[NetBehaviour] Criticism mounts over Birmingham's Linux project.

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Tue Nov 21 10:17:55 CET 2006

Criticism mounts over Birmingham's Linux project.

Criticism is mounting over the termination of a large-scale Linux 
project in Birmingham, England.

By  Richard Thurston, ZDNet UK.

Birmingham City Council pulled the plug on its 535,000 pounds 
open-source pilot after its analysis concluded that it was cheaper to 
upgrade to a Microsoft-based platform than proceed with open source.

The council planned to roll out Linux software and applications on 1,500 
desktops in libraries across the city, but in the end went no further 
than a 200-desktop project. Several industry watchers have voiced their 
concerns about the project, particularly around the number of PCs rolled 
out. Birmingham's expenditure averaged over 2,500 pounds per PC.

"That's ridiculous," said Eddie Bleasdale, the owner of open-source 
consultancy NetProject and an early participant in the project. "It's an 
unbelievable cock-up... They decided to do it all themselves, without 
expertise in the area," he added, saying that a lack of skills in open 
source and secure desktops would undoubtedly have raised costs.

Birmingham pulled the plug on the Linux trial after it found that an 
upgrade to Windows XP would have been 100,000 pounds cheaper than 
deploying a Linux desktop.

Mark Taylor, whose Open Source Consortium also exited the project in the 
early stages, said: "I have no idea how anyone could spend half a 
million pounds on 200 desktops, running free software".



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