Iceland's public administrations moving towards open source

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All public administrations in Iceland are increasing their use of free and open source software. The country's government recently launched a one year migration project for all of its public institutions. "The goal of the project is not to migrate public institutions to free and open source software in one single year but to lay a solid foundation for such a migration which institutions can base their migration plans on", reports Tryggvi Björgvinsson, the project leader.

Examples include the three biggest public institutions in Iceland, all of the ministries, the city of Reykjavik and the National Hospital. "These are setting a good migration example", says Björgvinsson.

The project will put up a common infrastructure for migrations, he explains. Here the public administrations will document and estimate the maturity of free and open source alternatives to proprietary software. "This will foster collaboration between public institutions, IT service providers and the free and open source community in Iceland."

One of the first step in the migration project is a series of five letters sent to all the heads of public institutions, recommending for instance the use of open standards, pointing to examples that ease the the move to free and open source.

Also, a groups of specialist has been formed that will monitor the project, aiming to prevent future failures. The project is also compiling a list of ongoing projects surrounding the use of free and open source software by public institutions to allow collaboration on these projects.

No restrictions for open source

"We are also making sure that in our public schools, the national curricula does not restrict the use of free and open source software."

The project is also working on a call for tender to purchase services based on free and open source software.

"Public institutions have slowly been migrating to free software over the last four years. This school year, 2011-2012, two new secondary schools moved their systems entirely to free and open source software, bringing the count to five out of 32 schools."

A majority of the secondary schools are already running Moodle, an open source course management system. Other public bodies such as the newly founded Media commission also run entirely on free and open source software.

"The country-wide migration project will build upon their experience and hopefully pave the way for other institutions to follow."

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Gijs Hillenius writes original articles for the Joinup project of the European Commission. His articles are republished here with permission.

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