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CERN ditches Windows and embraces open source to save cash

CERN ditches Windows and embraces open source to save cash

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN

INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE OF BOFFINS CERN is to switch to Linux to save costs.

Last year, the company launched the ‘Microsoft Alternatives Project’ to examine ways that the company could work smarter by switching to Linux-based operating systems. Its initial goal was to “investigate the migration from commercial software products (Microsoft and others) to open-source solutions, so as to minimise CERN’s exposure to the risks of unsustainable commercial conditions.”

Also to ‘seek out new life and new civilisations, to bol….

Sorry, that’s Star Trek. Moving on then.

CERN appears to be one of the first major organisations switching to Linux as an alternative to switching to Windows 10 ahead of Windows 7 reaching end of life next January.

The company also refers to ‘licence fee increases’ as a reason for the change. CERN has traditionally been allowed to take Microsoft products at the ‘academic institution’ rate but was recently forced to change to a ‘by-the-seats’ model based on the number of users.

According to a ZDNet, the implementation of the scheme will begin this summer with a pilot of an open source mail service, initially for volunteers and the IT staff. This will then be rolled out across the complex later in the year.

The change is not completely alien to the boffin brigade – OpenStack is already widely in use and has only recently stopped developing its own ‘Scientific Linux’ distro with Fermilab, based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, after it became obvious that CentOS could fulfil the same functions out of the box.

At present, there’s no indication of what the replacement for Windows will be, or what existing distro (if any) it will be based on, nor when it will be rolled out, but there’s little doubt that CERN is setting the tone for the next six months, where we’re likely to see a lot more organisations voting with their feet over their future, post Windows 7. μ

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