Mercian Labels has passed a major milestone in its migration to more dependable open source software by declaring its first users to users to be “Microsoft free”. Supported by open source business software specialists Senokian Solutions, the project to migrate Mercian Labels entire operations to linux based systems has brought early wins for the company since it started in early 2007.

The company set an early target to migrate all its users except one by the end of 2007 to an exclusively open source software stack based on the Ubuntu Linux platform using Open Office and the Zimbra email and calendaring solution. The telephone system will run Asterisk, an open source PBX system.

In a carefully staged testing and rollout schedule, the Managing Director Dr Adrian Steele and IT Manager have become the first users to migrate fully to the new systems. Adrian said “After months of time and effort being invested in the new systems, its great to make that final step and close down our old unrelaible systems. We have seen improvements in reliability, speed and flexibility when using open source software, which is enabling us to develop better in house systems to serve our customers. Its also great to know that email viruses cannt crash our servers anymore! Ultimately we hope to be totally dependant on open source systems by the end of the year, being one of the earliest UK small businesses to make the move to Open Source.”

Jake Stride, Managing Director of Senokian Solutions said “Adrian and his colleagues are now at the stage where they are really starting to see the benefits open source gives them. From here on in it can only get better and we hope other people learn from Mercian Label’s experience and start to make the first steps to introducing open sourceinto their businesses. ”

Mercian Labels has been maintaining a detailed blog covering all the problems and successes involved in the migration at , which has been cited regularly in the blogosphere as a useful case study in businesses migrating to Linux systems.