The Russian government is considering the replacement of Microsoft and Oracle products with Linux and open source counterparts, at least for the Ministry of Health.
Russia has been slapped with a large number of sanctions by the European Union and the United States, which means that they are going to respond. One of the ways they can do that is by stopping the authorities from buying Microsoft licenses or prolonging existing ones.
According to a report published on gov.cnews.ru, the official website of the Russian government, the Ministry of Health intends to abandon all the proprietary software provided by Oracle and Microsoft and replace it with open source software.
This information is revealed by the Deputy Director of the IT department of Ministry of Health, Roman Safronov. He says that this has been actually planned since 2011, with the creation of the federal services of the Unified State Health Information System (EGISZ).
“Given the many transactions coming EGISZ scale and limited budget, we decided that we can not afford to pay for a license tens of millions of rubles a year,” says Safronov.
“A large part of the Unified State Health Information System (EGISZ) works on open source software, "from the Linux terminal stations, the linux / unix servers to application software and databases (PostgreSQL, and others.)". Situation Centre of Ministry of Health is also built on open source software,” he continues.
The migration to open source from Microsoft and Oracle products is not something that can be done rapidly. In fact, the advanced 2015 date seems to be way too early and it's doubtful that they will be able to migrate all of their systems to other databases and operating systems.
Even if this decision of the Russian government seems to follow a trend from other administrations in Europe, it has little in common with them. Cities like Toulouse in France and Munich in Germany have worked for many years to cut costs by adopting open source solutions, but the Russians are just trying to punish American corporations and leverage their own kinds of sanctions.
It's unclear whether this decision will also be implemented in other areas of the government, but that remains to be seen. Also, Roman Safronov says that they will use PostgreSQL instead of Oracle, but he fails to mention what Linux distribution will be used to replace Windows. They might try to use something built in Russia, but there are no major Linux operating systems developed in that country that can do the job.