Showing that no issue is actually sorted until the end of the process is reached, Microsoft is trying to get its partner network to speak up for OOXML as a document format for government interaction. In a posting to ComputerWorldUK, Simon explains that this would defeat the objective explained by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, who said
“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.”
So ODF Advocates once again need to speak up for openness and diversity – there are links in the article.
This morning saw the announcement by the Italian province of South Tyrol that they would begin a three year migration process to using LibreOffice for all of it’s public administration needs; they apparently use Microsoft products at present. The move is part of a broader strategy to eliminate dependence on monopolistic vendors, reduce costs, become more flexible and support locally based service providers.
You can tell that this is a project with a high likelihood of success because of the extent of the planning that has apparently gone into making the change. Simon’s article “Migrating to Open Source Needs a Plan” laid out some of the reasons why it’s vital that these sorts of migrations are not taken lightly or used simply as a cost cutting measure. When done carefully and with forethought there are rich rewards to be reaped and this South Tyrol migration bears the hall marks of an administration that is making the change in the right way. Gradual phase in, dialogue with and training for unfamiliar users, a changeover budget, these are all signs that this is one migration which is going to meet its aims.
The “Technical Round Table for Open Source” on whose advice this decision seems to have been made have very likely built their proposed changeover plan on the basis of the document foundations own recommendations for migrating to LibreOffice. It will be interesting to watch the progress of this bold move.
It’s not too late to sign up for Open Source, Open Standards 2013 in London this Thursday. Chaired by our own Simon Phipps, the conference starts with a keynote from the UK government’s open source policy lead Tariq Rashid and includes speakers from the Met Office, the Government Digital Service and the London Borough of Camden.