Spain's Extremadura Region Switches Healthcare Sector to Open Source

The desktop computer systems of government healthcare organizations in the Spanish region of Extremadura all rely on free and open source software solutions. Over the past year, close to 10,000 computer workstations in public health care organizations have migrated to a customized version of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution.

The regional administration is also moving ahead with the migration of workstations used by other public administrations in the region, "although at a slower pace than initially planned", the IT department told the Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR). "The priorities have shifted from focussing on the number of migrated desktops to an improved quality of service for our users."

Healthcare workstations have already been using open source for years. However, last year they've been updated to a customised version of the Debian free software distribution, named Lingobex Salud.

In the region of Extremadura, GNU/Linux is the default choice for server hosts. Free and open source is also the preferred solution for use in schools in the region. Some 60,000 workstations and 33,000 laptops in the region's primary and secondary education use open source.


In April last year, the government announced it would switch to Lingobex all of its 42,000 desktop PCs (including those in public health care). Extremadura's IT department reports it has now switched 5 per cent of desktop systems across the region's government offices. Progress is slow, partly because of heterogeneous computer hardware and software solutions in use.

Extremadura is well on its way with its planned centralization of identification and authentication services and its file network services. This has taken priority over the completion of an inventory of computer hardware and its software applications. It has also pushed back work on adapting solutions to run on open source operating systems.

22,000 desktops

"We're now using feedback from those users who have already switched, to improve Lingobex' services, before migrating new users," reports Alberto Caso, an open source software developer and one of the IT administrators working for the government of Extremadura. The IT department has shifted its resources away from migrating others to offer increased support to the Lingobex users.

Although its hardware inventory is incomplete, the IT department has lowered its estimate of the total number of PCs. The IT department now plans to switch 22,000 workstations over to Lingobex - including those in healthcare sector. This is based on the number of civil servants and an estimate of the number of users per PC.

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Extremadura Health Care Has Switched To Open Source was written by Gijs Hillenius and originally published on in Open Source Observatory. It is reprinted by Open Health News with permission. The original post can be found here.