Newham Borough Council has shelved its Linux desktop trials and will remain with Microsoft, citing the cost of upgrading its Microsoft Exchange Server software as a primary cause.
The East London council's trial was one of nine Office of Government Commerce supported local authority open source trials announced late last year.
But Newham's use of Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 foiled this plan, primarily because there was no available Linux desktop client to support the out-of-date collaboration server.
This meant that the council would have to upgrade, which it could not afford to do.
Gary Sussex, ICT service manager at Newham, said: "Exchange is getting old and the hardware is getting old. We know we've got to move but we have no funding to do so at present.
"We use Exchange very heavily for collaboration. We use the calendar a lot. There are 82 sites in the borough so it's the best way to get meetings together."
But Sussex explained that there were other factors making the move risky, including the cost of retraining and some reduction in functionality of OpenOffice versus Microsoft Office.
Newham IT director Richard Steel said that the council is now negotiating with Microsoft to find new ways of licensing to gain greater flexibility on behalf of the whole of local government.
"The aim is to develop a long-term strategy, which includes proposals for built-in technology refresh. In the meantime we will continue to benchmark cost of ownership," he said.
Gary Barnett, principal analyst at Ovum, commented: "The biggest issue in cost of ownership studies is cost of migration. [Newham] has hit on a classic example."
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