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Dutch town of Ede spends 92% less than others on licence fees

Ede coat of armsThe Dutch town of Ede spends 92% less on licence fees than other Dutch local authorities. How? By using free and open source software wherever possible according to the Dutch edition of Computerworld.

Where NOiV initiative failed, the municipality of Ede wants to be a shining example as regards the use of open source software. It has phased out proprietary software where possible in the past few years at both server and client level.

Not surprisingly, this yields enormous savings in software licensing: Ede spends 92% less than comparable local authorities, according benchmarking by management consultants Berenschot. However, Ede’s overall ICT costs are also considerably lower (24%) than comparable authorities.

Gradual expansion of open source

The major open source software used by the council include the LibreOffice productivity suite, Zarafa (Exchange alternative, including webmail), Firefox web browser, TYPO3,, MySQL and PostgreSQL databases, Nagios network monitoring software and the Asterisk telephony switching and private branch exchange service. Support from major suppliers in the council’s area (this market is divided between Centric and PinkRoccade) is often problematic, but there are enough alternatives, states Bart Lindeboom, Ede’s head of ICT in a comprehensive case study on Joinup, the EU’s public sector free and open source site.

Lindeboom denies that open source software involves all kinds of risks, stating the reverse is true. The use of closed, proprietary software (particularly from Oracle and Microsoft) also entails a lot of bother and risks. In particular, he states that organisations who work with lots of virtualised desktops often get lost in a licensing maze.