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Birmingham trials Linux in 40 libraries

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Birmingham trials Linux in 40 libraries

 

by Will Hadfield

Tuesday 15 November 2005

 

Birmingham City Council is converting the PCs used in its 40 libraries to Linux as part of a year-long trial of the open source operating system.

 

The council - the UK's largest - has commissioned an independent auditor to assess whether the trial demonstrates that using Linux and open source software represents better value than using Microsoft alternatives.

 

Birmingham is trialling Linux on more than 500 PCs as part of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's E-Innovations project to test open source in the public sector.

 

The PCs will be equipped with the Gnome presentation layer of the Linux operating system, the Openoffice productivity suite and Mozilla's Firefox browser.

 

The local authority has kept IBM's Lotus Notes 6.5 on the 500-plus desktops because library staff need to remain within the council-wide e-mail system.

 

Les Timms, Birmingham City Council's IT manager with responsibility for the open source trial, said, "The next phase of the project is to do a detailed study on the cost base, the long-term viability and how it integrates with our existing structure and security."

 

The IT department chose Linux using the Gnome presentation layer after inviting both library staff and members of the public to try desktops using different operating systems and presentation layers.

 

Timms said, "We had Mac, Microsoft Windows and best-of-breed open source configurations, including KDE and Gnome. We had 300 people using the PCs. The one they preferred was Gnome."

 

The Linux trial will run until the end of March 2006.

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Gnome?!?

 

:jester:

 

Well, at least it's linux! :lol:

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I think there is a good reason why the guys chose GNome. Gnome is cleaner, more straightforward for business usage. KDE might overwhelm some users with the number of options it has. I do like KDE, don't get me wrong, but sometimes ... less is more. Almost every business desktop uses Gnome and not KDE as default choice (Novell, Ubuntu, Red Hat, Vidalinux, ...). Not surprising, imho. :)

 

Now I am interested in which distro they chose.

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Gnome?!?

 

:jester:

 

Well, at least it's linux! :lol:

 

It is what the people preffered, each to their own!

 

Timms said, "We had Mac, Microsoft Windows and best-of-breed open source configurations, including KDE and Gnome. We had 300 people using the PCs. The one they preferred was Gnome."

 

 

It's good to see this happening. There was some coverage over the office of Deputy PM regards to investing research into open source a while back. Good to see that this is something they are serious about, and I do hope it goes well. The less the UK government is dependent on Microsoft, the more likely it will introduce measures to loosen Microsofts grip on the software market.

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i guess it's too late to stop the ministry of defence sticking microsoft o/s on the new fleet of warships they are having built, i wouldn't mind, but in control of the critical "command and control" dept !!!!

i can just imagine the scenario,....................................

 

.... incoming enemy aircraft detected captain,...... defence systems locked on targets................fire!........... sorry sir system lock up, blue screen ! we need to reboot !!!!!!!!!!!!............ BOOM !!!

GAME OVER!

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This is not flame bait, but a striped down install of KDE has a much closer look and feel to Windows, which would help to accurately compare the Open source implementation to the windows implementation.

 

I don't have anything against Gnome, because I originally learned to use Linux using it and I know the users said they prefered gnome, but a scaled down version of KDE, with Lotus notes, firefox (opera is my real preferense, but I'll stick to the overly hype firefox) and a music player could win more converts in my opinion.

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This is not flame bait, but a striped down install of KDE has a much closer look and feel to Windows, which would help to accurately compare the Open source implementation to the windows implementation.

 

I don't have anything against Gnome, because I originally learned to use Linux using it and I know the users said they prefered gnome, but a scaled down version of KDE, with Lotus notes, firefox (opera is my real preferense, but I'll stick to the overly hype firefox) and a music player could win more converts in my opinion.

 

That is your opinion, about a choice that is right for you, however as the following states, that a group of 300 people indicated an overall preference for gnome, the majority of which probably never heard of linux up until now. But at the end of the day, it's not about what DE is better for converting people, or accommodating noobs, its really about giving the users a set of tools to get the job done. Like I say there's nothing wrong with KDE, yes its just as good, it just came down to preference.

 

The IT department chose Linux using the Gnome presentation layer after inviting both library staff and members of the public to try desktops using different operating systems and presentation layers.

 

Timms said, "We had Mac, Microsoft Windows and best-of-breed open source configurations, including KDE and Gnome. We had 300 people using the PCs. The one they preferred was Gnome."

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Well it probably depends what was installed and what the PC's were used for ...

Gnome seems more kiosk like naturally (IMHO) but if they had it setup with an icon on the desktop for each task instead of a menu item they may have chosen that simply for simplicity.

Libraries probably get a older clientelle than many places so the chance is many of the people were not Windows indoctrinated ...

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