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Government Software Linux News

Open Source Cities Followup — Munich Yea, Vienna Nay 162

Posted by kdawson
from the positively-dickensian dept.
We're catching up on two stories of municipal engagement with open source software: Munich (which decided to go OS in 2003) and Vienna (2005). E5Rebel brings us news that Munich has stayed the course. But bkingaut informs that Vienna has decided to migrate back to Windows (Google translation) — to Vista no less. The migration of 720 computers used in kindergartens will cost the city about €8M. The given reason for all this is a language test application for the kids that only works with MS IE and won't be made compatible (by the producer) with Firefox until 2009.
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Open Source Cities Followup — Munich Yea, Vienna Nay

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  • Stupid developers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Swizec (978239) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @08:21AM (#23650047) Homepage
    Who in their right mind makes something work on a browser that doesn't work well, but neglects to do it for a browser that is easier to develop for?
  • by FictionPimp (712802) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @08:24AM (#23650071) Homepage
    Seems to me it would be easier and cheaper to find test software that did not require IE.

    OR even better, they could write some and help other schools going open source.
  • by mrbluze (1034940) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @08:28AM (#23650105) Journal

    Who in their right mind makes something work on a browser that doesn't work well, but neglects to do it for a browser that is easier to develop for?
    Obviously someone who is friends with the people who give out contracts for kindergartens in Vienna.
  • Re:Compatability? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by liquidpele (663430) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @08:34AM (#23650175) Journal
    The vendors should have? Ha. My experience with school vendors is that they make the cheapest, crappiest product on the planet, and then spend a lot of money on marketing and "research" that shows their product helps kids learn, and then sell it to schools at crazy prices (sometimes giving kickbacks along the way).

    This is pretty sad, because the school system should have told them "Make it work with Mozilla and we'll talk, until then take a hike". I'm pretty sure they would have sped up development quite a bit to get the sale (although it would probably have been just as crappy).
  • by mrbluze (1034940) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @08:35AM (#23650179) Journal

    If the way things work in Croatia is any clue, money has Changed Hands in order for things to resolve this way.
    Corruption is common, but IMHO incompetence is far more prevalent.
  • by arivanov (12034) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @08:59AM (#23650405) Homepage
    Really?

    The questions are usually copyrighted so you need someone to write a new set of questions, get them certified by the education department, get the app written, the app certified by the education department and so on. All this is subject to junkets, sometimes money changing hands, lobbying and so on.

    Educational and testing software is an area which is nearly impossible for a newcomer to break in. Competition is virtually inexistent, quality is crap and there is bugger all that can be done about it.
  • by Arthur B. (806360) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @09:00AM (#23650411)
    Someone who relies on a windows plugin probably. I bet the web site is really an ActiveX application.
  • Re:Compatability? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @09:12AM (#23650603)
    Especially for â8M. They spent â8M because of ONE application that only worked in IE for Kindergarteners? If I was that company I would have said, sure "We can make it work for linux, it'll only cost â4M, look at that savings".

    If I was that government I would have paid some High School students to write a website for a passing grade in one of their classes.
  • by mhall119 (1035984) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @09:29AM (#23650891) Homepage Journal
    Or pay some other developers to make an open-source version of the software.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @09:34AM (#23650967) Homepage Journal
    Simple answer.
    IE has a market share of over 50%.
    If you develop for the web you MUST develop for IE. It doesn't matter that Firefox is easier to develop for because it is still extra work.
    If you are going sell anything that works on a web browser IE support is mandatory.
    I along with a lot of other people feel that Firefox is also mandatory for anything you put on the Internet. If you are building a site you don't want lock out big percentage of potental users. I do tend to write for Firefox and then port to IE but IE support is without a doubt mandatory.

    Microsoft has it right. Developers, Developers, Developers! People don't use an OS they use applications. I love Linux but I have to keep a Windows for work and for FSX.

    If the programs you use don't run on an OS that OS is useless to you.

  • Re:so... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @09:52AM (#23651297) Homepage Journal
    Or license a Windows Terminal Server with just as many concurrent CALs as they need for this one temporarily-incompatible app?

