The northern Netherlands municipality of Groningen has opted to
drop Microsoft Office and switch to OpenOffice.org, saving a total
of €330,000 [US$418,500] annually.
According to the municipality's
Web site, Groningen's council made the decision to terminate
the Microsoft Office contract on the July 12 recommendation of
alderman Karin Dekker. The proposal was formally ratified this
Wednesday. The municipality, a geopolitical body roughly equivalent
to a US county, will no longer recieve new versions of Office and
will begin a transition to OpenOffice.org. Groningen will be the
largest municipality in The Netherlands thus far to undergo this
migration to the open source office suite.
By making this move, the municipality will save €330,000
annually, according to the Dekker proposal. Half of this amount,
€160,000 [US$202,890], will be used for the migration to
OpenOffice.org, and the remaining savings will be reserved for
licence fees if it becomes necessary to upgrade to new individual
instances of Microsoft Office. The Council has indicated that this
latter is not a preferred option, and ideally this reserved amount
will eventually be earmarked for other projects.
The Groningen municipality has been striving for quite some time
to shift to open source and open standards software, in order to
reduce its dependence on one software producer. A recent study by
the council has revealed that a full migration to Linux-based
desktops is not feasible for them at this time, so the municipality
has opted to renew its contract for Microsoft Windows support, at
an annual cost of €150,000 [US$190,210].
Groningen is aiming to make all of its desktop systems
completely non-proprietary, with a migration to Linux the ultimate
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