
| Rockefeller, D-W.Va. The senator has introduced legislation in Congress 
| calling for the universal adoption of electronic health records by using 
| open-source software.   
| "Open-source software is a cost-effective, proven way to advance health 
| information technology -- particularly among small, rural providers," he said 
| in a prepared statement.   


Open To Change

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| Open source applications, such as Linux and Apache, most often feed the back 
| end of networks - operating systems, security programs, Web servers and 
| databases. But they are quickly making their way to the desks of users. 
| Members of the intelligence community, for example, use them to share 
| information on investigations. The Defense Information Systems Agency 
| announced in March its plans to open source a suite of 50 applications for 
| human resources, training, security, acquisition and other related functions. 
| This will allow agencies to streamline and share information inside and 
| outside the Defense Department.        
| The General Services Administration is adopting open source principles to 
| consolidate eight IT systems into one acquisition platform to allow agencies 
| to share contracting data. In its solicitation for bids on the project, GSA 
| said vendors must develop open source applications so other companies can 
| compete for subsequent contracts for enhancements.    


Linux, open source and Sharepoint in the public sector

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| In a nutshell then SharePoint is Microsoft's attempt to box-up the Internet 
| like an Office suite and introduce it to the proprietary business model with 
| all the encumbered licensing, lock-in and forced upgrades that involves. 
| Obviously we found this rather distasteful but that is neither new nor is it 
| the point of this blog.     



HU: Procurement continues to puzzle open source companies

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| The Hungarian government's request for open source software is continuing to
| surprise the country's open source companies.
| The companies have been studying the procurement document ever since it was
| published on 16 April. "We are desperate. We just cannot find open source in
| it. It is not in there at all", said a representative of a group of open
| source companies, who declined to be named. "Maybe the reason is that this
| tender is focusing on open standards. It is also possible the government does
| not see the difference."


Hungarian government goes 50 per cent open source

,----[ Quote ]
| The Hungarian government has announced that it will be modifying procurement
| rules to allow open source to be used in public sector organisations.
| Previously, procurement rules had apparently named vendors such as Microsoft
| and Novell. The new rules, according to Ferenc Baja, deputy minister for
| information technology, will allocate the same amount of money to acquiring
| open source products as to proprietary products. The move was announced at a
| press conference on April 2nd.

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