Ireland’s Government Computer Service Board is taking their business away from Microsoft and placing it in the hands of open source software. The Board signed a €10 million contract with Microsoft in 2001 and renewed the contract in 2005 after considering open source alternatives. At the time, assistant director Tim Willoughby “expressed a reluctance to entrust local IT platforms to a ‘sandal-wearing’ community, preferring the level of support offered by Microsoft.”

But the deal with Microsoft has become too expensive and in the last few years, open source software platforms have become much more alluring. According to the article, “Willoughby is betting that open source will better prepare local government for a future that will involve social media, the semantic web and web 3.0 technologies.”

Willoughby and the Board are making the switch to open-source slowly. The transition should be complete within four to five years: “Willoughby says the strategy fits in with a sea change in the tech sector as the number of people using and supporting open source reaches a tipping point. This is still to be reflected in Ireland but Willoughby believes that the computer service board could lead the charge.”

Image: Courtesy Flickr/ Michal Osmenda