Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: 2017: The Year's Best Tech for Work and Play

And now for some good news... How open source triumphed over Microsoft Office in Italy

If you thought Microsoft's Office ruled the productivity roost, you'd be wrong. Here's one uplifting story on how open source kicked Word and PowerPoint out of one Italian region.

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Image: Shutterstock

Microsoft Office may have a global monopoly, but one Italian region rejected it flat out. But, why?

In the stunningly beautiful Italian region of Umbria, you'll feel more at home running open source software, rather than the clunky and expensive Microsoft Office suite.

That's because despite having the greatest market share in the world, Microsoft's Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (among others) just didn't quite fit the bill for what the region's local government bodies needed.

Its "LibreUmbria" project set the wheels in motion on getting the popular underdog LibreOffice across every public sector PC in the region.

It's thought to be the biggest transition away from proprietary software ever undertaken. But why, when Office works for so many around the world?

According to the Perugia province's head of IT Alfiero Ortali, most of his users were exploiting just 15 percent of the entire Office suite, leaving the region paying for the unused 85 percent.

"It's just like if you owned a Ferrari and only used it to drive at 30km per hour through the middle of town," he said.

Open source may get a bad rap from time to time, despite powering most of the back-end Internet, the world's social networks, supercomputers, and online security. But if there's one story of the year to make you feel good about the underdog, it's this one.

Read on:  'Like driving a Ferrari at 20mph': Why one region ditched Microsoft Office for LibreOffice


What's the best news you've heard all year? We're counting down our favorite, uplifting, good news stories of 2014. Next one lands tomorrow, 8am ET (1pm GMT).

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