DE: City of Duisburg gives up…

DE: City of Duisburg gives up its open source desktop plans


The council of the city of Duisburg has reversed its decision of August 2007 to evaluate a move to open source for all of the desktop computers used by the administration.

The city's abandonment of its open source plans were reported last month by a concerned German open source software developer, Thomas Koch, who grew up near Duisburg.

Koch tracks the development of the city's open source policy. Writing on his Swiss employer's web log in March, he alleges that the administration did not do a proper evaluation, and says it should not have been accepted by the council. Koch writes that the council seems to have forgotten why it decided in the first place to evaluate open source. "It originally saw the long term potential of Linux. Seventeen months later it concludes there is no pressure to migrate."

Koch points to a memo he found on the city website, dating from November 2008, a year and a half after all political parties in the council had agreed to evaluate a GNU/Linux migration.

The initial request was made by the Duisburg members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in July 2007. Their proposal was unanimously accepted by all parties of the city council in August 2007.

Fire Department

However, according to the November 2008 memo, the council now sees no urgent reason to migrate to open source. Default desktop operating system is Microsoft XP, default office applications are by same company. In most of the administrations' departments, desktop-software is up-to-date, the city writes. "Open source is already being used wherever possible and wherever useful."

The council members note that the Fire Department and the city's printing office are mostly using the open source OpenOffice. However, incompatibilities with some of Microsoft's applications force some of the users to work with both office suites.

The council also states it now has 29 servers running GNU/Linux, and is planning another 15.

The city administration this week did not want to respond to questions regarding the abandoning of its open source IT policy.

More information:

Thomas Koch's blogpost

Duisburg city council memorandum (in German, pdf)

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