Lausanne, Switzerland's fourth-largest city, is considering a switch to open source desktop PCs. "The time has come to evaluate a migration, by launching a pilot project on 5 workstations", the city announced on 14 November. "Free and open source software is becoming more mature, user-friendly and compatible with other environments."
For the city, open source for desktop PCs is a logical next step. Lausanne is already using this type of solutions in many other parts of its IT infrastructure. "Whether for financial reasons or for interoperability, governments or large corporations are using open source software more and more on computer servers."
Switching desktop workstations is tricky, the city warns. This area is dominated by the systems of one proprietary IT vendor, with many business applications tied to it, "hindering the migration to a desktops that is free and sustainable". Lausanne points out that it took the German city of Munich a decade to complete its migration to an open source desktop, and that in 2010 the Swiss canton of Solothurn gave up, firing its CIO.
The city has asked the Swiss IT service provider Why Computing to supply support for five open source workstations. "The stakes are high, on two levels. A complete open source desktop would allow substantial savings that can be used for priority projects. On the other hand, increasing the lifespan of the PCs brings a strong ecological and financial gain."
The city writes it will share its experiences with other public administrations.
Why Computing was founded by François Marthaler, a former councillor for the canton of Waadt(Vaud), responsible for IT. This summer the firm launched an online-store for Linux desktop PCs, aiming to extend the life span of PCs and laptops by installing Ubuntu Linux.
Press release by Why Open Computing (in German)
ICT Journal news item (in French)
24 Heures news item (in French)
Toolinux news item (in French)
Linux Magazine news item (in German)
Netzwoche news item (in German)