The New Zealand Open Source Society has teamed up with Victoria University's School of Information Management to poll ICT vendors on their ability to support free software.
The vendor capability survey is part of the Public Sector Remix project, which involves a number of central, regional and local government agencies trialing free software for desktop tasks such as document management, mail, calendar and browser-based information services.
Agencies participating in the trials identified lack of support as a barrier to more widespread adoption of free software on the desktop, saying they cannot adopt free software without proper support and vendors will not build support capabilities without demand.
The New Zealand Open Source Society's president, Don Christie, says the survey is a first in New Zealand.
"At the moment, we simply don't know what vendor capabilities are out there," he says
The survey (here) also invites participants to describe the benefits they get from using free software on the desktop.
"Everyone accepts the benefits of free software in the server room," said Christie. "We'd like to hear some desktop success stories too."
The survey is the third leg of the Public Sector Remix project — a free desktop software stack, policies to ensure agencies actively and fairly assess free software, and services to deploy and support free desktops.
"To escape the status quo, you need all three," says Christie.