Some years ago a movement started to replace proprietary office suites with open source solutions in an attempt to save money and regain control of IT spending.
Several government organizations in Germany, Spain and Italy replaced Microsoft Office with application suites such as Open Office and in some cases Windows with Linux distributions, and while no-one can fault these organizations for not trying hard, it appears in many cases the tide has turned, and many of the earlier pioneers are finding the costs of “free” software is not worth the return at all, particularly due to issues related to support, training, features and compatibility.
We reported recently on one such pioneer, the Munich city council, who has made the transition to Open Office and then Libre Office in 2003 and who is now planning a return to Microsoft Office, after finding that “… even 10 years after the start of the LiMuX migration, the users and users of the POR are dissatisfied,” and that LiMux and LibreOffice was “far behind the current technical possibilities of established standard solutions”.
It appears Brazil was another country caught up in anti-Microsoft sentiment. They also transitioned to Open Source office solutions in 2003 with the idea of reduce licensing costs while stimulating local companies to develop products for the government.
Unfortunately the lack of skilled professionals and scarcity of specialized providers meant the initiative lost momentum, and the government has now approved a massive procurement exercise of Microsoft products over the next few months to standardize the IT applications portfolio across departments and generate cost efficiencies.
Government departments will now be able to buy Microsoft products as required at previously negotiated prices within a 12 month period without the need to launch new tendering processes, with products most likely to be purchased by departments including Windows 10, Windows Server and the Office suite.
The move is just another example of a case where ideology got ahead of the need to get serious work done, and where procurers finally discovered that it does not pay to cheapen out on the tools needed to get the job done.