Introduction to Free Software by Jesús M. González-Barahona, Joaquín Seoane Pascual, Gregorio

By Jesús M. González-Barahona, Joaquín Seoane Pascual, Gregorio Robles

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GnuLinEx is a case that merits special attention, as an example of how a region with very little tradition of software development can try to change the situation through an aggressive strategy of free software implantation. From the decision-making perspective when it comes to implementing software solutions, we would highlight the fact that there are certain markets (such as Internet services or office applications) in which free software is a natural choice that cannot be overlooked when studying what type of system to use.

In fact, the region had practically no software industry. In this context, gnuLinEx has made a very interesting contribution to the free software panorama on a global scale. Beyond being just a new distribution of GNU/Linux based on Debian (which is still a worthy anecdote), and beyond its enormous impact on the mass media (it was the first time that Extremadu- Free Software GNUFDL • PID_00148386 33 ra made the front cover of The Washington Post and one of the first that a free software product did), what is extraordinary is the (at least apparently) solid backing of a public administration for free software.

Starting from a distribution produced entirely with its own resources, it decided to collaborate with Fedora, a group of volunteers that was already working with distributions based on Red Hat, in order to produce Free Software GNUFDL • PID_00148386 36 Fedora Core, its "popular" distribution. Red Hat maintains its version for companies, but this collaboration with volunteers is, in the end, very similar to the one that has produced Ubuntu. Perhaps all of these movements are no more than the product of the fierce competition taking place in the market for GNU/Linux distributions and of one more notable trend: companies' collaboration with volunteers (with the community) to produce free software.

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