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OpenOffice dumped as Freiburg plots return to Microsoft

Development confusion and compatibility sink open source project

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The German city of Freiburg is preparing to dump its long-running use of the OpenOffice suite in favour of a return to Microsoft’s Office after struggling with range of document compatibility problems.

A draft resolution was put forward by council officials on Friday, and due to be put to the voted on 20 November, recommended that the Council adopt Microsoft Office 2010 in favour of the open source suite for its 2,500 PCs.

Key issues appear to have been long-running grumbles overthe document compatibility of the different elements of OpenOffice - the rival Microsoft Office suite is far more common in German state and national governments - especially the presentation programs and spreadsheet.

OpenOffice Writer had been less of a problem but the Council needed an entire suite not simply one component.

The Council was also unhappy with the fork in the open source development that resulted from Sun’s takeover by Oracle. With OpenOffice to be discontinued, that left them to choose between the LibreOffice or the direction forged by the Apache Software Foundation’s OpenOffice .

Freiburg adopted OpenOffice in 2007, extolling its virtues beginning with its considerably lower cost.

Officials said they wanted to standardise on the open document format (ODF), which allowed them to operate in a way that was independent of a single operating system. That decision now appears to be up for the chop.

Until 2007, Freiburg had used Office 2000 but continued to support it on a legacy basis to the present day.

The move back to Microsoft is bound to be seen as a small defeat for open source, although some will see it as more of a comment on the development confusion that has surrounded OpenOffice itself.

The Open Document Business Alliance and other open source groups have responded by pointing out that other German cities had adopted OpenOffice without the same problems. Furthermore, they could see no reason for the need to abandon ODF given Microsoft Office’s support for it.


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willicueva said: Please read my comment above and you will see that it does not matter what history has shown

Willicueva said: I live and work in Germany and am system administrator for the City Hall and all the outlying sections including the Kindergardens and elementary schools All told we ahve approximately 200 PCs which use one type or another of the Office suites MS Office 2010 MS for the Administration PCs and OpenLibre Office OO for the classrooms It was also our intention to completely go to OO for all our users but that was dropped because many of the Programs that we use on a day to day basis only work with MS I am sure that that is also Freiburgs reasoning in this respect We have approximate 20 different Programs that we use on a day to day basis for registering citizens housing traffic control etc which will not function with OO I wish it were not so since we could use the tens of thousands of Euros that MS costs for other things The reality is that until the other software companies change their MS-centric programming we will be forced to stay with MS

Humanoid said: I guess Freiburg can go ahead with locked-in monopolistic software spending more money than needed and Germany can possibly be the new GreeceI feel Freiburg has forgotten the hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic As a wise man once said those who forget history are condemned to repeat it

OSB alliance fan said: Open letter to the City of FreiburgThe Open Source Business Alliance and other signatories recommend the Freiburg City Council is a political and sustainable decision in favor of transforming openness transparency participation and collaboration from 2007 to not be too hasty in a decision about to direct royalty payments to a proprietary manufacturer in the amount of 550000 EUR leads Large cities such as Munich Jena and have been added since the completion of the opinion in the summer of 2012 Leipzig prove that LibreOffice or Apache Office implementations of the latest generation are successful Even small towns like the town of Schwbisch Hall or Treuchtlingen projects running with a clear focus on open office suites to the great satisfaction and have led to significant savings Introducing the complete letter to the council and the mayor of the city of Freiburg as the text and available for download An open letter to the city of Freiburg pdf The signatories to criticize particular the failure to take account of more recent version of the free office suites as well as some misstatements in the report and in the report of the administration Besides the OSB Alliance also have The Document Foundation Free Office Germany eV Federation information and communication services and the Free Software Foundation Europe signed the letter

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