To spend 30M EURO for something you can have for free – Only in Bulgaria

10 Godini Microsoft Bulgaria Otvoreni Vrati

Bulgarian government will pay EUR 30,000,000.00 yes 30 Millons of EURO to Microsoft for licensee fees for using Windows OS and Office packages for the Bulgarian administration in the next three years.

They pay this amount every three years i.e. about EUR 10M per year are spent on something which have completely free and open source alternative which every one could use free of charge.

Seems not very logical?

Not quite, you forget that this is the Bulgarian government. The government administration officers here have one and only target when they get in power – to cash their efforts.

What they could cash if there is no money to spend on free Linux OS?

Nothing, but when they spend EUR 10 Millions on software you can bet that quite nice amount of this money go back into the pockets of who spends the money 🙂

Tip – one and same company “wins” all these tenders for the last 14 years, even if they give highest price bid.

Total more than EUR 100 millions since ywar 2001. Should we comment further?

What if these 100 Millions were invested in the Bulgarian education instead to fill the pockets of corrupted administration and Microsoft? We never know as this would never happen here.

And please do not tell me that windows is easier to use than Linux, this is something which only one who never used both OS could tell.

We drop using Windows in Olimex since years, the only problem which we faced ever was missing support for old Cannon printer which went to the garbage, we switched to HP printers for good and never regret on this.


EDIT: Some people may say – big deal 30 millions EURO is not big amount for government to spend. Do not forget this is for small Bulgaria, to compare with UK for instance which have exactly 61 times bigger GDP, to spend 30 millions EURO in Bulgaria is equal UK government to spend 1830 millions of EURO for MS licensees. This is to show how effectively  Bulgarian government spends taxpayer’s money.

48 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. anonima
    Jul 08, 2015 @ 17:11:09



  2. anonima
    Jul 08, 2015 @ 17:15:19

    brother printers, i think is a good think for linux


  3. Chris
    Jul 08, 2015 @ 17:49:44

    I ditched Miserysoft years ago. Everything at my house runs with debian perfectly. My PC, laptops, many olimex A20 as network servers, development kits, everything…

    Do I miss MS products? No way! 🙂


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Jul 08, 2015 @ 18:03:59

      right, me too because I spend my money 🙂 but government spends other people money so they do not care for the bill, they care what from this bill will come back in their pockets, so different values


  4. awjlogan
    Jul 08, 2015 @ 19:26:41

    Don’t forget it’s not just the OS that matters – many programs simply do not work on Linux, or have to be run through Wine or something. Then, you’d also have to transition all the files to the new formats and programs, and retrain all the employees. In the end, taking in to account lost productivity, it would almost certainly be more expensive to go to Linux all round. Most people do not have the time, motivation, or frankly skills to use a Linux based system. For the average user, it’s an objective fact that Linux is harder to use. For the power user, that’s great, you have all the access and diagnostics you need. I use Linux in VM for a lot of things, but there are certain professional packages which have no (good) open source alternative and that at the end of the day is a deal breaker in terms of my day-to-day OS. Also (opening myself up for controversy!) re Office suites, LibreOffice/OpenOffice are so far behind MS Office, they are barely comparable…


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Jul 08, 2015 @ 20:05:06

      old arguments, now Linux software supports all these formats and it’s equal easy to work on Linux and Windows.
      Everything is matter of habits. I use Linux and for me is easy, my wife got new laptop with Windows 8 pre-installed. I spent 15 minutes to figure out how to run CMD and see the MAC address on this laptop to may add it in the home router MAC filtering table, same takes me 3 seconds in Linux, so should I say that I lost my productivity by working on Windows :))))


      • awjlogan
        Jul 08, 2015 @ 20:28:08

        Well, yes, you did lose productivity. Now, you are obviously a skilled computer user so multiply that across all the people moving to Linux and trying to find out to use “ifconfig” who have never seen a command line, let alone a full shell! And while it’s an old argument re formats, it’s still a problem. Have you ever tried to migrate files, and for a government that would be many hundreds of thousands of files, between different versions of the same program even? Again, think of that between different departments in different locations with varying levels of support (another problem there, you need to train all the Linux technicians as well…). While it may be just as easy to use Linux, that would only be the case in a full enterprise environment where everything is the same. In my case, there were 4 things that stopped me moving to Linux full time: professional software (doesn’t work properly in Wine), good wireless network support (some connections were fine, others never worked), stupid compatibility problems (for eg, installing a graphics driver caused my trackpad to stop working, requiring a full kernel recompile), and office packages (LibreOffice is maybe getting up to where Office 2010 was, and Office 2013 is vastly better than 2010. Sorry!). Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy using Linux and of course it has major advantages but to think it’s even close to being generally user friendly *for the average user* is not true.

