The Danish parliament earlier this summer passed a bill calling for open standards for government documents to be implemented by 2008. In an effort to provide some quantiative data for understanding the impact of this move, Ramboll Management, an independent consultancy, developed a report gauging the cost of two main options – OpenDocument Format (ODF), part of the OpenOffice.org initiative, and Open Office XML, a Microsoft-developed format the company has submitted to the ECMA standards body. The report also includes the option of using ODF plug-ins for Microsoft Office. The report concludes that, over a five year period, moving to ODF would cost approximately 255 million DKK, while adopting Open Office XML, including updates of Microsoft Office licenses to the 2007 version, would come in at roughly 380 million DKK. Tapping ODF plugins would come in slightly higher than that.
The report address only the costs of transition, not the potential benefits of the added flexibility an open source option like ODF provides. It’s good quantiative data that shows that making a move to open source can have a powerful positive impact on keeping costs down.