Comment: OpenOffice Tale of Two Cities

Consequently, open source software in the public sector has never just been about saving money – it’s also about reducing dependency on Microsoft. The promise of better integration draws many users ever deeper into the comfortable Microsoft world. Outlook is included with Office and Outlook offers optimum compatibility with Exchange. In turn, Exchange requires a Windows Server with Active Directory and IIS is thrown in for good measure, for which the easiest way of creating applications is ASP.net. And so it goes on. When you eventually find yourself faced with the choice of either aligning your IT systems to Microsoft’s priorities or undertaking major restructuring, things can start to get extremely expensive. This is the dilemma currently facing Microsoft Small Business Server users, following Microsoft’s announcement in the summer that it plans to replace the product with cloud services. And can you really require local citizens to purchase a specific product if they want to send or receive digital documents to or from council offices?