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Croatia Adopts Open Source Policy 99

lisah writes "Croatia says that concerns over the expense and limitations of proprietary software led to last month's decision to adopt a free and open source software policy within Croatia's government. Officials say the move will make the government's work more transparent as well as help to better manage its operating costs. Taking it a step further, under the new policy the government will also support the use of open source in schools, saying, 'both closed and open source solutions will be equally presented to students.' Vlatko Kosturjak, president of the Croatian Linux User Group, is unmoved. Citing the practical and technical difficulties of embracing open source on such a broad scale, he says until the policy is actually implemented, '[it] is just like an unsent letter.'"
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Croatia Adopts Open Source Policy

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  • by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:29PM (#15959732) Journal
    ...Beautiful place, Croatia, and some smart people from the area. Think Nikola Tesla (a real border-spanner) and all those lovely cool rivers for Penguins to swim in.
    • by Lord Prox ( 521892 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:49PM (#15959790) Homepage
      I'm glad to see Croatia doing well afer the Yugo breakup in '91. Choosing Open Source leads me to think that the folks in charge there are awake and looking to keep things efficent and Open. Open Source, Open Society.

      ps... if he people in Croatia have any extra politicians available I would like to borrow 1 or 2 (dozen) for a few years. Rent or lease options possible.

      Sincerely
      An American.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        ps... if he people in Croatia have any extra politicians available I would like to borrow 1 or 2 (dozen) for a few years. Rent or lease options possible.

        Trust me man, no you wouldn't. Really.

        Sincerely,
        A Croatian :D
        • Politicians here, politicians there, all SUCK.

          --An American
        • by zecg ( 521666 )
          Certainly. You can take the remains of our now dead president Tuman, who is responsible for numerous war crimes in Bosnia. Or any of the batshit insane women-bashing, church-abiding right-wingers who are sitting in the parliament after stealing other people's work for their doctoral dissertation. Or, for that matter, even our more progressive "liberal" ex-communists who simply slid into their new well-paid political careers directly from the comfy chairs of socialism. You know what? Take them all. And have
      • Sure, Why don't you borrow Franjo Tudjman? A Croatian president that led the country through wars of 90's until his death in late 90's. He brought back interesting things from past like say, those fancy Nazi symbols Croatia used in WW2, even their flag today is a remeniscant of their Nazi flag... As a bonus you get politicians that were creative enough to be the first in the balkan conflict to come up with concetration camps in Bosnia (more specifically Herzegovina region, south of city of Mostar). Serbs w
      • "...to keep things efficent and Open. Open Source, Open Society."

        Yeah, I hope they force Crytek to publish the Crysis [google.com] code open source too! ;)
      • by phiber9 ( 943697 )
        I'm glad to see Croatia doing well afer the Yugo breakup in '91. Choosing Open Source leads me to think that the folks in charge there are awake and looking to keep things efficent and Open. Open Source, Open Society.

        They definetly aren't.
        As a croatian, I can confirm that Croatia is run by corrupt politicians and tycoons.

        The folks in charge aren't awake, well... not true exactly. If they can get some international contract for one of their private companies, they will. Otherwise, they do what EU fo
    • Any mention of armies in the context of the Balkans worries me.
    • Since Austria-Hungary no longer exists, history has labeled Nikola Tesla as a Serbian.
      • by cozziewozzie ( 344246 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @12:19AM (#15960458)
        Nikola Tesla was not Serbian. He was a Serb. From Croatia. So both the Croats and Serbs make a claim on him, which is fine. Like when an ethnically Chinese person born in the US makes a great discovery, both the Chinese and Americans feel proud.

        Don't get ethnicity (Serb, Croat) mixed up with nationality (Serbian, Croatian). Tesla himself said that he was proud both of his Serb ancestry and Croatian homeland. The area where he was born has never been a part of Serbia.
        • by fizze ( 610734 )
          ...correct. But at his time, this belonged to Austria-Hungary. [wikipedia.org]
          Which was actually called the Austrian Empire before 1867, but had the same borders.
          So Nicola Tesla was born as an Austrian.
    • by keeboo ( 724305 )
      Beautiful place, Croatia, and some smart people from the area.

