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DK: Rødovre municipality: OpenOffice will be cheaper to maintain

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"OpenOffice will be cheaper to maintain and will run better than Microsoft's proprietary alternative", expects Lars Roark, IT manager at the Danish municipality of Rødovre, according to reports in Danish media.

The municipality on Friday announced it will this week start to use OpenOffice,  alongside Microsoft's proprietary alternative. However the municipality plans to eventually move to OpenOffice completely.

Rødovre has installed OpenOffice on seven hundred desktop PCs.

The municipality's move to OpenOffice was announced at the annual OpenOffice conference, Ooocon, which took place in Orvieto, Italy, last week. At the conference, Leif Lodahl, a volunteer project manager for the Danish OpenOffice project, presented on the integration of existing document management tools with OpenOffice: "Moving to OpenOffice improves control over the documents and allows the municipality to automatically convert relevant documents to PDF."

"This conversion saves us a lot of time", IT manager Roark told the Danish news site Business DK.

"The Rødovre municipality could help prove that moving to OpenOffice saves licence costs and is cheaper in the long run", says Morten Kjærsgaard, the chairman of OSL, a association of Danish open source IT service companies.

Rødovre will publish its document management additions to OpenOffice as open source, Lodahl says. "Unfortunately the Document Management system used by the municipality is a proprietary system. However, two  open source extensions made for this project, 'Anonymous' and 'Lix', have been published on the OpenOffice extension website."

Under pressure

According to Business DK, the Rødovre municipality has kept its move to OpenOffice under wraps, fearing criticism from Microsoft. According to the news site, the company is trying to get fired a colleague of Roark in the municipality Lyngby-Taarbaek, Jens Kjellerup.

Lyngby-Taarbaek announced last month it is moving all of its schools desktops to OpenOffice. The municipality also plans to replace Microsoft's office tools by OpenOffice on all PCs used by the administration in March next year.

Microsoft in a public letter to the Mayor and citizens of Lyngby-Taarbaek on 2 November claims the move to OpenOffice makes the use of office tools more cumbersome for teachers, students and parents. "A school does not buy a book on mathematics when it does not meet the educational requirements, just because it is cheaper", writes Jasper Hedegaard Bojsen, technology director for Microsoft Denmark.

More information:

Presentation at OpenOffice conference

Business DK news item (in Danish)

Version 2 news item (in Danish)

DK Nyt news item (in Danish)

Version 2 news item (in Danish)

Microsoft's letter to Lyngby-Taarbaek (in Danish)