Munich's $44.5M 14,000-PC desktop Linux migration project: So far, so good

Summary:A story published last week by Heise Online has some interesting details that other organizations considering a move to desktop Linux might want to take a note of:The "LiMux" client is mainly based on Debian/GNU Linux 3.1, Desktop KDE, and OpenOffice 2.

A story published last week by Heise Online has some interesting details that other organizations considering a move to desktop Linux might want to take a note of:

  • The "LiMux" client is mainly based on Debian/GNU Linux 3.1, Desktop KDE, and OpenOffice 2.
  • Officials anticipate it will take approximately 2 years to complete the migration of its 14,000 PCs.
  • Munich's mayor is reporting that the switch from Windows to LiMux was "easy" (but perhaps we should expect any politician to say something like that of his or her own initiatives).
  • One user (apparently an assistant to the Lord Mayor) reported that "she missed some of the macros she used in Microsoft Office's Excel to schedule her boss's appointments. But she does like the 'nice additional functions' in the new system, such as yellow post-its. Overall, she did not think that the migration had made things any better or worse."
  • The project appears to be coming in on-budget (US$44.5 million). "The largest share of that budget -- 38 percent -- is set aside for training courses, but apparently these courses do not have to be as intensive as initially feared."
  • Such migrations are not without their obstacles. "Two years ago, the administration temporarily mothballed (German) the project so it could clear up software patent issues, which has been more are less accomplished (German)." I don't know what the patent issues were (perhaps someone else does and can use the comment section below to point us in the right direction.  The story goes on to say "that negotiations with project partners had turned out to be more complex than expected" which was another cause of the delays.

The story has some other juicy details that might be worthwhile checking into. Munich has apparently had observers coming in from all over the world to see how things are going. Perhaps, if you're considering such a move en masse, they'll let you come check things out too. One other side note. When I was at Gartner's Symposium/ITxpo earlier this month, the majority of IT managers I spoke to (some of whom I caught on tape) considered desktop Linux to be a non-starter. But, as long as we have polling functionality here on ZDNet, why not expand the poll to all of you online. Here's the question I asked at Gartner:

[poll id=7]

Topics: Linux

About

David Berlind was fomerly the executive editor of ZDNet. David holds a BBA in Computer Information Systems. Prior to becoming a tech journalist in 1991, David was an IT manager.

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