OSS desktop feasibility test conducted with 4 local governments in Japan.
The Information-technology Promotion Agency (IPA), Tokyo, Japan published a report on a feasibility test of Open Source Software (OSS) desktop system installation to local government offices on July 27th. The IPA is a subsidiary organization of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and has planed to proliferate an OSS desktop system among local government. The test was conducted from November 2005 to March 2006 aiming at clarifying issues of migration to OSS and user support. The IPA stated "The test has confirmed that an OSS desktop system is satisfactory for doing a practical use in a local government office." in its press release. The test has successfully evaluated the efficiency of OSS desktop systems by installing them for approximately 400 workers of four local government offices and by letting them be used for real tasks through the test period. The test has confirmed that open source based fundamental software applications such as a word-processor, spreadsheet, and web browser, as well as operating systems are capable of a practical business use. Additionally, several experiments were also conducted: OSS-based central PC management, OSS-based video teleconference system, and interconnecting OSS desktop systems to legacy systems. The town office of Ninomiya-machi in Tochigi prefecture, one of the four local governments in the test, entirely replaced 139 Windows PCs for daily work with Novell Desktop Linux PCs and migrated Microsoft Office to OpenOffice.org at a time on February 2006. Ninomiya-machi is a small town with 17,000 populations located north of near Tokyo and is well known as a top production town of strawberry in Japan. Like many small towns in Japan, Ninomiya-machi has been experiencing a deficit in the budget for years and consequently reducing costs including IT related expenses has been becoming a big concern. Unlike other towns, an IT manager of Ninomiya-machi is good at Linux. For the reason, Ninomiya-machi applied to the feasibility test. The town office of Ninomiya-machi has 150 public workers. Most of them are a beginners of computer. To avoid their confusion at the migration, the installation vendor provided all workers with training courses on both Linux and OpenOffice.org. There were a number of software applications whose compatible applications were not available on Linux PCs. To have an access to such software applications, every small group of workers was given one Windows PC that could be remotely used from their individual Linux PC via VNC. The only person in the group, however, could use it at a time. Once the migration was taken a place, the help desk got many inquiries from users about how to use their computer even though they had been given training. Since half of the inquiries had been related to OpenOffice.org, the Japanese native language project of OpenOffice.org community started to support the help desk through a project's Q&A web site http://oooug.jp/faq/ . With this continuous support, the town office of Ninomiya-machi in Japan has successfully migrated from Microsoft Windows and Office to Linux and OpenOffice.org. Akihiko Hashimoto, researcher in the IPA, speaks "The feasibility test has proven that an OSS desktop system is satisfactory for doing practical use in a local government office." On the other hand, many issues have been found. The biggest issue is of interoperability between Microsoft Office document files and OpenOfficeorg ones. The town office has to exchange Microsoft Office document files among its neighbors. However, the workers in the town office of Ninomiya-machi now use OpenOffice.org instead of Microsoft Office and consequently they have to take care of two types of document files at the same time. To try to solve the issues, the IPA will conduct a feasibility test again in this fiscal year and concurrently start to study requirements of OpenOffice.org for Japanese users. The Information-technology Promotion Agency (IPA) http://www.ipa.go.jp/index-e.html Ninomiya-machi, Tochigi, Japan http://www.town.ninomiya.tochigi.jp/ Q&A web site of Japanese native language project of OpenOffice.org http://oooug.jp/faq/ -- Yutaka Kachi http://www.catch.jp/ [EMAIL PROTECTED] --------------------------------------------------------------------- To unsubscribe, e-mail: [EMAIL PROTECTED] For additional commands, e-mail: [EMAIL PROTECTED]