Open Source Continues To Spread Through Official Circles
In the last several years, governments — and particularly those in Europe — have been snapping up Open Source alternatives like little old ladies at Loehmann's. The push towards Open continued this week as the Dutch police ditched Windows for the rosy cap.
Last March, the French Gendarmerie announced the dramatic reduction of its IT budget by 70%, thanks to the use of Open Source software, primarily in the form of Ubuntu desktops, and with the help of OpenOffice and Thunderbird, among others. Around this time last year, the German Foreign Office revealed that it had implemented Linux desktops in over half of the nation's 230 embassies and consulates, just one more in a long trail of German Open Source deployments, including the Ministry of the Interior, the state of Lower Saxony, and the City of Munich.
Now the Dutch are in on the action. According to reports, Tux will be appearing among the tulips, in the form of two Red Hat Network Satellite Servers and some 500 Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscriptions selected by the voorziening tot samenwerking Politie Nederland (vtsPN), or Police Cooperation. According to Red Hat's Sandor Klein, the move is part of a greater trend "in various government organizations...to reduce costs."
Choosing Linux is part of a recent policy change by the Dutch police — according to the new directive, the service will select only Open Source options for its technology needs. Likewise, a vow to work to advance Open Source and open standards was recently made by the Dutch Minister of Internal Affairs. Reportedly, the shift was the result of the severe criticism received after the organization requested 30,000 Windows systems at the beginning of the year.
By all accounts, this is just the first of many deployments, and particularly so if the Open Source-only policy remains in effect. One of the responsibilities of the vtsPN is to standardize the technology used by the National Police as well as the country's 25 regional law enforcement services.
Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.