Australia: 41,000 Computers with Open Office

Apr 11, 2008

According to reports, the department of education in the Australian state of New South Wales has decided to install Open Office on its 41,000 computers.

As an alternative, the department had looked into concluding a three-year-contract with Microsoft. Instead, the existing contract was extended by one year. The department also refuses to upgrade its machines to Windows Vista, although it has not opted to use Linux here. Instead, Windows XP will be installed on any new machines supplied with Vista pre-installed out of the box. The ministry's CTO, Stephen Wilson, admitted that this would add cost in the short run, although it would pay dividends in the long term.

The decision in favor of Open Office was not a decision against Microsoft, he said; instead he had identified a general trend towards increased use of online and multimedia applications, Wilsoon said: “Many of the things, particularly through our A$158 million Connected Classrooms program, are going to be delivered online rather than through a gigabyte of installed software on your hard disk."

Another trend that Wilson has observed – not entirely undue to the success of the Linux-based Eee PC in Australia – is a considerable drop in technology prices. In the run-up to the elections, the current Australian government had promised to issue laptops to all schoolchildren, however, the opposition has warned of the costs that providing the infrastructure and sufficient training would entail.

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