Thousands of free Linux CDs are to be distributed to citizens of a German city in spring of next year.

Munich City Council plan to make Ubuntu discs available as a ‘replacement for Windows XP’ – Microsoft’s 11-year old operating system for which support officially ends in April of next year.

The proactive effort is been billed as an attempt to ‘prevent electronic waste’ from discarded computers that, whilst still serviceable with an alternative OS, would fail to meet the requirements of Windows 7 or Windows 8.

It’s estimated that some 20 million German PC users are still running Windows XP.

Lubuntu – Lightweight & Familiar

Lubuntu 12.04 PPC on an iBook G4
Lubuntu Loves Low-End Hardware

The council’s proposal1, which has already been tentatively accepted, will see 2000 Lubuntu CDs handed out at special events later this year.

These events will seek to educate those using Windows XP as to their options once official support ends, and highlight a ‘proven and reliable’ free, Linux-based solution for those who don’t fancy the expense of upgrading their machines.

Ubuntu-spin Lubuntu has been chosen as the recommended choice for two prime reasons:

Firstly, the layout of the Lubuntu desktop is considered similar to that of Windows XP. Similar enough for officials to conclude that ‘special computer skills [will not be necessary]’

Secondly, the hardware requirements are lower than those needed by other Linux distributions, such as regular, Unity-toting Ubuntu. Lubuntu is able to run comfortably on as little as 256MB of RAM.

‘No Stranger to Progressive IT’

Munich City Council are no stranger to progressive IT thinking. In 2003 the city instigated a (controversial) migration from Windows XP to a custom Linux distribution called Limux2 on over 13,000 local government PCs and laptops. The most recent release of Limux is based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

Next Steps

The next step for Munich City Council and its Mayor is to find a way of meeting the quoted €4000 cost of printing discs and literature through outside means, such as a running promotions with local businesses.

 1 Proposal (German, .pdf)
Limux on Wikipedia
Lubuntu Microsoft