U.K. government could drop Microsoft for Linux

Out of tens of thousands of suggestions from public-sector employees, two ideas the government chose to highlight as representative suggest just that.

Among the dozens of staff-submitted ideas for the British government to save money are two that suggest dumping Microsoft and moving to Linux, OpenOffice and other open-source applications.

To be sure, they are just two among the 60,000 ideas proffered by those who work in the public sector, but just 31 of those were listed on the website for the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The site makes clear that these 31 have not been "short-listed" and will receive the same consideration as everything else that's been suggested. But the examples listed on the site "show some of the main themese and ideas." And the fact that two similar ideas are listed there could lead one to believe it's something that would be considered seriously.

The two suggestions:

8. In terms of spending less - what about migrating the whole of government (the NHS, Education etc) from Microsoft products to Linux and open source software like Openoffice.

28. Annul the government’s agreement with Microsoft to provide software and operating systems (OS) to government departments and switch to open source software and Linux based operating systems. This would reduce costs by: Reducing the need to update hardware in line with new Microsoft OS releases. Linux OS and open source software has a lower whole life cost and is less susceptible to viruses. Support a more diverse spectrum of the IT industry, instead of one corporation; generating additional UK tax revenue.

It wouldn't be anything really new, either, for the U.K. government to look toward open source. In 2003, the government signed a five-year agreement with Sun to look at using some of its open source systems in government.contributing back to the community); other governments around the world are looking to open source.

Still, times are tight right now. It could be the right time; the U.S. government has been redeveloping sites on open source platforms (and

What could be the ramifications (good and/or bad) of the U.K. dumping Microsoft and using open source in the public sector? What Linux distro do you think they would (or should) choose?

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