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Cost savings in The Netherlands: Now you see it, now you don’t

The Open Source Observatory flashed an eye-popping headline last week: “Moving to open source would save [The Netherlands] government one to four billion [euro].”

I had hoped I could do the dirty work of going over the report in fine detail and give you the summary, but there are two problems: first, it’s only in Dutch (I guess the actual problem is I can’t read Dutch), and second, the government took it down.

In a matter of days, the Court of Audit surfaced another report on the same general topic of cost savings for open source. This one has a wildly different conclusion:

“We concluded…the potential savings the government could make by making more use of open source software were limited.”

Interestingly, a headline from the Court of Audit’s own news excerpt is: “Ministries already use a lot of open source.”

This report, too, doesn’t seem to be available, except for a summary in English.

Headlines from outfits covering the story have read “Netherlands open source report says no savings can be made.” Discussion boards have chimed in stoking a conspiracy to cook numbers, government succumbing to Microsoft lobbying, and so on.

My take: Much ado about nothing.

[Read the rest over at]

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