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Medicine Open Source Software

25,000 Danish Hospital Staff Moving To LibreOffice 247

An anonymous reader writes with news that 25,000 staff across 13 hospitals in Denmark will be switching to LibreOffice over the course of the next year. "The group of hospitals is phasing out a proprietary alternative, 'for long term strategic reasons,' which at the same time saves the group some 40 million Kroner [about $7.7 million] worth of proprietary licenses. The ditching of the proprietary alternative is a consequence of the group's move to virtual desktops, allowing staff members to log in on any PC or thin client. The group found that deploying this new desktop infrastructure would 'trigger unacceptably high costs' for proprietary office licenses... The move is Europe's second largest migration project involving public administrations using an open source office suite."
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25,000 Danish Hospital Staff Moving To LibreOffice

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  • by Kensai7 ( 1005287 ) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @02:38AM (#37159094)

    And it's important to notice they asked for LibreOffice, not OpenOffice. The really free version.

    • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @05:36AM (#37159714)

      LibreOffice, not OpenOffice. The really free version

      OpenOffice is not free? According to Google [], it is Open Source (and see the new Google Best Guess feature...).
      I don't want to be the devil's advocate, but whatever one may think about Oracle, it isn't fair to tell OpenOffice is not free.

    • by drolli ( 522659 )


      So a fork of a open source project is immediatly magically more free than the original? Thats an interesting vievpoint.

  • by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @02:39AM (#37159102)

    software with a specific goal in mind, why is this medical system ran by excel and nothing else?

    • Maybe its not. If you had a large pool of staff who needed to edit the occasional office document (say a doctor who needs to fill out an HR form) then a free office package makes a lot of sense.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Let's be more clear on this. We are up to 14 versions of M$ Office, so not free once but free fourteen times and, in those upgrades, hardware upgrades forced by software upgrades forced by data incompatibility and add retraining, data conversions. So either make the switch once or pay and pay and pay.

        Of course with open applications, the idea of open documents also grows. With many different hospitals sharing generic documents and macros, saving development costs and, easing training requirements, this o

        • Microsoft fight tooth and nail against floating licenses. I occasionally need visio at work so I have a $1000 copy of visio installed on my windows box even though at any given time we are using 10% of the licenses we own. The limiting case is the hospital where 99% of what you do is in this purpose built hospital management system (or whatever) but this little corner case hangs around where somebody needs to type up a letter for somebody's doctor or draft a letter of resignation or whatever so they chuck i

    • by MacTO ( 1161105 ) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @03:28AM (#37159256)

      I've maintained corporate systems which relied heavily upon specialized software, and virtually none of the employees needed an office suite for the official business functions. Yet they insisted upon using such software to jot down quick notes or make quick calculations. Things that they really could have used calculator or notepad for, but they were more productive using the office suite (if for no other reason than they weren't wasting their and our time complaining about it).

      I could easily imagine that being the case here. After all, if the hospitals' operations depended upon that proprietary office suite, it would be a bugger to switch to LibreOffice.

    • If they were all using MS Office, I'm sure they wouldn't mind paying for it. No, the problem is that they'd have to pay as if everyone was using MS Office, because virtualisation and commercial licensing don't play ball.

      From, my translation:

      The cause of the extra licensing costs are according to Vivian Thomsen in Microsoft's licensing policy. She explains that if just one single VDI user among the 25,000 clinicians has access to Microsoft Office, that will trigger Office license payment fo

      • by jimicus ( 737525 )

        If they were all using MS Office, I'm sure they wouldn't mind paying for it. No, the problem is that they'd have to pay as if everyone was using MS Office, because virtualisation and commercial licensing don't play ball.

        Funny, that sounds like exactly the sort of clause that is strictly non-negotiable until you're a big enough organisation and you inform the press that you're moving the lot over to a F/OSS alternative.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @02:57AM (#37159160)

    Why not just name it? Repeating "proprietary office suite", over and over, just makes the author sound like an fool.

    • If you are curious to know which office suite it is, just hang around the it department managers of these hospital. They will likely be taken to dinner by sales drones of that suite for the next 12 months or so :)

  • by c.r.o.c.o ( 123083 ) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @03:12AM (#37159202)

    I am NOT trolling. Mod me whichever way you wish, but this is a real issue I had with Open Office that made me gave up on it. To put it simply, when running Open Office on a computer running Windows 7 32bit, the spell check would NOT work.

