The Norwegian free software association for municipalities, Friprogforeningen, is starting to offer cloud-based open source applications. This means municipalities can use open source tools such as the Redmine project management and bug-tracking tool and the OTRS service management and helpdesk software, without having to install and maintain the applications. The cloud itself is running free and open source software.
Other open source applications available from Friprogforeningen's open source cloud include the Limesurvey survey software, Mediawiki, Open Conference System, e-learning system Moodle and Wordpress, a content management system.
The cloud service is the logical next step for Friprogforeningen. The association itself was created to safeguard the development of an open source course management tool Frikomport. This software project was started by seven municipalities in Norway's Kongsberg region, who together wrote the first version in 2006. The municipalities made the code freely available under the GPL public licence.
Frikomport is now used by over seventy municipalites, universities and other organisations. And, foreshadowing the association's move to the cloud, most of its users prefer the online version.
Friprogforeningen is built on open source and offers open source, says Britt Inger Kolset. She is a coordinator for SuksIT Kongsbergregionen, a regional governmental organisation involved in Frikomport and the Friprogforeningen from the start.
The move of all other of Friprogforeningen's open source software applications to an online-platform began more than a year ago. Kolset sketched the association's cloud future in January last year, at a workshop by the European Commission's ISA program (Interoperability Solutions for European Public Administrations), part of the Open Source World Conference in Granada, Spain.
Friprogforeningen's cloud services are still very new. Kolset:
We are currently updating most of the websites. The new sites will go online in three weeks.