EU institutions test alternative to Microsoft
By Lisbeth Kirk
The European Parliament and the European Commission have tested the open source operative computer system, Linux, to find out whether this free system could provide an alternative to the giant Microsoft operating programmes currently in use.
The tests were run for several months at the end of 2002 by the two institutions, with a view to having an alternative for negotiations with the Microsoft company, which currently provides the European Union institutions with its software.
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Linux is an operating system initially created as a hobby by a young student, Linus Torvalds, at the University of Helsinki in Finland. The business model generated by Linux was revolutionary in that it provided open-source software that is freely available to everyone.
As good as Microsoft - and free of charge
While IT-experts recommended the Linux system and said it was as good as Microsoft, the institutions decided to sign a new deal with Microsoft, sources inside the institutions told the EUobserver.
"We are constantly and with great interest following and testing these open-source programmes, including Linux, but it has not been an option to replace Microsoft with Linux at this point, Deputy Secretary-General in the European Parliament", Harald Rømer told the EUobserver.
"We need a system, which is safe and can operate in 11 languages - soon 20," he said.