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[News] Government and Free Software Fit Together and Already Go Together in SA

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Where Open Source, Open Data and government meet

,----[ Quote ]
| The Obama administration recently excited the world of open source software 
| by choosing to launch recovery.gov on Drupal. Their choice of a free, open 
| source platform over any proprietary system is as hopeful and promising as 
| the purpose of the website they built, which is to lend transparency to the 
| spending of the $800 billion dollar economic stimulus money. We should be 
| happy both that the U.S. government is embracing open software, and that it 
| is promoting Open Data.      
| [...]
| To achieve these goals, and help governments transition into an era of open, 
| linked data, Drupal has some growing to do. As mentioned earlier, we are 
| organizing code sprints that aim to make Drupal 7 a more powerful tool for 
| managing RDF data.    


SITA pushes open source adoption  

,----[ Quote ]
| Pumeza Ceza, manager of Foss advocacy at SITA, says the agency has 
| prioritised assisting the government with its drive towards using open 
| sourced software and fostering greater acceptance and use of free and open 
| source software.   



IT agency outlines OSS progress made in SA government

,----[ Quote ]
| The South African government’s State IT Agency (Sita) Free and Open Source
| Programme has released its second public newsletter outlining the progress of
| open source software in government. Among the range of issues covered are
| details of the progress made in migration the SA Revenue Service over to open
| source software (we recently covered that) and steps forward in the education
| arena.


Suse Linux powers SA tax collection

,----[ Quote ]
| More than two years ago the South African Revenue Service (SARS) began a
| process to migrate its desktops to Linux by calling for a proof on concept.
| Two years on the desktop migration has not happened but the tax-collection
| arm of government has made some progress towards wider open source use,
| including wide use of Suse Linux. We take a look at exactly what has been
| going on.
| According to Sita’s Free and Open Source Programme, although SARS’ is still
| working on a desktop Linux strategy - a thin-client network - the department
| has a number of open source deployments. Most of these are in the development
| and backoffice environment.


Government CIOs keen on open source software

,----[ Quote ]
| “The move to open source software has not been as fast as we would have
| liked, but we are now entering a new era. In the past, open source
| deployments were mostly spontaneous and ad-hoc. We now have a more systematic
| approach.” In years past many government departments pursued their own open
| source migrations, usually in isolation from one another, and with varying
| degrees of success.
| [...]
| Now, says Webb, the State IT Agency (Sita) is assuming the role of paving the
| way for OSS migration by finalising standards and conducting pilot projects
| to make it easier for all to implement open source software successfully. ...
| Webb also says that Sita expects all government department websites to be
| running on open source software “very soon”.


Ubuntu in South African Schools

,----[ Quote ]
| Over the last month, I've heard that the government's licensing agreement
| with Microsoft is now about to expire and has not been renewed yet.
| Apparently, the Department of Education is now pushing schools into switching
| to Linux as otherwise they will need to budget for a couple of extra million
| just for software licensing fees.
| It's surprising to me though that they are only pushing for this now. They
| should have started the transition quite some time ago. Linux has matured a
| lot as a desktop operating system (with no small thanks to Ubuntu) and it's
| much better to get your learners familiar with Linux and decrease your
| dependency on any particular software vendor regardless of your current
| agreements.
| [...]
| So of course, now the question is, how many will start to adopt Linux?
| Obviously, as you can expect, there will be a lot of fighting and kicking by
| lots of the schools. The teachers know what they know and obviously feel much
| more comfortable sticking with what they have. However, money talks, and now
| the pressure is (apparently) on.

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