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Iceland latest to make big noises about open source

A recent report that the government of Iceland is making progress in its efforts to adopt open-source software is the latest indication that public sector IT leaders are increasingly interested in moving away from proprietary products.

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Tryggvi Bjorgvinsson, the head of a project aimed at analyzing open-source adoption in government organizations, said that schools have been an important part of Iceland's migration.

"Public institutions have slowly been migrating to free software over the last four years. This school year, 2011-2012, two new secondary schools moved their systems entirely to free and open source software, bringing the count to five out of 32 schools," he said in a statement published by the European Commission.

Iceland is far from the only government looking to adopt open-source software, however. Projects like the ambitious electronic health record effort being jointly undertaken by the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are becoming increasingly common across the developed world.

Generally lower costs and the ability to avoid restrictive licensing terms are key motivators for the interest in open source among governments, particularly in light of tight budgetary conditions in many countries. However, curiosity about open-source in general and Linux in particular predates the recent recession. The French Gendarmerie Nationale began a move to Linux in 2006, according to Ars Technica, and saved millions of dollars over the next three years.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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