In April, Nantes Métropole, France’s 6th largest city, will complete its transition to LibreOffice, a free and open source suite of office productivity tools. The city has budgeted EUR 200,000 for bug fixes and new features, specifying that all improvements are to be submitted for inclusion in the LibreOffice project.
“This is a way to participate in the improvement and evolution of LibreOffice”, Nantes explains in its call for tender, published on 15 March. The tender includes a request for graphs that involve pivot tables. The text also mentions a bug that occurs when importing certain HTML tables into Calc, the spreadsheet application in LibreOffice, says Eric Ficheux, the project manager for the transition to LibreOffice.
The last vestiges of the proprietary office suite will be removed once dependencies in other software applications have been resolved. “LibreOffice is now the norm”, says Eric Ficheux.
The city will begin promoting the use of LibreOffice and its default open document format (ODF) to its public administration partner organisations, including projects that it supports financially, the IT project manager says. Nantes has already communicated the use of ODF to all of its contractors.
Nantes began its transition to LibreOffice in 2013. Recognising the importance of managing the change, Ficheux and his colleagues began with small-scale pilots, and got key actors in the public administration involved.
For the procurement of LibreOffice support, Nantes used the free software procurement guidelines compiled by France’s state procurement agency (SAE), the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of the Economy. Their guide helps public adminstrations avoid problems with intellectual property and explains how to make sure that source code can be contributed to upstream software project.