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DK: Telecom Agency offers open source desktop to staff

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The Danish National IT and Telecom Agency (ITST), part of the ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, has started offering its staff the choice between a GNU/Linux based desktop or a proprietary desktop, announced Christian Lanng, head of the agency's IT and Infrastructure division, at its conference on open source and public administrations, held in Copenhagen on 19 March.

"Future generations will demand freedom of choice on the desktop and office applications", Lanng said. The ITST pilot is the first open source desktop project at a national government organisation in the country.

Lanng also announced the ITST would form strategic partnerships with other public administrations on open source. Their focus will be on using open source to increase interoperability. "We must concentrate on how we use open source software strategically, in terms of interoperability, rather than tactically, focusing on price."

The agency will research possibilities for public bodies to jointly develop software, Lanng announced. "We are taking a long-term perspective, bearing in mind that our IT infrastructure needs to exist for ten, twenty or thirty years."

The head of ITST told his colleagues to look at their current procurement methods and contracts. "Are these ready for open source? We must start to take open source into account when we consider the total cost of IT projects."

Open source will become an integral part of the ministry's efforts on innovation, competition and transparency, Lanng told the about two hundred conference attendees. The ministry is to make sure it expands and maintains its knowledge on open source. "Open source is closely linked to government data. We want to make sure it is part of the game, to ensure innovation."

More information:

Conference website (in Danish)

Christian Langg's presentation (in Danish, pdf)