A council of hope – the free software column
For most organisations the primary reason for moving from Windows to Linux is perceived cost savings. The secondary reasons are factors such as interoperability and greater compliance with standards, which themselves bring longer- term cost benefits. Unlocking interfaces and data from vendor lock-ins may be rather time consuming and costly in the short term, but doing so brings considerable cost and efficiency pay-offs in the long term.
One of the payoffs for the City Council, other German councils, the Linux community and other interested parties, has been the development of LiMux, the German language Linux distribution which has since been approved as an official distribution by the German government. The work of Munich will make it easier for others to follow.
In an ideal world, LiMux would provide a model that would inspire more government-sponsored IT projects in the UK, which are all too often outsourced to proprietary interests. Whether it does or not, is yet to be seen.