Feeds

Bristol Council mulls mixed FOSS, Microsoft upgrade

One step back, two steps forward

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

A Bristol City councillor is trying to convince the council’s cabinet to adopt open source software alongside Microsoft’s Office and Windows 7.

The council has been seen as something of a poster child for open source public sector contracts in the past. In November 2004 it declared plans to shift 5,000 workers off proprietary desktop software over to Sun Microsystem’s StarOffice 7, in a move it said at the time would save £1.4m by 2009.

One year on from that move, the council is now mulling ways to replace its ageing desktop software and collaboration software in a project estimated to cost £1.5m over the next five years.

On 30 September Bristol City councillors will be asked to adopt a proposal, steered by UK open source consultancy outfit Sirius Corporation, to “commit resources” for FOSS tech.

But sadly for the council, and the UK open source community at large, Bristol can’t ditch Microsoft completely yet.

“This is a pragmatic proposal that delivers more key functions through open source products, but appreciating that much of the core desktop toolset and operating system still needs to use Microsoft technology,” said Bristol City cabinet member Mark Wright.

“The trouble has been that external partners have not kept pace with open source solutions, so we find ourselves having to take this compromise, but hopefully only in the short term. The proposed licensing arrangements will enable an exit point after three years should the move to a full open source environment be feasible.”

He said the council, whose IT service director Paul Arrigoni recommended the mixed open source and proprietary software setting, would try to convince its partners to push the open agenda without cutting the council off from the outside world.

“By also installing the free OpenOffice suite on every council PC we will ensure that no partner organisation that makes the jump to OpenOffice will be afflicted with compatibility problems when they share documents with us,” said Wright.

“So we are taking a different angle in promoting open source solutions. To me this feels like one step back, two steps forward. I’m hoping for the coalition government progressing policy quickly in this area, so that our decisions in three years’ time will be easier.”

The Sirius Corp’s boss, Mark Taylor, described the proposed tech compromise at Bristol City Council as “groundbreaking”, despite it remaining tied to Microsoft software.

“Bristol City Council's approach to open source is well thought through, realistic and pragmatic. It shows a thorough understanding of both the capabilities of open source software, and the limitations of the current stage of adoption in the UK Public Sector as a whole,” he noted. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.