Thursday, April 17, 2008

The state of Open Source in Swedish public sector

For two days, I have attended a conference about using open source in the public sector in Sweden. I held a talk about developing GIS-applications using open source, using applications such as PostgreSQL with postgis, geoserver etc. There were several talks that included reports about the state in the other nordic country. Very simple is the political system in Denmark promoting open standards, Norway and Island promoting use of Open Source. In Finland and Sweden are the politicans doing nothing. One keynote was held by the swedish minister for Infra structure. The speach was a huge disapointment with no indication at all where they want to go. She were not even willing to answer questions.

The sky is not totally black. The city of Sundsvall told that they had developed a system for communication between school and parents released it open source and then purchased the maintanence in competition between suppliers. In this way can the follow the swedish law about public purchasing (LOU in swedish) and still do not need to change the system when changing supplier. The idea from this succesful test is that the same thing can be done for other more important and lager systems too, such as HR, care planning etc.

More and more cities are using Open Office as their office software. In cities where they show the license fee for MS Office are the administration very positive to change software. One big challange is to handle templates for several office softwares. Once again are Sundsvall up in the front and presents a system to handle this. The software will be release here when finnished. Instead of open a template in a word processor, one are visiting a website select template, enter metadata and create a document which is opened in the local word processor. The you start editing your document. This has turned out to work verry well.

A lot of organization has also found Open Source as a way to simplify collaboration and sharing systems. Many talks about deploying Linux.

The county of Stockholm are releasing different projects for managing health care as open source. Most of the software the public sector in sweden are releasing as open source can be find on Programverket. Programverket also list suppliers that are willing to support different solutions. This site is paid by from the community of swedish cities and counties. Norway and Denmark ave similar sites, but they got mony from the state parlament.

One of the largest indicators that we are going in the right direction is that the first conference I attended were there one representative from Microsoft. Last year were they two. This year were they three. They are definitely feeling the competition.

One week to go till we get a new release of Ubuntu.

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