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Thursday, 5 December, 2002, 10:30 GMT
Samaritans go with Linux
Man at computer in Samaritan office
People can now contact Samaritans by e-mail
Emotional support charity Samaritans has chosen Linux to provide it with more secure and powerful computer systems.

Linux is an alternative operating system to Microsoft's Windows and has been adopted widely in public sector projects around the world largely because of its reliability and low cost.

For charities such as the Samaritans new technology can be a vital part of the service it offers but there is little money to spend on it.

"One of the great challenges for computing in any charity is to provide more for less," said Mike Hermon, Information Systems Manager at Samaritans.

Easy to use


There is a general perception that Linux is nerdy and requires a high degree of skill but we have designed an easy-to-use interface

Jo Uthas, Trustix
Currently 80 of the Samaritan's 203 branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland offer an e-mail service for people wanting to talk about problems in their lives.

It is vital that the e-mail system is reliable, safe and maintains total confidentiality.

The charity has chosen Linux vendor Trustix alongside IBM to provide network security.

"As the information technology team is fairly small the fact that the products are easy to get up and running and require little training made Trustix a very attractive proposition to Samaritans," said Mr Hermon.

Gaining ground

Jo Uthas, Product Manager for Trustix, said Linux was the ideal solution for charities and public sector organisations with less money to spend on computer software.

"One of the keys to cutting costs is the fact that we charge per server rather than per user as Microsoft does," he said.

There is work to be done to convince people that Linux systems are easy to use however.

"There is a general perception that Linux is nerdy and requires a high degree of skill but we have designed an easy-to-use interface," said Mr Uthas.

Linux is the fastest growing operating system in the world.

It is gradually eating into Microsoft, Novell and other's market share and now accounts for one quarter of operating systems sold worldwide.

See also:

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