Open source exceeds Munich's expectations

The German city of Munich has been very precise at bumping off Windows PCs to give its Linux operating system Lebensraum .

Munich’s LiMux project has been going great guns and today the city announced that it had migrated 9,000 systems away from the PC and onto Linux. It only wanted to migrate 8,500 of the 12,000-15,000 PC workstations used by city officials in Munich but it turned out a bit easier than expected.

Munich which is derived from the High German word Munichen, meaning “by the monks’ place” and not the word Munchkin from the Wizard of Oz, has been at the forefront of cutting edge Linux roll outs ever since the local government worked out it could save a lot of money by avoiding Microsoft.

In May 2003, Munich’s city council decided to migrate municipal workstations to Linux and open source. It developed its own LiMux client and WollMux, a template system for OpenOffice.org.

The LiMux project directors have announced that almost all copies of Microsoft Office have been banished from Bavaria and replaced with version 3.2.1 of the open source OpenOffice.org office suite. The remaining 3,000 plus systems will be switched to the LiMux client next year.

Although the rollout has done well this year, the whole project has taken a little longer than originally expected. Last year, Florian Schießl, a LiMux project director, stated that he and his team had been naïve and had underestimated the extent of minor problems. In 2006 the computer infrastructure reorganised and the project could start up again.

The delays did prevent Munich being the pin-up region for the Open Source movement. However, it has proved that Linux on the desktop is more than possible.