[FSFE PR][EN]  City of Helsinki Wants To Keep Software Costs Secret

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Thu Jul 12 10:14:00 CEST 2012

=  City of Helsinki Wants To Keep Software Costs Secret =

[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20120711-01.html ]

 The IT department of the city of Helsinki claimed in a report to the
city board that migrating to OpenOffice would cost is over 21 million
euros. On 10th of April 2012, FSFE filed a Freedom of Information
request, asking the city how it had arrived at a surprisingly high cost
estimates for running OpenOffice (now LibreOffice) on the city's
workstations. The city of Helsinki has now denied this request[1]and has
stated that it will not release any details about the calculations.

"This secrecy is truly disappointing. If anyone was looking to Helsinki
for a pragmatic assessment of the costs and benefits of Free Software,
this should make them reconsider," says Otto Kekäläinen, FSFE's
Finland coordinator. The city's administration insists that its
calculations are based on a secret formula provided by a consultancy. 

Even if one were to accept that business secrets should be more
important than the interests of Helsinki's citizens, the city could and
should still release the numbers that it put into the formula. This
could be such information as the estimated cost per seat, or estimated
annual costs for support. "If Helsinki won't explain how they came by
their figures, how can anyone take those numbers seriously?" asks

 Johanna Sumuvuori, member of Helsinki's city council, has been pushing
for greater use of Free Software in the city's administration since
2010. Together with 50 out of 85 members of Helsinki's city council, she
is now urging the city[2]to at least provide users with up-to-date
LibreOffice installs in parallel with the proprietary office suite
currently in use.

During 2011, the city of Helsinki ran a pilot project, trying out the
Free Software suite as a secondary office suite on all 21 000 city
workstations and on as the sole office suite on 600 laptops provided to
city trustees. After the pilot ended in December 2011, a report by the
city claimed that the cost of using OpenOffice/LibreOffice would cost
70% more than the current proprietary office suite.

FSFE's analysis points to a number of severe deficiencies[3]in both the
pilot project and the report. Even though the city's claims appear
unrealistic, Helsinki's administration refuses to explain how the
figures were calculated. 

FSFE is running a project to improve public sector procurement
practices[4]in Finland. Public sector bodies frequently make mistakes in
their calls for tender by requesting tenders for specific brands and
product names, thus discriminating competitors. FSFE works with public
bodies to fix mistakes in calls for tender, and to spread best practices
on how to increase true competition and thus better quality for a more
competitive price.

FSFE works for the public good. Its activities can be supported by
signing up at fsfe.org/support[5]

  1. news-20120711-01-attachment-helsinki-foia-denial.pdf
  2. http://www.sumuvuori.net/node/178
  3. http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20120412-02.en.html
  4. http://fsfe.org/news/2012/news-20120619-01.en.html
  5. http://fsfe.org/support

== Contact ==

  === Finland ===
  Otto Kekäläinen
  FSFE Coordinator, Finland
  otto at fsfe.org
  === +358 44 566 2204International ===
  Karsten Gerloff
  FSFE President
  gerloff at fsfe.org
  +49 176 9690 4298If you wish to receive further updates, subscribe to
  our press release mailing list at http://fsfe.org/press

== 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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