UK government threatens to dump Microsoft Office for Open Source Software

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Microsoft is by and large the giant of commercial software. Their reach is far and wide, encompassing many companies, governments and individuals alike, but change is coming. It has been reported that the UK government spent in excess of $331 million on software since 2010, and they are now keen to reduce the costs by turning their attention to Open Source solutions.

Francis Maude, a member of the cabinet was not pleased about the situation. Said Maude, “The software we use in government is still supplied by just a few large companies.” Maude suggests that they can spread the love by opening the door for a host of other software providers to take care of the needs of the government, and to reduce the reliance on Microsoft.

“”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,” Maude continued. He has a clear vision of where he wants the government to go, and how he wants it to be done, but when will it be done is the question. In 2002, the government proposed a software policy that was referred to as “Open Source Software: Use within Government.” Another proposal was made in 2009, and still, nothing has been done.

The writing is on the wall for Microsoft. Libre Office and OpenOffice are being considered by the government, and while they are still users of Internet Explorer, they also consider switching to Firefox and or Chrome. With so many Open Source alternatives eating away at the Microsoft empire, I cannot imagine that they would be sleeping well at night. Ballmer and company may be hoping that another 12 years pass by before the UK government decides to do anything about their mounting software bill.

Sources: The Guardian

 

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  1. Indian_Art

    As that old phrase goes ‘there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip’. Lets hope ODF is supported by the Government & LibreOffice or OpenOffice gets a chance.

    With so much money involved I expect mischief!

  2. Mark Rich

    It won’t happen very easily or quickly. The Tories are very easily swayed by money, markets and private capital, especially those who provide funding to their party. They would be reluctant to embrace open source products on the scale needed to reduce costs if those three golden eggs of tory policy are undermined. M$ will offer lower costs licences and baffle politicians and civil servants with enough fud to retain the products. Wait for one of them to suggest ‘compatibility’ as the reason they stick with Redmond’s products. After the audit office has had a look at their costs several years from now it’ll be too late and another generation of systems would be stuck with discredited proprietary software containing weakened security and surveillance back-doors.

    If they were serious they would step aside and embrace open source on the same scale as Bavaria has but they aren’t.


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