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LinuxPR: European Public Sector Switches on to Open Standards

Jun 27, 2003, 00:00 (10 Talkback[s])


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IBM today announced a range of new deals that will allow government agencies across Europe to opt in to the benefits of open standards software. Building on recent ground breaking engagements, such as IBM's framework agreement with the German Ministry of the Interior, these new Linux contracts will allow a variety of European public sector services--from police forces to tax departments, universities and pension providers--to lower their IT costs, improve the responsiveness of their technology and to create new revenue opportunities for local business communities.

New Linux deals announced today include: Brussels-based Union des Classes Moyennes (UCM), a government agency that calculates salaries for doctors and dentists; Finland-based Kela, one of the country's major pension providers; the French Ministry of Education; the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, in Germany; Agencia Estatal de Administraciãn Tributaria, a public tax agency for the Spanish Ministry of Finance; and the West Yorkshire Police force.

"Over the past twelve months IBM has seen open standards software like Linux move squarely into the mainstream for governments across Europe," said Piero Corsini, IBM VP Public Sector Europe. "We're now well past the 'tipping point,' and today's new deals reinforce the wide-ranging benefits that open standards software brings to the Public Sector. It's a bigger thought than just costs--the use of software like Linux allows government agencies to do more sophisticated things with e-business, and its use also presents local economies with a range of commercial opportunities--like delivering new support services and building new applications."

In commercial terms, adoption of the open source operating system Linux continues to outstrip any other operating system on the market today--at a compound annual rate of 35 percent, according to IDC studies. According to industry analysts like Giga and IDC, Linux is also projected to become the dominant server operating system in the next three to four years. Linux adoption by governments and other public sector institutions is growing faster than the overall growth rate--at a 38% compound annual growth rate from 2001-2006, compared to 35% overall.

The general market ecosystem that surrounds Linux continues to grow rapidly, generating new revenue for government agencies and small businesses in new markets. Today, more than 44,000 independent software vendors and corporate developers around the world are working with IBM to create new Linux-based applications. These ISVs are rapidly capitalizing on the number of Linux-based solutions--in fact IBM saw a growth rate of over 40 per cent of new Linux applications created world wide last year.

In addition, the number of IBM business partners actively working on Linux across the world has grown 800% since the beginning of 2001.

Further details on today's new IBM Linux engagements include:

Brussels-based Union des Classes Moyennes (UCM) is a government agency that calculates salaries for small doctors and dentists agencies in the French-speaking regions of Belgium. To consolidate its workload onto a single server, UCM has now upgraded to a new Linux-based IBM eServer to lower its total cost of ownership and to improve the reliability of its service.

Helsinki, Finland-based Kela is one of that country's major pension providers. In order to offer more services online and support business growth, Kela needed to add capacity to its technology infrastructure.

However, it also needed to reduce its IT costs to stay profitable. The company has now chosen to consolidate its servers, replacing old systems with two eServer zSeries systems running SuSE Linux. The IBM/Linux solution gives Kela plenty of processing capacity for future growth. The company has calculated savings of 80,000 Euros so far and expects greater savings in the future.

The French Ministry of Education wanted to update and modernize its education system, not only to maintain a competitive edge, but to better prepare its students to become professionals and productive citizens. To achieve these goals, the ministry wanted to increase access to educational resources, improve collaboration among classes and facilitate exchanges among teachers nationally and internationally.

The Ministry of Education has now decided to implement a nationwide messaging, collaboration and e-learning solution based on IBM Lotus Notes and Domino and RedHat Linux V5. With this system, high school teachers can set up online bulletin boards to assign and collect homework; graduate students can do research and get feedback on their studies; children can master computer skills they'll need in the workplace; and unique classes can be offered over the Web to remote locations. In the pilot project, affecting 5,000 users, the Ministry of Education finds has found that teachers and researchers are more productive. The Linux platform ensures that the system can expand while maintaining stability and keeping costs low.

The Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, in Freiburg, Germany, performs applied research for the German government on how materials behave under shock and impact. The institute needed a high-performance computing platform to support massively parallel calculations that simulate crashes and measure reactions. The platform would have to support specialized scientific applications and be extremely robust and scalable. The Fraunhofer Institute has now implemented an IBM High Performance Computing Linux Cluster, consisting of 128 IBM eServer xSeries machines running Red Hat Linux. The system's benchmark test reported a capacity of 605 gigaflops, putting it among the top 500 highest-performing supercomputing systems in the world. The institute can now more effectively research how materials shatter, deform, flow or vaporize under impact.

Agencia Estatal de Administraciãn Tributaria (AEAT) is a public tax agency that is part of the Spanish Ministry of Finance. The agency is responsible for tax collection, tax management, tax auditing and customs management. AEAT runs an internal network with an intranet, but for security reasons could not access the Internet through its internal system. This was a major interference for the AEAT day-to-day business processes, for which it needs easy and reliable access to the Web to access official information related to the Central Administration of Spain. A new IBM zSeries and Linux solution has now been put in place, allowing AEAT to access the web whilst still maintaining its high security standards. By using IBM's zSeries and Linux to allow its employees easy access to the web, AEAT has increased its employee productivity, saved time and reduced costs.

The West Yorkshire Police, with the help of IBM, has now successfully implemented VIPER, or Video Identity Parade Electronically Recorded, an electronic video system that helps fight crime by simplifying the picking out of suspects by witnesses and victims. A traditional parade can cost £750 to £1,250 and take six to ten weeks to set up, depending on the availability of a lookalikes, witnesses, and the suspect.

Today, the new electronic parade can be displayed on any standard laptop computer, whilst the creation, editing, storage and retrieval of the electronic snapshots from the video database is done at minimal cost by using Linux clusters, built up from IBM-supplied industry standard hardware. The National VIPER Bureau currently undertakes an average of 66 parades a day, with a peak of 110 parades a day. Using the VIPER system, a video ID parade can be compiled within 2 hours at a cost of around £200.

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