The government of The Netherlands is waking up to the cost of non-Free software. A report on “failed” IT projects includes the following conclusions:
“c. The cost savings and societal benefits of ICT policy in general must be made visible. A summary of the amount of taxpayers’ money saved through the ICT strategy, the open source policy and the expansion of digital government should be included in a separate chapter in the annual report of the central government’s operations.
d. The government has already decided to choose open source and open standards wherever
possible. However, this policy is still not being implemented sufficiently in practice. This needs to change: not only can this approach bring about enormous cost savings, but also opens the door to criticism and dissent.”
The Netherlands, alone, has seen billions of Euros squandered each year due to failed ICT projects. It is so easy to sign a cheque and hope problems will disappear but that abstraction allows a lot of waste such as paying for permission to run computers the government owns outright. By using FLOSS a huge slice of costs is eliminated. Better management will take care of the rest but opening ICT projects to competition surely reduces costs and promotes local businesses boosting GDP and tax-revenue. ICT that is a revenue generator rather than a cost is the pot of gold for governments everywhere. ICT should not be a conveyor-belt of money flowing to M$ and “partners”. That’s not the purpose. Finding, modifying, creating and distributing information as efficiently as possible is the only valid justification for money spend on ICT.