Open source office for authorities: Bavaria does not want to participate


At the moment, Bavaria does not wish to participate in an initiative of the federal government and other Länder to develop open source software for public authorities. With the concept of a “sovereign workplace” there are “a number of questions”, said a spokesperson for the Bavarian State Ministry interviewed by c’t. Therefore, Bavaria will not participate at this early stage. Asked by c’t, the spokesperson did not explain to which open questions the government of the Land of Bavaria was hearing.

Bavaria therefore differentiates itself from the federal government and the other Länder in terms of open source. At the beginning of November, the federal government and nine states announced in a “declaration of intent” the plan to reduce dependence on Microsoft with a “sovereign workplace”. As a first step, they want to further develop open source alternatives to Microsoft Office and Exchange. They will likely rely on “Project Phoenix” from northern German IT service provider Dataport.

The project has met with a positive response from most of the remaining federal states: Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has now joined the initiative, as a government spokeswoman announced. The state governments of North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg want to join soon, according to their own information.

From Saxony, it was said that internal state votes were not yet completed and membership was under consideration. The Saar State government has said it shares the efforts of the states and the federal government and is helping to move them forward. The Berlin Senate administration said it supports the goals of the declaration of intent and concrete activities are currently being discussed in the coalition negotiations. Only the government of the Land of Bavaria has expressed its disapproval.

The initiative “to strengthen digital sovereignty and the joint development of the sovereign workplace” announced in early November focuses on the development and testing of open source applications. According to the statement of intent, participants hope for a “special signal effect” as it “reinforces independence vis-à-vis providers of proprietary software solutions”.

The federal government and states must now move the project forward with specific measures, demanded the Open Source Business Alliance (OSBA). “Statement of intent alone does not lead to success,” OSBA President Peter Ganten said in an interview with c’t.

With the declaration of intent, participants do not commit to actually moving from Microsoft to open source. So far only one federal state has pursued this plan, namely Schleswig-Holstein.

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