Sweden's public sector's interest in Open Source is growing, writes Mats Östling, IT-strategist for The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and the Federation of Swedish County Councils in a paper submitted to a Dutch news site on Open Source, Livre.
According to Östling, Sweden's public institutions are skilled in IT, but lack expertise and experience with Open Source software. "The public sector has put a lot of work into a more consolidated and homogeneous ICT platform. This has mainly been done with proprietary software."
The IT consultants says that Open Source products do not fit in the extensive procurement processes. "The methods for comparing and evaluating the offerings are to a great extent influenced by the proprietary business models."
Two Swedish city councils recently discovered how Open Source helps save taxpayers money. One city council improved an web service application published as Open Source by another municipality. This fixed an issue the original council was struggling with, writes Östling, even though the applications were not very similar.
Östling says recent studies by two national government agencies implementing Open Source applications, the National Police Board and the Swedish Armed Forces, will increase the attention for Open Source.
According to him, the Police Board found after intensive tests that the Open Source applications offer better results than proprietary software. "(It) beat the proprietary applications and
systems in every investigated area." The police estimate to save some 22 million euro by migrating the back end IT systems to Open Source. "The next step will be the desktop and administrative applications."
The Swedish Army recently announced to be migrating some of its Windows NT servers over to GNU/Linux, though details are scant. The thorough studies of the two important national agencies will put pressure on other authorities, says Östling. "It will also prove that this type of software is as good as the proprietary software, and sometimes even better."
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- Mats Östling's paper for Livre (in English)