Argentina cries out for Linux

Summary:Nearly half of companies in Argentina are using Linux, with many planning to use it for all new applications

Companies in Argentina are opting for Linux over Windows and some are planning to migrate all their systems to Linux, according to a survey published this week.

The survey was carried out by Trends Consulting, an Argentina-based company, which interviewed 115 companies in Argentina in the first half of 2004. It found that 42 percent of Argentine companies are using Linux. Of these firms, 4.5 percent plan to migrate all their systems to Linux in the short-term and 16 percent plan to adopt it for all new applications.

According to Raul Bauer, the director of Trends Consulting, companies are primarily adopting open source for cost reasons, given the current economic recession. Argentina's economy collapsed in 2001, which left the company struggling with debt defaults and currency devaluation.

"In the eye of the economic storm, many IT managers in Argentina put aside concerns -- if any -- regarding open source solutions," said Bauer. "Total cost of ownership and other issues usually under discussion when comparing alternatives were banished. The level of cash expenditures became the more urgent issue to take care of."

The survey also found that only 7 percent of companies using Linux are working with the large multinational distributors such as Novell or Red Hat. Instead they are choosing to train their employees themselves or hire independent professionals.

Martin Migoya, the head of business development at Argentinian outsourcing company Globant, said in a previous interview that Argentina is ahead of other countries in terms of open source expertise, as these skills became necessary following Argentina's economic crisis, which saw the peso devalued in 2002.

Argentina is not the only Latin American country that extensively uses open source software such as Linux. Brazil also uses open source: earlier this year the Brazilian state of Parana said that it would be moving 10,000 government employees to an open source email and calendaring application.

Cost is not the only deciding factor for companies in Latin America choosing to adopt open source software. Creating local jobs, the ability to translate the software into local languages and political considerations can also be important. Cuba, for example, cannot legally import Microsoft software from America due to the US trade embargo.

Topics: Apps, Software Development

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