      • OLIMEX Ltd
        Jul 08, 2015 @ 20:52:15

        at home both my kids and wife moved to Ubuntu, at the beginning they had same arguments – “my flash games do not work for Linux”, “I can’t use my movies editor software on Linux” etc but after a while they start using other programs and saw that they can acomplish same tasks on Linux, now If I give them computer with Windows 8 they will feel confused how to use it 🙂

      • awjlogan
        Jul 08, 2015 @ 21:04:52

        That’s great, but being not able to use a Flash game is not the same as essential software, for which there may well be no substitute. For example, I’m a chemist by trade, and literally can’t work without a package called ChemDraw. Doesn’t work in Wine (despite wasting days trying), and the open source “equivalents” are unusable in a professional setting. Of course, it’s a chicken and egg problem, in that if Linux were more popular companies would supply well functioning software, but that’s not the case. I sort of feel with Linux there’s a working desktop which when set up is easy to use, as demonstrated by your family, but to make changes often requires a lot more effort and knowledge. In an ideal world, it would be great if governments and businesses could easily move to Linux, but realistically that is not yet the case. My main point is that while 30M is obviously a lot of cash (although in government budget terms, it’s pretty small), it’s almost certainly cheaper and easier than migrating fully to Linux. Further, in an enterprise setting it would be far more common to buy a support package, RedHat for example, which will certainly run into the millions as well.

      • J
        Jul 12, 2015 @ 23:40:17

        “old arguments, now Linux software supports all these formats”

        No, Sir, your argument is old. I went thru this “support all these formats” myself. One of our teammates was supposed to add his slide in a PowerPoint presentation. He added it (in one of the Linux offerings – can’t remember which *Office that was), saved the file and then the file wouldn’t with an actual PowerPoint 2013. So yeah, no thanks.

        And, for crying out loud, get your facts straight. Windows XP machines are not upgradeable for free. You’re spreading FUD.

    • Christian Nobel
      Jul 09, 2015 @ 11:45:18

      I simply don’t understand (accept) the argument, that it is sooooo difficult going from Windows to Linux.

      Imo it is easier going from W7 (or older) to a modern Linux like eg. Mint.
      All I have spoken with, going from XP/7 to 8, are cursing it down to hell, and tells stories about how much time they have spent doing just the most simple tasks.
      But some way it is fully accepted that that is OK, when we are talking about MS, but when going from Windows to Linux, it is an overwhelmingly problem that the background color is green instead of blue.

      And if really a few applications should be a problem, well why not then use some of the many millions to put force on the producer of that particular software instead – to me it seems utterly stupid just giving up, primarily based on the lack of knowledge, or plain laziness (or even worse, stupidity).

      And quite honestly, the requirements for documents created in the public administration are so low, so even if (and only if) MS Office do have some more bells and whistles, most users do still only use between 5 and 10% of all the features – so seen from my point of view as a taxpayer, this is a vast waste of money.
      Besides that, don’t ignore that there are also some ugly flaws in Excel, eg. it is not possible to export the contents of cells, unless they are totally visible.

      And I can tell you it is not only in Hungary a lot of money is wasted, here in Denmark million after million are lost in horrible projects, ordered from friends by friends, and almost all tenders have a requirement for a “Microsoft platform” (sigh!).
      And the public offices are fighting with viruses and malware (how much lost time is not seen on that account?).

      Finally I would like to tell a little story:

      My mother in law is 87, and have had Windows computers in decades, starting with Dos.
      Last year she wanted a new computer, and as I did not want to lay any pressure on her, I made it up to her self what to do (even though I would have recommended her buying a Mac), so she bought a W8 computer.

