The Canadian Labour Congress chose to use OpenOffice.org from now on as their suite of business applications. They had two options to replace their old WordPerfect installations: the widely used Microsoft Office or the free OpenOffice.org. The decision they took was clearly a financial one, saving approximately $60,000 in licensing fees.
The philosophy of open source software struck a chord with the Canadian Labor Congress, with ideas like the independence of large corporations that prevent users from adapting their software using copyright laws or keeping the source code secret. Another aspect that influenced them was the freedom open source software offers over customization and the flexibility of OpenOffice.org.
Andrew Southworth, the network technician responsible for the Canadian Labour Congress' IT services knew that by choosing OpenOffice he wouldn't leave the future of their documents in Microsoft's development cycle.
Andrew Southworth also said: "I need to think beyond today [and consider] tomorrow's needs. While Microsoft is touting its own open format, we in the IT field know that Microsoft is in the business of selling software, not document management. So the question for me was not 'why OpenOffice.org?' but 'why Microsoft?' "
Another good example of open source project adopted in Canada is Plone, used by Prescient Digital Media, an Internet and intranet consulting and development company. Plone is a free content management system that helped this company save between $10,000 and $20,000. In addition to using this open source solution, Prescient Digital Media has started incorporating other projects, like Joomla! or Liferay, both content management systems, on client projects.
Toby Ward, president at Prescient Digital Media said about Plone: "The software is absolutely free. The catch is that you still have to customize and configure it yourself."
Tim Dorey, founder and president of Vialect Inc, raises a warning about the situation he has encountered so many times: too many open source projects rise and fall very quickly, when the community loses interest or members.