Academy builds business case for Linux in government

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Au79, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. Au79

    Au79 Guest

    Open source is secure, robust and saves money - so why are you waiting?

    By Steve Ranger

    Published: Thursday 02 March 2006

    Open source software is stable, secure, liked by users and can save the
    government money.

    This is the message from the Open Source Academy (OSA), a project set up
    with funding from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

    An OSA spokesman said: "The aim of the project is to promote the use of open
    source to the local government community."

    Birmingham City Council is the lead authority on the project which began
    last year. It has embarked on one of the most ambitious projects, replacing
    the software on 300 PCs - at its central library and 39 local libraries -
    with open source.

    The spokesman told silicon.com: "Nine months ago our library infrastructure
    was in need of updating and what we've done is look at open source as an
    alternative to conventional desktop software. We've implemented a refresh
    of the desktop which uses open source software throughout."

    Now the desktops have OpenOffice 2, Firefox and Gimp image software. The
    spokesman said: "These are all powerful applications. What we have is a
    very stable, very secure desktop.

    "The whole reason for doing this was as a learning experience. There has
    been a very positive user reaction."

    But choosing open source does mean the implementation process runs
    differently, the council has found.

    The spokesman explained: "What we have found is that in this type of
    implementation there are a lot more decisions that need to be taken than in
    a traditional implementation.

    "With the implementation of a conventional Microsoft Windows desktop most of
    the decisions are taken for you about look and feel and what functionality
    is available. For open source it's different because you've got a lot of
    choice - which distro of Linux to chose and then what to use for the
    presentation layer.

    "The choice is a bit overwhelming so you do need a deeper level of technical
    expertise."

    OSA projects include developing guidance on recycling old PCs, and the Open
    Source Laboratory which allows local authorities to test software without
    compromising their own live networks.

    Other OSA initiatives include a National Open Development Environment to
    allow collaboration between authorities on software development, and a
    project drawing on the experience of Bristol City Council, providing
    information to local authorities considering the adoption of open source
    office suites.

    The spokesman said: "Clearly within open source there are some opportunities
    to save money. What we are looking at is to what extent there is a
    sensible, reliable business case for open source - and we are doing that in
    hard-headed way and not out of enthusiasm for the software."

    While the OSA projects are now coming to an end, the organisation is keen to
    have a continuing impact.

    He added: "The whole idea of this is to make open source something that is
    viable and acceptable and non-threatening to local authorities. What we are
    now looking for is to push the message out - that open source is here, and
    it's a viable alternative.

    "There are some interesting answers we are coming up with and that's a very
    interesting challenge to the perceptions of open source - we found it very
    stable and highly acceptable to our customers."


    http://www.silicon.com/publicsector/0,3800010403,39156889,00.htm
     
    Au79, Mar 4, 2006
    #1
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  2. Au79

    Fuzzy Logic Guest

    Fuzzy Logic, Mar 8, 2006
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