All regions and nearly all municipalities in Norway now use open source

Public administrations in Norway are increasingly turning to open source, says Martin Bekkelund, business developer at Friprog, the country’s open source competence centre. This year, all ninenteen county administrations are using open source in some form, compared to 76 percent in 2005.

Uses varies from server operating systems , content management systems to OpenOffice. A recent example is procurement of an open source telephone system based on Asterisk in the county of Akershus. “Moreover, now 75 percent of all 430 municipalities are using this type of software, including for example OpenOffice in high schools and a complete stack of server software.”

Five years ago, a little less than 60 percent of municipal administrations used open source. In Norway there are roughly a thousand public offices, which includes government offices, municipalities and counties, now more than 60 percent uses open source, compared to 34 percent in 2005.

Bekkelund says public administrations should work together to reuse data, knowledge and software. Failing to collaborate on this will result in increasing IT costs and mounting bureaucracy. “This in turn leads to decreasing quality and a loss of knowledge.”

“On the other hand, forcing public administrations to switch to open source is not the way to go, public sector need to see the benefits of sharing and collaboration for themselves.” This explains why Friprog is working on incentives to make open source more attractive. The cente has created a site where public administrations and IT service providers can work together, called Delingsbazaren.

A similar website focusses on sharing documentation, research, case studies and data, Kunnskapsnazaren. Friprog also organises conferences, such as the GoOpen conference taking place in Oslo in March next year. “Free and open source has become a natural part of the market.”

Bekkelund presented on Friprog’s progress 25 September at the Kosova Software Freedom conference that took place in the city of Prishtina. source

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