A European Commission initiative has issued guidelines to member governments on how to migrate to open source software on both servers and desktops.
Designed to support the rapid electronic exchange of information between member states' administrations, the guidelines are aimed at IT managers in public administrations, and includes information on staff changes, interoperability, security and mobile and remote user support.
Part of the EC, the Interchange of Data between Administrators (IDA) drew up the Open Source Migration Guidelines to set out the basic principles that countries should follow.
Nine member states provided input from their own practical experience, excluding the UK, which did not participate.
They place considerable emphasis on desktop and groupware migration, with details of the open source alternatives to, for instance, Windows applications. But it stresses that handling inter-working with existing systems is vital.
Neil Ward-Dutton, research director at Ovum, said: "This indicates an increasing awareness about open source and a signal that the EC wants to be much more serious in being a catalyst for open source."
The guidelines recommend that organisations should:
- Have a clear understanding of the reasons to migrate before starting.
- Ensure active support from IT staff and users.
- Have a 'champion for change', higher up in the organisation the better.
- Build up open source software expertise and relationships.
- Start with non-critical systems.
- Ensure that each step is manageable.
On its website IDA said: "These guidelines have been designed to help public administrators decide whether a migration to [open source] should be undertaken and describe, in broad technical terms, how such a migration could be carried out.
Eddie Bleasdale, director of Netproject, which produced the guidelines, said: "Governments are interested in open standards but generally they don?t have the drive to make it happen across the board."
The full document and a cost comparison model can be downloaded here.
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