German government publishes open source guidelines

Federal agencies, state and local governments, and other public-sector administrations in Germany interested in migrating their computer systems to open source software, particularly the Linux operating system, can now turn to a set of guidelines for support.

“Migration guidelines for basis software components” is the name of a new reference guide that Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior presented Thursday at the LinuxTag exhibition and conference in Karlsruhe, Germany.

The ministry announced its intention to publish software deployment guidelines for the public sector in June, after signing a widely publicized deal last year with IBM Corp. to receive discounted computers running pre-installed Linux software. [See “German government develops open source guidelines,” June 3 and “German government adopts Linux in IBM deal,” June 3, 2002.]

The guidelines are designed to help IT managers in the public sector decide, first of all, whether to continue with their current commercial software licensing agreements, use both commercial and open source software, or whether it makes more sense, both economically and technically, to abandon their commercial licensing agreements altogether and migrate fully to open source products, according to state secretary G