There is something of a battle going on over the use of open source by local and national governments.
Mostly, this centres on cost, together with various technical issues. But one area that is frequently overlooked is the fact that open source software that is created by such bodies can also be used free of charge by businesses.
In other words, there may be knock-on benefits that would never be produced through the use of broadly equivalent proprietary solutions.
Here's an example from Catalonia:
The government of Catalonia earlier this month published a beta version of an open source application Einestic ('ICT tools') meant to ease the administration for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) and the self-employed.
Einestic was presented during the eWeek event in the city of Vic by Francesc Rambla I Marigot, responsible for the Catalan government's open source projects. The applications combine the standard open source applications OpenOffice, Gimp, Thunderbird and Firefox with Abanq, an open source enterprise resource application.
The combination helps SMBs and the self-employed to manage their contacts and suppliers. It also offers ways to manage invoicing and bookkeeping, helps them to manage expense accounts, to draw up annual financial reports and to file quarterly sales tax statements to the Spanish government.
I can't find the code on the Web yet, but it's interesting that it builds on several other open source tools, and incorporates yet another ERP application, Abanq, that I'd never heard of....
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