In the recent years software development has grown at very fast pace.
Software Libre, Free Software, Open Source Software
Those who follow the world of Open Source software know that in the beginning there was the Free Software Foundation, originator of the GNU software tools and the GNU General Public License (GPL). The Foundation is ideologically committed to the abolition of proprietary software, and thus tends to make business people a little nervous.
More moderate Linux enthusiasts believed that by coining the term Open Source they could put a less ideological face on Linux (even though the Linux kernel itself uses the GNU GPL). As a result, the term Open Source covers a number of software licenses, not just the GNU GPL, that allow software source code to be modified and freely redistributed.
The Free Software Foundation (FSF), however, insists on the GNU GPL and the use of the term Free Software to describe the software it covers. The emphasis is on freedom of thought, speech, and action, as in libre, not on free-of-cost, as in gratis. In the course of setting up FSF branches around the world, translation into Romance languages gives us the term Software Libre. While the term carries a certain amount of political message and fervor inherited from its FSF origins, nevertheless the term has come to be widely understood to mean about the same thing as Open Source, and exists in variations such as the Software Liberty Association of Taiwan (SLAT) . More about Taiwan and Open Source down below.
Growing Governmental Interest in Open Source
One of the engines pushing the growth of Open Source software around the world is gradual adoption of Open Source by governments. Besides reasons of national interest and security, saving money is a large motivator, especially when one considers that the Windows operating system and Office suite are imported items and users of foreign exchange.
Florida and Germany
The example in 2001 of the switch from UNIX to Linux by the City of Largo, Florida showed that by taking advantage of the server strength of Linux, 400 desktops could be served by thin clients, a savings of US$ 300,000 per year. Over $300,000 more was saved by substituting Bynari’s InsightServer at a cost of $80-90,000 vs. $400,000 or $500,000 for Microsoft Exchange server and its client licenses. The use of OpenOffice the free version of Sun’s StarOffice–saves over $1,500,000 over a six-year cycle (note the long cycle time). On the national level in the United States, the Department of Defense accepted a May 2002 report from the MITRE Corporation that urged broader consideration of Open Source software for reasons of security and cost savings, and reached this conclusion in the face of lobbying by Microsoft to ban use of Open Source software as insecure. The text of the July 2001 report, only recently available, is at
Interestingly, even before the IBM deal was announced, the Lower Saxony police announced plans to retire after some 15 years of use 200 UNIX servers and their 5500 terminals, and replace them with a high-availability Linux cluster. The full switch-over will involve some 11,000 new desktops . The savings from moving to Linux instead of to Windows XP are estimated at â‚¬20,000,000 over a ten-year period. Security and ease of administration were the reasons given for the change. The new system will be running specialized platform-independent software written in Java.