Ubuntu In Our Governments


Trust in governments has been waning over the past few thousand years, and the Western world hasn't been spared. While there are oppressive governments such as the People's Republic which filter web content, it's the spotty record America has that stuns the most. All the news of PRISM and other spying programs, it is hard to tell which way is up anymore.

Transparency seems to be the only solution, but as long as governments refuse to use open-source software, transparency is just a talking point.

Munich had adopted Ubuntu, leading to an open governance approach and saving millions of Euro in the process.

If you look at the needs of the city, you start to question why all governments aren't making the switch. The requirements are by no means unique to Munich or industrialised countries:

  • Application duplicity
  • Compatibility and interoperability with other platforms
  • Hardware update support
  • Minimal manned oversight
  • Liberated from dubious confines of commercial software firms they're beholden

"The project saw Debian deployed in 2006. But a more predictable update cycle was required and, with a policy of tendering for new hardware suppliers every four years, the promise of ongoing support for a wider range of devices. So, in 2009, the city switched to Ubuntu. With the need to sustain political backing throughout the process, blogs and newsletters were used to keep stakeholders up-to-date, while explaining the change in platform to users and support staff. Forums were set up to enable stakeholders to voice their concerns and ask questions. Processes were established to manage user requirements, develop new LiMux releases and test them before roll-out to user workstations. The switch from proprietary software to open source has saved the city more than €10 million — a figure that accounts for both the hire of external companies to implement solutions and the internal man-hours the city has invested in management, training, and testing. By 2012, €6.8 million had been saved on Microsoft licensing alone. By August 2013, the cost of the entire project had reached €23 million, compared with an estimated €34 million just to upgrade to Windows 7 and new versions of Microsoft Office".


The city managed to save valuable taxpayer money by supporting the open philosophy of computing in their governance. Save money, gain votes, all while not affecting key operations. Ubuntu cannot, however, be seen as a panacea to the plague of secrecy among governments, but it certainly is a good start. An affordable and effective one.

What do you think? Was the adoption a good move before commerce forced them back into their pockets? Can this be rolled out in other nations? share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thank you for visiting Base64!