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The first large-scale public sector defection from Microsoft desktop software is underway with the deployment of the Java Desktop System (JDS), a set of applications based on open source software, to 5,000 of the estimated 800,000 terminals used by the UK's National Health
Following trials of the software earlier this year, the health service "concluded that the Java Desktop System represents a viable desktop alternative for certain types of user ommunities," a spokesperson said.
Although the health service declined to identify which user groups are involved, it confirmed that the move is unlikely to be an isolated case.
"The National Programme for IT continues to view the use of open source software and open systems architecture as a key way of achieving best value and systems interoperability into the future," chief technology officer Duncan McNeil said in a recent statement.
JDS, developed by Sun Microsystems, runs on the Linux operating system and contains Star Office 7.0 for everyday applications such as word processing; the 'GNOME' interface click here)which has a similar feel to Windows; plus other open source messaging, calendar and document handling facilities.
"This is clear confirmation of how appropriate JDS is for government use," Richard Barrington, Sun's head of government affairs and public
policy, told E-Government Bulletin. According to Barrington, lower cost is only one reason for the public sector to consider a move to a mix of software suppliers. Interoperability is also a key factor, he said.
"We've had to work very hard to make our products access data stored in old Microsoft formats for example. We know of some government bodies that access this data using Star Office because Microsoft's new products like XP can't do it," he said.
After reading this I am wondering if they are wasting their time if the report I have heard is correct, and that is that Microsoft are trying to buy Star Office? Any comments?
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