    Price that out vs. converting all 720 physical computers to nonfree software from the OS up, and that for one app that will be compatible in a year.
  • by gnasher719 (869701) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @09:55AM (#23651381)

    The migration of the 720 computers will only cost 105,000 euros. Sorry about that. Couldn't edit it anymore
    Someone seems to be getting their sums wrong here. At only about 140 euros per computer, this is most likely the cost for Vista licenses. It doesn't count time for installation, training, downtime, and all the other mess that comes with changing from a stable operating system to a new, unproven platform. But apparently these costs can only be counted when switching away from Windows, not when switching to Windows.
  • by mweather (1089505) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @10:07AM (#23651621)
    "IE has a market share of over 50%." I can write a web app that works on Firefox 1, 2 and 3 with the same exact code. Can you do that with IE 5,6 and 7? No. So stop pretending that IE in all it's incarnations is the same browser. No single version of IE has more than 30% market share, which makes it about equal with Firefox.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @10:23AM (#23651925)
    I am dumbfounded that they are spending 8M Euro to make a switch primarily for ONE application. If you have that money to spend, tell the bloody web app vendor to fix their broken app or you will move to a competitor. Heck, I bet for substantially less than 8M you could sponsor an open-source project to CREATE A NEW APP FROM SCRATCH.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @10:38AM (#23652239) Homepage Journal
    You don't get it.
    You are correct that IE 5,6, and 7 are different but that doesn't matter.
    If it works in IE 5 it will probably work in IE 6. IE 7 was a little harder to deal with which is why a lot of companies held off on IE 7. But NONE of that matters. You must support the terrible mess that is IE. There really isn't a choice for most web developers. Heck I wish that we could all just stick with W3C code but that isn't an option in this world.
    Firefox's market share is around 30% in Europe. But here is the key question. What market share does windows have? How many Firefox users also have IE so they can use it when they have no other choice?
    I love Firefox. It is a better browser than IE. It is easier to code for than IE.
    BUT the sad truth is that just doesn't matter.
  • by Jellybob (597204) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @11:22AM (#23653113) Journal
    The thing that I've found in the past is that it's far easier to develop for Firefox first, and then make the changes required for Internet Explorer.

    Going that way, it takes about a day to get things working right in IE once things are working. Going the other way you could easily drop a week, bouncing back and forth between the two browsers.
  • Re:Compatability? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @12:17PM (#23654139)
    How exactly does it cost more than ten thousand dollars per computer to switch back to Windows?
  • Re:so... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @01:33PM (#23655557) Homepage

    When I installed IES4Linux, I didn't have to agree to any EULA at all.
    Well, it IS covered by a EULA. I doubt any judge will care how you got around it, no matter what creative excuse from "a script did it" to "my neighbourhood kid must have agreed to it" you use. Of course, noone is going to bother YOU on your home PC, but if you rolled this out on an official network they might. Also I think the ies4linux are doing a very creative reading of the EULA [microsoft.com], ignoring the next two sentences:

    "General. The OS Components are provided to you by Microsoft to update, supplement, or replace existing functionality of the applicable OS Product."

    I doubt installing it on Linux is allowed, since it's pretty clear that it's licensed to you for use with the "applicable OS product" = Windows.
  • by dave87656 (1179347) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:13AM (#23664097)

    I am dumbfounded that they are spending 8M Euro to make a switch primarily for ONE application. If you have that money to spend, tell the bloody web app vendor to fix their broken app or you will move to a competitor. Heck, I bet for substantially less than 8M you could sponsor an open-source project to CREATE A NEW APP FROM SCRATCH.
    That's just the front they're using. Who's going to argue against the children? Whenever they use the "kids" as the reason, I suspect corruption.
  • by dave87656 (1179347) on Thursday June 05, 2008 @01:24AM (#23664173)

    Yes Firefox is free but rolling it out to hundreds of PCs in a company isn't.
    Click to install. Other than the time it takes to install it (3 minutes or so), where's the cost?

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