Old Guard Lies and Hides Under the Bed in Helsinki

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.”

see City of Helsinki Wants To Keep Software Costs Secret.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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7 Responses to Old Guard Lies and Hides Under the Bed in Helsinki

  1. Clarence Moon says:

    The folks at FSFE and the council want to know what those observations were.

    Tut. The FSFE is just a side show for the main FLOSS whiners who seem to be falling out of favor in the US. There is no reason to suspect that they have any right to an explanation anyway. Doubtless the Helsinki council does have access to the report and voted to adopt it.

  2. kozmcrae says:

    Clarence Moon wrote:

    “You either have to live with that or find a way to change the process.”

    Clarence would like to keep the hidden, hidden. Of course you would Clarence. Helsinki is right where you’d like them to be. No need to rock the boat.

    On a clear day you can see right through Clarence.

  3. Clarence Moon wrote, “The Finns put in a pilot project to evaluate the use of Open Office and their conclusions, based on their observations and operated on by their process, were that it is a loser.”

    The folks at FSFE and the council want to know what those observations were. Why is the city afraid to reveal them? Who’s running the asylum? It’s natural to assume that what is hidden is hidden for a reason.

  4. Clarence Moon says:

    How is it that you Linux fans are always to be found muttering in your beer and whining about how there must be evil forces at work since your ideas about how things ought to be are never adopted? If you are a fan of systems analysis, you should know that everything has a process in place and that process is what controls what happens in terms of output base on some defined input.

    The Finns put in a pilot project to evaluate the use of Open Office and their conclusions, based on their observations and operated on by their process, were that it is a loser. You either have to live with that or find a way to change the process. There is no road to success for the lazy man. Quit complaining and start acting or else start accepting what the process provides.

  5. Matts Haglund wrote, “There is something really strange in Helsinki education too. With some 600 000 people there were only one school (Rudolf Steiner) having OpinSys Ubuntu-based system.”

    That’s an indication that M$’s “technological evangelism” has planted evil seeds in high places where top-down management suppresses competitive methods of IT. I have worked in school systems like that. The young guys were enthusiastic about GNU/Linux and knew it well but the old guard tenaciously clung to XP. Meanwhile, to Hell with the users who are exposed to sluggish or absent IT. It really is amazing that many schools are a decade or more behind in using IT in the classroom mostly because they view malware, slowing down and high costs as essential elements of IT and those all stem from using M$’s stuff yet they resist change.

    One of the high points of my career was offering to install GNU/Linux in a new IT system in a new school and actually accomplishing the task on time and under budget. There were a few problems but all were easily soluble and the school ended up with the most wonderful IT in the province. Visitors were shocked at how much IT the school could afford on a minimal budget. The school had twice as many PCs as a typical school, the PCs performed twice as fast and the school could afford all kinds of peripheral gadgets to make the PCs even more useful. A major innovation there was to actually have multiple servers working on databases, web applications and of course running all the users’ applications. The efficiency was a breath of fresh air and almost trouble-free compared to that other OS.

  6. Mats Hagglund says:

    There is something really strange in Helsinki education too. With some 600 000 people there were only one school (Rudolf Steiner) having OpinSys Ubuntu-based system. However, there are tens of smaller towns having schools using OpinSys like:

    Espoo, Forssa, Honkajoki, Hämeenlinna, Iisalmi, Joroinen, Juankoski, Juva, Jyväskylä, Jämsä, Kaavi, Kankaanpää, Karjalohja, Karkkila, Karvia, Kauniainen, Kemi, Kiiminki, Kirkkonummi, Kuusamo, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Lieksa, Lieto, Muurame, Nurmijärvi, Rantasalmi, Ruovesi, Salo, Sastamala, Sipoo, Siuntio, Sulkava, Tampere Rudolf Steiner-school, Vihanti, Vihti, Virrat…

    I think over 25 000 students are using Ubuntu delivered by OpinSys. If i remember right most of the town of Kemi is using them in town hall too. Some of these grammar schools are biggest in the country with some 1000 students.

  7. Mats Hagglund says:

    It was a shameful example how city of Helsinki is burning money of taxpayers. And it’s one of latest examples why Finland generally have dropped from the first class of IT. Aalto University in Helsinki is another example where Microsoft has managed to manipulate advocates. Did i mentioned something about Nokia as Microsoft’s strange bedfellow?

    Consequences: Nokia making suicide, IT in horrible condition (especially national train traffic and health care) and Finland far from leading Linux/FLOSS-nations in the world. It’s a sad, sad story indeed.

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