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Microsoft lock-in stalls Bristol council's open source strategy

Computer Weekly - Bristol City Council has been forced to ditch a major tranche of its open systems strategy because it is locked in to using Microsoft software and standards.

Open source software and open standards were central to the council's regeneration plans, promoting local enterprise and helping cut £50m from its annual budget by 2013. But the council's full open source strategy may not now be implemented until its three-year cost-cutting phase is over. It will instead spend at least £7.3m on an IT strategy that involves putting Microsoft Windows 7 and Office 2010 software on 7,000 desktop computers.

Both the central government and Bristol's own IT strategies require the use of open standards and the adoption of open software. But the strategy Bristol's ICT director will put before the council Cabinet for approval on 30 September claims that so many other organisations insist on using proprietary Microsoft standards that its own attempts at using open standards have become untenable.

Gavin Beckett, Bristol's chief enterprise architect, told Computer Weekly, "We are trying to drive forward this openness agenda, but it's dependent on the rest of the public sector catching up and because they've not caught up we have had to make a pragmatic decision to use Microsoft."

More comment: Bristol Council mulls mixed FOSS, Microsoft upgrade - One step back, two steps forward