      After quite some time she and my wife (Linux, iPad, Win user) got it up and running, but despite the machine was sold with a “security package” it did not take long time before the problems started to show up, and after some months the machine was filled with spyware, extremely slow, and every time she tried to open the browser a lot of porn popped up (she is 87, and have NO interest what so ever in naked women!) etc, etc.

      I took a look at it (and even consulted a friend who works daily with all sorts of Windows problems) and the case was hopeless, the most viable solution was reinstallation.
      So my suggest was reinstallation, but not of Windows, but Linux Mint.

      Therefore I installed Linux Mint XFCE, made a simplistic desktop with just the shortcuts she needs (Writer, Calc, Skype, FireFox, Webbank, Solitaire), and she started using it immediatly, with only a five minutes introduction to the shortcuts and power up/down, despite she have NEVER used a Linux computer before!

      And the only problem she have had in the following months was that she could not (herself) find the sound settings for the microphone!

      So no, I do not buy the argument that it is not possible to make a transition.


      • Christian Nobel
        Jul 09, 2015 @ 11:50:23

        “And I can tell you it is not only in Hungary”
        Sorry, should have been Bulgaria.

      • awjlogan
        Jul 09, 2015 @ 18:39:24

        It’s not that it’s impossible, it’s the premise that you would somehow be getting Linux for free is incorrect, once you take in to account retraining, reconfiguration, support etc. Scaling things from personal experience of 1:1 help, to rolling out across thousands of users across many sites is not a trivial matter! And to use your example, as I said, Linux is easy to use once it’s been set up, but little things like the microphone are often not in easy to find places. I can say with 100% certainty the average user (almost by definition, no one reading this blog) will be comfortable using any sort of command line tool or config file to change anything. I’m not at all anti-Linux, or pro-MS, but think there needs to be a little reality in the way this proposal is framed.

      • awjlogan
        Jul 09, 2015 @ 21:22:30

        That should, of course, be “not comfortable” 😉

      • Christian Nobel
        Jul 09, 2015 @ 22:44:56


        “It’s not that it’s impossible, it’s the premise that you would somehow be getting Linux for free is incorrect, once you take in to account retraining, reconfiguration, support etc. Scaling things from personal experience of 1:1 help, to rolling out across thousands of users across many sites is not a trivial matter!”

        I did just give one example, where transition for a 87 year old lady was quite easy, and installation and configuration of Linux Mint is so out-of-the box, in general much easier and faster than Windows – only in the cases where you run into some specific “Windows only” hardware, you can face problems – but hey, you cannot blame Linux that the hardware vendor is a moron.

        And hey, you are fooling yourself if you do not acknowledge that the process of going from one version of Windows to another is not a trivial matter and costs blood, sweet and tears – nothing comes from free!

        “And to use your example, as I said, Linux is easy to use once it’s been set up, but little things like the microphone are often not in easy to find places.”

        So spending a couple of minutes in Linux to find where to tick the microphone on (without any cli involved!) is a huuuuge problem, but spending half an hour trying to figure out the network settings in W8 is no problem?

        And spending hours on fighting viruses and malware is also not at problem – eg. a large governmental department here in Denmark have been down for a couple of days due to ransomware.

        “I can say with 100% certainty the average user (almost by definition, no one reading this blog) will be comfortable using any sort of command line tool or config file to change anything.”

        This one of the most common FUD arguments, but the average user does not have any need for using the cli whatsoever, and if he needs support that requires “professionel help”, it can be done remotely by SSH – try doing that on Windows .

        “I’m not at all anti-Linux, or pro-MS, but think there needs to be a little reality in the way this proposal is framed.”

        If you are serious about reality, then start by spreading FUD, or arguments that do not suit a modern Linux.

        And the hours wasted by virus and malware, do they not count?
        Does the fact that a Linux machine boots very fast not account?
        Does the fact that remote support on Linux is much easier, and easier to do from a template/scripted not count?
        Does the fact that installation in most situations is much faster, and easier, not count?
        Does the fact the the requirement for CD with drivers is much lover / not existing not count?
        Does the fact that your are not blessed with at lot of bloatware not count?
        Does the fact that you can do backup without any special programs not count?
        Does the fact that update and upgrade is organised through repositories, and covers all programs not count?
        Etc, etc.

