Public Sector Remix Project Launch

Media Release

For immediate publication.

The public sector in New Zealand is following other public agencies around the world in looking for ways to reduce the cost of desktop computing.

The New Zealand Open Source Society today announced the launch of the Public Sector Remix project to demonstrate the viability of free open source software on public sector desktops.

A number of central, regional and local government agencies are working together to run trials using free software for common desktop tasks.

The President of the Society, Don Christie, said, “When we asked participants what people need, they told us that 90% of the people, 90% of the time, have pretty simple needs. Document management—word processing, spreadsheet, mail and calendar; a web browser to access their modern line-of-business applications; and access to legacy client–server applications.”

The Remix project will deploy free open source software for nominated staff to use for these business tasks, and evaluate the results.

The project is not just about saving money for the whole of government. “This is also about bringing choice back to the desktop and demonstrating the business value of software freedom,” said Christie.

Participating agencies are seeking four business freedoms. In their words:

- Freedom is a competitive landscape offering real choice of systems and suppliers.
- Freedom is escape from vendor lock-in and mitigating the risk of vendor capture.
- Freedom is flexibility to make a choice today that doesn’t remove our ability to make a choice tomorrow.
- Freedom is control over software—the ability to share our experiences and adapt software to our needs.

The desktop pilot will help agencies make better decisions about future desktop strategy. “It’s up to each agency where they choose to be on the spectrum from proprietary to free,” said Christie. “Every investment decision gives an agency more business freedom, or less. The participants in the Remix project have decided that they need more.”

To learn more about the Public Sector Remix project, call Don Christie on 0274 707 814.