      Well written, it doesn't contradict the fact he was Serbian (yet I personally think that more like a political division than anything).
      And yes, those guys are smart doing that. :)
  • Translation (Score:1, Interesting)

    by PixieDust ( 971386 )
    FTA

    "The use of information technology in government administration bodies is increasingly becoming important. So far, most of the software we use is proprietary software, so we cannot modify or complement it, or link software from different vendors. These software products impose rigid commercial conditions of use and limit our possibilities. In this way, government administration bodies may be led into a dependent position on the supplier of the software. This could lead to closed information systems, wh

  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:32PM (#15959740) Homepage Journal
    The governments' mum confirmed it has lost its job and is moving back into the basement.
  • wrong guy? (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:41PM (#15959769) Homepage
    Vlatko Kosturjak, president of the Croatian Linux User Group, is unmoved. Citing the practical and technical difficulties of embracing open source on such a broad scale

    You sure this guy isn't the president of the Croatian Microsoft User Group?
    • by RuBLed ( 995686 )
      No. He just fears that the president would appoint him as the head of the Croatian FOSS Task Force and he was really hoping that he would get a life and a nice vacation by the end of the year, too bad...
    • Re:wrong guy? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:58PM (#15959807)
      Wow. I guess that not every Linux user in Croatia is a shrill, unrealistic, idealistic, zealot!
    • Re:wrong guy? (Score:4, Informative)

      by cozziewozzie ( 344246 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @12:30AM (#15960491)
      You sure this guy isn't the president of the Croatian Microsoft User Group?

      Vlatko Kosturjak is a good guy, and he has been instrumental in maintaining a high profile for Linux and FLOSS in Croatia in the last 10 years. He has also administered the Croatian LUG website for years, helped organise numerous talks by OSS/Free Software speakers, install fests, and worked on translations. In fact, the work that HULK [linux.hr] has done on promoting FLOSS in Croatia (including complete translations of OpenOffice, KDE, GNOME and Fedora into Croatian), despite their low activity levels is amazing. So don't jump to conclusions.

      He is simply skeptical that this is the ultimate victory for us just yet. There are real issues in getting FLOSS implemented on a large scale, especially when Windows is as entrenched as it is in Croatia, and where shady dealings secure deals for big companies far too often.

      When we see FLOSS deployed at a large scale in Croatia, we can open the champagne. Until then, it's just a blurb from a politician, possibly trying to get a better price from MS. It's not like we haven't seen this in other countries already...
    • by kost ( 222308 )
      I guess you just didn't read my complete statement, but just part of it on Slashdot, right? I said it need good goverment commitment because migration is not easy task. I'm enthusiastic like any other open source advocate, but I just don't want that we have open source policy unimplemented. We're ready to help Croatian Goverment in implementation as well as we helped before.
  • by desideria ( 140436 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @08:58PM (#15959812)
    In a month Microsoft will be offering them a fantastic licensing deal and like other countries that "decided" to use open source, they'll likely change their course.
    • by Daengbo ( 523424 ) <daengbo@gTEAmail.com minus caffeine> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @09:21PM (#15959892) Homepage Journal
      What? Like Thailand a couple of years ago, with the gov't's own Linux [opentle.org] on the fast track to becoming the national OS and the gov't requiring 90% use within two years? Oh, yeah, since MS offered the gov't a sweet deal, that software hasn't been updated. Last version was December 2004. In the lifespan of a Linux distro, that means that it's dead.
      • No no. Just you wait.

        Thailand, France, Croatia...

        Now if we could only get Crapolia and Turdistan to join in, all the other Governments will fall over for OSS like dominos.
      • by xtracto ( 837672 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2006 @02:46AM (#15960795) Journal
        Oh, but Thailanees (people from Thailand?) are not alone, something similar happened in Mexico [slashdot.org] in 2002, when Miguel de Icaza and others started promoting the migration to "software libre" in the E-mexico project:


        The project, dubbed e-Mexico, was first introduced by the government of Vicente Fox shortly after the ex-Coca-Cola executive took over the presidency in December of 2000. Funding was scarce, though, and the government began to look to corporate players to fill the void.


        In fact, some time ago, I read that article (a bit old but still good and impressive for me) about what happened, and I had just read one of those "Microsoft is Bad but Bill Gates is great with his Bill&Melinda foundation" discussions in slashdot.

        The truth is that before reading this article I had the belief that well, even tough Microsoft acts bad because it is a corporation, maybe the man and his wife may be better but oh surprise:


        Despite general agreement that open-source technologies would be more flexible and cost efficient, Mexico's Linux revolution was quashed after Fox met with Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, according to de Icaza.

        "Bill Gates flew down to Mexico, and they announced a donation of $30 million dollars ... and Linux was dropped," de Icaza said.


        And, to make things worse:

        icrosoft has pledged $60 million in software and training to help fund Internet kiosks that are being built in remote communities. The software maker has also allotted $10 million to train workers in small and mid-size businesses, along with an additional grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the country's Vamos México program to be used to move the country's libraries online.


        Now, for those of you who does not know, this "Vamo México" program was made by the presidents wife, is is being investigaded by authorities for missuse and corruption [mexidata.info].

