Schleswig-Holstein: New coalition agreement scales back open source goals

Schleswig-Holstein was the only federal state that wanted to switch completely to free software. However, the new coalition agreement no longer calls for this goal.

 Schleswig-Holstein: New coalition agreement scales back open source goals

The new governing coalition in Schleswig -Holstein is less ambitious than the previous coalition when it comes to open source software. In their coalition agreement, the CDU and the Greens no longer formulate the plan to convert the state administration completely to open source. In 2017, the then black-green-yellow coalition wrote: “A complete replacement is the long-term goal.” This clearly set Schleswig-Holstein apart from the other federal states.

In the new coalition agreement, which was confirmed by the CDU and the Greens on Monday, the parties formulate in a more non-binding manner: They want open-source solutions “taking into account Utilize security, availability and economy”. The prerequisite for widespread use is “that the usual functionalities function reliably and are available with at least the same quality and are compatible with other processes […]”. In addition, “the special needs of individual areas when using internationally used standard software” will be taken into account.

With the arrival of the new state government, responsibility for the digitization department will also change: In future, this will no longer be part of the Green Ministry of the Environment , but to the State Chancellery of Prime Minister Daniel Günther (CDU). In the previous coalition, it was primarily the Greens who campaigned for the change to Open Source.

State Chancellery: Plans remain unchanged

According to the Kiel State Chancellery, however, nothing will change in practice . A government spokesman said that the replacement of proprietary software by open source is still planned as decided by the state parliament and presented by the previous government. The previous government had confirmed in a report (PDF file) in 2020 that it wanted to make a complete changeover in the long term.

There was also no change to the plan by the end of 2025 “a large part of the proprietary software solutions used previously in the replace the office communication area with sovereignly operated and freely licensed variants,” said the spokesman. The plan is to switch from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice and the browser-based Phoenix suite from Dataport.

The new government also wants to push ahead with the switch from Windows to Linux. A Linux desktop for the state administration will be tested and piloted by the second quarter of 2023, the government spokesman said. An award of Linux services is planned for mid-2023.

Free Software Foundation sees “new loopholes”

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) misses a commitment to change in the new coalition agreement to open source if a migration is pending anyway. At the same time, the contract creates “new loopholes” for sticking to proprietary software, Alexander Sander, “Senior Policy Consultant” at FSFE, told c’t.

“We expect the new state government to continue on the path we have successfully taken and not make use of the loopholes,” demanded Sander. The modernization of the public digital infrastructure can only succeed through the use of free software. “It is therefore difficult for me to imagine that the new state government would want to deviate from this path.”

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