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City of Munich spreads the gospel of Linux with Lubuntu giveaway

Plans are afoot to have Munich's city government distribute 2,000 Lubuntu installation CDs to users with older Windows PCs, after Microsoft stops releasing security updates for Windows XP next year.

According to city council member Tobias Ruff's original proposal -- which was put forward in March -- the move will help avoid the creation of electronic waste, since many older computers currently running Windows XP will be unable to handle the demands of Windows 7 or 8.

[ MORE GOVERNMENT IT:Data center outage takes French state financial system offline for four days]

Ruff says that Lubuntu's low system requirements and general similarity to Windows should help keep older machines useful for a longer period of time. The Ubuntu-based spinoff requires just 256MB of RAM to operate, as opposed to 2GB for newer Windows versions.

It's estimated that the project will cost about $5,200, which the city could raise by holding promotional events in partnership with computing-related businesses in the area -- making the plan revenue-neutral, according to Ruff.

Munich has been making waves in the world of open source software for roughly a decade. The city's 2003 decision to switch from Windows XP to a customized Linux distribution called Limux is thought to have saved the government more than $12 million in license fees and hardware upgrades that were rendered unnecessary by Limux, according to a report from The H Online.

Other European governments have had less success moving to open source. Vienna, Amsterdam, Zaragosa, and the Swiss canton of Solothurn have all tried to embrace the use of free and open source software, but various factors -- both technological and non-technological -- have resulted in widespread setbacks and cancelations.

(Hat tip: Heise.de and OMGUbuntu.)

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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