The German National Railway made a second major move towards open source Linux software when it successfully moved 55,000 of it’s Lotus Notes users onto the Linux operating system. The Railway expects “continuous cost savings, greater flexibility and integration benefits” as they move the rest of their systems over. They already replaced 150 of their servers with Linux systems as of November of 2004.
Most people think the Munich deal is the biggest Open Source deal in place world wide, but the Munich deal is relatively small compared to German Railways (Munich is only 14,000 desktops as it stands now.) Both roll-outs are very significant however and show how Germany is one of the worlds leading countries in adopting Open Source and Linux. It is also unlikely that Germany will back the software patent directive any more (yay!), now that big chunks of their infrastructure is based on Linux they will not allow big companies to use spurious software patents to cause them problems. The simple maths here, is that Microsoft can make all the threats it likes about pulling out funding from these countries, but nothing they can offer would match the amount these governments will save in the long term by not being reliant on Microsoft. So the writing is on the wall. Governments are full of bean counters, and the numbers are not in Microsoft’s favour. IBM is behind both of these big roll-outs, and is to be congratulated for both. You can read more about this at Techworld, but you may need to register to see it.