Ukraine is preparing a program to switch to Linux and Open Source in government

    On May 12, 2009, the State Committee on Informatization of Ukraine held a public discussion of the Concept of the State Target Program for the implementation of open source software in government bodies, on which officials announced the decision to switch to open source until 2012 and create a Ukrainian distribution based on Linux.

    51 representatives from state authorities, business, scientific institutions and only one media representative, namely, a HiTech.Expert correspondent, took part in the round table . So the organizers somehow took little care of the wide coverage of this event.


    The discussion participants from the business were attended by heads or representatives of leading domestic companies working in the field of software development and supply and representative offices in Ukraine of world leaders in the software development industry, such as Microsoft, IBM, Adobe Systems.

    “Today, the largest part of the budget allocation goes to the purchase of standard software and its legalization. What does it have to do with direct costs, that is, those aimed specifically at developing software, providing services or legalizing software? A significant part of the funds is also spent on the purchase of OEM versions. If we take all the costs that go into the development, support, implementation of software, then the lion's costs go to actually purchase licensed software or legalize the existing one. Moreover, the growth rate is impressive. That is, every year we increase by 80%, ”said Vitaliy Balyuk, deputy chairman of the State Committee for Informatization of Ukraine.

    According to him, having invested 243 million hryvnias over the past 4 years to purchase proprietary software and its licensing, Ukraine has reduced the level of piracy in state institutions from 76% in 2005 to 52% in 2008. At the same time, Microsoft software continues to be used in large quantities, primarily operating systems and office applications. “This is 98.2% among operating systems for PCs, 63.3% among network operating systems and 96.1% - office software. And only among database management systems there are many different solutions, this is the segment of the Ukrainian market in which Microsoft has real competition, ”said Balyuk.

    In addition, a significant part of the funds is used to upgrade office computer equipment. “And the main explanation: new products appear on the market, and in order to be able to use them, the capacities of the available computers are not enough. Thus, over the past 4 years, significant funds have been spent on updating computer equipment. Today, almost all civil servants are provided with computer equipment, ”said Balyuk.

    According to him, despite the fact that proprietary software costs significant amounts, its distributors also take millions of hryvnias for support. Thus, the funds allocated for the purchase of licensed software can be effectively spent on developing our own open source software.
    When the program is adopted and funding is approved, a competition will be announced for the development of the Ukrainian distribution system for the Linux-based operating system. It is planned to introduce a unified operating system for all authorities.

    It is also planned to create an information center for user support and a training center for the training and retraining of specialists.

    However, it is not yet known how further development of the software and payment of third-party developers taking part in this process will be carried out. “At the stage of creating the concept, we cannot know all the answers that Microsoft has known for so many years of work,” Balyuk noted.

    At the same time, the State Target Program does not aim to switch exclusively to open source software, destroying the proprietary software that is already working. “Our goal is to reduce the cost of acquiring new proprietary software, where possible. If 52% of software is unlicensed and 400-600 million UAH are required. licensing it, then why can’t we invest some of this money in creating a new direction, a new industry, create jobs, and thus ensure equal access to different software models, ”said the deputy chairman of the State Committee on Formation.


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