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A German state replaces Microsoft services with open source software – IT Pro – News

The German state of Schleswig-Holstein will offer a digitally independent IT workplace for civil servants. To achieve this, 30,000 computers will be migrated to free, open source software such as LibreOffice.

notes Dirk Schroedter, responsible for digitalization at the state of Schleswig-Holstein advertisement IT applications of the future will run as cloud services on the Internet. However, users have no influence, for example, on the possible flow of data to third countries. “As a country, we have a huge responsibility to our citizens and companies to ensure their data is kept secure,” Schroedter said. “And we have to make sure that we have control over the IT solutions that we use at all times and that we are able to act independently as a nation.”

The state therefore wants to create a digitally “sovereign” workplace. That is: independent of others. In practical terms, this means that Microsoft products will have to be discontinued and open source alternatives will be used. For example, the workplaces of nearly 30 thousand employees of the state administration are migrating from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice. Windows is being replaced by Linux, and Sharepoint and Exchange/Outlook are being replaced by Nextcloud and Open Xchange/Thunderbird. Active Directory should be replaced with an open source directory service. Finally, the country wants to eliminate Telekom-Flexport's telephony solution, which also requires an open source solution.

The country believes that not only does this achieve digital sovereignty, but the use of open source software is also better for IT security, cost effectiveness, data protection, and seamless cooperation between different systems. The state also wants to release development results under open source licenses in the future.

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The Schleswig-Holstein plan is not entirely new. In 2018, the state already approved a plan to eventually fully transition to open source software. At the end of 2021, the state announced that all Microsoft Office programs must be replaced with open source alternatives within four years.