Fort Erie goes open source

A Computer Dealer News article by Paolo Del Nibletto documents a move from Microsoft software to Novell supported FLOSS for the town of Fort Erie, Ontario.

They seem to have understood the benefits. For instance, one of the advantages of not having to count copies of the software for licensing purposes is that you can freely distribute this software for home use. “It was free training for workers”, Reid Canavan, system administrator for the Town of Fort Erie, said. It is not only the Novell edition of OpenOffice.org that is free, but this may spark citizens to look more seriously at switching from expensive (or illegal) usage of Microsoft Office to downloading legally free software from OpenOffice.org directly.

I'm looking forward to when the City of Ottawa catches up and does something similar. It isn't really about how much money the municipality or other governments spend, but the "second hand smoke" effect of these governments using software which they then encourage citizens to buy. Either those citizens are encouraged to pay a massive tax to the vendor, or are encouraged to violate copyright which further instills a disrespect for this area of law. There are far more important long-term policy questions than acquisition costs for governments.