IBM continues to win Linux deals in governmental agencies across Europe, on Thursday announcing six new deals from Belgium to Finland and Spain.
At a press conference in Berlin on Thursday, IBM executives announced the six new Linux customers, which include Brussels-based Union des Classes Moyennes (UCM), a government agency that calculates salaries for doctors and dentists; Finland-based Kela, one of the countrys major pension providers; the French Ministry of Education; the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, in Germany; Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria, a public tax agency for the Spanish Ministry of Finance; and the West Yorkshire Police force.
The growing adoption of Linux among European government agencies comes in spite of the legal tussle between the SCO Group and IBM and SCOs warnings to users that Linux is an unauthorized derivative of Unix.
It also follows a recent deal in which the Munich City Council in Germany decided to deploy the Linux open-source operating system and migrate its 14,000 desktop and notebook computers away from Windows products to Linux at a cost of $35 million over a number of years.
“We are seeing continued momentum around government agencies moving to Linux, confirming the overwhelming momentum behind the open-source operating system. Governments around the world are adopting Linux in record numbers to save costs, consolidate workloads, increase efficiency and integrate their infrastructure.
“Over the past twelve months IBM has seen open standards software like Linux move squarely into the mainstream for governments across Europe. Were now well past the tipping point, and todays new deals reinforce the wide-ranging benefits that open standards software brings to the public sector” Piero Corsini, IBMs vice president for the European public sector told reporters.
The deals will see Brussels-based UCM consolidate its workload onto a new single Linux-based IBM eServer to lower its total cost of ownership and to improve the reliability of its service. Finnish pension fund provider Kela will consolidate its servers, replacing old systems with two eServer zSeries systems running SuSE Linux.
For its part, the French Ministry of Education will implement a nationwide messaging, collaboration and e-learning solution based on IBM Lotus Notes and Domino and Red Hat Linux version 5. 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, while children can master computer skills, Corsini said.
The Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, in Freiburg, Germany, has now implemented an IBM High Performance Computing Linux Cluster, consisting of 128 IBM eServer xSeries machines running Red Hat Linux. The systems benchmark test reported a capacity of 605 gigaflops, and the institute can now more effectively research how materials shatter, deform, flow or vaporize under impact.
The Agencia Estatal de Administración Tributaria has put a new IBM zSeries and Linux solution in place that allows it to access the Web while maintaining high security standards. And the West Yorkshire Police has an electronic video system, known as the Video Identity Parade Electronically Recorded, that helps fight crime by simplifying the identification of suspects by witnesses and victims.
It is far quicker and costs less than traditional line-ups. The new electronic parade can be displayed on any standard laptop computer, while the creation, editing, storage and retrieval of the electronic snapshots from the video database is done at minimal cost by using Linux clusters, built from industry standard hardware.
Details on the software that these governmental agencies have replaced with Linux and IBM hardware were not immediately available. But these latest Linux moves come a year after the German government said it was moving to standardize on Linux and an open-source IT model at the federal, state and local levels. As part of this move, the government signed a non-exclusive contract with IBM that would facilitate moving its agencies to Linux and helping develop innovative IT solutions based on open standards. More than 500 agencies throughout the country have signed up for the service, Corsini said.
Todays moves also follow an agency-wide memo recently issued by the chief information officer of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) outlining the departments policy on acquiring, using and developing open-source software, including Linux. The formal DOD approval follows a January report that identified 115 open-source applications and more than 250 open-source projects already in process at the department.
In Beijing, a city government official this week also announced Beijings intent to increase its use of Linux for upcoming IT projects and follows the recent opening of Beijings new Linux Research Center, run in partnership with IBM, to help local companies improve Linux skills and develop applications that run on Linux.
“This weeks announcements are more evidence that Linux and an open approach to computing is a powerful alternative to proprietary systems. Worldwide, thousands of customers—including government agencies in France, Spain, UK, Australia, Mexico, the United States and Japan—have now embraced Linux,” Corsini concluded.