Barcelona's move comes after the German city of Munich took this same path more than a year ago, in a high-profile battle in which Microsoft executives personally visited city officials to make a counteroffer.
Jaume Oliveras, a Barcelona regent who is responsible for the project stated that the city does nothing more than "reinforce its commitment to the most advanced and innovative technology, in the promotion of the Catalan language in an environment in which it is a minority."
Although Spanish software is pervasive, Catalan is the region's official language, and there is little Catalan software available. The city has distributed more than 60,000 CDs with CATix, an internationalized version of GNU/Linux in Catalan.
The city plans to start a pilot project in its Social Services department, and progressively incorporate the program into its other departments. For long-term collaboration plans, city officials are promoting an International Network for Free Software which includes Barcelona, the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, and Extremadura, another Spanish region.