Bristol ponders switch to StarOffice

Bristol City Council is considering installing Sun's StarOffice suite on thousands of its desktop PCs

Bristol City Council may move up to 5,000 of its desktop computers to StarOffice next year.

The move could save an estimated £1.4m over five years, a council spokeswoman said on Friday.

Bristol has already evaluated the migration and conducted a 600-user pilot in the council's Neighbourhood and Housing Services Department, the spokeswoman added. A final decision on the migration will be taken at an executive council meeting in November.

The project has the full support of the council's chief officers, but has not yet been approved by Councillor Barry Dodds, the executive member for Central Support Services, according to the council spokeswoman.

If Bristol goes ahead, then the move would be one of the largest ever migrations to StarOffice by a local authority. It is understood that the council currently uses Microsoft Office.

StarOffice is a packaged version of OpenOffice.org sold by Sun Microsystems, and comes with helpdesk support and a few additional features added.

Sun scored a major coup with StarOffice back in June, when it signed a contract with the Ontario Ministry of Education covering 2.5 million students.