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Berlin won't migrate to open source, looks to open standards instead

PC Advisor - The German city-state of Berlin won't migrate to open source software Instead, its parliament decided in principle to choose workplace IT based on open standards.

Berlin's Green party had proposed to have 25 percent of its standardized IT workplaces running open source software by 2018, according to the proposal that was voted down by the state parliament on Monday.

It is the second time the opposition Greens had proposed switching Berlin's 68,000 workstations to open source software, and the second time they failed, said Thomas Birk, the party's spokesman for government modernization, on Wednesday. The earlier effort was in 2007.

Switching to open source can work, said Birk. By switching over 80 percent of its 15,500 desktops from Windows to its own Linux distribution, LiMux, and OpenOffice.org software, the city of Munich said it had saved over €11 million (US$14.6 million) by November last year.

"Munich's example proves it is not witchcraft," to switch to open source, said Birk.

Not every migration works though. The city of Freiburg announced in November it would dump OpenOffice and go back to Microsoft because of functionality problems due to a failed migration.