Home of The Tiny Guide to for the US Federal Government?

Suggestions have appeared that the United States Federal Government could save enormous amounts of money by abandoning the purchase of licenses for several major desktop software applications.

As the single largest customer of Microsoft’s Windows, MS Office, and other programs, the feds are clearly spending a lot on software licenses. In this time of unprecedented budget difficulties, no stone should be left unturned in the quest for saving costs and cutting back. Thus, the suggestion that US federal offices migrate from Microsoft Office to

PC World calls this “your second economic stimulus check.”

Phil Shapiro writes:

One of Obama’s first executive acts may be to standardize all Federal offices to

OpenOffice is free, robust, stable and more than sufficient for 99 percent of government work. If any particular government office requires Microsoft Office, they’ll be able to purchase it — after explaining in a few sentences why OpenOffice is insufficient for their needs.

What do you get when all Federal offices standardize on OpenOffice? The effect of this is a second economic stimulus check. You get increased productivity at lower cost. Scratch that. You get increased productivity at no-cost.

Does Shapiro have any evidence this might happen? Not that I am aware of, but it makes for a good thought experiment, nonetheless. And maybe saving tens or hundreds of millions of dollars doesn’t look like much in this age of $700 billion bailouts, but on the other hand, every small act counts.

Other countries have taken this step already, increasing the necessity of adapting to remain competitive: “100 million students in Brazil will have several years more experience using free software than students in the United States.”

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