Schools start to move to OpenOffice
1-Danmark :The administration of the Danish municipality of Lyngby-Taarbæk is installing OpenOffice on some 1700 school desktop PCs, the administration announced yesterday. The first school where OpenOffice will be installed is the Lindegård school. At the school earlier today mayor Rolf Aagaard-Svendsen showed the first desktop running the open source suite of productivity tools. According to a report by the Danish IT news site Version2, the move to open source is intended to prevent students from using unlicensed software.
The switch to OpenOffice also helps to save costs, that can now be used to purchase new IT equipment, the Danish National IT and Telecom Agency (ITST), adds today in a statement.
The Lyngby-Taarbæk municipality needed to purchase six hundred new school PCs to replace outdated computers, explains Jens Kjellerup, head of the administration’s IT department. By moving to open source, the municipality saved an amount equal to 25 percent of the amount needed for the new hardware. “Moving to open source paid for about 150 of these computers.”
ITST says the Lyngby-Taarbæk municipality decided to move to open source following recommendations by the Ministry of Science that this type of software should be considered when procuring IT solutions. “The choice was clear, the municipality now switches to open source and will thus be able to afford new computers.”
The use of open source brings more than economic benefits, writes ITST. Since the software can be distributed freely, it allows the students to use the same software at home. “They should find it easier to do their homework”, it quotes one of the involved IT administrators.
Morten Kristoffer Hansen, projectleader at Softwarebørsen, the ITST’s software development site, says many other schools in Denmark are interested in Lyngby-Taarbæk’s move to open source.
According to the agency, the project in Lyngby-Taarbæk municipality involves two more open source applications, Åben Skrivestøtte (‘open writing assistance’), that helps in teaching pronunciation, and OpenOffice FarvOrd, (‘colour word’), for improving grammar and punctuation. These two tools are developed by the Århus and Tønder municipalities respectively and are made available on Softwarebørsen.
2- Germany :
The city of Münster has started a pilot using OpenOffice in schools. The city’s IT department, Citeq, will also switch all of the 150 servers used in its primary and secondary schools over to GNU/Linux. Half of these have already been migrated to open source.
The changes in the school’s IT systems are part of the overall IT strategy of the city’s IT department.
At two schools teachers are trying out OpenOffice at the moment. The suite will be made available to all schools in November. “We plan to make OpenOffice the default office application for schools”, says Citeq’s spokesperson Stefan Schoenfelder.
The city earlier this month reported that 140 of its 360 servers are now running GNU/Linux. In a press statement published last week Wednesday, Citeq states that using open source is making it easier for the departments to share information.
The administration is also saving considerable costs, writes Citeq. “Open source tools such as Linux are mature, so we consider their use is very economical.”
Münster is using a mix of Suse and Debian Gnu/Linux for its servers. These are used for instance as files servers, or for running the Typo3 open source content management system. They also use it for the proprietary Oracle database management system and the proprietary ERP system SAP, Schoenfelder says.
There are no plans yet to run complete open source desktops in the city. Schoenfelder: “The staff are used to working with proprietary office applications, here as well as at home. Moreover, there are many applications available only on Microsoft desktops, and it would cost too much to move these to Linux.”
The default web browser on many of the city administration’s desktops is the open source tool Firefox.
The city of Münster started using open source in 1998. The first Linux server was a mail relay, running Sendmail. The decision to use open source was made by the IT department. Sometime later politicians wanted to increase the city’s use of open source. “We now use Linux wherever it makes economic sense. We use it wherever possible and whenever the efforts for changing the operating system are not higher than the cost reduction that can be achieved.”