Oh dear! The city of Arnhem, the place with the Bridge Too Far, where paratroopers died because of the folly of higher ranks, is now involved in another less costly but egregious disaster.“To compensate for not having adequately licensed the software used by the townâ€™s civil servantâ€™s who were working from home, Arnhem has paid 600,000 euro for new licences. These allow the use of the ubiquitous proprietary office software for the next three years, says the cityâ€™s CIO, Simon Does.
â€œIt makes no sense not to use these licences, so weâ€™ve stopped looking for alternativesâ€, the CIO told the European Commissionâ€™s Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR). Possible alternatives would have been LibreOffice or Apache OpenOffice, two closely related open source office suites.” The city was caught using unlicensed copies of M$’s office suite…
The folly? Instead of beating a path to LibreOffice ASAP, they meekly paid for a new set of licences thus increasing their lock-in and delaying progress. This still exposes them to further audits, further rounds of licence-upgrading, and the longer they use M$’s stuff the harder it will become to escape. Already it’s tough because many of their other applications depend on M$’s office suite. You don’t solve a problem you created by continuing to make the same mistakes. They do have the future possibility of migrating to FLOSS like LibreOffice in the future but this is a missed opportunity and will raise the cost of future migrations to FLOSS.
Shortsighted IT makes Arnhem part of its own problems with M$. If they’d gone to openoffice.org and LibreOffice years ago, none of this would have happened. Want to bet the cost of migration would have been less than the cost of the “fine” many years ago?