The Italian province of Macerata is halfway its migration to LibreOffice, replacing the ubiquitous proprietary suite of office productivity tools. LibreOffice is used on 230 of its 450 workstations. "Management support is essential. If the strategy is not well-explained, users will blame the software even for bad weather." The migration is expected to be completed in December next year.
Next to replacing office suites, the province has also started a project to replace the proprietary operating system on workstations used for non-specialised tasks, moving these to Linux. The province expects this to help save at least 150,000 euro in 2014.
Linux and other open source solutions are also used to run 12 of the in total 34 server hosts.
The province wants to increase its use of free and open source ICT solutions. It is a way to control ICT spending, but also allows the IT department to keep tabs on maintenance, says Giacomo Marinelli, one of the IT administrators for the province. At the same time, it should allow the province to comply with the national regulations and remain interoperability.
The IT department set up projects to explain the migration to users, and where necessary providing them with trainings and assistance. "Users with a medium or higher degree of technological understanding can be migrated easily." The biggest hurdle, says Marinelli, is the use of legacy proprietary office documents and the use of applications that depend on proprietary office tools. "We set up procedures to manage such integrations, when necessary providing users with access to proprietary applications using terminal services."
Giacomo Marinelli last Friday reported on the success of the switch to the free and open source office productivity suite, in a workshop taking place in the city hall of Milan. The workshop was organised in parallel with the LibreOffice 2013 conference.