Norwegian city government switches to open source

Bye Windows, bye Unix…
Written by ZDNet Staff, Contributor

Bye Windows, bye Unix…

In a move that echoes an earlier high-profile migration by the German city of Munich, authorities in the Norwegian city of Bergen have opted to replace existing core Windows and Unix systems with Linux.

The two-phase roll-out will see the 20 existing Oracle database servers running on HP-UX that support the City's health and welfare applications replaced with SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 running on HP Integrity Itanium 64 bit servers.

The second part of the implementation will see the city's educational network migrate and consolidate from 100 Windows application servers to about 20 IBM eServer BladeCenters running Linux.

Janicke Runshaug Foss, CIO of the City of Bergen, said: "In addition to the IT-based benefits from migrating to Linux, we attain a business model that doesn't tie us to a single vendor's solution architecture. By migrating to Linux, the City of Bergen has a business model that is open and democratic and, we believe, that will ensure a greater degree of freedom of choice, more efficient operation and major cost savings that will benefit the citizens."

Bergen's decision to migrate to Linux follows similar projects across Europe, with authorities in Paris, Munich, and, most recently, the German Federal Finance Office signing up with Linux - a deal thought to be one the largest Linux-based mainframe deployments in Europe.

Much has been made of the cost-savings from moving to Linux, which some companies see as a way to avoid potentially prohibitive licensing costs from Microsoft. For its part, the software giant has been keen to rubbish the alleged discounts on offer through a series of events aimed at dispelling what it called "the myths" surrounding Linux.

A key plank in its argument is that open-source software isn't actually cheaper in the long run, because companies need to spend more on retraining IT staff who may be experienced in Windows software but not in the open-source arena.

Nicholas McGrath, head of platform strategy at Microsoft, speaking at the first Microsoft Linux event in the UK McGrath also cited a series of recent customer wins, including the London borough of Newham's decision to go with Microsoft rather than open source, said: "We asked an audience of 250 or 300 business people today if they thought that Linux was a free option, and no hands went up."

Novell, along with competitors such as IBM and HP, sees Linux as a way of allowing customers to standardise on a single low-cost, non-proprietary platform, allowing a migration from a hodge-podge of systems to open-source-based clusters or mainframes. Novell EMEA president Richard Seibt, in a recent interview, said: "You need one operating system to do that. What we have is an important initiative to help customers to add Linux to their infrastructure."

Seibt, formerly the head of Novell's SuSE Linux business unit and chief executive of SuSE before its takeover by Novell, took over as head of Novell's European operations earlier in February.

The Bergen project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

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