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The German state, Schleswig-Holstein, has decided to move away from proprietary software, such as Windows and Office, to open-source alternatives, including Linux and LibreOffice. The move is motivated by the need to "ensure that their data is kept safe with us, and we must ensure that we are always in control of the IT solutions we use and that we can act independently as a state," as stated by Dirk Schrödter, the digitalization minister for Schleswig-Holstein.

What Are the Motives & Implications of This Decision?

Linux Software Security1pngOne interesting point to note is the reason behind the decision. It is not based on technical superiority but on the need to achieve "digital sovereignty," which means protecting citizens' data from foreign companies and enabling European tech companies to compete with their American and Chinese rivals. This raises some critical questions for infosec professionals and IT managers, such as how much control we have over our data and how we can ensure that it's not being used for nefarious purposes by third parties.

Another intriguing point is the state's plan to replace Microsoft Office with LibreOffice, Windows with a yet-to-be-determined Linux desktop distro, and other Microsoft-specific programs with open-source equivalents. This indicates a growing trend towards open-source, cost-effective, secure solutions allowing seamless collaboration between different systems.

However, this move away from proprietary software could have profound implications for businesses and governments that rely heavily on Microsoft's products. As Microsoft is trying to meet the EU's digital sovereignty requirements, some may argue that switching to open-source solutions is unnecessary and costly. It's also important to consider the impact on the workforce and how it would affect their productivity and user experience.

This highlights the increasing importance of open-source solutions and their critical role in ensuring digital sovereignty for Linux admins and other sysadmins. It also reminds us of the importance of data ownership and control for individuals and organizations.

Our Final Thoughts on the German State's Decision

We support and commend the German state's decision to move away from proprietary software and towards open-source solutions. While this move is motivated by the need to achieve digital sovereignty and control over data, it raises crucial questions about the impact on businesses and the workforce. It reminds IT professionals of the importance of open-source solutions in ensuring data security and sovereignty and their critical role in modern IT infrastructures.