        So, being things as they are here in Mexico (corruption has already rot the system) I am sure Mr. Fox got its piece of Gates cake to maintain MS software. But what I could not stand is the use of the Bill & Melinda foundation on this matters. I've got no respect from this man nor anything related to him.

        • Oh, but Thailanees (people from Thailand?)

          People from Thailand are called Thai, and so is the language.
          • by xtracto ( 837672 )
            People from Thailand are called Thai, and so is the language.

            Thanks but, how do you call several people from Thailand.

            For example, 1 person from mexico is Mexican,

            2 or more persons from Mexico are Mexicans

            Is the pluar of Thai "Thais" or is it the same "Thai"?

            again, thanks :)
  • Why only there? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Drysh ( 868378 ) <marcelo AT resegue DOT com> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @09:00PM (#15959816) Homepage
    I think government all around the world should adopt similar policies.

      1. Governamental software is usualy specialized, so they had to pay for the whole development. Now they can build uppon OSS saving money.
      2. The development will probably be made by locals. Creating more programmers there, and more business based on OSS (support, custom development, etc).
      3. They will have full control of what there softwares do. No more hidden calls home by proprietary software.
      4. Security will probably be better: security by secret is the worst kind.

    My only question is... Why only there? Why don't other nations use similar policies? Why they keep buying from foreign companies instead of using OSS?
    • Re:Why only there? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @09:14PM (#15959864)
      My only question is... Why only there? Why don't other nations use similar policies? Why they keep buying from foreign companies instead of using OSS?

      Brcause it is a MAJOR change. Whether going from Oracle to Postgres, or SQLServer to Oracle, Windows to OSX, Windows to Linux....it is major. And not to be undertaken lightly.
      Whatever they are using now works, mostly. Business gets done. Changing the entire underpinnings brings the possibility of it not working. Yes, there might be a slight benefit in a new system, but it also might be a huge money pit. Ask the FBI.

      Switching tens of thousands, or even millions of desktops, the servers that they connect to, and all the myriad of applications used daily, to "something else" is not to be thought of lightly. And woe to he who proposes a multiyear project, with any cost savings at least 5 years out, and it goes tits up after 3 years.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm not entirely sure about point #1. Assume they have to develop something from scratch. If they go to a proprietary vendor, they will pay for it. If they do it in house, they will pay for it in the programmers' salaries. However, it is possible that they can build on an existing code base, saving money and time.

      Even if they have to pay for the whole thing being developed in house, it does create local jobs and helps build technical skills (a worthy investment in itself.) The great thing about OSS wit
      • by ajs318 ( 655362 )

        Even if they have to pay for the whole thing being developed in house, it does create local jobs and helps build technical skills (a worthy investment in itself.)

        That is a massively important thing in and of itself. Local programmers contribute to the local economy by paying local taxes, spending money in local shops, drinking in local bars, eating in local restaurants and taking their friends and family to local tourist attractions. The money stays around, in one form or another; the local economy is st

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @09:07PM (#15959841)
    Ah, Croatia, one of the best kept secrets. The blonde, blue-eyed women are among the tallest in the world. Nude beaches on the Adriatic Sea. Almost everyone speaks English as a second language (knowing Croatian of course will get you further, but you can pick that up over time). Everything is cheap. And now, open source.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Lithuanian women are the tallest, followed by the women from some Scandinavian country (I do not remember which one, either Iceland or Sweden). Croatia (and other Balkan countries, Greece, Albania, Serbia, Bulgaria, etc) are way behind, they are not even in the top ten.
    • by AgNO3 ( 878843 )
      Wait, the woman are cheap and open? I am packing now.
    • This is one oft he most worthless comments I've ever heard.
    • Make sure you check http://www.kapaljka.com/ [kapaljka.com] ;)
    • Beeing from the area I am not sure what you are smoking? Croatian women are relativelly tall, but they are not blondes.. They are very mediterranian looking, dark hair and brown eyes.. And cheap? Not really, when was the last time you went there? I spent a shitload of $$$ there last summer.. Want blondes? Go more north to scandinavian countries, when I was in Dalmatia Croatian women looked more Turkish then anything else...
      • "when I was in Dalmatia Croatian women looked more Turkish then anything else"

        I know, but it is pretty hard to get past all the spots. And when they try to introduce you to all 100 of their siblings.
  • North Korea adopts its own open source policy, allowing modification and perusal of its extensive nuclear weapons systems. "Communists share everything," say top officials in the country.
  • by kahrytan ( 913147 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @10:30PM (#15960130)

      They are in debt and are spending to much. They don't have any money. They spend 19 billion and only bring in 17 billion. The Republic of Croatia is looking to cut expenses. Though, it should be easier to cut 2 billion in expenses compared to 200 billion USA needs to cut.

