German Council Slams OpenOffice, Wants Microsoft Office Back

“A new Microsoft Office license is essential,” the city council says

The city council in Freiburg, Germany no longer plans to rely on open-source software and wants to switch back to Microsoft Office for its main operations.

According to a report released by ARN, the city council is looking into ways to deploy Microsoft Office 2010 and dump the current open-source software, including OpenOffice 3.2.1.

"In the specific case of the use of OpenOffice, the hopes and expectations of the year 2007 are not fulfilled," the council said. "Therefore, a new Microsoft Office license is essential for effective operations.”

Basically, the city council is disappointed with the open-source productivity suite because importing various documents is impossible and it doesn’t use the same standard as the rest of the world.

Furthermore, the built-in apps, such as the spreadsheet and presentation tools, are less powerful that Microsoft’s very own software. Last but not least, the German officials claim that only 80 percent of the word processing tasks could be performed using open-source software.

"With spreadsheets and presentations this percentage is significantly lower. The divergence of the development community (LibreOffice on one hand Apache Office on the other) is crippling for the development for OpenOffice," the council said.

Open-source developers, on the other hand, reacted angrily to all these claims, saying that the council uses outdated software, so it’s pretty obvious that such an application isn’t capable of providing the same performance as Microsoft’s Office.

"Numerous statements concerning LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice are incorrect or outdated. The assessment of the evaluation that compatibility to Microsoft Office cannot be reached in the next few years, is also wrong," they said in an open letter.

It remains to be seen whether the council will indeed make the switch to Microsoft Office 2010, but given the overall costs of the upgrade, this could be a pretty expensive move for the city of Freiburg.

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