Switch to open source successfully completed, city of Munich says

The 10-year long project has been a success, city officials said

Munich's switch to open-source software has been successfully completed, with the vast majority of the public administration's users now running its own version of Linux, city officials said Thursday.

In one of the premier open-source software deployments in Europe, the city migrated from Windows NT to LiMux, its own Linux distribution. LiMux incorporates a fully open-source desktop infrastructure. The city also decided to use the Open Document Format (ODF) as a standard, instead of proprietary options.

Ten years after the decision to switch, the LiMux project will now go into regular operation, the Munich City council said in a document published on its website.

As of November last year, the city saved more than €11.7 million (US$16.1 million) because of the switch. More recent figures were not immediately available, but cost savings were not the only goal of the operation. It was also done to be less dependent on manufacturers, product cycles and proprietary OSes, the council said Thursday.

"All project objectives were achieved and in some cases even exceeded," the council said. One of the goals was to migrate 12,000 desktops to LiMux, but in the end, the city managed to create over 14,800 LiMux workspaces for its approximately 15,500 desktops.

The vast majority of users and administrators have been familiar with the OS for a long time, the council said, adding that despite the migration of many thousands of PC workstations, the city government always remained operational.

The city also managed to develop a form management system called WollMux, which includes numerous features such as templates and letterheads. WollMux was released as open-source software and shared with municipalities, companies and private individuals, the council said.

Munich's deputy mayor, Christine Strobl, said in the announcement that with the project's success and the sharing of results and solutions with the public, the city took an important step toward more openness and independence from individual software makers.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, open-source and online payment issues for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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