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Local councils looking to move to Open Source software will find it easier to test possible solutions with the opening of a dedicated lab in Manchester.

The National Computing Centre has opened the Open Source Laboratory as part of the Open Source Academy funded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

The lab has already been used by Cheshire County Council to test a proposed move to combined Open Source and proprietary desktops.

Ed Downs, project manager for the lab, said it provides a risk-free way to test OS applications. Access to the service is currently free. Chris Marden from Cheshire County Council said: "Using the lab test environment allowed work to proceed quickly, requiring only minimal resources from Cheshire to take the project forward."

The lab is part of the government's "e-Innovations" initiative which aims to increase safe use of OS software by local authorities. It is supported by several councils, the University of Kent, Socitm and Open Forum Europe.

More details on the NCC site here®

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