Macedonia, a small land-locked country in eastern Europe, has been using Linux and Open Source applications in its Ministry of Finance since 2001. The decision to use Open Source operating systems and applications has resulted in significant cost savings to the Ministry.
Republic of Macedonia
Details of the usage of Open Source applications in the Ministry was made available by Miroslav Jovanovic, former head of its IT department, at a United Nations Development Programme conference in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia. Here’s the announcement:
“The IT department has been using and developing Open Source solutions and open standards ever since 2001. The entire server infrastructure has been migrated to Open Source and all new IT services are based on Open Source solutions.”
The ministry uses GNU/Linux for its web servers, in combination with the Open Source web server Apache, the Open Source database system MySQL and the Open Source programming languages PHP, Perl and Python. The IT department uses web proxy, management and security tools such as Squid, Nagios and Snort.
The department maintains several Debian GNU/Linux servers that offer printer services, by using the CUPS Open Source printing manager. These servers also help sharing office documents in environments using Microsoft Windows, using the Samba Open Source file server. “These centralised servers offer better printer and resources utilisation and help to cut costs.”
About 170 desktop PCs at the ministry have OpenOffice installed, a Open Source suite of office applications. Some two hundred news PCs will soon also have OpenOffice installed. These PCs also use the Open Source web browser Firefox, and the Open Source application PDF Creator. Jovanovic: “The IT and Treasure departments at the ministry also have several PCs using the Open Source GNU/Linux distribution Ubuntu.”
The ministry’s Money Laundering Prevention Directorate (MLPD) used Gnu Privacy Guard (GPG) between 2004 and 2007. This is Open Source software for encrypting and electronically signing data, allowing it to be transmitted securely even through public networks. The directorate also uses the Open Source relational database management system Firebird. “Both the banks and the MLPD accepted our solution without any objections, and it did not introduce any costs”, comments Jovanovic. “However, they now also have a proprietary system, and I do not know if they still use GPG.”