Microsoft ditched as Anglicans go open source

Microsoft ditched as Anglicans go open source

Summary: The Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church has decided to cut the Microsoft umbilical cord by moving to open source, starting with Office which will be replaced in the next three years.

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TOPICS: CXO, Open Source
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The Sydney Diocese of the Anglican Church has decided to cut the Microsoft umbilical cord by moving to open source, starting with Office which will be replaced in the next three years.

In an interview yesterday, George Lymbers, CIO of the organisation, said he has uncovered substantial savings potential by getting rid of licence fees.

"Some people say, well you only need Windows. Wait a second: you need Office, you need Windows, you need this, you need that. Before you know it you have 10 to 12 licences on one PC covered across thousands of installations. The cost of that is just spectacular," he said.

Office will be the first to go. Lymbers had two alternatives for replacing Microsoft Office: OpenOffice and IBM's Lotus Symphony, based on OpenOffice source code.

He decided to go with the IBM solution, on security and support grounds. Big Blue will provide the back office support for the suite, while Lymbers' department distributes it via thin client over the church's wide area network to the various church organisations.

Organisations which Lymbers' services — including schools, youth groups and aged care villages — will be able to go onto the Web, and click on an icon which is via thin client that will open an open-source Word. "They can open it up and it's totally safe and secure," Lymbers said.

The department will provide the first level of support to its user base, the size of which will vary because the individual organisations can choose if they want to take the services Lymbers provides. However, it may run into the thousands.

"We looked at the potential savings across the Diocese and it is incredibly large," he said. Although he wouldn't disclose the total sum, he was able to say that the savings for the Sydney Diocese Secretariat, which is responsible for providing services such as legal, accounting, and technology to the Diocese will amount to AU$150,000 a year.

Lymbers has been negotiating the support model with IBM and has been reviewing and testing the system. He hopes to have test sites up in 24 months and to begin an aggressive roll out in 36 months.

He also said he was looking at Lotus Quikr to replace Sharepoint. The organisation currently runs Lotus Notes email.

Topics: CXO, Open Source

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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8 comments
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  • secure?

    "totally safe and secure"? he is saying that regarding ssl or rdp, when access terminal server, right? ;)
    "150K/y of savings" - just the move to a TS env in itself helps that, despite be Symphony or Office. Biased statement. Thin clients low the TCO. Mixed ideas in the calculus (TS centric admin saving versus Symphony-Office saving)
    Why not then PDF4Free or alike? Nor Office (charged DRM) or Symphony (no DRM at all).. Free by free, at least they could protect their sensitive info (well... I know ;) PDF'ers do not calculate anything nor build PPTs ;)
    Or, goog apps / office live would be better/smarter move (no TS CALs, office live highest file compat. and sharing, all free, no own onpremise servers, high avail, auto bkps, etc)
    anonymous
  • re:secure?

    If you're trying to say something you may want to restate it (make it readable this time)
    anonymous
  • Why go part way?

    "... has decided to cut the Microsoft umbilical cord by moving to open source, starting with Office which will be replaced in the next three years."

    If serious why not move to Linux which offers Open Office & much more all without that restrictive umbilical cord?
    anonymous
  • Why go part way?

    You know the answer! Unless you know exactly what they have running on their box, you can't make these statements. However, if the church does check their applications for runability on Linux and it all works, then there could be a case for moving off Windows.
    anonymous
  • agressive rollout

    36 months later? That's a bit slow for just installing Open Office on a few computers.....
    anonymous
  • Security and personal information.

    What a reported personal guarantee from an IT manager/professional - "They can open it up and it's totally safe and secure,"

    No problems with rootkits, trojans, viruses....

    It is good to hear that the Anglican Church's IT systems have had a miraculous breakthrough in information security - inlcuding protection of any and all personal information in its possession - and all that by moving to an open source office product.

    Wow - we truly live in an age of miracles!
    and all that with the Pope in town as well....
    anonymous
  • Yes, Without Windows no problems with rootkits, trojans, viruses....

    Speaking of rootkits, trojans, viruses.... This problems are common on Windows PC's and almost unknown on Linux PC's. That could change, but today that makes a big difference between them.
    anonymous
  • Qukir

    Why not go to Alfresco Share ...
    anonymous