The IT department of the Italian Parliament this Wednesday presented plans for the migration of all of its two hundred servers and more than 3500 desktop PCs to GNU/Linux and Open Office. The switch will be carried out gradually, starting this September and will take about two years.
The move is estimated by some to save about three million euro per year.
The Parliament had earlier this year voted in favour of a proposal to use only open source software. The plan was submitted by Pietro Folena MP for the Italian Communist Party.
The Italian parliament (Camera dei deputati) will be using Novell Suse Linux for both desktops and servers. It currently uses Windows on the desktop and runs Novell Netware on many of its servers. "Our experience with Novell should make the migration relatively simple", comments Folena.
The adoption of an open source system will help to save three million euro each year, the Italian daily 'La Repubblica' writes, citing another Member of the Italian Parliament. According to the newspaper, the total licence costs of a PC are 900 euro a year.
Folena could not confirm these numbers. He does expect the switch to GNU/Linux will make PCs some 90 per cheaper per year and foresees even bigger savings for the servers. "These savings are important, but the primary motive for this decision is to gain freedom. Freedom from a single technology, freedom from a single software owner and a single contractor, freedom to develop our own applications and freedom from viruses."
The migration of the Italian parliament makes it the second and also the largest in Europe. The French parliament last year decided to move 1145 PCs, including those used by the 577 French MPs, over to GNU/Linux distribution Ubuntu, starting this summer.
Folena: "This migration will be a very important case study and will present us with best practises, relevant for all public offices."
The 630 Italian MPs may decide for themselves to also run GNU/Linux on their laptops. These are not included in the plans presented Wednesday, explains Folena, as these laptops are private property.
As part of the plan, the public library of the parliament will offer its visitors several Open Source desktop PCs for use.
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