New open source centre in Bergen, Norway

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This is from 16 April and as far as I know there's no mention of this in the English press, so I'll sum up part of the article. You can also see it automatically translated by Google here.

Bergen is Norway's second-largest city and looks cute as a button. If you've ever wanted to move to Norway to work in the IT or other sector but are intimidated by the thought of living in another language, don't worry; Norwegian is easier than you might think.

The consulting company Avenir will create a test laboratory for open and free software in Bergen. The idea is that the large IT environment in the rainy city will experiment with open source and free software, in order to be ahead when the time comes to exploit this type of technology.

The City of Bergen, Bergen University College (HiB), University of Bergen (UiB), Dnb NOR (Norway's largest financial services group), NextGenTel and EDB Business Partner are some of those that will play a role in the laboratory, to find solutions that can later be sold. The environment will establish a separate "community" that will have access to a virtual version of the lab via the internet and their results will be made public so that others can learn from their experiences.

The Director in Avenir Bergen Tor-Erik Stakset said that Gartner predicts that 80 percent of all IT solutions will be based on open source by 2012. "Portions of this technology are so well-developed that in many areas it surpasses the traditional suppliers' products in performance, usability and customization features," said Stakset.

The City of Bergen will be a participant, and is looking forward to the collaboration. "Use of free software can in some cases contribute to increased cooperation and recirculation of solutions across the civic and public sector. Taking part in an "open-source lab" is a measure that could contribute to this," said Lars Tveit, director for competition and development in the city, in a press release.

Another article here on the same subject has some more info:
The goal is to develop cost-effective and reliable solutions for users. Various options will be studied and tested in Avenir's new laboratory in Bryggen in Bergen. This is an innovation where customers, users and suppliers can tailor and test out new solutions together based on their existing IT systems. The laboratory will be self-operating, available via the internet and free to use. A portal will also be established where the results of the tests are published publicly, in addition to a separate group that want to exchange their knowledge.

The press release (also in Norwegian) by the company can be seen here (automatically translated here).

This embracing open source is nothing new for Bergen: here's an article from 2004 on city authorities replacing core Windows and Unix systems with Linux, and here's something from 2003 on a similar theme but involving the university there.


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