The government of Mexico City has decided it can no longer justify the the ever rising cost of Microsoft Windows. By replacing Windows with Linux, the city can have the same functionality at a small fraction of the cost, and run it on computers they already own - computers Windows 2000 and Windows XP won't even install on.
The Mexican school system has been converting from Windows to Linux since Nov 1998 (with a savings of $3 million in Windows licenses so far) and Linux has already proved itself in Mexico City's motor vehicle licensing agency.
The money saved will be used for social welfare programs.
Moves like this are inevitable as Microsoft tries to squeeze revenue growth out of a saturated market. Changes in license terms have doubled, and even tripled the cost of Microsoft products, and publishers of less expensive applications have all been driven from the Windows market. Economically pressured organizations can no longer justify running Windows.
This decision was made in Mexico, but reconsideration is also under way in the U.S. especially in light of the economic downturn. While Microsoft has consolidated its monopoly in the Windows market, the Open Source software movement has created a viable non-Windows alternative. You can learn more from our editorial Should Your Business Use Linux? and our article Linux.
The Mexican decision is very bad news for Microsoft. Mexico City is by no measure a small town, and it's adoption of Linux will have a far reaching effect throughout Mexico, Central and South America. Companies that do business with Mexico City will seek interoperation with the city's systems, and smaller cities will follow quickly now that the ice is broken.
Unlike China, which last year declared Red Flag Linux the official operating system for all China, Mexico is close to the U.S. and will have an influence on businesses here. Mexico also has much greater economic incentive to move quickly to Linux. China steals nearly all its software, so Windows costs no more than Linux there.
- Andrew Grygus
- Automation Access
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