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23 November 2012, 11:13

Linux brings over €10 million savings for Munich

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Over €10 million (approximately £8 million or $12.8 million) has been saved by the city of Munich, thanks to its development and use of the city's own Linux platform. The calculation of savings follows a question by the city council's independent Free Voters (Freie Wähler) group, which led to Munich's municipal LiMux project presenting a comparative budget calculation at the meeting of the city council's IT committee on Wednesday. The calculation compares the current overall cost of the LiMux migration with that of two technologically equivalent Windows scenarios: Windows with Microsoft Office and Windows with OpenOffice. Reportedly, savings amount to over €10 million.

The study is based on around 11,000 migrated workplaces within Munich's city administration as well as 15,000 desktops that are equipped with an open source office suite. The comparison with Windows assumes that Windows systems must be on the same technological level; this would, for example, mean that they would have been upgraded to Windows 7 at the end of 2011. Project parameters such as scope, duration, applied methodology or external support were assumed to be the same in all scenarios.

According to the calculation, Windows with Microsoft Office would so far have incurred about €11.6 million (£9.3 million) in operating-system-related costs. Microsoft Office and its upgrades would have cost €4.2 million (£3.3 million), and the Windows system about €2.6 million (£2.1 million). The LiMux project allowed a further €5 million (£4 million) for hardware upgrades in connection with the Windows 7 system upgrade. Application migration costs were estimated to be around €55,000 (£44,000). If the city council had chosen Windows but used OpenOffice, the estimated cost would have been about two thirds, or €7.4 million (£5.9 million).

According to the comparison, the cost of the LiMux scenario was only a fraction of this. The project management says that by September 2012, the project had incurred only €270,000 (£218,000) because it involved no licence fees and no hardware upgrades were necessary as a result of software upgrades. The costs were exclusively generated by migrating applications.

Costs that are not related to the operating system, such as staff and training costs, were identically listed at around €22 million (£17 million) in all three scenarios. Overall, the project says that Windows and Microsoft Office would have cost just over €34 million (£27 million), while Windows with Open Office would have cost about €30 million (£24 million). The LiMux scenario, on the other hand, has reportedly cost less than €23 million (£18 million).

With this report to the IT committee, the Lord Mayor of Munich has responded to a cost transparency petition that was submitted by the city council's independent Free Voters (Freie Wähler) group in April 2012. The report now has the status of a provisional decision and is available to download German language link as an 18-page document from Munich City Council's information system. In addition to the cost report, it contains further information on the LiMux project's organisation and project planning, which was also requested. Those who are interested in the project's progress details can take a look at the project's June 2012 interim report German language link. In March, Lord Mayor Christian Ude had estimated savings of around €4 million (£3.2 million) when responding to a question by the city council's CSU group.

(Anika Kehrer / fab)

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