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Finnish local government is leaning away from Windows and towards Linux, according to Helsingin Sanomat, the country's largest newspaper. The city of Turku, population around 200,000, has reacted to Microsoft's latest licensing changes by kicking off a study of Linux alternatives. And, according to the paper, other Finnish cities are watching developments with interest.

There are of course other reasons why Finland of all countries ought to be supporting the local boy made good, but in this case cash is the driver. Turku estimates its Windows costs are set to rise by €1 million, or by €2 million if hardware and training costs are included. Given the prodigious hardware requirements of Microsoft's latest generation of software, in many cases (particularly in cash-strapped areas like local government) the biggest part of the upgrade cost will be hardware.

If Turku does switch, it'll be moving 3-5,000 computers over to Linux and replacing Microsoft Office with OpenOffice. City director of computer operations Heikki Kunnas commented that he felt compatibility was no longer an issue for local government, and pointed to Finnish Customs' use of OpenOffice as evidence that switching away from Windows was feasible. ®

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