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Russian government to invest in open source desktop

The Russian government is planning to invest 150 million rouble (about 3.5 million Euro) in developing an secure open source desktop for public administrations, a Russian business newspaper reported on Wednesday and confirmed by the AFP news agency.

According to the news item in Vedomosti, the government wants to reduce it’s dependence on single vendor of a proprietary operating system and increase the security of its desktops.

The new desktop is to be based on the open source Linux operating system. As part of the plan the government is also to start federal open source support centres.

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AFP confirmed the move, after contacting Russian deputy Ilia Ponomarev. “The devil is in the details”, AFP quotes Ponomarev. According to him, the plans will be discussed in December in a meeting with the Russian vice-prime minister Sergei Ivanov.

Vedomosti also cites two open source IT service providers, who explained that the national desktop operating system would help fight vendor lock-in and also increase the security of IT systems.

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For roughly the same reasons, Russia in September two years ago started disseminating Linux to all schools across the country.

It is not the first time that Russian politicians mention moving to Linux. According to open source IT service provider Armada, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev wanted the public administration in the country to move to open source in 2010. source

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