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City of Munich to move 12,000 desktops to Ubuntu Linux

In the flood of news about open source deployments by the public sector around the world, the UK public sector is beginning to look increasingly isolated with its devotion to closed source, proprietary IT (I believe this is what the experts call vendor lock-in. Ed.).

The latest bit of news to reach the lab is that the Bavarian City of Munich (population: 1.35 mn.) is to move 80% of its desktops to Ubuntu, the same Linux distro used by Bristol Wireless for its refurbished computers.

Later this year, some 8,500 of Munich’s PCs will be using this open source operating system and office applications. So far 6,500 PCs have been switched to open source. At the end of next year, the city will have about twelve thousand PCs running Ubuntu.

Read the full report on Munich’s move to Ubuntu.

This move will enable Munich city council to enjoy the reliability and cost savings that other public sector bodies around the world have gained from deploying open source.

One would have thought the cash-starved British public sector would follow suit. However, given that the UK’s public administrations, including Bristol City Council, to whom we in Bristol Wireless have been advocating the benefits of open source for nearly a decade, are determined to continue handing over billions of pounds a year to the purveyors of proprietary software – and this is happening in spite of the squeeze on public finances. 🙁

2 Responses to City of Munich to move 12,000 desktops to Ubuntu Linux

  1. George July 1, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    What this article doesn’t highlight is that the move to “free” Open Source software started in 2003, is still on-going, and if fast becoming a great symbol of how Open Source software is far from free. There are a whole bunch of consultants making a heap of money (taxpayers’ money that is) trying to get a fragmented IT infrastructure “standardised”. It’s a contradiction in terms. Software in any IT project is usually only a fraction of the total cost; hardware, services, infrastructure, consultancy, etc. eat up most of the budget. My guess is that at some point in the future, Munich, like many other sites, will eventually realise that Open Source is far from free and look at an alternative.

    • woodsy July 1, 2011 at 5:24 pm #

      Interesting angle George.

      I think you’re somewhat confused by the use of the term ‘free software’. This is due to English not making any distinction between free as in freedom as free as in free of charge. The GNU Project has chapter and verse on the philosophy of free software.

      The software may be gratis, but for an organisation without the in-house support skills there will always be additional costs.

      Here at Bristol Wireless we’re fortunate to have the skills available and have quite happily managed to survive on free and open source software without any desire to “look at an alternative“.