Munich's Linux migration slips to 2006

A plan to move 14,000 desktops from Windows has been delayed by a year, partly because of the need for an additional pilot phase.

The city of Munich will not start its migration to Linux on the desktop until 2006, a year later than planned and three years since it decided to go with the open-source operating system.

The migration of 14,000 desktops from Windows NT 4.0 to Linux and Microsoft Office 97 and 2000 to was originally planned to start in 2005, but the schedule has slipped, Peter Hofmann, the project leader of the migration, said Monday.

Hofmann said that the first department to migrate to Linux and will be that of the Lord Mayor. This migration is due to happen in the middle of 2006, although not all of the department's 250 computers will be migrated straight away.

One of the reasons for the delay in the migration start date is the need for an additional pilot phase, which will run in the first half of 2006. "It became clear later in the planning phase that a pilot was more important than we first thought and should last longer," Hofmann said.

The migration team plans to set up pilot PCs running Linux and in every department. Once the pilot is completed, departments will be migrated to open-source software in either one or two steps, according to Hofmann.

"Some departments will start with OpenOffice on Windows, others will start with OpenOffice on Linux," Hofmann said. "It depends on their infrastructure, for example, if a department has a small number of simple (Office) macros and templates, but a large number of complex applications, it is easier to do OpenOffice on Windows first."

Employees at the city administration have had a mixed response to the news that Munich is migrating to Linux, according to Hofmann. "Some (employees) are anxious that nothing will work (once we migrate) and others are enthusiastic," he said.

Munich is not the only European city migrating to Linux on the desktop. In July, the Austrian city of Vienna kicked off its migration to open-source software on the desktop, and the Norwegian city of Bergen also plans to migrate.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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