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08 February 2006

Greece Moves Forward To the Past in Informatics

"Strategic" agreement of the greek state with Microsoft

It's bad enough that a few days ago statistics showed us that only about 1 in 5 Greeks ever used a computer, and that most of those use it only for entertainment. Now the government went for the total sell-out. In a new agreement, they ensured that the states software will be from Microsoft for the next years... likely till 2013. Everybody is now wondering if there was ever a public call for offers for this deal. Likely not, the way it came just out of the blue. For the country this is a problem, since a monoculture is the opposite of a healthy informatics society...


The problem is that computers over here means badly maintained grey boxes, with a monoculture of (often stolen) M$ software. Not what you need to get a well educated group of people that can help you "propel the country into the 21st century" (or whatever bloat the politicians blast at the moment, in a couple of years the line with the 21st century will get old fast). When we were looking for a junior programmer at the place where I work, we had tons of resumes of kids who came out of university with the basic skills to use Windows and not much more. That may be fine and dandy if you think that MS software is the greatest and shiniest thing, but it is no way to compete on an international scale. When was the last time you heard of any IT project that got moved to Greece?

One could argue that it's all MS already, be it on the informal level (prescribing "Pentium" processors for acquiring computers for public offices) or on smaller scale agreements (lots of greek universities have "deals" with Microsoft). But the fact that it's already bad as it is does not make this step better. The tag-line of the agreement is that Greece gets "preferential" financial terms. Which means they will still pay a big, big deal.

As a weblog from Bulgaria mentioned (How a government must deal with Microsoft), the Bulgarians possibly dealt even worse. That guy admires the Greek government for getting out so much. But he is wrong. Look at countries like Thailand, and cities like Munich in Germany. You just have to wave the flag of Open Source software in the general direction of Redmond and you suddenly get offered MS Office for $30 (in Thailand) or everything for free (in Munich). (And not to mention that you could still go the road of Open Source and as a result get an IT industry with a bit of a clue what they are doing.) The Greek government prefers to bend down and invite Mr. Gates over for a visit. Press release from the Greek embassy in Washington: Stone Age in Greece extended till 2013 and in Greek: το ξεπούλημα τον παιδιών μας μέχρι το 2013.

Posted by betabug at 22:22 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (1)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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Re: Greece Moves Forward To the Past in Informatics

.......................

Posted by: kostas at December 01,2007 19:50
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You can trackback to: http://betabug.ch/blogs/ch-athens/295/tbping
Quoted in the EC's "Open Source News"

Going through my referer logs, I found an article from the European Commissions very own "Open
Source News" (no I've never heard of that thing either) quoting an older post of mine (Greece
Moves Forward To the Past in Informatics). The article is her...

Read the linking post here: ch-athens at September 03,2007 09:37
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