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[News] Another Big Blow to Microsoft in the UK (Schools and Free Software)

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Open source trumps Microsoft in UK schools

,----[ Quote ]
| MICROSOFT has suffered further set-backs in the UK education sector this week 
| after Becta, the government procurement quango, reformed its purchasing 
| regime to break the software giant's hold on education, and launched a 
| programme to get schools to adopt open source software.   
| At least three open source software suppliers submitted tenders to Becta 
| yesterday for the £270,000 Schools Open Source Project. The winner will spend 
| two years building a community of schools which uses and develops its own 
| open source alternatives to Microsoft software.   
| Becta has also specifically called on open source companies to join its £80 
| million framework list of certified suppliers of software to schools, 
| contracts for which will be awarded in June. The last framework list 
| consisted entirely of Microsoft suppliers and drew Becta widespread criticism 
| for favouring the convicted monopolist over cheaper, homegrown alternatives.    


Becta: The Story Continues....

,----[ Quote ]
| If Becta means business over this – and it's a big "if" given the 
| roller-coaster ride we've had from them so far – this is potentially huge. 
| I've long maintained that Microsoft's stranglehold on the British education 
| sector is (a) a total scandal and (b) one of the root causes of this 
| country's poor showings in just about every survey of open source usage.  
| Here's hoping....     



U.K. tech agency: Microsoft's no friend to schools

,----[ Quote ]
| The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) said
| Monday that it has filed a complaint with the European Commission against
| Microsoft, alleging that its new Office 2007 file format will impede
| educational initiatives because it does not natively support open standards.


Newham has a cow over Microsoft MOU

,----[ Quote
| However, Newham has supplied the INQUIRER with internal studies that it says 
| do demonstrate that its decision to commit to Microsoft was justified. The 
| studies were performed by Socitm, a private public sector consulting firm of 
| which Newham COI Steele is a vice president. the INQUIRER will report on 
| these findings in due course.    
| Meanwhile, the original MOU is enlightening. As well as claiming the deal 
| would enable Newham to achieve high rankings in Audit Commission assessments, 
| it committed Newham to moving all "competitive technology" to Microsoft, 
| regardless of the feasibility of such a move.   
| It also required Steele to promote Microsoft software.
| See attached file: Memorandum of Understanding.doc


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 – 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... 


London council dumps Microsoft, may go open source instead

,----[ Quote ]
| 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

,----[ Quote ]
| 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

,----[ Quote ]
| 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

,----[ Quote ]
| 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.     

Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (GNU/Linux)


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