      • Christian Nobel
        Jul 09, 2015 @ 22:47:40

        Edit possibilities could be nice!

        “If you are serious about reality, then start by spreading FUD, or arguments that do not suit a modern Linux.”

        Of course it should be:

        “If you are serious about reality, then start by not spreading FUD, or arguments that do not suit a modern Linux.”

      • awjlogan
        Jul 10, 2015 @ 02:29:03

        Heh, I guess we’re one all with edits, Christian 😉 Honestly, you don’t have to sell me on the benefits of Linux (although in a number of the cases you cite, there’s no advantage over Windows/OS X). And I’m not spreading FUD (I had to look up, doubt myself!), most end users don’t give a sh*t what OS they’re running, as long as it runs the software they need and are accustomed to, and unfortunately Linux does not offer this *in general* yet. MS Office is really the killer application, and while I suspect we may disagree as to whether LibreOffice is even close yet to being a suitable replacement, Linux has to provide a *better* alternative (as I outlined in another post) to provide a really compelling reason to change. (For what it’s worth, I’m installing Mint right now, an 87 year old granny is a strong review!)

    • lcanacheu
      Jul 16, 2015 @ 22:35:12

      same thing in romania. from a 200 mil budget on a 15 year period, more than 60 mils have been siphoned into private pockets of some politicians. microsoft got angry, even if its a “strategic” partner of the government and told fbi. its a riot and a scandal.
      if you switch to linux you have to train some people, but the average user is not really trained in windows, so there’s not much to lose, on the contrary. as of software, it’s much better on linux, you have a lot more control over it. a little “back to school” did not hurt anyone 🙂


  5. n
    Jul 08, 2015 @ 22:41:02

    And that’s not all. MS keep a close eye on all the tenders in the state’s educational industry- when you buy PCs you must buy and a ms licence in order to use the windows which was bought by the ministry of education and science. I don’t know exactly how much was the cost for licensing in education I couldn’t find any information. It’s very well concealed.


  6. CNX Software (@cnxsoft)
    Jul 09, 2015 @ 02:58:13

    In some cases it would cost a lot to switch because of training, or be time consuming simply because of file incompatibility, or as awjlogan noted there’s n real equivalent in Linux.

    For example, my wife is work in the translation business, and she really has to use Microsoft Office, as LibreOffice would really modify the layout of most MS files. Even using different versions of Microsoft word may cause file compatibility issues (e.g. 2007 vs 2013), so when you switch to LibreOffice that becomes a disaster.

    I’m using Ubuntu myself most of the time, except when I need to help my wife with her files, where I have no choice but to start a Windows 7 VM.


  7. randomeuropean
    Jul 09, 2015 @ 02:58:29

    In the first place, let’s put the money in perspective. 100 million € (about the amount spent in the last 10 years) is equal to the disagreement between Greece and EU that caused the rejection of the Greek rescue plan two weeks ago. So this is the money the EU considers big enough to let a EU member bankruptcy.

    Second, this is only for MS Windows and MS Office, so basically to the 99% of the administration personnel that writes some text, email, put some numbers in Excel cells or use some internal web applications. This doesn’t cover an obscure chemical package or Autocad, and of course some (very few in comparison) should use software that runs on MS Windows.

    About the point that MS Office is so much better than Libreoffice. MS Word or Libreoffice Writer are both a type of programs not suitable for serious work. So for writing some text with color, bold etc. and inserting pictures any program is good enough. Powerpoint is just a presentation program, some text and a couple of graphs, anyone that uses this for documentation or for anything from where data must be extracted is creating a big problem. Access, this was a good choice in the 80’s, but anyone that has worked maintaining Access applications know that it’s a nightmare, not scalable and that a proper database should be used. About Excel, I agree that is by far superior to Libreoffice Calc (although the gap is decreasing) but I have yet to meet someone in the administration that knows well Excel.

    Last but not least, licence is very important, despite the effort of MS and USA to avoid software licence as a criteria, it’s what says what you can do with the software so it’s part of the benefit you get for your money.

