AT: Vendor dependency forces…

AT: Vendor dependency forces Vienna to renew proprietary office licences


The administration of the Austrian capital Vienna is forced to spend 1.5 million euro on licences for proprietary office applications.

The city council on 2 December decided to renew its current proprietary office license contract for three more years.

Vera Layr, spokeswoman for the 14th municipal IT department, explained to the Austrian newspaper Der Standard last week that the decision was made because  "for certain applications there are no open source alternatives available".

After repeated requests by phone and email, Layr today said that the city administration needs two more weeks to provide details on the type of applications that are forcing Vienna to stay with the proprietary office software.

Regional councillor Barbara Novak of the Austrian Social Democratic Party (SPÖ)'s comment on the renewal of the deal: "The question is no longer if we are to move to open source. The current open source applications and those of proprietary software firms are quite complementary."

The ruling SPÖ party in Austria said in a statement that despite the license deal, it will continue to support open source. It refers to the "Open Source for Vienna" promotional program as an example.

Child care

Layr explained to Der Standard that the decision will not have any influence on the open source desktop plans of the city. Public administrators can continue to use the Linux based desktop distribution Wienux and or OpenOffice if they so choose.

The city has always said that the use of the Wienux desktop is voluntary.

Of the city's total 32,000 PCs just a thousand run the open source desktop system. Some 15,000 PCs in the city have OpenOffice installed.

Last year, the city was forced to renew proprietary operating system licences for some seven hundred of these Wienux PCs. The deal was necessary for all of the Wienux PCs used in child day care centres, in order to run an application testing language skills that can only work with a proprietary browser.


In a request for tender published recently, the city of Vienna explains that using open source contributes significantly to the sustainability and efficiency of the city. Vienna is seeking support for the city's open source implementations.

"Already since 1989, we have been using open source software used with much success. Examples include the use of this type of software for print and file servers, Internet and intranet sites and for running major parts of the security infrastructure. In 2007 we spent about 600,000 euro on open source projects", the city writes in the introduction to the tender.

More information:

Der Standard news item (in German)

Der Standard news item (in German)

SPÖ press release (in German)

Open Source for Vienna program

Heise news item (in German)

Winfuture news item (in German)

Wiener Zeitung news item (in German)

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