Linux is mission critical for Czechs

The Czech postal service is putting its faith in open source, by migrating a vital application onto SuSE Linux

The Czech postal service has moved a mission-critical application used by 3,400 post offices across the country to Linux.

Czech Post, the company that runs the postal service in the Czech Republic, has installed Novell's SuSE Linux on 4,000 servers and 12,000 client terminals. The number of client PCs is set to increase to 15,000 in the near future, according to a Novell spokesman.

The Linux servers are running APOST, a system that handles all postal operations and is used by 20,000 Czech Post employees.

The thin-client architecture, where applications are run off a central server, has cut out the need for new hardware and reduced administration costs at Czech Post, according to Novell.

Previously, APOST ran on a cocktail of operating systems including Windows and DOS, which Novell says meant Czech Post was spending a lot of money administering the software across 3,400 locations and was experiencing downtime and security issues.

Ales Kucera, Novell country manager for the Czech Republic, said Linux provided a cost-effective way for Czech Post to avoid investing in new hardware.

"Having to upgrade hardware would have cost Czech Post far more than they could have afforded," said Kucera in a statement.

Other organisations have already discovered the potential cost-savings of using thin clients running Linux. Car hire firm Europcar claimed to have dramatically cut its hardware and maintenance costs by migrating 1,500 rental stations to thin clients running Linux. In addition, an organisation in Chile is turning nearly 10,000 computers in Chilean schools into Linux thin clients.

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