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Linux, trouble in the city

Linux, trouble in the city

Birmingham – An emblematic case is that of the city council of Birmingham which, after having prepared a project to transfer the machines and the network of the municipality to an open source platform, then reversed: according to its experts, leaving Windows would cost too much high.

The idea of ​​the council was to invest 535 thousand pounds on a pilot project that should have led to the installation of 1,500 computers equipped with Linux in the city libraries: having considered the case, the experts of the Municipality have found that it would have been impossible to overcome, with that figure, 200 seats. This means that the data analyzed by the council speak of a cost per seat of 2,675 pounds, a huge figure.

According to the council, staying on Microsoft platforms will entail a saving of 100,000 pounds compared to switching to open platforms.

The local chronicles give evidence of the amazement in the open source community as it emerged in the British municipality. A member of the consulting firm NetProject told Zdnet UK: “This is ridiculous. This is a macroscopic mistake… They decided to do everything by themselves, without any experience in the sector ”.

On the same line Mark Taylor, exponent of that Open Source Consortium that was initially part of the project of the Municipality: “I have no idea how anyone can spend half a million pounds for 200 desktop workstations equipped with free software”. According to Taylor, it is impossible for a move from proprietary systems with expensive licenses to free software to cost that much, if managed with a minimum of know-how.

However, someone feels like defending the position of the Executive, so much so that Laurent Lachal, an analyst at Ovum, a consultancy firm that also offers its services to the British central government, declared that “it is indeed expensive, but there are many voices to be taken into consideration: hardware, software, service costs, application porting. If Birmingham is not ready to move then they do well to stick with what they have ”.

Zdnet UK also got a comment from Microsoft. Although the company does not enter into the merits of the Birmingham choices, one of the officials of the UK division of the software house said: “I always hope that customers evaluate in-depth analysis to choose whether to adopt commercial or non-commercial software. But with Linux and open source software, there’s no such thing as gratuitousness. There are support and maintenance costs, just like when choosing Microsoft systems “.