According to Rolf Schuster, a diplomat at the German Embassy in Madrid and the former head of IT at the German Foreign Ministry, Open Source desktops are cheaper to maintain by far than proprietary equivalents. "The Foreign Ministry is running desktops in many far away and some very difficult locations. Yet we invest only one thousand euro per desktop per year. That is far lower than other ministries, that on average invest more than 3000 euro per desktop per year," he said.
The embassies began converting their back-end systems to Open Source in 2001. The current changeover covers 11,000 desktops in 230 embassies world-wide.