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UK government plans switch to open source
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Butts McCokey
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:08 pm    Post subject: UK government plans switch to open source Reply with quote

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Ministers are looking at saving tens of millions of pounds a year by abandoning expensive software produced by firms such as Microsoft.

Some £200m has been spent by the public sector on the computer giant's Office suite alone since 2010.

But the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude believes a significant proportion of that outlay could be cut by switching to software which can produce open-source files in the "open document format" (ODF), such as OpenOffice and Google Docs.

Document formats are set to be standardised across Whitehall to help break the "oligopoly" of IT suppliers, and improve communications between civil servants.

The proposal is part of the coalition's drive to make its procurement more effective and efficient.

Speaking at a cross-government event showcasing new online services on Wednesday, Maude will say: "The software we use in government is still supplied by just a few large companies. A tiny oligopoly dominates the marketplace.

"I want to see a greater range of software used, so civil servants have access to the information they need and can get their work done without having to buy a particular brand of software.

"In the first instance, this will help departments to do something as simple as share documents with each other more easily. But it will also make it easier for the public to use and share government information.

"So we have been talking to users about the problems they face when they read or work with our documents – and we have been inviting ideas from experts on how to solve these challenges."

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Voltago
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Commendable, but don't get your hopes up too high. Mostly those plans are
a) used as pressure to get price cuts from your current software vendor or
b) foiled by resistance from the administration or
c) abandoned once people realize that even if the software is free-as-in-beer, migration and support aren't and the cost projections have been far too optimistic (they usually are) or
d) scrapped come the next government.
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greyspoke
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Migrating away from MS Office seems more achievable than migrating away from MS Windows, and I read that article as talking about office software not operating systems.
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porodzila
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I think it is highly achievable to switch the office drones to OO. Open source operating systems already have their niche in most governments and governments won't change their view on these very quickly.
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pjp
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

greyspoke wrote:
Migrating away from MS Office seems more achievable than migrating away from MS Windows, and I read that article as talking about office software not operating systems.
Interesting perspective. I thought MS Office was the primary driver behind use of Windows OS.
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John-Boy
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From experience, most have problems with MS-Office/even Windows, there's going to be a steep learning curve with anything remotely different.

Also what do you do with the software that's already written to use MS-Office ? Lot of that about too.
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pjp
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John-Boy wrote:
From experience, most have problems with MS-Office/even Windows, there's going to be a steep learning curve with anything remotely different.
That happens within releases of Windows and Office, so I'm not too concerned with that.

Personally, I think it'd be a good hiring test. Give them Libre and KDE Office and have them do some basic tasks. Increase the difficulty of the task to see which tasks they couldn't figure out. If they immediately balk at it being "different," then go all Kung Fu on them... "Thank you. Please come back another time." Most basic tasks aren't that difficult to figure out.

John-Boy wrote:
Also what do you do with the software that's already written to use MS-Office ? Lot of that about too.
Announce when the changeover will occur. People will begin to push back. Those who don't push back, migrate first. Some won't push back until you actually try to force them to switch, then they'll come up with a million reasons why you can't make them change. Eliminate the non-reasons, migrate. The remaining real justifications can go on a list of items to be replaced, or be allowed to die off through attrition.
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