    This is not an anti MS comment, the criteria should be: what you need (100% compatibility with previous non-free software is not a criteria, it’s a decision), what the licence let you do, the interoperability with other products providers and the possibility to change to a different provider in the future.

    MS products preselection is decade after decade of being tied to a single private provider. But everyone know: big contracts bit opportunities.


    • awjlogan
      Jul 09, 2015 @ 18:18:49

      The bailout is 1.6 BILLION, not 100M and also that’s in one chunk, not amortized over a period of years. Word is absolutely capable of “serious writing”, I wrote my PhD thesis in LaTeX, but plenty of friends had perfectly good experiences writing 100s of page documents with 100s of cross referenced figures, citations etc without problems. If you use PowerPoint for data (how?), you’re doing something wrong. If you just want to “place some text, and some graphics” any way you want, fine, LibreOffice will be ok, but if a lot of your work revolves around making attractive and better than just “reasonable looking” presentations, PowerPoint is light years ahead. And Excel is very widely used throughout business. Access, meh, fair point! So yes, I think you’re right, if it’s just to get the job done with small documents, LibreOffice is fine. The “big 3” (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) are incomparable. Likewise, this is not an anti Linux post, just experience of using both of them and not just to write a quick letter..

      You’re also entirely correct in saying that it’s a lock in from decades of usage, which unfortunately means that Linux, as an alternative, simply cannot be playing catch up the whole time. It has to provide a really compelling reason for change, and as I said before, it’s a fallacy to think you would get a Linux system “for free” so there’s no reason to switch at the moment. If LibreOffice 2015 is so much better than Office 2015, and interoperates with all the rest of software on your computer seamlessly, we should talk again!


      • randomeuropean
        Jul 09, 2015 @ 22:05:36

        >The bailout is 1.6 BILLION, not 100M

        What I meant is that the reason of lack of agreement of the 25/06 negotiation was for 107M € increase in VAT.

        > Word is absolutely capable of “serious writing”

        As serious writing as can be done with Libreoffice Writer.

        > if a lot of your work revolves around making attractive and better than just “reasonable looking” presentations, PowerPoint is light years ahead

        Can you link to any powerpoint on the web that is attractive and difficult to make with Libreoffice? If you talk about attractive marketing material that should be done with a professional DTP software.

        About Excel we pretty much agree, it’s much better. But the important point in my opinion is that this is not a tender on a product and maintaining service it’s a tender on MS software and it’s maintaining. And this is not about retraining costs, the transition from Windows XP and Office interface to Windows 7 and Ribbon interface was more difficult than it would have been to Gnome2 and Openoffice. With much less than the billions expend on MS for the EU administrations in the last years the possible issues with free software could have been resolved and have a free base where the maintenance and development could be freely contracted in a true competitive bid. Being serious about IT security MS software should be banned anyway.

      • awjlogan
        Jul 10, 2015 @ 02:38:38

        There are few documents harder for word processing than PhD theses – lots of tables, citations, chapters, rearrangements, imports from obscure software etc. I work in physical science, which obviously has a larger than normal Linux userbase, and I can promise you that not a single person I know of has used LibreOffice for their thesis. LaTeX and Word were the dominant choices by far. For actual book typesetting, I suspect there’s specialised software but I’m not even a novice in that area.

        I can send you my PowerPoint presentations, which would be impossible to create with Impress. Simple things like dynamic linking to the other packages often is unreliable, or isn’t there at all. The majority of presentations (regardless of software) I’ve seen online are terrible – I don’t think the software could have helped that..!

        But, there’s no point in debating – I personally think it’s well worth the $40 Office cost me, and you obviously don’t, so that’s the end of the matter! Re security, yes, I couldn’t agree more, especially when a lot of users don’t have any concept of doing bad things. A lot of the computers here that run the instrumentation are VM Windows on Linux, which is a pretty good compromise 🙂

      • OLIMEX Ltd
        Jul 10, 2015 @ 08:04:19

        hahahai newer saw such documents issued by the Bulgarian administration, 99.99% of them are simple text document with few fonts changed and simple table inside

      • funlw65
        Nov 09, 2015 @ 22:50:26

        For DTP (DeskTop Publishing), in Linux you can use Scribus and Inkscape complementary. – you get professional, high quality .pdf files.

