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29 March 2012, 10:05

LiMux: Cheaper and more robust than Windows

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LiMux logo Responding to a question by Munich city council's CSU party, Lord Mayor Christian Ude (SPD) said that, although the LiMux project has been extended until 2013 and its budget been increased by 50 per cent, the switch to Linux will still cost the city of Munich about a quarter less than a comparable Windows installation.

"The LiMux project's current cost to the budget is €11.7 million", Ude said in council bulletin number 54German language linkPDF, answering a question by the CSU party on the current cost of introducing LiMux. Ude calculated that continuing to operate the Windows infrastructure that existed in 2005 would have cost €11.8 million – but that, as the number of computers has increased considerably, an extra €1.65 million would have been required for software. Also, €2.08 million were used for optimisations and extensions as part of the LiMux project, he said.

The Lord Mayor concluded that upgrading a Windows and Microsoft Office-based IT infrastructure to a level that is equal to the current status of the LiMux project would have cost at least €15.52 million in total. Ude said that he didn't take into account costs such as the licence fees for essential software upgrades that a Microsoft infrastructure incurs every three to four years, but which don't exist with LiMux. Licence fees for the current versions of Windows and Microsoft Office alone would cost about €2.8 million for the city's PCs, he added.

The CSU party also asked about the number of problems that have been reported by employees. Ude replied that he was unable to answer with reliable figures because problems aren't reported in a way that allows them to be examined statistically. The Lord Mayor added that more problems are typically reported during a switch than during normal operation and that, therefore, an informed assessment can be made in two to three years at the earliest.

However, he noted that according to individual administrators, fewer disruptions each month are already being reported for the LiMux workplaces now than when Windows NT was still in use before the switch. According to Ude, the number of reported disruptions has decreased from an initial 70 to a maximum of 46 per month – although five times as many LiMux clients as before have now been installed. The last 2,500 of Munich city council's 12,000 PCs are to be converted to LiMux by the end of the year.

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