Munich decides to stick with Linux

Tenders are being sought to take on the contract of Munich's 14,000 open-source desktops

Munich – the city whose switch to Linux was seen as so significant it attracted a personal visit from Steve Ballmer – has announced that its year-long trial has proved a success and the local government is sticking with open source for its desktops.

The migration will officially take place on 1 July, with 14,000 desktops to permanently migrate to the open-source platform. The pilot was run by SuSE Linux and IBM but the eventual contract – which could be worth tens of millions of euros – will be put out to tender.

A roadmap for the 'LiMux' project, which will see 16,000 city employees change operating system, was developed by the two vendors but the government hasn't decided on whether to use it or not yet.

The city's move to Linux is the biggest ever move from proprietary software to open source, with municipal PCs and notebooks moving from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice and using Mozilla browsers. The decision was taken after city officials voted 50 to 29 in favour of making the change.

The decision will doubtless come as a blow to Microsoft, which pulled out all the stops to get the city to stay with proprietary software.

According to a document seen by USA Today, among the concessions the software behemoth was prepared to punt Munich's way were undercutting a Linux bid by $12m; letting Munich license some stripped-down Windows and offering training and support for nothing.

It's thought the migration will be complete by 2008 or 2009.

Earlier this week, Norway's second city, Bergen, announced it would be following in Munich's footsteps and opting to run on Linux.