CERN is best known for pushing the boundaries of science and understanding, but the famed research outfit’s next major experiment will be with open-source software.

The cost of various commercial software licenses has increased 10x

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, better known as CERN, and also known as home of the Large Hadron Collider, has announced plans to migrate away from Microsoft products and on to open-source solutions where possible.

Why? Increases in Microsoft license fees.

Microsoft recently revoked the organisations status as an academic institution, instead pricing access to its services on users. This bumps the cost of various software licenses 10x, which is just too much for CERN’s budget.

‘Microsoft Alternatives Project’

Commercial software fees are not the only reason why the organisation is now evaluating open-source software. The ‘Microsoft Alternatives project’, codename MAlt, also looks to help “take back control”.

“MAlt’s objective is to put us back in control using open software. It is now time to present more widely this project and to explain how it will shape our computing environment,” CERN’s Emmanuel Ormancey explains in a blog post.

“The objective is to put us back in control using open software”

Emmanuel Ormancey

CERN (like many scientific and research institutions) already make use of open-source software and Linux in various areas so they’re not exactly dabbling with the unknown.

The first “major changes” will be replacement mail service for the CERN IT department, and moving some ‘Skype for Business clients’ over to a ‘softphone telephony pilot’.

For an organisation as big and as important as CERN planned migrations will require time, patience and gradual testing.

But they seem buoyant on the potential, stating:

“While the Microsoft Alternatives project is ambitious, it’s also a unique opportunity for CERN to demonstrate that building core services can be done without vendor and data lock-in, that the next generation of services can be tailored to the community’s needs and finally that CERN can inspire its partners by collaborating around a new range of products.”

CERN-tifiably awesome news.

cern Linux Microsoft open source