BE: Half of all desktop PCs a…

BE: Half of all desktop PCs at ministry of Justice migrated to GNU/Linux


About half of the 12891 desktop PCs in use at the Belgian ministry of Justice are now running GNU/Linux and OpenOffice.

The ministry decided in 2005 to install OpenOffice and the Suse GNU/Linux distribution on all new PCs. Palais de Justice - BxlMigration started that summer at the so-called Vredegerechten, law courts dealing with local and usually minor legal matters.

"Ever since the decision by our then-minister Laurette Onkelinx, we have been rolling out these new PCs at a steady pace", explains a spokesperson from the ministry. "This includes supporting the users and providing them with training."

Minister Onkelinx had based her decision to migrate to an Open Source desktop on recommendations from the national government to use Open Standards.


Over the last three years about half of all the desktop PCs have been renewed and are running GNU/Linux. In its annual report, published in July, the ministry writes that last year nearly 2500 new GNU/Linux based PCs were installed. The annual report also lists a table showing the total number of PCs and laptops in use at the sixteen different courts of law.

The ministry's goal is to make the GNU/Linux desktop its default. However, this will take some time, predicts the spokesperson for the ministry. "For starters, there are several peripherals, such as printers, that are incompatible with GNU/Linux. Next are a number of applications, some written in-house and some proprietary, that can not be used on GNU/Linux."

Examples include a number of applications built with Microsoft's database management system Access. The ministry has also built several applications in-house using other Microsoft tools, the spokesperson adds. "These are all difficult to migrate."

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