Munich's KDE distribution LiMux has been certified to meet the international usability standard ISO 9241. The use of KDE 3 as an "effective, efficient and satisfactory" working environment is named as a decisive factor for passing the certification. Read on for more details.
This is the first time that a Free Software desktop has been officially attested for usability by the German certification association TÜV. After an extensive two-year process of iterative testing, TÜV IT confirms that "Open Source has reached a very high level of professionalism" and concludes that KDE's Open Source nature made it very easy for Munich to ensure that the software is especially efficient and user friendly for their office workers.
LiMuX has been customized for the needs of Munich's city administration, which serves and governs 1,300,000 citizens. Further optimizations will be made in the future as part of product aftercare by using feedback from the growing number of users, the computer news website Heise reports (German). Until mid-2009, 11,000 desktop computers will migrate to KDE. Aim of the customization is not only a "comfortable feeling" for Munich's office workers, but also health protection and a reduction of retraining efforts.
TÜV is well-known in Germany for auditing the security of vehicles, machines, products and workspaces. For example, car owners are legally required to have their vehicles tested by TÜV every two years.
Mayor Christine Strobl agrees with TÜV's assessment from first-hand experience, saying that the KDE migration was personally far easier than expected, a German Linux magazine reports.
The ISO 9241 standard consists of 17 parts. It can be summarized as a detailed list of criteria for evaluating the usability of computer software for a given purpose and group of users. Professional usability tests always address a well-defined use case. KDE aims to make it easy to optimise software deployments for the intended use cases by providing advanced customization tools.