        For the same layout on Windows and Linux of your documens, there is an option to import Windows fonts.

        But as Svetan says, in many of the local administrations there is just a basic use of a complex and expensive Microsoft office suite. An unjustified expense, especially when the country is small and needs every penny in much more sensible areas. You can make all templates you need for the local administration in LibreOffice, and start from there, as the documents are archived in printed form so, it doesn’t matter which office suite you use (I saw a notary office using Adobe PageMaker for all their documents and knowing PageMaker was a requirement for new employees – a stupidity of course, but this is a correct illustration of reality about a skilled seller which tricks a newbie in buying a truck when he needs a bicycle). Anything serious in administration must use native written (database) applications – and this is the correct way of how you support the development of specific applications in Linux if you want progress. Defending MS (or Windows) products in this case is pointless. Opting for them it means long term damage for a poor customer. But you must corrupt the smart customers to accept such an enormity – which is what it happens across the Eastern Europe and probably across the World.

  8. petelynch
    Jul 09, 2015 @ 08:59:16

    Why spend money when OSS software can be downloaded for free? Maybe they read this comment written by one of the LibreOffice support/dev team:

    “Just to be honest – it’s very unlikely that this will be fixed soon. We are a community of volunteers – people fix what bugs they want to fix generally. In the grand scheme of things this really isn’t a big deal – compare to crashes, loss of data, or loss of MAJOR functionality (such as printing) and you can understand that this isn’t comparably a big deal. That being said, the options are:”

    He’s honest – that the software is written by amateurs and hobbyists who do it for fun. They like writing code but hate fixing bugs – so they write code and don’t fix bugs. And to say it “isn’t a big deal” (not being able to use the ‘group’ function on a collection of graphics objects) is so sad. OSS software often has the same BASIC FUNCTIONS that professional software has, but when you waste an entire day, at standard rates of pay, trying to get it to do stuff that the professional packages do, it works out very expensive – as I’ve found to my cost. OSS is only “free” if you don’t place any value on your time.


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Jul 09, 2015 @ 09:14:07

      good point!
      now tell me how it works with paid software 🙂 and go check Photoshop discussion forum, they have one MINOR bug about using it on newest laptops with high resolution screens where you can’t read the menus as they are almost invisible with text height about 2 mm
      for OVER 18 months with hundreds of complains and people who wanted refund and their money back as the software they paid do not work on their computers and NO FIX for 18 months,

      Good example how support works for “non free, paid” software!

      Have you ever reported bug to Microsoft about MS office and how timely it has been fixed?


    • randomeuropean
      Jul 09, 2015 @ 13:47:07

      > He’s honest – that the software is written by amateurs and hobbyists who do it for fun.

      I don’t know the world were you live, but in my world only about 10-15% of the Linux development is done by people non paid for Linux development. Of that number some of that is done by commercial users that need to fix some issue. According to the Linux Foundation more than 40% of the development is done by: Red Hat, Intel, Texas Instruments, Linaro, SUSE, IBM, Samsung and Google. It doesn’t sound too amateurish to me. For the desktop and other OS components again Red Hat and other companies have done most of the development.

      Sure Libreoffice has more non paid developers, but most of the development has been done by companies: Star Division, Sun, Oracle, IBM, SUSE, Novell or Collabora.

      >They like writing code but hate fixing bugs – so they write code and don’t fix bugs.

      That’s not what your quote says, it says that an issue that affects a user that don’t pay for it is only fixed if someone want to do it (pretty fair for me).

      Anyway for 10 million € per year you could pay for 200 full time developers, and that is not counting that the administration is probably already paying for the Windows license buying every computer.

      So Bulgaria is paying multi million contracts with a USA company that needs to comply by law to spy on other countries, without access to the source (much less to be able to paid others for their development) and not with other companies that would show the code (most of the code is already free of charge and free to modify), license it in a way that you could change your support/development to other companies and probably improving the economy in Bulgaria and Europe. It doesn’t sound wise.


