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Munich's vendor independent desktop saves millions and is more robust

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Switching to a vendor independent desktop based on open source reduces costs and results in fewer calls to help desks, show figures provided last month by the Mayor of Munich, Christian Ude. Replacing the current almost ten thousand open source desktops by a proprietary system would increase costs by some 25 per cent, the Mayor shows in his response to questions from a city councillor.

A switch back to proprietary desktops would force the city to not only renew software licences but also replace 7500 of the current 9600 Linux desktops in order to meet the proprietary system's hardware requirements.

The current Linux desktop in Munich (Limux) costs the city 11.7 million euro, writes the Mayor in council bulletin number 54, published on 19 March. To offer a desktop similar to the LiMux desktops, on the basis of a proprietary system would costs at least 15.52 million euro, Ude concludes. And that would not yet include the costs for the renewal of the licences of the proprietary software, which would add another 2.8 million euro every three to four years.

The Linux based PCs are also far less troublesome, Ude points out. Since 2006 the number of malfunctions reported to the helpdesk decreased from 70 to 46 per month in the same period that the number of Linux desktops increased from 1500 to 9500.

'Everybody wins'
Many IT news publications reported on Munich's open source desktop costs and performance figures. In their news item IDG news service for example added that Munich now has 10,000 PCs running Limux. The city's IT department expects the migration to be completed later this year, when 12,000 PCs, or 80 percent of the total, will be running Linux.

IDG adds that Munchen's desktop is based on Ubuntu Linux and KDE. All PCs in Munich use the open source office suite OpenOffice, web browser Firefox, email client Thunderbird and image manipulation tool Gimp.

And on the blog maintained by the Munich IT department, the Limux team quotes one of the comments added to a news item by the German IT news site Heise: "Even if Linux will cost more money, it's still a success! The idea is to use open source software, to be independent of IT vendors and to use open formats. That way everybody wins, because of the improved transparency, open access for all to public data, including the availability as free software this requires."

More information:
Response by Munich mayor Christian Ude (in German, pdf)
Munich IT department blog on Limux (in German)
Egovernment Computing news item (in German)
Golem news item (in German)
Linux Magazine news item (in German)
Heise news item (in German)
H-Online news item
The Register news item
PC World news item
CIO news item
Computerworld news item
Muy Computer Pro news item (in Spanish)
Automatiseringgids news item) (in Dutch)
IB Times news item (in Italian)
Pianetatech news item (in Italian)

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