The True Value of OpenOffice.org

Despite a commitment to adopt open standards by 2006, the Netherlands government appears to be trying to rush through an approval to continue with Microsoft software (and proprietary document formats) to the tune of 147m Euro. Several MPs are expressing their disapproval and the vote next week to confirm this order will be watched closely by Dutch citizens and proponents of the value of open-source and open standards.

This flies in the face of all reason; in the Register's article, the Dutch town of Harlem demonstrated a saving of 90% in one year, dropping their costs from 500k to 50k in one year, including all migration costs and training. If similar savings can be achieved by the Dutch government, they could have an additional 132m Euro to spend on welfare or infrastructure or competitiveness. And Sun offers governments and large organisations a highly competitive support package for OpenOffice.org (some folks don't know that Sun is the primary developer and sponsor of OpenOffice.org), so you don't have to believe that FUD about open-source not being supported.

Aside: I'm not sure if Sun is still offering citizen pricing on StarOffice, but it would be interesting to see if that amount would cover it. Imagine an entire country's business and government able to invest all that money spent on individual Microsoft Office licenses towards more valuable initiatives. I somehow don't think the emerging global giants China and India are going to divert their funds just to buy the western world's current dominant office suite.

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