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03.13.09

Finland’s Public Sector Moves to Open Standards and Free Software, Microsoft Interferes

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, OpenOffice, Standard at 10:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Guest post

Finland flag

THE Finnish public sector is now requiring (in so much as it can require anything) that all public sector agencies, including schools, drop any and all closed source, closed protocols, and closed formats* and move entirely to open ones.

So in some ways, attacks from Microsoft now appear part of an attempt to do a scorched earth retreat. There seem to be a lot of sudden new ‘administrative’ systems and ‘upgrades’, not subject to discussion or evaluation. It seems too as if there is a massive effort to slam Microsoft Office 2007 in now after being ignored for years, apparently without discussion or evaluation, and despite the business case pointing to holding earlier versions (with the help of the ODF-plugin from Sun) or a move to KOffice or OpenOffice.org. There has been also an ongoing massive move in many regions to slam through, without discussion, further entrenchment of Microsoft Exchange. The ongoing Sampo Bank disaster demonstrates the vigor with which Microsoft products take precedence over profitability. A lot of people will have to be fired to come up with the money for these purchases made apparently to avoid or delay following the new guidelines.

In contrast, Russia and France have been saving huge sums which can be instead kept in the local economy and used to keep people employed. The
Gendarmerie, for example, reduced expenditures by 70%.

___
* Also see this paper [PDF] from 2003, pointing to the use of FOSS in more specific cases. A nice quote in page nine points out that although the term open source is new, the concept is as old as computing itself. The concept of Free Software, the source of the GPL, started 25 years ago.

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A Single Comment

  1. Ari Torhamo said,

    March 16, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Gravatar

    I quickly browsed through the original document, and it seems to me that the Finnish government is recommending the use of open standards and software, not requiring. Anyway, the recommendation is very clear and goes to details, so there seems to be real intent behind it.

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