The administration of Ventspils, Latvia’s sixth largest city, is an avid user of free and open source software. The main benefits: cost and resource optimisation.
In recent years, the city has replaced more and more costly proprietary software solutions by open source alternatives, gaining substantial savings, says Raitis Roze, deputy director at the city’s IT department. “We also implemented open source IT management tools, enabling us to manage a complex system with a relatively small IT staff.”
The city administration has been using free and open source software solutions since 2009. The open source policy is fully supported by the town’s politicians, “The biggest challenge is changing user habits when switching to a new e-mail system, changing the work domain, or replacing the document management solution,” says Roze, “However, over time, staff members get accustomed to the changes.”
On 2 February, Ventspils was honourably mentioned by the Latvian Open Technology Association (LATA). The city was nominated for the ‘Most Open Organisation’ award, for its use of open source software across the administration and in the town’s schools.
Based on these distributions, the city runs many common open source solutions. For example, the city’s mail infrastructure, its anti-virus and anti-spam services combine Exim, SpamAssassin and Clamav. Groupware is offered by using SOGO and Postfix. To manage users, departments, file and printer services, the ten full time IT administrators use Samba. Its telephony infrastructure runs Asterisk. Telemetry and building management is handled by Domoticz, MongoDB, Mosquitto and other open source solutions.
For system monitoring and to manage workstations, Ventspils IT technicians use a combination of Zabbix, Fog Project and OCS Inventory. The town has access to high availability computing and storage nodes, combining DRDB, Pacemaker, and CEPH. All of the towns web sites, public and internal, are run on open source.
Open source is also the driver for the city’s wireless network, combining OpenWrt and Freeradius for the entire town.