Region switches to proprietary cloud-based office service
The government of Italy's South Tyrol province will end its LibreOffice migration project, and instead intends to switch to a proprietary cloud-based office service. The corresponding decision was published on 12 April.
“Our decision was not a choice between open source or not - we took a strategic decision to transfer basic services to cloud, with the aim of fostering a more efficient and up-to-date way of working. We are not about to buy licenses, but a service”, said Councillor Waltraud Deeg, responsible for the Department for Public Administration.
“The budget for the LibreOffice project has been scheduled, but it will no longer be required”, Councillor Deeg said in an email to the Open Source Observatory (OSOR).
The decision came as a complete surprise to the province’s LibreOffice team. Last summer, the provincial government had freed the first EUR 100,000 for the project.
The decision to switch to LibreOffice was taken by the previous government, in 2013. In a prescient press-statement, the then-government wrote: “The paradigm shift involved in the broad-scale introduction of free and open source software in office administration calls for a strong commitment to the project from politicians as well as from the highest managerial echelons within the respective administrative bodies."
On Friday, in its paper edition, the Neue Südtiroler Tageszeitung newspaper quotes a member of the Linux User Group Bosen, pointing out that the study underpinning the decision to move to a cloud-based solution was written by a reseller of the proprietary software.
The newspaper also quotes councillor Deeg, saying the province will continue to use free and open source software, just not for office solutions. “I’m opposed to the religious wars typical of IT”, the paper quoted Deeg as saying. “Open source is good, but it can’t solve everything.”
The Süd Tirol News website quotes a member of the provincial council, Andreas Pöder (BürgerUnion) as saying that the decision to move to the cloud will bring security risks. He says the province should continue to use LibreOffice, giving it complete control over the software. “To put all data and office tools into the hands of one giant company is not a good strategy”, the website quotes Pöder as saying.