All laptops used by European officials should have either LibreOffice or OpenOffice installed, two open source suites of office applications. This suggests the mayor of the German city of Munich, Christian Ude, to Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission and European Digital Agenda Commissioner, in a letter made public by the city administration on 2 December.
Mayor Ude wants Kroes and Joaquin Almunia, Vice President and Commissioner responsible for competition, to make sure that public administrations use free and open source software "so that public knowledge remains accessible in the future."
As head of the German association of municipalities, Munich's mayor wrote to Commissioner Kroes to ask her to "remain committed to the use of open standards for electronic documents and to the use of free and open source software."
The mayor urges Kroes to make compulsory the use of open document standards for all of the EU's public institutions. The exclusive use of open standards safeguards that data remains accessible, regardless of the software used to created the documents, he writes. "A pan-European commitment to the use of these standards would make the cooperation between authorities in Europe easier, reduce the workload and help to save costs."
In his plea Ude counters a recommendation published in June by the Inter-Institutional Committee for Informatics, that EU institutions continue to use a proprietary office document format. This, he writes, hinders the smooth cooperation between public authorities.
Mayor Ude invites the European Commission to take Munich as an example. The city is moving its entire IT infrastructure, applications and office communication over to open standards and free and open source software. "Using free and open source software allows you to install an innovative and secure IT infrastructure, offering a sustainable access to all or many IT applications."
Heise news item (in German)
Linux Magazine news item (in German)
Inter-Institutional Committee for Informatics, Conclusions on document exchange formats following the discussion on office automation platforms (pdf)
Strategy for internal use of open source software at the EC