Is This the Season of Porcine Aerobatics?

,----[ Quote ]
| Two of the darkest moments for open source in the UK involved the loss of
| major public projects. The first was Newham Borough Council, which ran a
| high-profile trial of open source only to ditch it at the last moment, after
| magically receiving an offer it couldn't refuse from Microsoft ‚Äď which cynics
| suggested was the main motivation for the open source exercise in the first
| place.
| This was bad news for free software, because it enabled Microsoft to do two
| things. First, it could claim that an independent body had tried open source
| and found it wanting, and secondly, it was able to use Newham as a showcase
| for its public sector technology.
| In some ways, the second defeat was even worse. It involved a massive
| contract with the NHS that was far-reaching in scope...


NHS launches open source development

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| The NHS is a major Microsoft customer, and last year signed a large deal to
| upgrade to Windows Vista. But, it always maintained it would continually
| evaluate open source. ¬*

London council dumps Microsoft, may go open source instead

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| NEWHAM LONDON Borough Council has scrapped the controversial 10-year
| Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) it signed with Microsoft in 2004 and drawn
| up a new agreement with a new set of deliverables. ¬*

EU: Europarlement testing Ubuntu, OpenOffice and Firefox

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| The European Parliament's IT department is testing the use of GNU/Linux
| distribution Ubuntu, OpenOffice, Firefox and other Open Source applications,
| the British MEP James Nicholson explained last week in a letter to Italian
| MEP Marco Cappato. ¬*

Is Microsoft Now Banned from EU Contracts?

Euro MP thinks Microsoft should be banned from government contracts

Green MEP says Microsoft should be excluded from EU contract awarding procedure

MEPs Question Microsoft's Eligibility for Gov't Projects

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| The Commission, which has not responded yet, is allowed a few weeks to reply.

Government faces crunch on Microsoft mega-deal

,----[ Quote ]
| Rumour has it that Microsoft hasn't been feeling appreciated in the public
| sector, thinking its customers don't know what a good deal they've been
| getting since the MOU was first negotiated in 2002. BECTA, the procurement
| quango for the education sector, has recommended schools don't upgrade to
| Microsoft Vista and Office 2007. ¬* ¬*
| [...]
| "There's a big anti-Microsoft lobby growing on the green agenda" he said,
| especially among local councils who were beginning to realise that PC's were
| power hungry and expensive to maintain. They were taking interest in
| think-client computers instead. ¬*

UK: Major cost reduction result of Bristol's switch to Open Standards

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| Bristol City Council's switch to StarOffice in 2005 has led to a major
| reduction of IT costs, says Gavin Beckett, the council's ICT Strategy
| manager. ¬*
| StarOffice is Sun Microsystems' proprietary suite of office applications,
| which is based on the Open Source OpenOffice. In 2006 Bristol took the
| further step of adopting the ISO-approved Open Document Format (ODF). ¬*
| Speaking at a conference on ODF in the Netherlands last month, Beckett said
| that implementing StarOffice for 5,500 desktops in Bristol saved 1.1 million
| GBP (1.4 million euro) in comparison to the total cost of implementing
| Microsoft Office. "The licences for StarOffice cost us 186,000 GBP (243,000
| euro), in comparison to 1.4 million GBP (1.8 million euro) for MS Office." ¬* ¬*
| These major savings were offset slightly by extra time needed for
| implementing StarOffice. Implementation cost the city council 484,000 GBP
| (632,000 euro), double the estimate for MS Office. This was due to document
| conversion and training, said the IT Strategy manager. Explaining and
| troubleshooting the new office applications took several months more than
| planned. ¬* ¬*

Is Becta loosening Microsoft's grip on UK schools?

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| Capita-SIMS, the powerful and dominant schools database provider, has been
| instructed by Becta to comply with the new interoperability framework. This
| move potentially opens up a large and growing market to solutions based on
| Open Source databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL. ¬*
| [...]
| Moving away from Microsoft SQL
| The school database market has been a closed shop for many years. Products
| from Capita and Serco, both based on MS-SQL, account for well over 90% of
| market share. In the case of, not only does it use Microsoft
| SQL , requires schools to use MS Office 2003 and has a MS IIS web server but
| it also has a non-interoperable API. ¬* ¬*

Interview: Tim Pearson, CEO at RM plc on interoperability and software patents

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| John Spencer talks to Tim Pearson Chief Executive of RM. RM is the largest
| most successful supplier of ICT to the UK education market and, for good
| measure, is British too. Tim has been there from the start and so is really
| now Mr RM. This autumn he gave the school ICT world a jolt when RM announced
| its Asus miniBook. It retails to schools for only £169 and runs Open Source
| software throughout. The miniBook has preceded an avalanche of new products
| and new thinking. ¬* ¬* ¬*
| [...]
| More seriously, it's been hard to forecast when we have no real experience
| selling at this price point before, neither have we ever sold a machine with
| a Linux-based client OS before. ¬*

Lawmaker blasts U.K. government on Microsoft policy

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| "A member of Parliament of the United Kingdom has launched a stinging
| attack on the U.K. government's IT strategy, saying that it has given
| Microsoft too much control.
| John Pugh, who is a member of Parliament, or MP, for Southport and a
| member of the Public Accounts Committee, was speaking in an
| adjournment debate on Tuesday that he had called. The aim of the
| debate, he said, was to explore the alternatives to using Microsoft
| software, including open source."
| [...]

Interview with Richard M. Stallman

,----[ Quote ]
| It is important to know this because we will always face pressure, from those
| who are powerful and would like to take away our freedom, to surrender our
| freedom‚ÄĒand they frequently offer us something attractive in exchange. For
| instance, B’liar wanted to abolish the Rights of Englishmen, and to serve his
| American master, Bush, faithfully; so he offered Britons ‚Äúprotection‚ÄĚ from
| this or that, plus the imagined idea that he influences his master on their
| behalf through the ‚Äúspecial relationship‚ÄĚ. ¬* ¬* ¬*
| ¬* ¬* ¬* ¬* ¬* ¬* ¬* ¬* ¬* ¬*^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^