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PL: City councils using Open Source report major savings

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The Polish cities of Katowice and Jaworzno, both report major savings from the use Open Source software.

Katowice, using many Open Source tools, says it saved 340 thousand złotych (about 105.000 euro) and Jaworzno, which migrated to OpenOffice and GNU/Linux in 2006, reports it has saved 390.000 złotych (about 121.000 euro). Representatives of the city councils reported on their migrations to Open Source software last month, at a conference in the city of Poznan. The seminar on 23 June was organised by the city's Budget Committee.

Katowice has been using Open Source software since 1996, using FreeBSD for its e-mail server, said Jerzy Borys, head of the IT department in the City of Katowice. Ever since, the number of Open Source applications has been increasing. The city is now using Firebird and MySQL, two relational database management systems, content management system Mambo. The city runs many of its applications on these Open Source tools, such as its human resources and payroll services, tax administrations, planning and accounting. The city in 2005 decided to switch to OpenOffice. "All this has helped to reduce costs", Borys said. Money would otherwise have been spent on licences for Oracle database systems, technical assistance and licences for Microsoft Office.

According to the presentation of Maciej Bąk, one of the administrators in the city of Jaworzno, the city started using Open Source in 2003, with the mail server Postfix and database system Mysql. A year later, it installed a proxy server on GNU/Linux and in 2005 decided to move to OpenOffice. "We have not bought any licences for Microsoft Office since 2006." That year it moved to Firefox, installed the content management system Plone and application server Zope, and is using the IT network monitoring system Nagios. "Half of all our servers are now running either Suse GNU/Linux or Red Hat GNU/Linux. All in all we've saved 390.000 złotych."

According to the Polish Foundation on Open and Free Software (Fwioo), the city council of Poznan is considering to follow the example of Katowice and Jaworzno. City representatives however expressed hesitations to abruptly abandon existing IT systems, Fwioo reports. "It was a lively, sometimes even stormy discussion."

Further information:

Report on the meeting (by the Polish Foundation on Open and Free Software)

Presentation on Open Source in Katowice (pdf , in Polish)

Presentation on Open Source in Jaworzno (pdf, in Polish)