Open Source Migration/Software Management

This learning module support organisation in implementing and the requirements and constraints analysis of software distribution systems.

Learning Tasks edit

  • Look at the table below showing criteria to assess Open Source software solution. Adapt the criteria to your needs and perform an assessment with those criteria for a software category for which you know more than one software alternatives.
  • Perform at first a decision/selection for a software without any detailed analysis and compare your results after the analysis and an ranking of your choices. What is the benefit of an criteria based decision making[1] e.g. based on cost, quality and coverage of pre-defined requirements? How can you create a ranking if you have multiple criteria for your decision making process resp. selection of the Open Source software?

Client management edit

Clarification of terms edit

The term Client Management (also desktop management, desktop managed services, etc.) refers to a methodical approach to the centralized management and control of the decentralized IT infrastructure at the workplace. Client management can be broken down into the following requirements:

  • Desktop Management.

Administrators can install, configure, inventory software, and up and play disk images from a central location.

  • Personality Management

Can be used to migrate documents and settings version-independently from Windows-based systems to other Windows-based systems.

  • Software Management

Creation and distribution of MSI packages. Pre-built software packages can be easily distributed to individual systems.

  • Data Management

Data Management describes how users can access and share data.

  • Patch Management

Updates are displayed and executed automatically.

  • Handheld Management

Enables the administration of handhelds.

  • Asset Management

Software and hardware inventory.

  • Log Management

Centralized management of log files.

Selection of open source client management software edit

The purpose of this paragraph is to provide guidance on the selection for individual use of open source client management software. Thus, the open source software solution must be able to roll out client operating systems via ISO files using PXE, create roaming profiles, distribute software packages, manage file and folder shares and permissions, and inventory hardware as well as software. In addition, it would be advantageous if group policies, as well as log data centrally administrable and the possibility of patch management would be given. Another requirement for the software is the independence of the operating system. The following table shows the listing of the basic requirements to the open source software to be examined. This table will be at the beginning of each description to facilitate the overview.

Requirements Met Comment
OpenSource (License)
Available in local language (e.g. Dutch)
Desktop Management
Software Management
Data Management
Asset Management
Patch Management
Log Management

Open PC Server Integration (OPSI) edit

OPSI (Open PC Server Integration) is an open source client management system from UIB GmbH in Mainz, which is based on Linux servers and is used to manage Windows and Linux clients. However, some modules are not open source and only become freely available when the cost price is covered by a refinancing system or when they are purchased.

Requirement table edit
Requirements ! Met ! Comment
OpenSource (License) fulfilled AGPL Version 3
German language fulfilled
Desktop Management fulfilled
Software Management fulfilled
Data Management not fulfilled
Asset Management fulfilled License Management not yet freely available
Patch Management fulfilled
Log Management fulfilled
Features edit

OPSI includes the following core features:

  • Automatic software distribution on PCs (OPSI client agent)
  • Automatic PC operating system installation using the OPSI server
  • Hardware and software inventory
  • Support for multiple sites

Information about the extensions available through the cofinancing project can be found on the uib website.

Free extensions are:

  • Software on Demand (Kiosk-Mode)
  • Hierarchical group management (Treeview)
  • Dynamic depot selection
  • User Profile Management
  • Installation on shutdown
Community edit

The UIB GmbH in Mainz offers the possibility of support and maintenance contracts. There are also in-house workshops for administrators and users. The prices as well as the offered products can be seen at The OPSI documentation is very detailed, which indicates that you can solve problems yourself with relatively little effort. In addition, there is an active community that can provide quick answers to questions.

For universities and colleges there is the community "OPSI4Institutes", which can help with many finished and constantly current products. In addition, this is a very active and nice community, which is always happy to help.

Conclusion edit

OPSI is a complete open source client management system that meets almost all requirements. It has an active community and the possibility of professional support. In addition, there is the possibility of further development with OPSI.


  • Easy and efficient management of multiple clients.


  • Without extension and with many clients quite tough.

References edit

  1. Onut, S., & Efendigil, T. (2010). A theorical model design for ERP software selection process under the constraints of cost and quality: A fuzzy approach. Journal of Intelligent & Fuzzy Systems, 21(6), 365-378.