German Company Switches 10,000 machines to Ubuntu

German insurance company LVM has switched 10,000 laptop and desktop machines over to Ubuntu Linux with the help of Ubuntu creator Canonical (announcement). Some early reports on the net have hailed this as a victory for Linux, but it seems like the company was already a mixed shop of Windows and Linux machines with a long history of reliance on open source software.

According to this announcement on the Red Hat website, LVM had been using a customized Linux solution as early as 2000. It seems that they migrated from that to Red Hat in 2005. Presumably, the company have now migrated from Red Hat to Ubuntu. So, the story that is floating around the internet at the moment, of a massive company abandoning Windows in favor of Linux, seems to be the result of a misinterpretation. However, it is an example of Linux achieving success on the desktop.

The main applications that the system has to support are Open Office, Lotus Notes, Adobe Reader (presumably, that just means any PDF reader) and a custom insurance application that was written in Java. Ubuntu's good level of hardware support was also a point in its favor as this allows the company to be flexible in its hardware purchasing decisions. It seems that this is a company that has kept its options open from the start with sensible IT decisions that have avoided the dreaded lock-in.

The move to Ubuntu began in 2010 with 7000 machines in individual offices spread out over Germany. In first quarter of 2011, the remaining 3000 head office machines were converted. It seems that there is still some Windows in the organization, and some use of virtualization on Ubuntu desktops to support this.

It's a shame that some of the tech press have represented this as a mega-coup and mass abandonment of Windows. In many respects, a company that has been using Linux since 2000 and has now moved over to Ubuntu, is the more encouraging, although less dramatic, story.

Canonical's original announcement. Notice that it doesn't actually state that this is a migration from Windows to Ubuntu Linux.
Google Translate makes a good fist of translating LVM's announcement.

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