public sector major driver open source desktop

Spain’s public administrations are an important driver for the advance of open source software on desktop computers. That is one of the conclusions of a desktop migration guide published by the IT department of the city of Zaragoza.

Many Spanish public administrations have already adopted a free and open source desktop system, the report notes, listing implementations done by the administrations of Extremadura, Andalucía, Castilla-La Mancha, Cataluña, Zaragoza, Valenciana and Madrid. Most of the larger city administrations are interested in this type of software, the IT department writes, based on research by Cenatic, the national resource centre for open source.

The IT department published its “Free Software Desktop Migration Guide” on 22 February. “The aim of this guide is to provide an overview of information and processes needed to successfully migrate desktop environments to free software tools.”

The guide describes all the steps undertaken by the city of Zaragoza to introduce open source on the desktop, including the financial requirements, legal aspects and technical preparations. The guide also includes a SWOT analysis, isolating for instance the reuse of software as a strength, participation as an opportunity and gaps in training as a weakness, software patents as a threat.

The IT department concludes that migrating to an open source desktop is a complex but achievable tasks. It’s success is based on three pillars, writes the IT department. The first, ‘planning & process management’ is needed to take into account the many factors that influence the process. Second, the administration must realise that the project will not immediately result in savings. “The migration phase consumes significant amounts of resources financial and human. Therefore, the potential cost savings, as a rule generally applies only to medium or long term.” And third is that the project needs support of management. “Resistance to change is strong. Open source policies need determined back-up.”

This article was originally published by Open Source Observatory & Repository Europe.

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