  9. Ernő ZALKA (ern0)
    Jul 09, 2015 @ 09:31:25

    We are programmers, but we were teaching Lotus Notes usage at a goverment organization, Budapest, Hungary. I’ve asked my boss:
    – Bro, why don’t we write Lotus applications, why we teach only? Writing apps is more fun.
    – Forget it, it’s not so simple.
    – We should learn Lotus Notes, shouldn’t we?
    – Sure. But there are strict rules for goverment offices. If we want to write apps, we should have a SAME developement environment. The same expensive HP server, expensive Oracle SQL, same version of Lotus Notes etc., because, they say, only it guarantees that the app will work on the production server. We don’t have such amount of money to risk, we even don’t have such amount of money.


  10. Miki
    Jul 09, 2015 @ 10:21:49

    He, He See Romanian governments (I think was 4) that spent in range of EUR 1000 mil to same company – Microsoft and for the same Windows and Office licence and the corruption fee was in range of EUR 170 mil! Now many ex ministers are in jail and many others are in justice! Maybe your government people should see not so far, to the Romanian border! 😛


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Jul 09, 2015 @ 10:29:04

      you are lucky to have people committed to fight corruption and working independent justice, here in Bulgaria is lost cause as *everyone* in current parliament is involved in such schemes (left, right, center etc.) and there is no one clean


  11. Jasper
    Jul 10, 2015 @ 00:03:13

    What makes you think Bulgarian politicians get bribed for buying Microsoft licenses?


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Jul 10, 2015 @ 08:02:54

      one and same company wins all tenders for last 14 years :), similar situation in Romania where anti-corruption agency found Microsoft bribed Romanian politics with $50M, what makes you think Microsoft acts different in different ex-communist countries? 😉 Just in Bulgaria we do not have working anti corruption agency


  12. jasperneve
    Jul 10, 2015 @ 13:28:10

    Did not know about Romania, thanks for the info.
    Bulgarian government now says they want to model the anti-corruption agencies after those of Romania, we’ll see………


  13. Damiano
    Jul 10, 2015 @ 19:29:09

    Just to say that my whole family runs on Linux, Kubuntu 14.04
    The amount of savings in both money and support is incredible
    Spreading to work too, new machines are Windows free

    Not to mention that current Windoze is actually horrible
    (Please, let’s not start with the usual Windows fanboy (possibly paid), it cannot be believed anymore)


  14. Singh
    Jul 10, 2015 @ 23:27:51

    Munich Germany used Linux (LiMux) for about 10 years and then realized it was a disaster they were actually spending to hire the linux developers and administrators so it was costing them more. They switched back to Windows. So I disagree with you that Linux is free


    • SK
      Jul 11, 2015 @ 11:31:09

      They hadn’t switched back to Windows. These were only rumors 😉 And yes, maintaining your custom GNU/Linux distro with custom kernel build could be costly.


  15. lteneva
    Jul 12, 2015 @ 13:49:00

    I’m Bulgarian too, and I am more than sure that there’s corruption connected with MS products. Honestly, I didn’t know that our government spends so much! This is a shame having in mind that Bulgaria is one of the poorest countries not only in the EU. As for Windows, I happily switched to Linux about 9 years ago when a virus simply deleted one of my partitions! I managed to restore a great part of it thanks to a small program that a friend of mine installed. But I decided to take measures and I did. I’ve been a happy Linux user for quite some time. As someone mentioned in a comment above, the Bulgarian administration does not need special software just for writing letters and things like that. Libre Office is quite suitable for that. I am not a computer specialist but I have no problem installing, upgrading or updating my Linux system. There are a lot of distros that are perfectly user-friendly, one does not need to know what the console means. Though, it’s much easier and faster with the console, I’ve tried it several times and I’ve been amazed how quickly things happen. Whenever I’ve had a problem with a bug or something, there are always the forums which provide solutions that work. I keep an old version of Windows – XP- just in case and whenever there’s a Word doxs file, of course it cannot open it, while even my old Open office on one of the older linux distributions /I’ve been lazy to upgrade it/ opens such files.
    To sum it up, for the purposes of a general user /and Bulgarian administration IS a general user/, I think some Linux distros will fit perfectly. And most users won’t even notice the change!
    I have a friend working in a bank. And they used some version of MS DOS, guess why!


