Vienna joins Linux waltz

Vienna council is giving nearly half its workstation users the chance to move to Linux.

Vienna council is giving nearly half its workstation users the chance to move to Linux.

The head of the city's information services, Erwin Gillich, said the move would take place next year, and an evaluation would follow in 2006.

Other European cities and institutions are also switching to the free operating system. But unlike Munich, for example, which is clearing out all its Microsoft operating systems in favour of Linux, Vienna is going to change over slowly. The cost will be about €1.1m (£738,000) over five years.

One of the main differences with Munich is that Vienna will not purchase any new hardware, as many of its servers and security-critical applications have been running Linux for a long time.

Gillich wants the city to be less dependent upon Microsoft and expects staff with strong IT knowledge to be among the first movers. Some departments will move to Linux for cost reasons.

In Austria, members of the Social Democrat and Green Parties have demanded a quick change-over to Linux. The Social Democrats' science spokesman, Josef Broukal, said the main advantage of open source would be free programming. He believes Europe should reduce its dependency on US software and is demanding that the Austrian federal government also implement open-source software.

“It is a pity that Vienna hesitates to migrate fully to Linux,” said Marie Ringler, technology spokeswoman for the Green Party. She proposed incentives for those migrating to Linux, and criticised the council for not making the results of a Linux survey available to the public.

Roland Kissling writes for Computerworld

Read more on Business applications