Helsinki's city council wants its IT department to continue to use open source software alternatives to help rid the city of IT vendor lock-in. Yesterday evening fifty of the city's 85 council members supported a resolution instructing the IT department to keep supporting an open source office suite.
"The IT department must act to break its dependency on a single software vendor", the council members state in their resolution. "(The lock-in) exposes the city to certain operational and financial risks. For example, the IT supplier can dictate the license fees and it controls the file format of the city's documents."
The council members tell the IT department they want continued support for a vendor independent suite of office productivity tools, either OpenOffice or LibreOffice. This open source software alternative must be maintained and updated regularly.
The proposed action is relatively inexpensive, the council notes. It adds that it will greatly help in bringing down the price of proprietary licences, which the city is about to renew and that will cost millions.
"Keeping LibreOffice up to date is really the minimum that we ask", comments city council member Johanna Sumuvuori, who initiated the resolution. She said that last week the city's IT department had told her again that they would discontinue the support for the open source office tools, because of costs.
Open data instead of open source
The council resolution is a response to a proposal by the IT department. In April it wrote to the council that the costs for getting rid of IT vendor lock-in are too high. Changing the office suite would ripple through the entire IT system, taking a lot of time and money. Instead it offers to make more and more of the city's datasets publicly available.
Helsinki's trials with open source office suites began in 2011. A city council resolution, also initiated by Sumuvuori, had called for a pilot project.