From time immemorial, people have complained about wasteful government spending. Congress is continually looking for programs to cut and budgets to reduce, yet we continue to spend millions of dollars on software we could get for virtually free. Take Apache OpenOffice for example. Apache OpenOffice is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, today there are over 22 million people employed by federal, state and local government in the United States.  Microsoft Office 2016 Professional retails at $399.00 in the Microsoft store. To upgrade everyone to the latest software package, it would cost $8.8B. Sure there are discounts for buying in bulk but even at %50 off, it would cost  over $4B. To upgrade to the latest OpenOffice software, it would cost ZERO in software. Just by making this one software decision, State, Local and Federal government could literally save billions.

Sure there are some costs required for installing the software and training the employees. Every organization what conducts migration to faces with the opposition of existing users who settle down to other office suites and don’t want to change their habits. But training is an ongoing cost anyway since new employees are continually entering the workforce and the current office suites are continually changing their software.

In Europe, over the last 10 years there has been a grass roots transition to OpenOffice. Many city governments […]