Amsterdam Mulls the Linux Desktop

Dutch city governments are investigating switching from Windows and Microsoft Office to Linux and (DesktopLinux)

Amsterdam has decided to give the Linux desktop and OpenOffice a try. In late December, the city—previously a Microsoft-only operation—announced plans to spend 300,000 Euros (roughly $400,000) on testing Linux and other open-source software in its housing department and in the Zeeburg borough office in 2007.

According to the Dutch newspaper Trouw, Amsterdam, along with nine other Dutch cities, including Haarlem, Groningen, Eindhoven and Nijmegen joined together to sign a "manifesto for open software in government."

The cities had several reasons to make this move. These included the need to cut down on IT expenses, more independence from software vendors, and better data interoperability.

In a statement, Amsterdam spokesperson Marjolijn van Goethem said "Earlier this year, a study ordered by the [Amsterdam] City Council showed that an open software strategy leads to more independence from suppliers. In addition, the use of open software can lead to better exchange and storage of information, without unacceptable financial or logistical risks."

The test is scheduled to run during the first half of 2007, and, if successful, all of Amsterdams government may start using open-source software. The city, however, does not plan to abandon proprietary software completely.

"It is the expectation that a new contract with Microsoft will be smaller," added van Goethem. The contract comes up for renewal at the end of 2008.

The other Dutch cities have also chosen to implement Linux and open-source software.

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