Almost 10 years ago, one of the less developed regions of Europe undertook a transformation process meant to help its citizens become full members of the information society. The experience of Extremadura has already become one of the best success stories that the free software movement can show.

The integral strategic plan that made this transformation possible is still evolving, and it is fully integrated in the  public policy of the regional government. Perhaps the most visible aspect of the plan is the massive deployment of gnuLinEx, the Extremenian GNU/Linux distribution, in the educational system. In all the region’s high schools,  very classroom has a computer for every two students, and they all run gnuLinEx. But the regional strategy for the information society has other cornerstones: the Technological Literacy and Free Software Plan aims to make information technologies available for all citizens; Vivernet, the regional system of SME incubators, focuses on promoting and populating a services-oriented IT market based on free software.

The story of this process has received considerable attention from both specialised and mass media, but has rarely been told with the voice of its protagonists. Distilling from several hours of recorded conversations, we don’t aim to cover in detail every single aspect of the Extremenian strategy for the information society, but to give a first person view of its main areas. The interested reader can find more in-depth information in the references. […]

Introduction from an article published by David Jacovkis and Wouter Tebbens in the Dutch Open Source Yearbook 2007-2008 (