Munich shifts to LibreOffice

LibreOffice gets some municipal love

The city of Munich, which has long been a big user for Linux and open source software, has shifted its migration-to-OpenOffice plans and is now starting to deploy LibreOffice instead.

That's the news from The Document Foundation's Italo Vignoli, who touted the announcement as part of a cheerleading roundup on the Foundation's mailing list today.

"'After a careful risk-assessment, Munich city council has

decided to migrate to LibreOffice. In favour of that decision, among others, was the greater flexibility of the project regarding consumption of open source licenses. In addition, Munich wants to rely on a large and vibrant community for any Open Source product it employs,' says Kirsten Böge, head of public relations," Vignoli reported.

Not to rain on LibreOffice's parade, but I have a question: how frickin' long does it take for one city to migrate to a new office suite? Because, no offense to Munich's IT department, there's been reports of Munich trying to migrate to Linux and OpenOffice since at least 2003.

Now, I realize that there was some drama in those early days, with Microsoft stepping in and offering discounts to keep Munich's business, so I can understand the delays. But c'mon, nine years later and we're still migrating to an open source office suite? What the heck is going on?

It is not at all clear, by the way, what stage the migration is in. In 2010, folks from Munich's IT department went to CeBIT to report on the shift, but the event coverage isn't clear whether this was an after-action report or an in-progress report. So I will right now concede that all my caterwauling may be moot.

But still, it seems like Munich is always moving to open source. It seems that the move is good for them, but when will they get there?

Focusing on the Document Foundation's announcement, it's not much of a surprise that the city is moving from OpenOffice to LibreOffice. LibreOffice is perceived to be moving faster in development right now and, frankly, you can't really underplay the importance of a German city feeling better about using software coordinated by a German non-profit rather than an American one. Germans have always had a soft spot for homegrown software, as far back as StarOffice.

According to Vignoli, Munich is not the only government taking a closer look at LibreOffice.

"Just before the city of Munich, a similar announcement was made by the French Prime Minister, who mentioned LibreOffice as a pillar in the overall migration of free software of all government bodies," Vignoli wrote. "MimO, the technology group taking care of the migration project, has already certified LibreOffice as the free office suite of choice."

It's good to hear that open source software is getting so much public attention.

I just hope it gets installed before I have to retire.

Read more of Brian Proffitt's Open for Discussion blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Drop Brian a line or follow Brian on Twitter at @TheTechScribe. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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