September 5, 2006 9:27 AM PDT

Pioneering desktop Linux project put on ice

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Ambitious plans by the Norwegian city of Bergen to move to an open-source desktop environment have been suspended.

Ole-Bjorn Tuftedal, special adviser on contracts and technology for Bergen, said Monday that the desktop Linux migration would not happen for at least the next two years. Tuftedal, though, is still confident that the migration will happen eventually.

Bergen announced plans in 2004 to migrate its administration and educational servers to Linux--which Tuftedal says has now been successfully completed.

The next stage of the project was to be a Linux migration on the desktop. The suspension of this project has been reported by analysts as evidence that open-source software isn't ready for mass deployment on the desktop.

But Tuftedal claims that the Bergen administration had recently decided to concentrate its resources on an ongoing "e-government" portal, which would give the citizens better access to key civic services. Over the next two years, 50 to 80 services will be made available to the citizens through this portal, which will run on Linux servers. But Tuftedal admitted that the migration has proved to be more complicated than originally assumed.

"We are quite a lean organization, so consequently we cannot easily manage to do major changes to the desktop systems of our employees and do other large projects at the same time," Tuftedal told ZDNet UK. "The services for citizens have to be the priority."

A further complication is that Bergen did not receive government funding to finance an evaluation project for the Linux desktop migration project. One challenge with this migration is that changing the desktop software would involve corresponding changes in the back-office systems as well.

Presently, Bergen's desktop PCs are running Windows 2000 and Office 2000, and may be upgraded to the 2003 versions of the Microsoft software, as the city already own the licenses as part of a former enterprise agreement with the software maker.

The city recently conducted a successful but limited trial of the open-source OpenOffice, but there are advantages in sticking with the status quo until the e-government portal is built.

"We have not got high license costs now. Only if we bought new software would we incur new costs," Tuftedal said.

Over the last few years, several cities have announced plans to test or deploy open-source software. Recently, though, some of these plans have hit problems. Munich was forced to push back its desktop Linux rollout by a year, and the London borough of Newham stuck with Microsoft after a trial test of open-source software.

Graeme Wearden reported for ZDNet UK.

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14 comments

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No worries...
It takes time and money to do major changes, no matter which way the change goes.

OTOH, once those changes are made at the desktop level (software found and configured, employees trained to not go looking for C:\, etc), I suspect that the overall TCO will drop significantly (less licensing costs, more efficient server usage -- where a huge chunk of CPU isn't being wasted on anti-virus and spyware, etc etc etc...)

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Most
server CPU's sit idle on any platform. Hence the very popular VM/consolidation movement.

For lots of desktops....there are not any entprise wide managment tools for Linux....like there are for Windows, SMS, Landesk....etc.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
How idiotic can you be?
What a complete waste of time by these governments. They are systematically getting burned by trying to roll out linux as desktop OS, much less as a server. MS won the OS war long ago and the stupid penguinistas just can't get over it. What a joke.
Posted by WJeansonne (480 comments )
Link Flag
Pre-installed Desktop Linux
Companies are starting to preinstall Desktop Linux.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/23168/" target="_newWindow">http://lxer.com/module/forums/t/23168/</a>
Posted by cyber_rigger (70 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes... and no
I looked at the list. I didn't see any major PC manufacturer on it... I mean companies like Dell, HP, IBM, Lenovo. The list was a compilation of companies I've never heard of. While I think it's a good thing they do offer it, corporations are going to be shy about buying computers from anything but a major PC maker. You can get offerings for linux on servers from the big guys, just not the desktops... but then again, it's the servers where linux shines the most. I did finally found one of the linux PC's for sale at Walmart not long ago. Who knows? perhaps the big PC makers will follow suit on providing it on a desktop.

Since you are more familiar with the OS than I, can you provide a good link to the commands and their syntax?
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Link Flag
Geeks have influence
One geek known Linux good for somethings and could convict everybody of it is good for all other things.
Posted by abelonrambler (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Big PC makers are dictating the policy
Corporations prefer to buy PC's from a major manufacturer. They can cut deals, get discounts, and even get extended warantee's, trade in options, etc. What is stopping linux in this arena is that the big PC makers do not sell desktops with linux, only with windows. Most corps will blast the HDD and install their own copy of the OS so they can choose what they want, but the're not getting a refund on windows if they install linux. The cost at this point is the same: $0.

There are very few companies out there that don't own computers with a windows OEM sticker already on it placed there by the PC maker. I know many have refered to it as the "MS Tax" and until the big PC makers decide otherwise, that's what it is. For the companies and individuals that want windows, this is a good deal since they're getting the OS at a massive discount ($75 versus $300)... and since the masses want it, I don't see that changing. But, it is rather unfair to those who prefer linux.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree totally
Very good point and why moving to Linux takes a lot of hard work in the corporate world.

But then it also did on the Server end and now the Internet runs on Linux and Apache.
Posted by slim-1 (229 comments )
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