    Here are a few things I remember doing. I tried downloading several versions. I tried installing it both as a regular user AND as administrator. I tried deleting, adding and modifying dictionaries. I tried changing languages between different English variants. I tried changing permissions on executables. I even reinstalled Windows 7. I struggled for almost a week to make it work, reading manual pages and searching forums. In the end I gave up trying to fix it. Now here's the kicker though... I did find a way that would fix the issue temporarily. If I would browse to the install folder of Open Office, right click on swriter.exe and select "run as administrator", the spell check would work. So I know all the executables, java environment and dictionaries were in place, but somehow the permissions were wrong and unfixable.

    This happened around September of last year, when I was in the middle of my last year at university and I had a LOT of projects to complete. I had to almost live within SPSS and a word processor. Always using the workaround was a chore I did not need. So I completely gave up on OpenOffice and used my student discounts to buy OpenOffice's main competitor.

    I can't figure out what is the real point of this post. I suppose I'm just venting, wishing I could get that week of my life back. Oh yes, and sometimes you really do get what you pay for...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 21, 2011 @05:53AM (#37159766)

      I had this problem and tracked it down to the document not registering the language. The only way I found to consistently fix it was to highlight all the text and then right click in the bottom centre information bar which displays the language - it'll be blank - and select the language of choice! Good luck.

      • +1 mod parent up (AC that mentioned selecting a language to enable spell checking, the help specifies that selecting "none" as the language disables spell checking so it's a good general tip)

        Oh @c.r.o.c.o (123083)

        I'm using Libre Office 3.3 and spell check works perfectly. I'm using XP SP3 32 bit so it's a different OS but it does work.

      • It should probably default to the running user's language.
    • Nobody can read what the doctors are writing in shorthand as it is - using computer letters on a screen is only going to improve it! ;)

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @03:27AM (#37159250)

    Dagens Medicin, a news site for local and regional administrations, quotes Thomsen explaining that most of the hospital workers, doctors and nurses, will have little trouble using Libre Office. "Most of them do not need the advanced features of these suites."

    More important than thatt, 20 years from now they'll be able to open the documents they create today.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      1991 was 20 years ago. So you'd be looking at documents created in Word for Windows 2.0.

      If you want to open those files in Word 2010, you can follow the instructions here:

      So if your requirement is ability to open files 20 years old, it seems like Microsoft Office does the trick.

      OpenOffice/LibreOffice can trace their roots back to StarOffice, and the version avaliable in 1991 was what, StarOffice 1.0?

      So the question is: Can Open/LIbreOffice open documents from Sta

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        Can Open/LIbreOffice open documents from StarOffice 2.0

        Of course it can (and I've seen it). Only broken programs fail to import material produced by earlier versions.

      • by Locutus ( 9039 )
        fail! Star Office was proprietary back then and did not use an open standard for its file format.

  • by joe 155 ( 937621 ) on Sunday August 21, 2011 @03:44AM (#37159310) Journal

    While I think this is good news, I wanted to say, generally, that I think IBM Lotus symphony is far better than other variants. I'm quite amazed that people don't really seem to consider it. If you've not tried it, you really should. It was also recently donated to the Apache foundation. But the most important think, I think is that it's actually the first office suite I've used in a long time that feels like it offers a compelling alternative to MA office, not only that it is as good where it masters, but that it is actually better in some regards.

    I wish they'd get it out as the default in big distros, actually.

    • What's good about Symphony? Last I checked, OO version that it is based on has been consistently lagging one major release before the mainline - and therefore all the recent improvements, bugfixes etc are simply not there. Other than weirdish UI, what else does it add?

      • by joe 155 ( 937621 )

        What I like about it is the more modern UI. The tabbed look it has is a metaphor I think a lot of people would get. I also think that the subtle blue colour works well compared to the dated grey-brown that we have in Libre office. The icons also have a nicer look to them, though I don't know if this is just an effect of the generally higher level of polish.

        But don't think that these are trivial things. They matter both for how many people will use it, but also for productivity. It's important to have someth

  • Denmark is very Microsoft oriented, our former prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen even visited Steve Ballmer in Redmond.
    A move away from Microsoft product is very hard, the usual management argument is either: "Worlds biggest software company surely must have the best product!" or "Worlds most sold Office package must be best!" combined with the fact that nearly every business uses either Dynamics AXA or Dynamics NAV (or some former versions of those two) makes any changes next to impossible.
    This is btw.

  • What's really the actual difference for an office worker?

    Granted, on Ubuntu going forward, I guess it's going to be Libre. But what if you're downloading it for Windows?

    And should you or should you not get the version with Java?

    • The most notable thing is that LibreOffice has more momentum than OpenOffice, and that translates to better support and likely faster bugfixes and feature improvements. For someone who needs an office suite for actual work good support and timely bugfixes are probably among the most important features.

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