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Birmingham City Council claims open-source success

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Linux
Interviews

Birmingham City Council has defended its year-long trial of desktop Linux, claiming it to be a success, despite an independent report showing it would have been cheaper to install Windows XP.

In an exclusive interview with Techworld, head of IT for the council, Glyn Evans, argued that the higher cost resulted from the council having to experiment with the new technology and build up a depth of technical understanding, as well as fit it with the complex system already in place.

The £105,000 saving that the report says would have resulted from going with Windows XP has also come under question as it was calculated using the special discounted licence rate that Microsoft offers councils - something critics argue is a calculated effort to prevent public bodies from building up technical knowledge of open source offerings.

With Birmingham's trial period over and with lessons learnt and understanding gained, the Council now expects to make cost savings over time, and contrary to press reports which claimed Birmingham had scrapped the Linux initiative, it will in fact "significantly increase" its use of open-source software, Evans said.

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