    And in case if any slashdotters wants to move there.

    Croatia has GDP of $35 billion and $11,000 per capita. Unemployment is 18% compared to USA's 4.6%. Croatia is also mostly Catholic with only 1.3% is muslim as of 2001.

      If you want to congratulate the government. You can contact them through Ambassador Neven JURICA at 2343 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008. Phone is 202-588-5899 /Fax 202-588-8936.

    More information available at your local CIA office. [cia.gov]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Judging the quality of life in a country by GDP and unemployment figures is highly inaccurate. There are many other things you have to take into account, including cost of living, medical care, etc.

      That said, after living 33 years in the USA, I moved back to Croatia. So far I have no desire to move back to the USA. There is something about being a few hours drive from the Austrian Alps, a few hours drive from the Adriatic sea (beautiful coastline). Being able to walk out of a bar/pub with my beer onto t
  • no big deal, more like PR stunt paid by some PR agency.
  • They may cut operating costs by using free software, which is an admirable effort for taxpayers, but they might also inadvertently discourage software development, since there is a smaller customer base and profit motive for programmers. Programmers here in the US are making six-digit salaries; I don't know if they would be willing to give that up or go through the education again to design free software or innovate. Also, highly specialized programs designed for military or tax purposes and such may be mor
    • Transparency is a no-go for government-microsoft deals. When MS strikes a deal with a government (most favored nation or something) they demand that the particulars are kept confidential. They even demand that the various ISVs the government contracts subsidise MS through some elaborate support sceme they are required to purchase. (from MS)
    • Programmers here in the US are making six-digit salaries; I don't know if they would be willing to give that up or go through the education again to design free software or innovate.

      Why do you American programmers consistently bleat on about how you are *entitled* to continue earning big salaries for your work? I work for an American company here in the UK, I'm a consultant/support person who does a little programming and, yes, I'd like my job to be as secure as possible for as long as possible.

      But if t

      • by alais4 ( 997201 )
        I'm commenting from an economist's point of view, not the POV of a disgruntled programmer. Your logic would work if every nation suddenly switched to free software and engineers would have nowhere better to go. But in this case programmers can easily get a higher-paying job somewhere else, and by switching to open source Croatia is giving the message that taxpayers don't like programmers and don't want to compensate them as much as [insert other country] and so maybe all the students who were going to major
  • Hi all! As a Croat I just had to post something to clarify... Croatia is a young country, and therefore we had to build our IT program infrastructure from close to nothing, meaning not many legacy problems. Being a small country (for a great holiday:) ), changes to this type of things is easier that applying the same to the US - imagine having to teach all the employees new tricks or worse new programs. Croatia has had a very long tradition of unix, and later linux usage. Our academic network http://www. [carnet.hr]
  • That's all great, I wish our country did this (Bosnia) but they rather took Bill Gates letter of congrats and chose windows. But hey we're a hole country.Croatia is really getting there, somehwere. Just dont embrace it just much as, most tall girs and etc... I mean those are just WTF comments.
  • What's going on with the lame, unenthusiastic response by that Vlatko Kosturjak guy, president of the Croatian Linux User Group ?

    Yeah, I can imagine it might be difficult to do the transition on a large setting. So ???? Difficult doesn't mean hopeless, but that's sure how his response was. Shouldn't he be rolling up his sleeves and maybe offer resources, instead of just sitting back and making unhelpful, aloof statements like that ?

    Maybe he has had bad experiences with his govt's hot air statements. Who kno
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kost ( 222308 )
      Hi! I'm Vlatko! I guess you just read in brief and you didn't read actually my complete statement, right? We're always offering help and we already helped in so many ways. We're all very positive about open source policy. For example, E-croatia (Main goverment IT body) website is running on open source technologies thanks to us. That's just one example. Yes we're ethusiastic, but I think implementation is crucial thing. You can write on paper whatever you want. Paper can stand whatever you can write :)
      • by Aqua04 ( 859925 )
        Hi, I understand. A policy announcement is different from the implementation. Also in the article, your full comments make it clear that you are very supportive of the direction things are going, you just wanted to make clear that the work is not done with the announcement by itself and that people shouldn't get all excited just yet. Fair enough.

        Maybe one lesson, however, is that one can get quoted out of context very easily and then, when lazy people like me just read the summary they draw the wrong or ext
  • Glad to hear Croatia's government adopeted an open source software policy. I myself have adopted an open source policy for my novel about Croatia's breakup from Yugolavia called Under the Oak Tree. I have posted the first five chapters at http://lovcroatia.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com] and will be adding a new chapter every week.

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