The city council of Vilnius will not run new trials for an Open Source desktop, after failed tests in 2003. However, the city is increasing its use of Open Source for back end IT systems.
The city council migrated some of its client computers to an Open Source desktop based on GNU/Linux in 2003. The initiative was a total failure, says Þilvinas Abaravièius, one of the city's IT staff involved. The desktop migration proved more complex than expected, and the staff working with the Open Source system did not get adequate support, he says. Users at times had to use the command line for some of the more simple tasks, he remembers. "The users refused to work like that and demanded a return to Microsoft Windows."
Abaravièius, who keeps an eye on the development of Open Source applications, says the user interface of the GNU/Linux desktop systems has greatly improved since then. However, among the staff in the Lithuanian capital, the image of the Open Source desktop remains tainted, he says.
The failed desktop tests do not stop Vilnius from increasing its use of Open Source for the rest of the city's IT infrastructure. The city for example runs its public website on Open Source software, combining the GNU/Linux distribution Gentoo with the Open Source web server Apache, the programming language PHP and the database management system MySql. The city also uses the Open Source email server Qmail to handle all of the council's email.
According to Rimvydas Janiauskas, head of Vilnius city IT department, the city will opt for Open Source software wherever possible. "We cannot avoid using some proprietary software applications but nevertheless, we are doing our best to minimise the expenditure on software. All of our own programmers are committed to Open Source and we only produce code using Open Source tools. The main problem however is, like elsewhere, the users".
European Communities 2007
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