    • SK
      Jul 13, 2015 @ 01:32:33

      “I have a friend working in a bank. And they used some version of MS DOS, guess why!” – bacause of mission-critical legacy software, that’s why 😉 You can’t easily switch a system like the ones used by banks over to another easily.


  16. ern0
    Jul 14, 2015 @ 13:54:39

    Data. About corruption in EU:


  17. scruball
    Jul 15, 2015 @ 08:28:51

    This situation isn’t as simple as you might think. 30 mil for Microsoft product might seem much but there are few things to take into account:

    1. In government sector often IT is non existent. Those that are given the task of providing technical support en masse have some to none training in supporting Microsoft products. Training them properly on Linux might end up even more costly.

    2. Government employies are not trained in Linux, often they are not trained at all, but might have some experience in using Windows. Training them might might be not only costly but close to imposible due to their age and other factors.

    3. Most of the software specifically developed for government use is either DOS, Windows or even Ms Office (Macros & Templates) based. Developing the software all over again on a different platform would be expensive if at all practically possible.

    So kids – don’t be like your parents – learn Linux and make the world a better place.


  18. Trackback: To spend 30M EURO | Shanomag
  19. Angel Dimitrov Ivanov
    Sep 13, 2015 @ 13:39:42

    Can someone explain to me why they shall pay 10m per year since they still using Windows XP and Office 2003 ??

    As far as I know in my 16 IT career, this licences must be paid once.

    However I really would like to know if this information is true and there are some facts proving this.


  20. gicho
    Sep 15, 2015 @ 01:17:45

    30M euros is probably the smallest part of all goverment expense related to administration and public services.
    Yes, you can switch to DOS. Linux or whatever you like. But the question is why all those services are not “cloud” based, in the sense of “goverment cloud”, or as it is known “e-goverment”? Most of the work is to fill in some data (from citizen requests or old documents) and store in somewhere, and, of course, the opposite – to retrieve some data and use it / print it. And linux/windows are just OSes – both of them provide support to have an application that solves some problems, but the OS itself is not the complete solution.
    Could you imagine an engineer that whould design the system around excel or word documents? Without cenralized access/search? With possibilities to enter wrong data that could have been validated at the millisecond when he entered the wrong digit?
    Every year the government pays some hundreds of millions of euros as salaries for redundant jobs, and those are thousands of people working there.
    For example, in the area of taxes – the government (in fact, regional authorities) cannot gather car taxes for all vehicles – because they have no access to police information system that has all registered vehicles!!! How complicated would it be to give access to a remote database?
    Huge amounth of work in those government offices is related to generating some “reports” – for given year how many vehicles were registered, how many were de-registered. And this is done by hand and filled in emailed excel spreadsheet!!!
    I would just image the single digit milliseconds (including round trip delay) to get this SQL query on a cheap Rpi!!!
    And on this level of competence (or resistence to changes) you think that it is possible to change from win to linux?
    There was another funny case several years ago – the parliament wanted to buy new cars. They have to provide a specification so various car dealers (importers) could give offers. And this specification had some funny clauses:
    – cars should have all wheel drive – for the safety of the people that are carried
    – cars should have LED taillights – for economy and ecological reasons
    Anyone sees some conflicts?
    There are multiple proven bussiness-class products that could manage all the requierments that various government services could need. Maybe something in the style of SAP or ERP. Maybe those 30M euros could have been well spent on developing this kind of a system. With the benefit of reducing the number of government employees several times.


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Sep 15, 2015 @ 08:06:00

      well said, my experience with the e-services from Bulgarian government is terrible, several years ago they made electronic customs import-export declarations, to work with it you had to use IE6 and Adobe PDF 9 if I remember correctly as the one company who took the millions to “develop” the system didn’t bother to learn and test how to sign documents with other platforms 🙂
      so as requirement for any further e-service they should put requirements to be made with web/cloud technology as *every* current electronic device has browser and Internet is the only multi OS/platforms compatible today.


  21. Trackback: Microsoft licensing corruption scandal in Romania has ended on October 3rd | olimex

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