To reduce its dependence on Microsoft, Russia invest 4.9 million dollars to develop a Linux-based Windows alternative

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MOSCOW — The Russian state plans to revamp its computer services with a Windows rival to reduce its dependence on US giant Microsoft and better monitor computer security, a lawmaker said Wednesday.

Moscow will earmark 150 million rubles (3.5 million euros, 4.9 million dollars) to develop a national software system based on the Linux operating system, Russian deputy Ilia Ponomarev told AFP, confirming an earlier report in the Vedomosti daily.

“The devil is in the details,” said Ponomarev, a computer expert, adding those details would be hashed out during a December meeting headed by vice-prime minister Sergei Ivanov.

“We will become independent of Windows … but it risks becoming an unthinking implantation of Linux,” he added.

Similar concerns about achieving technological independence prompted the Russian military to create the GLONASS satellite navigation system in the 1980s, to compete with the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and competition in the future from Europe’s Galileo.

AFP