The City of Mannheim is following the lead of its neighboring southern German city of Munich in moving away from Microsoft software and toward Linux, but the city's IT officials this week are calling the move a "soft migration."
Mannheim is gradually moving its 110 servers to open-source software before it tackles the job of moving its 3,700 PCs, according to media reports. The city has commissioned a study on OpenOffice.
"It shows that open-source software continues to gain acceptance in public administrations," said Florian Mueller, a Germany-based software developer and advocate of open source software, in an e-mail Friday. "As soon as the first of those projects deliver proof that they save costs in the long run, we might see a much more widespread adoption of open source in the public and the private sector."
Gerd Armbruster, an official in Mannheim's IT unit, has estimated it will be four or five years before Linux will appear on the city's PC desktops. Mueller noted that "one-time migration costs" are still so high that most IT organizations will stay with closed-source software.
Mannheim is currently moving to Oracle Collaboration Suite, which is expected to be installed by the end of the year. In addition, more than 1,000 printers are expected to be centrally managed through the partial use of open source software.
IBM has been playing a key role in the Mannheim and Munich migration projects.