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Birmingham’s Linux Project

ZDNet UK writes Criticism mounts over Birmingham’s Linux project.

The top brass pulled out and the project seems to have failed. Onlookers can’t figure out how so much money was wasted, when similar Linux migrations in Europe and elsewhere have shown vastly better results.

“The council planned to roll out Linux software and applications on 1,500 desktops in libraries across the city, but in the end it got no further than a 200-desktop project. Several industry watchers have voiced their concerns about the project, particularly around the number of PCs rolled out. Birmingham’s expenditure averaged over £2,500 per PC.”

Wow! This sounds like a classic case of pork barrel spending. I wonder where the money really went?

“Mark Taylor, whose Open Source Consortium also exited the project in the early stages, said: “I have no idea how anyone could spend half a million pounds on 200 desktops, running free software”.

Asked by ZDNet UK whether he was surprised that an XP upgrade was calculated as cheaper than the Linux project, Taylor said, “If it’s done properly, that can’t happen. It’s amazing that anyone can spend that much on [Linux] project management.” Taylor added that there are plenty of open-source skills in the Birmingham area which could have been utilised.”

While Birmingham may have chickened out from the full Linux migration, the move to OpenOffice is continuing, according to some responses to the original article. This is a good way to distract those who are trying to derail the effort. They’ll think they have succeeded in blocking a Linux migration, but meanwhile, all the office suites will have been replaced with OpenOffice, and that is no small accomplishment!

And the next time a Linux move is attempted, it will be much easier to complete, with some of the groundwork already taken care of.

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