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15 June 2009, 16:16

Open source vs Microsoft: further progress in Switzerland

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The Swiss Open Systems User Group and the canton of Berne treasurer's office have reached a rapprochement. The open source advocacy group had criticised the fact that a contract for revamping the canton's 14,000 workstations was awarded to Microsoft without a tendering process. Although the canton is insisting that the contract should stand, the Swiss Open Systems User Group has decided not to pursue the case in the courts.

The reason for its restraint is reported to be the "intensive talks" between the two parties. The canton is said to have promised not just to work more closely with the open source community during future procurement processes, but to actively promote "the increased deployment of open source solutions outside of the Microsoft operating system environment."

In a similar case, also in Switzerland, a group of open source companies including Red Hat, Univention and Collax recently brought an action against the Swiss Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics (BBL). That case concerned a 42 million Swiss franc contract for extending Microsoft licenses, which was also awarded following a restricted tendering process.

Regulations requiring all Federal Administration procurement to treat open source software on an equal footing with proprietary software have been in place in Switzerland since 2004.

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