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  • Swiss canton Solothurn is migrating 2000 desktops to Debian GNU Linux

    contributed by andremachado, published on Thu Feb 28 12:32:52 2008 in success-stories

    The swiss canton Solothurn is migrating 2000 desktops to Debian GNU / Linux

    The IT adminstration of the swiss canton Solothurn will conclude the 2000 desktop migration to Debian GNU / Linux by the end of 2008.

    Kurt Bader, director of the Office for Computer Science and Organization (Amts fur Informatik und Organisation - AIO) in the canton Solothurn, presented the strategy for more economy, security and flexibility under GNU / Linux during the congress " Open Source Meets Business" in Nuremberg, DE, January 2008.

    The largest open source project in Switzerland runs "smoothly, the conversion is a complete success and a major step forward", summarizes Kurt Bader.

    The carefully planned three phase desktop migration, currently at around half way, started in 2006. According to Bader, 21 companies offered assistance, proposing several combinations of Open Source operating systems and applications, then narrowed to 3 offers and 3 prototypes for evaluation.

    The administration, in September 2006, decided to use the Debian GNU / Linux distribution, OpenOffice.org, Mozilla Firefox and the KDE collection of desktop applications, starting first phase, the deployment of the desktops.

    Now at the second phase, staff workers can access, through thin and fat clients, some applications that only run on Microsoft Windows®, which are hosted on a central server, without legacy data and applications conversions. In the third phase of the migration project, these Windows®-only legacy applications will be replaced by software that are able to run on more than one operating system.

    Among the decision factors as stability, security, virus immunity, flexibility, liberation of market constraints and objective savings, two arguments stood out:

    "The independence from suppliers and its business policy played an important role with our decision. Beyond that, the low cost of optimization was an important argument for the free operating system Debian GNU / Linux".

    In a 2000 desktops environment, the Debian GNU / Linux allowed 70% savings in costs.

    The desktop migration was resisted by the users fears against changes, as expected. "The substantial success factor is the direct communication with our coworkers", said Bader.

    All department representatives and or users were involved since the conceptual analysis. The applications, systems and support are evolving processes with the help of them.

    "A single day of training is enough to get started on the new desktop", he says. Also, the staff have a support infrastructure at disposal, like feedback meetings, intranet documents and FAQs and more channels will have to be created.

    The solution is based on internal GNU / Linux know-how, developed since 2001, when GNU / Linux servers were installed throughout the IT environment.

    The stability of the system and the potential savings helped to convince the government of the canton of Solothurn. It decided, in the autumn of 2007, to keep the current IT strategy without substantive changes, and continue for the next four to eight years to have validity.

    The central swiss government is being already formally questioned by local representatives about some planned migrations to proprietary systems, and the case of Solothurn will bring objective local data for analysis.

    More details at the original European Communities announcement.

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