Russian media reports that the Russian Federation is about to develop its own National Operating System based on ALT GNU/Linux. Modern Russian politics is driven by a very much geopolitical mindset. They understand that control over their oil and gas resources is an important asset they cannot yield control over. This is why the government cracked down on the corrupt oligarchs and enforced their gas supply rights for nations like Ukraine which didn't pay for what they took from Russia. And sure these actions are a means to get the respect of foreign nations. Germany diversifies its gas supply channels through pipeline projects with Russia. For Eastern European countries this is a national security concern.
Keep in mind it is 'just' oil and gas. Petrol is elementary to keep you warm and your car running. You can buy it on a world market from multiple sources. Only oil companies and leftists believe that you need to go to war to secure access to petrol resources. But what about the real dependencies of regions like Europe on software and standards? The Russians are here about to lower these strategic dependencies in their national interest. The Open XML standardisation effort has shown to players in the IT business how ruthless it gets when strategic concerns come into play, and multinational corporations and governments are not much different here.
Most governments around the world already have a national operating system, it is called Windows and their tax payers have to pay large amounts of money for this national 'choice' to an American company. Fortunately it also contributes to the functioning of the political system through sponsoring of regulatory action, new career perspectives for politicians, sponsoring of an EU Presidency or reform of 'open standards' requirements. Ireland is a good place to base your software licensing business as the Irish government helps you with tax evasion.
A good reason why governments need Windows is an Office application and you can say it is their National Office Application. It only runs on Windows, has a cousin on the Mac and tinkerers sometimes manage to get it work under Linux occasionally, perhaps. Just ask, you find so many good excuses why it became their National Office Application and why they want it to remain their Office application. For instance because governments urgently need the Office software to process the files other people with the same software sent to them. Thus some governments backed the standardisation of the proprietary format through ISO. The OOXML saga.
Other governments want to be able to switch to other products or actually do that. Most of them migrate to Staroffice or [OpenOffice.org] which support the ODF format and the old binary doc format out of the box. Government agencies understand that a creation of an international standard as ODF was crucial to reduce their switching costs, they understood that only strong economic pressure would force Microsoft into full ODF compliance. Some governments also understand that you have to invest into alternative products and migration studies to further reduce the dependencies and built up the market pressure for interoperability.
I wonder if Russia will consider to develop its national word processor as well. A wise Russian will understand the danger to their national independence that a support for the Open XML format instead of ODF bears. If they have no opportunity but to chose Open XML it shows that their national independence is already compromised. When I went to the military part of the mission of military service was to shield our nation from foreign extortion. I wonder how these institutions can contribute to liberate our nations from these dependencies. Guns and nukes do not seem to help against the viral software sales model from Redmond. A clear software and interoperability strategy and effective action does help, as long as governments do not fraternise with the opponent of their national interest.