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IS: Public administration in…

IS: Public administration in Iceland moving to open source

Published on: 04/04/2012

"The goal of the project isn't to migrate public institutions to free and open source software in one single year but to lay a solid foundation for such a migration on which institutions can base their migration plans", reports Tryggvi Björgvinsson, the project leader. Examples of involved institutions include the three biggest public institutions in Iceland, all of the Ministries, the city of Reykjavik and the National Hospital. "These are setting a good migration example", says Björgvinsson. As he explains the project will set up a common infrastructure for migrations and public administrations will thus have the means to document and estimate the maturity of free and open source alternatives to proprietary software. "This will foster collaboration between public institutions, IT service providers and the free and open source community in Iceland", adds Björgvinsson.

One of the first steps in the migration project is a series of five letters sent to all the heads of public institutions, recommending for instance the use of open standards and pointing to examples that ease the move to free and open source. Moreover, a group of specialists has been formed that will monitor the project, aiming to prevent future failures. The project is also compiling a list of ongoing projects surrounding the use of free and open source software by public institutions to allow collaboration on these projects.

"Next, we are making sure that in our public schools, the national curricula do not restrict the use of free and open source software" continues Björgvinsson. The project is also working on a Call for Tenders to purchase services based on free and open source software.

"Public institutions have slowly been migrating to free software over the last four years. During the current school year, 2011-2012, two new secondary schools moved their systems entirely to free and open source software, bringing the count to five out of 32 schools" he adds. A majority of the secondary schools are already running Moodle, an open source course management system. Other public bodies such as the newly founded Media Commission alsorun entirely  on free and open source software.

"The country-wide migration project will build upon their experience and hopefully pave the way for other institutions to follow" concludes Björgvinsson.

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