UK government plans switch from Microsoft Office to open source
Source: The Guardian
Ministers are looking at saving tens of millions of pounds a year by abandoning expensive software produced by firms such as Microsoft.
Some £200m has been spent by the public sector on the computer giant's Office suite alone since 2010.
But the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude believes a significant proportion of that outlay could be cut by switching to software which can produce open-source files in the "open document format" (ODF), such as OpenOffice and Google Docs.
Document formats are set to be standardised across Whitehall to help break the "oligopoly" of IT suppliers, and improve communications between civil servants.
The proposal is part of the coalition's drive to make its procurement more effective and efficient.
Speaking at a cross-government event showcasing new online services on Wednesday, Maude will say: "The software we use in government is still supplied by just a few large companies. A tiny oligopoly dominates the marketplace.
"I want to see a greater range of software used, so civil servants have access to the information they need and can get their work done without having to buy a particular brand of software.
"In the first instance, this will help departments to do something as simple as share documents with each other more easily. But it will also make it easier for the public to use and share government information.