December 17, 2003

City of Austin pilot proves works - <b>Updated</b>

Author: Joe Barr

The City of Austin recently completed a group of pilot studies on the use of open source software in its day-to-day business. According to a message posted this morning on the Austin LUG mailing list by Scott Brown, the results are in, and as a result, as many as 80% of the city's desktops may be migrating from Microsoft Office to Editor: An update based on conversation with Pete Collins, CIO of the City of Austin, appears at the end of the story.

Brown noted in his email message that his department (Communications and Technology Management) will be the first to convert by uninstalling MS Office and putting in its place on about 300 desktops. The city has more than 5,000 desktops in total.

He also pointed out that not everyone can be converted yet because of one application (the City Council's Agenda Management System) that requires MS Office to run.

Brown also told the mailing list that "Training programs and help desk support is being put in place so it looks like OO will be there for the long-term."

Updated - CIO requests clarifications

Pete Collins, CIO of the City of Office, contacted NewsForge today after being beseiged with calls about this story. He wanted to clarify two inaccuracies in the story: that the pilots are complete and that 80% of the city's desktops can be migrated to

Collins says that the installation of on some 300 seats in his department (Communications Technology Management) does not mark the end of the pilot phase and the beginning of a migration. He told us "What's going on is that we've almost completed the first phase of our pilot. We will be looking at the information we've gathered over the months in different uses of Linux within the city."

He added "I've been using OpenOffice on my desktop for a couple of months, and it has worked quite well." He also said that another assessment would be done at the end of the second phase.

Collins stressed to us that "The intent is not to replace the entire city with OpenOffice at this moment in time." His major concern is that our story was misleading the public into thinking "the results are totally in, because they are not."

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