Austin, TX Considers Open Source For Desktops

Under normal circumstances, what software a government office chooses to run on its desktops wonit make the news, thatis because almost invariably that software comes from Microsoft, and thereis nothing newsworthy about that. Lately, however, more and more governments around the world are deciding to scale back the use of, or completely eliminate Microsoft from its desktops, opting for Open Source alternatives instead.

Now, it seems that the city of Austin, Texas may be joining the ranks of the Microsoft defectors: An eWeek News article says that the government of Austin is considering moving or scaling back the use of Microsoft products in a effort to save money. From the article, Austin Considers Move to Linux Desktop:

The tech hot spot of Austin, Texas, is considering removing Microsoft Corp. software from some of its computers and replacing it with open-source software in what could be another setback for the technology giantis lucrative government business.

The city could wind up with Linux-based open-source systems for some functions on its 5,200 desktops and Microsoft for others, said Pete Collins, the cityis acting chief information officer.

"Itis going to be a hybrid solution," Collins said.

Collins cautioned, however, that a decision to drop or scale back on products from the worldis largest software company could be several months away.

Some functions, such as the city councilis agenda-management system, only run on MS Office. Also, Austinis licensing agreement to use Microsoft runs until the end of next year, and Collins said he wouldnit stop using the software while the city is still paying for it.

Austin is considering reducing its use of Microsoft to save money. The city is paying more than $3 million under a licensing agreement signed two years ago and faces a $30 million budget shortfall, Collins said.

The article goes to mention that the city has been testing alternatives to the Microsoft Office environment and is now looking to expand the test. Read the full account at eWeek News.