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Sun Microsystems has secured a solid win over Microsoft in Australia with a government agency planning to pull 1,500 users off of Office and various other Microsoft applications.

The New South Wales (NSW) Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) is making a move to the open source StarOffice from Microsoft's productivity suite. In addition, the RTA will pick up numerous parts of Sun's software line, including its e-mail, calendar and task management software. In each case, comparable Microsoft applications are being given the boot.

"The RTA required an open standards-based system for its desktops and back-end infrastructure to cut its escalating software, maintenance and support costs," said Greg Carvouni, chief information officer, RTA. "Sun has addressed our key total cost of ownership (TCO) issue through innovative design and pricing which will reduce TCO by up to 20 percent, leading to potential savings of up to $1.5M USD ($2M AUS) per year. This means we'll be able to dedicate our time and budget to serving our customers rather than worrying about desktop costs and support issues."

In the future, the RTA looks to use Sun's portal, directory and identity management products and run them on a combination of Opteron- and UltraSPARC-based servers.

The Aussie government, like many outside of the US, has actively been looking at open source software as an alternative to Microsoft code.

It's encouraging to see various bodies look to promote software choice, but still somewhat amusing to think that a 1,500 user shift warrants its own press release. Moves away from Microsoft - be it for the Linux desktop or just a particular application - never seem to occur as fast or on the scale that Redmond's rivals would like. ®

Related stories

Open source miracle horse stuns MS Japan
Sun gets liquored up on own code
StarOffice: ready for the big time?
OpenOffice spring cleans with 1.1.1

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