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Open Source Desktops Are Cheaper to Maintain

Open Source desktops are far cheaper to maintain than proprietary desktop configurations, says Rolf Schuster, a diplomat at the German Embassy in Madrid and the former head of IT at the Foreign Ministry.

Schuster was one of the participants in a discussion on Open Standards and interoperability that took place last week Tuesday during the Open Source World conference in the city of Malaga, Spain.

The Foreign Ministry is migrating all of its 11.000 desktops to GNU/Linux and other Open source applications. According to Schuster, this has drastically reduced maintenance costs in comparison with other ministries. “The Foreign Ministry is running desktops in many far away and some very difficult locations. Yet we spend only one thousand euro per desktop per year. That is far lower than other ministries, that on average spend more than 3000 euro per desktop per year.”

The ministry has so far migrated almost four thousand of its desktops to GNU/Linux and expects to complete the move by the summer of 2009, Schuster said. About half of all the 230 embassies and consulates have now been switched over. “It is not without problems. It took a while to find a developer in Japan to help us with some font issues we had in Open Office.”

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