In a statement the cabinet said “all new software developed for or by the government will be based on open standards and government will itself migrate current software to FOSS. This strategy will, among other things, lower administration costs and enhance local IT skills.”
“All the major IT vendors in the country have both supported the initiative and made contributions to the development of FOSS. Government departments will incorporate FOSS in their planning henceforth.”
Government plans to set up a FOSS project office by April this year. The office will be established by the department of science and technology, the CSIR and the State Information Technology Agency (Sita).
Reuters writes that Themba Maseko told reporters the cabinet would use the open source Linux operating system in a bid to lower administration costs and enhance local IT skills.
“This is going to be a long process… What this (open source) initiative is basically trying to streamline (is) our use and development of software in the country,” Maseko said.
Maseko said it was too early to provide time frames for implementing Linux.
South Africa joins governments in other emerging markets like Brazil, China, Spain, India and Malaysia in adopting open source software, with proponents of Linux arguing that the free software could help slash the cost of getting computers into schools, homes and community centers.