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"Politicians need to be activated to push for Open Source Software migration" says Michael Blank in the OSEPA Workshop in Stuttgart

"Today there is most likely at least one person in every city council who has a background in Open Source Software" stated Michael Blank, a local council member of the city Boblingen in Baden-Wurttemberg during the 6th OSEPA Workshop. According to Mr Blank it is easier to run migration projects when the initial inspiration comes from the politicians and not from the IT department. "I wonder if these council members could somehow be activated to drive for OSS migration?" he concluded. n his speech Mr. Blank also pointed out that closed source software does not provide true transparency as the processes are hidden. In his view transparency cannot be found in proprietary software, but needs an open source solution.

The 6th Interregional Workshop of the OSEPA project, organised by MFG Innovation Agency for ICT and Media in cooperation with the Open Source Business Alliance, was an opportunity for discussions on best practices of open source migration, cloud computing and cutting costs with open source software. Open Office migration processes specialists like Rudiger Czieschla from Freiburg,Dr. Frank Siebert from Munich, and Jan Verlinden from Schoten, shared experiences and best practises, giving a first-hand look into tangible results achieved when migrating to open source software.

Other project in the field of open source infrastructure experiences was presented by Nico Gulden from Univention. He talked about an initiative aimed at schools in Bremen and Berlin to reduce the weight of IT in management and release resources to the schools’ main function of teaching through process optimization and using cloud servers.

During the event, there was the possibility to have small group discussions that allowed for a direct and approachable way to share best practices and experiences regarding open source. Discussions focused on the differences between open and closed source software, interoperability and integration, and long term savings using OSS.

The discussion on open versus closed software found that even though proprietary software might feel more stable, safe and secure on the first sight, the benefits of the open software come in the long term. Discussion on interoperability and integration concluded that there is a clear need for such between cloud servers and local structures. The talks on long term savings by migrating to OSS found it more profitable to start with small projects and expand these small scale victories, so the benefits are quicker and results faster.

The response of the participants to the workshop was inspiring and several of them wanted upon return to share the best practices from the discussions with the key stakeholders in their organisations. Some were certain that from now on they will start using more open source software.