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Australian Agency Picks Sun Desktop Over Microsoft

An Australian city has signed a contract to replace Microsoft's Windows-desktop system on several thousand PCs with Sun Microsystems's products, Sun officials said Friday.

The deal with New South Wales, located just outside of Sydney, has the city's Roads and Traffic Authority switching to Sun's StarOffice productivity suite from Microsoft Office. In addition, the deal has the government agency switching to open-source Linux from the Windows operating system and to Sun's Java-based e-mail and calendaring software.

Sun has started the migration of 1,500 desktop users in 120 offices, which is expected to be completed by early November, a spokeswoman said. Under the pact, a total of 3,000 users will switch to Sun desktops by the end of the year.

Sun declined to say how many desktop users it has moved from Microsoft's system to its own this year. But the company in a statement crowed that the latest deal was a "landmark decision" by the Australian government to move from proprietary Windows to an "open, secure and cost effective IT infrastructure." Indeed, the RTA said it expects to reduce total cost of ownership by up to 20 percent, or $1.5 million a year.

Sun's claims, however, met with some skepticism.

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