The Met Office is using a Linux software management package to improve communication with university research departments and manage and deploy software and antivirus updates.
The government weather agency plans to complete installation of Novell's Ximian Red Carpet Enterprise product in the next three months.
The roll-out will mean that more than 400 of Met Office power users - a third of its staff - can work more effectively when collaborating with universities and third-party organisations on climate research, university projects and civil aviation forecasts.
The Met Office said the system would reduce costs and help it collaborate with 'Linux-focused' research departments.
Ximian Red Carpet Enterprise will also help the agency reduce time previously taken with manual administration and deployment of antivirus software updates, system patches and in-house software.
The Met Office decided to use the technology after moving its head office from Bracknell to Exeter.
"At the end of last year we relocated our headquarters and decided to update our IT system," said John MacGrillen, IT systems engineer at The Met Office.
"A big motivation is that academia runs on Linux or Unix and, without Linux, collaboration would have been difficult for us."
The Met Office is also using Ximian Connector, which allows Linux users to collaborate with co-workers using Microsoft Exchange.
MacGrillen said that Linux connectors have allowed the firm to link up six mail servers in the organisation and more effectively manage resources and administer new policies.
"We have also been able to carry across most of the utilities that we developed in-house using HP onto Linux," he added.
A number of other Met Office users are using Red Hat Linux 9 applications and desktops to carry out work and research.
The Met Office will supply its 400 Linux users with Microsoft Office through a Citrix thin client environment.
But the agency said that it was considering a further roll-out of Linux for other users and deploying its Oracle database onto a Linux platform.
"It's possible that in the future the role of Linux will increase in the back-end server and it could encroach on the desktop," said MacGrillen.
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