Norway's national broadcasting and TV facility NRK is intent on using the Open Document Format as a standard and is therefore changing its clients over to OpenOffice.
Norway appreciates free standards. After the government a year ago recommended Ogg Vorbis, FLAC and Ogg Theora next to their commercial alternatives MP3 and H.264 as standards for audio and video files, this year it focuses on ODF as the standard document format. According to the governmnent's Reference Catalog for IT Standards, the recommendation should become binding in January of 2011.
The first larger institution, Norway's national radio and TV corporation, Norsk rikkringkasting (NRK), is now taking the move to OpenOffice seriously. The conversion is based on the better ODF support, therefore the NRK is running many of its clients on Mac OS X because the Mac version of Microsoft's Office Suite doesn't support the open document format. Another reason for the move is the Microsoft Office licensing costs.
From the first of March the majority of the 4,300 NRK clients will run OpenOffice as the standard. The 850 or so Mac systems will get OpenOffice installed in the coming weeks, even thin clients will use it. Only administrative systems will continue to use both office suite versions, with users to decide which one they prefer.
Successful Pilot Project
Before the announced conversion, the NRK has already begun a successful pilot project in Tyholt that, according to project leader Steinar Bjørlykke, surprisingly went without a hitch. Only a couple of Visual Basic scripts and template layouts caused some problems with a few documents with embedded audio files, which was resolved with some plugins. Visual Basic was to be avoided as much as possible for the scripting problem.
A benefit was also noticed in that OpenOffice opened some Word and Excel documents significantly faster than the corresponding Microsoft programs.
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