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El Pais: Zaragoza Migrates to Linux to Save €1M Annually

Feb 26, 2007, 16:00 (0 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Shama for the link to the original article. ]

Translation from the original Spanish:

The City Council of Zaragoza has decided to abandon the Windows operating system and move to open source systems that should save the Aragon capital city nearly €1M per year.

The migration, which should be completed by the end of 2008, according to the Council and Mayor Juan Alberto Belloch, arises from the need to modernize applications and comply with national and European recommendations regarding free software.

The free software the Council has opted to use requires no annual license payments, and due to lower resources needed to run, will lead to a greater life-span for existing equipment. All of this has translated into considerable annual savings: between €800,000 and €1M.

The migration will be done with the help of US-based Novell. It will require an initial investment of nearly €700,000 for the training of city workers on the newly installed free software.

"It's difficult to change to the habits of the city employees who are used to their current operating system," indicated Ricardo Cavero, councilman of Science and Technology.

The migration will happen two phases. First it will be changing the office applications: word processor, spreadsheet, etc. The City Council has chosen OpenOffice.org to handle this phase of the migration.

Once this phase is completed, city systems will be migrated to Novell's SUSE Linux. "In this project we will contribute the experience to assure a smooth transition to Linux," said Jose Manuel Villanueva, Novell's Director of Linux in Southern Europe.

"Citizens will benefit as much the civil employees will. The security of our solution, the ease of use, the improvements compared to the present system, and our trajectory in the free and open source software arena will ensure the success the project," Villanueva added.

The update should not pose serious problems, since visually the applications with which the City will eventually use are similar to and compatible with the ones being used now.

One of the commitments by Belloch has been to promote free software, as it is becoming more prominent around the world and it corresponds to recommendations put forth by the European Union.

The Ministry of Public Administration, in its proposal to use open source software, pointed out that the installation of Linux directly affects the freedom of elections, protection of IT investments, more secure software, and a guarantee of interoperability.

The Press Office and the Office of Citizen Relations already are using OpenOffice.org, and will be followed by the Municipal Registry office.

Training courses will begin within the next two months to handle migration issues for end-users.

Complete Story (in Spanish)

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