The Department of Real Estate Management of Mokotów, a district of the city of Warsaw (Poland), is increasingly turning to free and open source software solutions to providing flexible, innovative new ICT services. “Our management values innovations, and so supports the use of open source software,” says Jacek Wolski, the IT department’s team manager, “this encourages the IT department to implement new solutions and tools.”
The Mokotów Real Estate Management (Zakład Gospodarowania Nieruchomościami) is gradually replacing all workstations in the office, many of which are running a decade-old proprietary operating system. Next year, the department will switch 70 of the organisation’s 300 workstations to Debian Linux, providing them with a LXDE lightweight desktop environment and LibreOffice, a suite of office productivity tools.
“We’re currently preparing the communication to explain the switch and motivate the users”, says Wolski. “Running only free software, their refurbished workstations will offer excellent performance.”
It’s better free
The past two years, the Department of Real Estate Management of Mokotów has not procured even a single proprietary office suite licence, Wolski says. “Every time we upgrade a workstation, and on every new workstation, we implement one of the free software alternatives - LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice.”
Although many of the organisation’s tasks are locked-in by proprietary software, free software solutions replace proprietary tools wherever possible. At the moment, about one-fifth of the organisation is free to use open source. “The rest depends on proprietary solutions”, says Wolski. “For now.”
He explains that the obvious reason for public administrations to turn to free and open source software is reducing costs. A second argument is quality and performance. “Even when you include costs for training IT system administrators, free software solutions for database, file servers and web servers provide the best solution for public services such as ours.”
Wolski praises the strong support from the management. “They encourage our commitment, making it possible for us to spend one or two hours per week to help out with four open source software projects that are important to our organisation: web content management system Joomla, office tools LibreOffice, IT asset management solution GLPI and the Linux firewall distro Endian.”