[FSFE PR][EN] Helsinki city officials report high satisfaction with Free Software

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Tue Dec 13 09:20:48 CET 2011

=== Helsinki city officials report high satisfaction with Free Software ===

City officials in Helsinki, Finland, are overwhelmingly satisfied after trying
out the Free Software office suite OpenOffice.org on their laptops. 75% of 600
officials have been using OpenOffice.org exclusively since February, as part of
a pilot project where the city installed the program on 22,500 workstations.

In the spring of 2011, the city installed the Free Software office suite
OpenOffice on 22,500  desktops. On the laptops of 600 officials, it was
deployed as the only office suite. Even though these latter users only received
a written manual and no actual training, still 75 % of the users where
satisfied. The pilot project is based on an initiative by Helsinki city council
member Johanna  Sumuvuori.

"This feedback is very encouraging. We congratulate the City of Helsinki on its
successful pilot project, and hope others will follow," comments Otto
Kekäläinen, the Free Software Foundation Europe's coordinator for Finland.
"Free Software means that public bodies no longer depend on a single vendor,
and don't have to pay monopoly prices for their software and services anymore.
This is a crucial difference in these economically straightened times."

The key reason why some users were not satisfied were difficulties in opening
files generated with the proprietary Microsoft Office. Yet according to a
Twitter messages from Helsinki city transport board member Mirva
Haltia-Holmberg, most of these interoperability issues would be solved if all
users learned to save their files in the correct format.

Helsinki is far from the only city in Finland to make use of Free Software. In
a similar initiative in Turku city council, Green Party chairman Ville Niinistö
stated: "Migration into free and open source software and  operating systems
would save significant amounts of money on the city level.  In office software
the move into open souce could be implemented very quickly. Migration into open
source software would also be good for the  general development of an
information society, since this type of software makes possible faster and more
free software development."

During year 2011 a number of projects have been started to increase of use of
Free Software in the public administration in Finland. Besides Helsinki,
similar initiatives have been undertaken in the city councils of Tampere,
Turku, Paimio and Salo, usually started by the council members. In the spring
of 2011 71 % of members of  parliament responded "yes" to the claim that the
state should prefer Free Software (such as GNU/Linux and OpenOffice) in its ICT

Finland has been a forerunner in the use of Free Software in the private sector
for years. Research published two years ago byt Red Hat and Georgia Tech
placed the Finnish industry first in the world in use of open source software.
The Finnish Ministry of Defence has been using GNU/Linux in key system since
2006. The most important argument for the use of GNU/Linux was security. The
Finnish Ministry of Justice has migrated into OpenOffice in 2007. Schools
around Finland have been saving significant amounts of money by moving to the
Linux Terminal Server Project.

= Contact = 

  Otto Kekäläinen
  FSFE Coordinator Finland
  E-Mail: otto at fsfe.org
  Phone:  +358 445 668 804

About the Free Software Foundation Europe

      The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
      non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
      involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
      participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation
      in the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
      Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
      furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
      modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these
      issues, securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving
      people Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are
      central issues of the FSFE.


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