Opinion: European governments open up, software-wise

While U.S. businesses begin to take up Linux as a critical part of their business IT infrastructures government agencies "across the pond" are going full bore into Linux and open source software.

Recently the German Federal Ministry of the Interior said it would use Linux servers running German-based SuSE Linux (what else?) for all computer systems the Ministry uses. The Ministry is partnering with IBM to help install the servers, port applications to Linux and provide support for the whole infrastructure.

While the Ministry says the move is aimed at embracing open standards more, the German government also expects to see cost savings over proprietary computing systems the government used in the past. The Ministry's choice of Linux was also for security reasons, as it believes Linux is less prone to cyber-attacks than other commercial operating systems.

Over in England, the U.K.'s Office of Government and Commerce (OGC) is using the possibility of installing open source Sun StarOffice software as leverage against new licensing rules from Microsoft. Unhappy with new licensing models for Microsoft Office, the OGC says it is looking into the Sun's StarOffice suite around 500,000 of its employees, rather than pay an estimated 200% increase on new Microsoft licensing fees. It is also reported that the OGC is looking into Linux as a platform for running its desktops in general.