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Northglenn, Colorado, Moves to Open Source

The city of Northglenn, Colorado, migrated its municipal computer systems to, Linux thin terminals, and other open source applications. In some instances, budget line items of $350,000 were reduced to $100,000, allowing savings to be used in migrating to state-of-the-art systems for the city.

Anthony Fortenberry explains that it’s about more than saving money. Modernization and service improvement are other significant reasons to choose open source: “By using extensible, low-cost open source software, local governments can move toward e-government and other advanced services much more quickly than under current conditions.”

The interview contains many details about the benefits Northglenn received from its investment in open source infrastructure. There’s a lot for others to learn from this example.

4 Responses to “Northglenn, Colorado, Moves to Open Source”

  1. Tom Pond Says:
    November 20th, 2006 at 5:43 pm

    Just to set the record straight, the City of Northglenn invested about $250,000 in order to upgrade its infrastructure to implement the open office and thin client strategy. In two years the City installed about a dozen thin client open office workstations. The savings never even recovered their initial investment in infrastructure improvements. In November of 2005 at the request of its users the City abandoned its strategy of open office and thin clients. The main complaint was the lack of interoperability between the open office products and other software applications and peripheral devices. The City could not adequately support the open office thin client strategy. Although the plan looked good on paper it never lived up to the promise of a money saving modernization of their operations. The strategy failed to meet the needs of the users and was not anchored in any key business strategy.

  2. Harry Mangalam Says:
    January 29th, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Hmm – Tom Pond may be right,but NorthGlen’s Christine Martinez was presenting it as a successful transition, and well beyond OOo (Joomla, PHPSurveyor, self-built ‘WebDocs’ from OSS components, sound encoding app, self-built Imaging app using ImageMagick, perl, etc) in 2007 and 2008. So if it was a failure, it’s being represented as a success 2 years afterwards.
    Check it out yourself:

  3. Harry Mangalam Says:
    January 29th, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Obviously the URL didn’t go thru, but google ‘Christine Martinez Northglenn open source’

  4. Benjamin Horst Says:
    January 30th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Harry, I found the following blog post as the first result with those search terms:

    It includes her slideshow from September 2007 on the subject of the city’s use of open source. Indeed, slide 34 lists as a tool the city uses.

    (Maybe it was the thin clients the city had trouble with, because there is no mention of them in her presentation?)