An interesting story of Norway enforcing public sector websites to use open formats, such as PDF and ODF for documents, in order to lower the bar for accessibility.
Taking effect from 1 January 2010 the content of public sector’s websites will be available in open formats. This new regulation will contribute to enhancing equal accessibility of users and suppliers to the information available on the websites of both central and local government.
This is something that Australia should also be doing.
There are plans afoot to replace the UK government’s computer systems with a “cloud” and free software.
The government will also push for “open source” software to be used more widely among central and local government’s 4m desktop computers. That poses an immediate threat to Microsoft, whose Windows operating system and Office applications suite is at present firmly embedded as the standard on PCs in government..
I doubt that Microsoft would sit idly by and let this happen, though.
Yep, the Kiwis beat us at everything these days and now those sensible chaps in Government begin trials of Linux and free software.
In 2003, the NZ government recommended use of Free software on the desktop for agencies (not just the server side). Now, we’re starting to see it happen. Hurrah!
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Horizons Regional Council and NZ Post will all begin trialling the replacement of their existing Windows desktops with machines running Linux and other open source software in February.
It’s almost enough to want to move overseas and become a Kiwi.
It has just been revealed that the Australian Government spends “over half a billion dollars each year” on proprietary software licenses. That’s somewhere over $500,000,000.
The Greens are heading a call for the Government to use free software and for the first time in my life I find myself agreeing with them.
Greens communication spokesman Scott Ludlam said:
“We know [software] costs are sky high and governments are a huge revenue source for companies like Microsoft, but there are also very strong public policy grounds for using open-source software. And one is to make sure that government information is accessible to the largest number of people as possible at no cost to them.”
It was on the front page of the Canberra Times yesterday.
If the PM wants to save money, here’s a great way to do it. In fact, for the cost of licenses for a single year, the Government could hire 5000 full time highly paid open source developers. By leveraging existing free software it wouldn’t be too hard to build anything and everything that the Government uses for it and the Educational sectors.
First they started beating us in the footy and cricket, but now they’re moving ahead of us in free software too?
Negotiations between the New Zealand Government and Microsoft over subscription costs failed this year, and as a result has given FOSS a bit of a shove in the back.
Now the Open Source Society there is doing something positive – helping the public sector adopt free software by showing how it fulfills their needs. This is a great idea and should be encouraged.
The Public Sector Remix project aims to help public agencies reduce the cost of desktop computing. The project will deploy free open source software for nominated staff to use for common business tasks and evaluate the results.
Go Kiwis, go!
The NSW Government is considering putting Linux on the laptops for students as a part of the Rudd Government’s “Education Revolution” plan. Good idea!
But you know what will happen, Microsoft will step in and offer XP and Office for cheap (or perhaps even FREE), in order to stop Linux from gaining any momentum in the market. They will also offer discounts to NSW Government Departments on their Microsoft products, if they don’t adopt Linux on these notebooks.
The Victorian Government struck such a deal and as a result, laptops with Windows are cheaper than the Linux version – which comes with a free operating system!
How do you complete with that?