The migration from servers running Windows to (Debian) Linux in the district Friesland is nearly accomplished, according to a report by one the involved on the German IT news site Heise. "It should be completed this May."
According to the civil administration's IT professional Eric Matthiesen, responsible for the migration in in district in the northwest of Germany, the project is now in its final phase. "All central network services and 220 of the 310 desktops have been switched over to Linux." The desktops use office application suite Open Office, project management software GanttProject, organiser Kontact and webbrowser Firefox. These PCs are using the graphical desktop environment KDE.
Most of the machines are now running GNU/Linux distribution Debian. Some fifty PC's will continue to run Microsoft Windows as operating system, Matthiesen comments. Some applications simply do not run on GNU/Linux yet. "For example the software in use at the department that is handling driving licenses needs Saperion document management software, and that is not yet available for Linux." The districts building service has a similar handicap. Matthiesen also keeps some Windows machines online to run Microsoft database SQL and software for geographic information.
The IT department of the district includes several Debian servers for providing services such as authentication and authorisation (domain controller), LDAP (directory services), Samba (for sharing office documents in environments using Microsoft Windows), Hylafax (a fax-server) and Nagios (network services and security management software).
Matthiesen says both aims of the migration were met. "We wanted to lower the cost for hardware and software licences. Using Linux on thin clients already makes a big difference. We no longer have to buy new PCs every two years, at 600 to 700 euro per PC."
Using a thin client infrastructure has major advantages over more regular office PC networks, Matthiessen says. "We can do the IT management centrally, instead of having to visit all clients individually." The disctrict's selection of applications run fine in such an environment, he says. "It's been going super, so far."
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