Open source deal signed for government bodies

Government bodies are set to get access to a new range of open source applications for desktop, mobile and cloud after a deal signed by the Crown Commercial Service.

The procurement unit within the Cabinet Office has reached an agreement with open source software firm Collabora Productivity, it has announced.

Collabora will provide technical assistance and support for two products – one which is a direct competitor to Microsoft Office and Google Docs.

A statement from CCS said: “With a familiar interface for creating documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more, Collabora GovOffice offers considerable cost savings compared to competing packages. The Open Source software can complement or replace existing office applications and be used to extend the usefulness of other software packages.”

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The two products covered by the new deal are:

  • Collabora Office, a desktop office suite supporting more than 100 document formats, including Microsoft Office and Google Docs;
  • Collabora CloudSuite, which extends Collabora Office with cloud-based and mobile access, providing viewing and editing locally on devices, and online in web browsers. This product is set for release later this year.

The firm said that an “integral part” of the agreement would see it working with CCS to raise awareness of the Open Document Format, as well as other open source solutions.

All local and central government organisations will be able to deploy the software through the agreement and will be able to host private document clouds integrated with existing systems.

Michael Meeks, general manager of Collabora Productivity, said: “Moving to the cloud, adopting open IT Standards, and saving the taxpayer money are three key government objectives achieved by today’s agreement.”

In early 2014, the then Cabinet Office secretary Francis Maude said that he wanted to open up the software market within government to reduce its reliance on a small number of large suppliers.

Colin Marrs

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