The administration of Spain’s autonomous region of Extremadura is moving to a complete open source desktop, replacing the current proprietary desktop platform, confirms the region's CIO, Teodomiro Cayetano López. The IT department started a project to install the Debian distribution on all 40,000 desktop PCs. "The project is really advanced and we hope to start the deployment the next spring, finishing it in December."
The project makes it Europe's second largest open source desktop migration, between the French Gendarmerie (90,000 desktops) and the German city of Munich (14,000 desktops).
The swift migration is possible, assures the director general, because Extremadura will move to the open source desktop system developed for and used by the region's public health services. This system is based on the Debian distribution and has been in use for five years.
"That version gives us a good starting point to adapt Debian to the needs of a standard user and offer a light and secure desktop, compliant with the requirements of ISO and IEC 27001 IT security standards."
According to Cayetano López, getting the Debian distribution ready will take no more than three months. During the same tree months, the IT department will prepare the deployment of the distribution to all the offices of the regional government, a move that he expects to take about one year.
Secure, easy and manageable
"We aim to deploy the new desktop first in the headquarters off the Government, in Mérida, in a period of six months." Next will come the office in Badajoz and Cáceres. Here he expects the move to take about three more months. Rolling out the open source desktop to the remaining small offices in region will take another three months.
The plans to migrate all proprietary desktops to an open source alternative were mentioned on 31 December in an article by the Spanish newspaper Publico. The regional government announced around that time to hand over to Cenatic, the Spanish government's resource centre on open source, the development of Linex, a Debian-based distribution that is used in schools and hospitals in the region.
The CIO says the most important reason for the migration to open source is the need to unify all the desktops of the civil servants. The desktop needs to be strong, easy to use and easy to manage and support remotely, without viruses and free from security problems which are common to proprietary solutions. "And of course, it needs to be free. Because our budget for this plan is of zero euros."