Alvesta kommun (Alvesta municipality), Sweden, has taken the decision to change from lease of IT equipment (laptops etc) to own themself.

This was decided by kommunfullmäktige (local government council) at the meeting 2019-02-26. See protocol, clause KS § 53, page 13, "Tilläggsbudget för investeringar av datorer i stället för leasing". The background is to get a better control of IT costs and also to become more cost effective. To achieve this they change model so IT department owns IT equipment instead of lease. Also the kallelse (notice to attend) to the meeting 19 March 2019 have more details of this topic.  

The newspaper Smålandsposten reported about this in the article 11 March 2019; "Kommunen slutar leasa datorer – blir billigare att köpa", by Oscar Ivarsson. When Alvesta lease, the computers are replaced exactly every third year, tells Pär Svensson. When they own themself, the article states, it gives a possibility to be more flexible and wait 4-4.5 years when possible. Of course still to keep a refresh rate that keeps the equipment modern enough. 

It is interesting to read Alvesta kommun conclusion they save money by owning and having control themself! To me, it is somewhat opposite a trend to rely more on external partners. It is still to see if this was correct decision or not. 

Extending the average life span for the computers is also good for environment, sustainability. I believe, even if a new equipment is more energy efficient, I do not believe technical development goes so fast that it would justify to keep three years refresh rate for sustainability reasons. With my own experience of changing computer at work, I know also for me with decent computer knowledge, that I will loose many hours, 1-3 working days in total is not unlikely, to get fully up and running at each replacement. 

Finally, I can't stop thinking of how much more it might be possible to extend the life time if the computers had been running on a Linux distribution instead of Windows. It is my assumption they generally use Windows today, although it is not stated in the reference material. I understand this is far from becoming a reality in any near. Some of Windows software have a good compatible replacement available in Linux, but will as always require learning.  But a bigger obstacle, I believe, is that they likely use more specific or custom developed software, developed for Windows only.

Can sustainability become a driver for a more widly spread usage of computers running on Linux?

Henrik Hemrin

15 March 2019

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