DE: Gummersbach: 'Open source…

DE: Gummersbach: 'Open source desktops much easier to manage'

Published on: 28/09/2011

Easier management is one of the main reasons for the German city of Gummersbach to switch its almost 350 PCs to the open source operating system GNU/Linux, a move that began already four years ago. One of the IT administrators, Dirk Hennrichs: "Our Linux desktops need close to zero maintenance, making them light years easier to manage than their proprietary predecessor."

Following the move to GNU/Linux, time spent on desktop maintenance was rationalised by one full time equivalent. Hennrichs: "Had the city stayed with the proprietary alternative, it would force us to increase the number of IT administrators."

The city shared information on its open source desktop with Pro-Linux, a German Linux IT news site, earlier this month. The city reports that the past four years already 70 percent of the desktops in use in the administration have switched to using GNU/Linux. At the end of this year, the city expects to have migrated 90 percent - the remaining PC's will continue to use a proprietary operating system.

According to Pro-Linux, the city began its move in 2007, when it needed to replace out-dated desktop PCs. Apart from purchasing new hardware, the city found it also needed to renew its licences for proprietary operating system and office applications, both from the same vendor. The city now uses mostly thin client PCs, with one central Suse GNU/Linux server offering the desktops.

At the moment these are configured to run the KDE desktop environment and Open Office, an open source suite of office applications. The city is preparing a move to two alternatives, Gnome respectively Libre Office. Other open source applications available by default include web browser Firefox, image manipulation application Gimp and fax tool Hylafax. Mail and group ware server is Open Xchange.


Desktop virtualisation

Some proprietary applications are run on top of Wine, an open source emulator and compatibility layer. The city staff can also access a number of proprietary applications, that are offered by use of a proprietary desktop virtualisation solution.

According to calculations by the IT department, the move to open source directly saved several tens of thousands of euro. "The amount of savings should increase in the long-term, as there are no further costs for licences for operating systems or office application suites."


More information:

Pro-Linux news item (in German)