MANHASSET, N.Y. Singapore's defense ministry, the latest government agency to spurn Microsoft for open- source software, said this week that it's turning to the OpenOffice application suite rather than updating Microsoft Office.
According to Bloomberg, the ministry is installing the free OpenOffice suite on new PCs. The decision to go open-source was made, said Cheok Beng Teck, the director of the office of the ministry's chief information officer, because "the additional features [of Microsoft Office 2003] could not justify the high cost."
The ministry will retain copies of Microsoft Office 97 it already licenses, and give users a choice of which suite they choose use, Cheok said.
With the ministry operating some 20,000 PCs, the decision to open up to open-source is among the biggest by a government agency. The municipal goverment of Munich, Germany, for instance, which is planning to abandon Microsoft Windows in favor of the open-source Linux operating system, runs about 14,000 clients.
"This is the biggest rollout of open-source software in Singapore," Lim Swee Tat, the president of the Linux Users Group of Singapore, told Bloomberg.
The ministry may also consider introducing Linux to its PC users, said Cheok, but he gave no timetable.