Munich will reconnect with open source

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By changing political coalition, the city of Munich will again reorient its IT and reconnect with open source. If the slogan public money, public code must become the rule, uncertainties hover over the office and OS part.

Greens-SPD coalition in power

Political alternations often get the better of IT ambitions. The city of Munich is an example. A few years ago, it was seen as an example of open source by developing its own Linux OS, LiMu. Then, following a change in the political majority, the municipality backtracked in 2017 to reconnect with Microsoft. A betrayal for some, a benefit for others.

Last March, the elections reshuffled the political cards and the Greens signed a coalition agreement with the SPD. Within this document, which runs until 2026, we can read “whenever it is technically and financially possible, the city is committed to using open standards and open source software, to avoid a strong and foreseeable dependence to publishers”

A credo and questions

The Greens-SPD alliance summed up this orientation with a slogan, “Public money, public code”, report our colleagues from Heise Online. This credo will be an important criterion for calls for tenders, explains the coalition. “If we deviate from it, it will have to be justified,” she adds. In this context, the municipality will have a “table of open source software” accessible to the public. The objective is twofold, both to note the savings made with open source in the field of office automation and OS and to publish the software code for possible reuse. Also in the program of the alliance, a “sabbatical leave for open source Munich” would be created with the key to a grant for developers devoting between 3 and 6 months of their time to work on a project interesting the city.

Remains an unknown in this document, the return of open source on the office part and the operating systems. Since 2017, the municipality has redirected IT to Windows for an estimated bill of 81.6 million euros. The deployment of Windows 10 is underway and should be completed in 2021. In 2018, the city’s IT department had proposed, following an expertise by KPMG, to migrate from LibreOffice to Office365, for an estimated amount of 19.6 million euros. euros. A project that was to be completed in 2023. What will the Greens-SPD coalition decide on this OS and office automation component, without further increasing the bill? The answer should be given soon.

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