Need for multiple document fo…

Need for multiple document formats lead Danish ministry to LibreOffice


A legal requirement to support multiple document formats, including the open document format ODF, is the main reason for the support staff department at Denmark's ministry of Transport to move to LibreOffice, a free and open source suite of office tools.

Public administrations on Denmark are required to be able to accept both the Open Document Format and Microsoft's alternative OOXML. Says Direktionssekretær (executive secretary) Thomas Ginnerup-Nielsen: "I don't know how other public administrations in Denmark handle this requirement, but for our department it is the reason to switch to LibreOffice."

The support staff department at the ministry employs 145 civil servants, and has recently replaced a proprietary office suite by LibreOffice. The move saves the ministry 150,000 DKK (about 20,000 euro) per year in costs for proprietary office licences, according to figures published by the open source IT service provider Magenta, which helped the ministry with the migration to open source.

The department is also using Ubuntu Linux on its thin client desktop PCs, but only in case these have no network connection. When connected to the network, the PCs run a virtualised proprietary desktop.

Staff will have little problems switching between the two different operating systems, because on both systems the office suite is LibreOffice, spokesperson Ginnerup-Nielsen is quoted by Version2, a Danish IT news publication, on 6 March.

"At a time when most ministries are laying off staff in order to save money, the Ministry of Transport resolves a major part of its budget challenges by innovation of its IT", the IT company writes in a brief case study on the migration. One aim of the move to Ubuntu and LibreOffice is "to extend the lifetime of the current PCS with three years."

More information:
Version 2 news item (in Danish)
Magenta APS case study (in Danish)

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