City of Vienna gives staff a Linux option

City of Vienna gives staff a Linux option

Next year, users of 7,500 of the 16,000 desktop workstations in the municipality of Vienna will have the choice of moving to Linux, according to Erwin Gillich, head of the city's information services. An evaluation of this test will follow in 2006.

Vienna is one of several European cities and institutions to switch to the free operating system. Compared to the decision by the city of Munich, which will fully replace Microsoft operating systems with Linux, the municipality of Vienna is opting for a slow transformation. The cost will be about Euro 1.1 million (US$1.3 million) over five years. One of the main differences with Munich is that there will be no new hardware purchased in Vienna. Many servers and security-critical applications have been running Linux for a long time.

Gillich, who wants the city to be less dependent upon Microsoft, expects personnel with strong IT knowledge to be among the first movers. Some departments will change to Linux for monetary reasons as well.

In Austria, members of the Social Democrats and the Green Party also advocate a quick change to Linux. The Social Democrats' spokesman for science, Josef Broukal, said that the main advantage of open source is the possibility of free programming. Broukal believes that Europe should reduce its dependancy on U.S. software and is demanding that the Austrian federal government also implement open source software.

"It is a pity that the city of Vienna hesitates to migrate completely to Linux," said Marie Ringler, the technology spokeswoman for Vienna's Green Party. She claims that the municipality should give incentives to those migrating to Linux, and criticized that the results of a survey on Linux done by the city of Vienna are not available to the public.

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