I have been reading several articles in Businessweek questioning the readiness of Vista and Office 2007 (http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/nov2006/tc20061129_739121.htm ) and some of the design quirks - how many geeks does it take to shut off a computer (http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/dec2006/tc20061201_625122.htm?chan=technology_technology+index+page_software ).
Then I came across this article (http://www.cbronline.com/article_news.asp?guid=61A19824-89F8-4649-82F7-3062481BA64B ) about BECTA (the UK government agency responsible for technology used in education) warning against deploying Vista and Office 2007, "noting that for Vista especially 'the risks are high, and the benefits are far from clear."
And while we have blogged about the "cost" of upgrading to Vista, today I came across this IDC study: "for every dollar spent on Vista a partner will earn $18 from hardware upgrades, other software additions and services." (http://www.itbusiness.ca/it/client/en/home/News.asp?id=41800&cid=10 )
But then many governments appear to have figured this out already through interoperability frameworks and adoption of ODF (Open Document Format) and Linux - the most recent being State of Tamil Nadu in India (http://www.skyscrapercity.com/archive/index.php?t-368794.html ) and Province of Misiones in Argentina (http://www.misiones.gov.ar/egov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=132&Itemid=9 ).
Here is a summary of the government adoption of ODF:
a. Seven National governments:
- Brazil, France, Germany have released Interoperability Frameworks calling out ODF
- Belgium, Croatia, and Norway recognize ODF/open standards in Fedral Government ICT guidance or policy papers
- Denmark made a parlimentary decision on the need for open standards in digital exchanges
b. Two country national standard bodies
- Italy approved ODF as a National Standard
- Malaysia is in the process to do likewise
c. Four Regional Governments:
- Extremadura, Spain has agreed to use ODF for document exchange
- Hong Kong, China recognizes ODF in its interoperability framework
- Tamil Nadu, India
- Province of Misiones, Argentina
d. Four governments have sponsored ODF focused events:
- India, Malaysia, Poland, Thailand
e. EU's DG Enterprise/IDABC published its recommendations on ODF ( http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/servlets/Doc?id=26844 )
In addition to policy decisions, nearly 50 federal agencies and state/local bodies across the globe are using office applications that support ODF. See http://opendocumentfellowship.org/government/precedent
Many governments have proceeded further, with adoption of Linux as the operating system of choice.
Let us take India for example: The state of Kerala moved 12500 schools to Linux few months back. The State of Tamil Nadu home to a population the size of the UK, is in the process of deploying 32,600 Linux desktop systems and training 30,000 government officials (http://mandriva.blogspot.com/2007/01/tamil-nadu-india-may-shut-door-on.html ). The governments of seven states, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal were running their treasury applications on Linux. The Provident Fund application of Bihar, the Secretariat in Mizoram, the Stamp Duty application in Andhra Pradesh, the Land Record application of Maharashtra, the RTOs of all the North Eastern states; Linux found several takers in many states across the country. The Central Government was not lagging behind-the innovative ePost project of the Post & Telegraph department, the IndiaGov portal and various other applications of the Election Commission, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor and Ministry of External Affairs were also running open source software. (http://www.dqindia.com/content/DQTop20_2006/employers06/2006/106090601.asp ).
Meanwhile, in Europe, the city of Amsterdam (in collaboration with 7 other cities) will conduct tests of open source software on desktops in two departments in the first half of 2007 (http://news.zdnet.co.uk/software/0,1000000121,39285307,00.htm ). Austria's capital city Vienna is in the midst of linux desktop rollout.
I already blogged on State of Indiana in the US (http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/showstory.cfm?ArticleID=5819 ).
And IBM is offering flexibility and choice to customers: Run Notes, Sametime, Expeditor, ODF compliant productivity editors on Windows, Linux, Mac, from a memory stick, DVD, etc.