Vienna's open source desktop migration takes off

Thousands of city employees have started using and hundreds are running Linux, less than two months after the 'soft' migration started

Vienna's 'soft' migration to open source on the desktop is proving more popular with users than expected, according to Erwin Gillich, the head of IT at Vienna's municipal authority.

Users at the city administration have been offered the option of switching from Microsoft Office 2000 to the open source productivity application, and from Microsoft Windows 2000 to Linux. Departments are being offered an annual discount of €62 (£42) per desktop if they migrate to on Windows and an additional discount of €31 per desktop if they also migrate to Linux.

Gillich told ZDNet UK that his team has already installed on 2,500 desktops since it started offering the product to users in September.

"It is more than I expected, but they haven't yet migrated fully — most of them are using it in parallel to Microsoft Office. It will take some time before they give back their Microsoft licences and start saving €62," said Gillich.

Linux has been implemented on fewer desktops, with only 200 installations so far. Gillich said the main reason for this trend is that users find it more difficult to learn to use Linux.

Of its 16,000 desktop PCs, Vienna has identified 7,500 that could be migrated to, of which 4,800 could also potentially move to Linux.

To read more about this migration, click here.

ZDNet UK recently completed a study looking at open source in governments across the worldwide, which includes information on the use of open source by the German public sector and potential reasons for its enthusiasm for non-proprietary software.