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German Government: Lack of knowledge or deliberately offending Free Software?

op:

In the case of the Foreign Office turning away from Free Software, the German Government is entangling itself in contradictions. The reaction of the Government to an inquiry by "Bündnis 90/Grüne" has led to more pending questions than answers.

"Many replies show that the government either doesn't understand important aspects of Free Software or is deliberately offending Free Software in general as well as Free Software companies in particular" says Matthias Kirschner, Germany coordinator of Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE).

The government argues that the developments in the Foreign Office constitute a "turning away from the policy of exclusively using open source software." At the same time, the government has confirmed that they will migrate to Microsoft Windows 7 and Office 2010.

"The statements that Free Software would be worse to use, would cause additional expenses on hardware, and that a lack of warranty would exist are imaginative perceptions rather than fitting into a serious reply from the government" said Elmar Geese, president of the "Linux-Verband".

Furthermore the response of the German Government has raised new questions. The government mentioned that 4.3 million Euro have been spent on a Free Software federal GNU/Linux distribution which apparently has never been finished. "We wonder what has happened to that project and what the money has actually been spent on" said Matthias Kirschner.

The FSFE and the "Linux-Verband" will work on an analysis of the reply together with those who are interested.