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Spain's open source centre publishes model for desktop cost savings

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Cenatic, Spain's open source centre, has published a model to help calculate cost savings that are possible by switching to open source software on desktop PCs. The model evaluates costs by taking into account the size and complexity of the organisation, Cenatic says. "The methodology is based on our experience with migrations and open source methodologies."

Switching a basic government desktop PC configuration to open source, for example, will save some 5000 euro per desktop per year, Cenatic's model shows. The calculation can be tweaked by changing the figures for migration costs, downtime, maintenance, consultancy and the prices paid for proprietary software licences.The results are shown as graphs, displaying the costs over a five-year period.

The model was developed the past two years with the help of external open source specialists and IT research firm Gartner. It was made available earlier this month.

"Recently the governments of Galicia and Valencia reported significant savings achieved by using open source solutions" Cenatic writes in a report accompanying the model. "But it is very difficult to design an overall method, due to many factors such as the size of the organisation, available ICT skill, availability of support and the need to convert or integrate documents."

Autonomous savings
Gaceta Technologia, a Spanish IT trade publication focussing on open technology, notes that three Spanish public administrations recently reported their savings thanks to open source. The government of the autonomous region of Valencia used this type of solutions to save 33.8 million euro since 2005. Its ministry of Finance and Public Administration last year calculated to have saved 3.8 million euro, by using open source.

The Government of Galicia has made free and open source software a 'cornerstone for ICT', Gacata Technology writes. The software helped the regional government save 2.5 million euro in 2010 and 2011. The publication writes that it helped the region to "reduce maintenance costs by 30 per cent and energy consumption by 27 per cent." The region is also using Abalar, a combination of popular open source tools tailored for use in schools. The government estimates this will help save 1.8 million euro on desktop clients and 3.7 million euro on servers, over a five-year period.

Gaceta Technologica reports that Spain's central government Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism has saved 2.5 million euro by switching to SIGM, an open source solution for managing municipal records.

Beyond these direct savings, Gaceta Technologica writes, are the benefits to society by making available software as open source. This results in new services, new companies and international opportunities.

More information:
Cenatic Dossier: 'Impact of reusing open source software in the Economy' (in Spanish, PDF)
Tool to determine the costs of desktop migration (in Spanish, ODS)
Cenatic Dossier: Impact of reusing open source software in the Economy (in Spanish)
Gaceta Technologica news item (in Spanish)
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