Apparently open government has not come to Helsinki yet. The city claims moving to LibreOffice is more expensive than paying M$ licensing fees every few years forever yet refuses to provide details of its estimates. Clearly, there are issues of file-format-compatibility and costs for rewriting macros but they could at least provide some explanation why they think it is so expensive to replace them. How can a one-time cost of a similar order of magnitude that they spent to create those macros not be more affordable than licensing M$’s office suite forever?
If the costs of creating the macros to provide more efficient IT were affordable once, why are they not affordable again to to provide open and sustainable IT? The city must enjoy paying monopoly-pricing. I wonder if the taxpayers do.
“The IT department of the city of Helsinki claimed in a report to the city board that migrating to OpenOffice would cost is over 21 million euros. On 10th of April 2012, FSFE filed a Freedom of Information request, asking the city how it had arrived at a surprisingly high cost estimates for running OpenOffice (now LibreOffice) on the city’s workstations. The city of Helsinki has now denied this request and has stated that it will not release any details about the calculations.”
Politically, it may still be possible to change Helsinki’s IT. Surely the IT department is controlled by the council unless some rogue element has taken control of it. A botmaster perhaps?
“Johanna Sumuvuori, member of Helsinki’s city council, has been pushing for greater use of Free Software in the city’s administration since 2010. Together with 50 out of 85 members of Helsinki’s city council, she is now urging the city to at least provide users with up-to-date LibreOffice installs in parallel with the proprietary office suite currently in use.”