Open source desktops manage shared office space ministries

Twenty desktop PCs running the Ubuntu Linux distribution are used to manage the services at a shared office building in the Hague for all Dutch ministries, since the beginning of this month.

The shared office building, called Rijkskantoor Beatrixpark, facilitates ministries working together on temporary projects, and offers the ministries extra office space when needed.

Ministry workers have to supply their own laptops or PCs. However, the service staff at the building is now using Ubuntu version 8.04. They will use the open source desktops to manage office space, keep a tab on reservation of meeting rooms, requests for catering and general maintenance.

According to Valentijn Sessink from the Dutch open source IT service provider Open Office, responsible for the installation, it took a few minor tweaks to make the proprietary service management application, based on Java, run on the open source operating system. “At first the vendor stated they would not support Linux. When we showed them how easy it was to make it work, they admitted having tested it on Ubuntu. But we were the first customer to ask for it on that platform.”

All Ubuntu PCs in the Beatrixpark are installed automatically from the network, explains Valentijn Sessink from the Dutch open source IT service provider OpenOffice. “We specify which applications are needed, and the PC takes care of the rest. This makes the install independent from the PC hardware configuration and that is a big advantage. And it will allow an easy upgrade to the next Ubuntu release.” source.

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