Freiburg Goes Frei

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Stories about German cities converting to open source are getting slightly old hat these days, but this one has a new angle:

In the German city of Freiburg, four hundred of the two thousand PCs used by the city council are now running OpenOffice.

The migration to the Open Source suite of office applications is a intermediate goal, saving the city up to half a million euro in licence costs. The city's final aim is to switch to an Open Source desktop.

The council began its office application migration last July, when it decided to use the ISO-approved Open Document Format (ODF) as a document standard.

So far, so conventional. Then it gets interesting:

Rüdiger Czieschla, the city's IT manager, discussed the migration last Thursday at the Open Source Software Conference and Exposition in Bern, Switzerland. The city council prefers to avoid becoming entangled in the discussion on ODF versus Microsofts proposal, OOXML, Czieschla said. "However, it is clear this debate has seriously damaged the standardisation organisations. Public institutions can no longer rely on them."

That part about damaged standardisation organisations seems to me to be an important straw in the wind, and indicative of just what Microsoft has wrought with the whole sorry OOXML business. I predict we're going to hear a lot more comments like it.