Sun rises in govt screens

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Sun has forged a path onto more government desktops, signing a four-year deal with the NSW Government as trials of StarOffice are underway in six government agencies.

Sun has forged a path onto more government desktops, signing a four-year deal with the NSW Government as trials of StarOffice are underway in six government agencies.

Sun this week announced that it had secured a four-year whole-of-government contract to supply NSW with its open-source based Java Enterprise and Java Desktop software suites.

The whole-of-government contract, secured through NSW Department of Commerce, allowed agencies to purchase a range of Sun products, including Sun's Microsoft Office competitor, StarOffice and the entire Sun Java System, without having to undergo their own tendering process.

Michael May, Sun Microsystems national sales director, said the contract gave NSW government departments the chance to purchase licences to Sun's enterprise productivity software stack, thereby offering an alternative to proprietary-based software on the desktop.

"The cost benefit can be substantial," May said.

According to Sun, six NSW government departments are currently trialling or deploying StarOffice. May was unable to divulge the agencies, but claimed the departments represented an estimated 30,000 seats in total.

The contract is a coup for Sun in its ongoing push for government market share. Sun Australia managing director Jim Hassell said the contract with the Department of Commerce followed on from a number of major wins by the company to supply technology products and services to various state government departments across Australia.

In a statement, NSW Department of Commerce ICT deputy director-general Robert Wheeler said the deal relieved agencies of the responsibility of tendering.

"With all the rigorous due diligence carried out by the Department of Commerce, the hard work has already been done for agencies and costs have been reduced for the supplier."

The contract also brought a new level of competition to the desktop market.

"It provides government agencies with an avenue to purchase open source software products," he said.

The contract did not mandate the use of Sun or other open-source software and provided more choice for government agencies.

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