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Government Linux

Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft 579

alphadogg (971356) writes with news that the transition from Windows to GNU/Linux in Munich may be in danger The German city of Munich, long one of the open-source community's poster children for the institutional adoption of Linux, is close to performing a major about-face and returning to Microsoft products. Munich's deputy mayor, Josef Schmid, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that user complaints had prompted a reconsideration (Google translation to English) of the city's end-user software, which has been progressively converted from Microsoft to a custom Linux distribution — "LiMux" — in a process that dates back to 2003.
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Munich Reverses Course, May Ditch Linux For Microsoft

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  • by vivek7006 (585218) on Monday August 18, 2014 @05:57PM (#47699145) Homepage
    These Germans. Cant follow through on anything. Fascism, Nazism, linux ..... No wonder they got their asses whooped by Americans. USA ... USA ... USA ...
    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      These Germans. Cant follow through on anything. Fascism, Nazism, linux ..... No wonder they got their asses whooped by Americans. USA ... USA ... USA ...

      Because American's are following through on Linux?

      • by fwarren (579763)

        Damn straight!!! They are in my house.

      • by Trepidity (597)

        Maybe they prefer fascism? ;-)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by TheBilgeRat (1629569)


        Anecdote time: I have a sysadmin friend who manages a regionally successful food chains POS machines. When trying to upgrade the system he recently pushed to adopt a SQL database and a proper web interface for it, all running Linux (They were/are just dumping data into excel spreadsheets). The managements response? "Why would we want to run that communist software?"

    • by bobbied (2522392) on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:40PM (#47699471)

      These Germans. Cant follow through on anything. Fascism, Nazism, linux ..... No wonder they got their asses whooped by Americans. USA ... USA ... USA ...

      Yea, they are the wurst...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:03PM (#47699187)

    Their course only became part of city politics. There are people not wanting linux, but the city council still stands behind linux. The news is only that one of the people against linux started a study regarding linux effiency.

  • All that money... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lisias (447563) on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:05PM (#47699203) Homepage Journal

    Yep. And then all that money that would be used to pay salaries that would be used on expenses locally, making the local economy work, will be redirected to Bill Gate's pockets.

    I remember when Munchen waived Windows, in 2004. This was noticed a lot on Open Source news, as Quilombo Digital and BR-Linux in Brazil.

    I did my share of criticize - Star Office was not ready at that time for the task, and a lot of documents were locked down in a proprietary format that would be a nightmare to convert from and back to be shared. As it's nowadays, by the way.

    And things are gonna be worse.

    When in a few years, when all our documents will be locked in a proprietary cloud (that anyone with the right influence will have access) or stored locally in a format that you must pay to read, remember 2004.

    • by JerryLove (1158461) on Tuesday August 19, 2014 @07:30AM (#47702321)

      Yep. And then all that money that would be used to pay salaries that would be used on expenses locally, making the local economy work, will be redirected to Bill Gate's pockets.

      Who in turn gave the vast bulk of his money to end disease, educate children, feed the world, etc.

      I can live with that.

      Considering Germany is a net exporter: I'm not sure "keeping the money local" is actually a need.

      When in a few years, when all our documents will be locked in a proprietary cloud (that anyone with the right influence will have access) or stored locally in a format that you must pay to read, remember 2004.

      MS uses XML to save documents. Put them wherever you like.

      Use of cloud storage is hardly unique to MS. Want me to start citing Linux distros doing it?

  • by mcl630 (1839996) on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:06PM (#47699207)

    The actual source article says they are *considering* going back to Microsoft, while the title and summary here imply its a foregone conclusion.

    • by Kjella (173770) on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:27PM (#47699387) Homepage

      Well when the First Mayor is making statements like "Linux is limping after Microsoft" and the Second Mayor says the "employees are suffering [under Linux]" then I have a fairly good bet on how the "independent" committee to review their OS policy is going to turn out. And maybe finally we can stop flogging this dead horse, because I'm tired of hearing about Munich as the beacon of light that will usher in a new era of Linux on the desktop. It's been rather obvious to all but zealots that they weren't convincing anyone else to make the switch.

      • Parliament on the other hand still appears to be solidly pro-Linux.

        We should note the types of complaints: on the one had there are the usual complaints ("it's broken"). These would be the same in an MS Office world. Why? Because most of government office work is based on standardized templates which are custom implementations. These would have to be retrofitted to MS Office in a switch back. There's little reason to assume that they would become any better in that case.

        On the other hand, there are compl

    • by bobbied (2522392) on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:48PM (#47699547)
      You are correct. This is a political move being driven by the Deputy Mayor of Munich. One can only assume that Microsoft is funding his rise to power (and promising to move their German HQ to Munich) for a reason. ($15.6 Million reasons to be exact.)
  • Maybe not (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:07PM (#47699219)

    The rest of the council disagrees [heise.de] (google translate [google.com])with the second mayor.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CarbonShell (1313583)

      For those that do not know the political parties in Germany, the CSU is basically the Republicans, SPD are the Democrats & Grünen are the Greens (though more powerful in Germany).
      And if they all agree on something (which is like nearly never), then you can pretty much take it as true. Through in the FDP (market liberals) and Pirates (popular party) and that Mayors comments are pretty much mute.

      Also, I wonder what the Mayor's technical knowledge is of the whole LiMux actually is. When my mom complai

  • by Ynot_82 (1023749) on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:07PM (#47699221)

    From arstechnica
    http://arstechnica.com/busines... [arstechnica.com]

    Microsoft announced last year that it was moving its German headquarters to Munich. This move is planned to take place in 2016. While Reiter was involved in the deal that precipitated the move and describes himself as a "Microsoft fan," he says the criticism of LiMux is unrelated.

    Limux is a project which, up until 3 days ago, has been widely reported as successful. It's been going on for 10 years for god's sake.
    Now, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, it's a failure - according to one politician.

    This is a single politician in the german government trying to derail the project for personal gain.

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:08PM (#47699241) Homepage

    The basic office-type products for Linux still kind of suck. I've been using them since the StarOffice/SunOffice days, and now use LibreOffice. They've improved a lot, but they're still flakier than they should be, a decade after initial release. Nobody wants to fix the hard-to-fix, boring bugs which damage usability.

    Oracle buying the remnants of Sun didn't help.

    • by westlake (615356)

      The basic office-type products for Linux still kind of suck.

      The geek still thinks in terms of the stand-alone office suite ca. 1995,

      Its 2014 and LibreOffice doesn't include a plausible alternative to Outlook, OneNote and so on.

      Microsoft sees MS Office as one component of an integrated Office system --- client, server, web and cloud --- that makes collaboration easy and scales well to an enterprise of any size.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    From TFA, some guy named Limix invoked the right to be forgotten. Nothing to see here, move along...

  • by mad-seumas (59267) on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:12PM (#47699261)

    As far as I can tell from that horrible translation the only real complaints from users are about document interoperability problems and a unified messaging platform. Document format problems were going to be a given as MS will NEVER allow their software to default to an open standard (gotta sell dem Office seats); the best you can do is tell everyone who is going to be dealing with your city to send your documents in universal standard. As far a unified messaging platform goes, somebody screwed up if they couldn't get a fleet of smartphones to talk to a standard email server. Integrating with an open caldav/cardav server is tougher, but not impossible. They've already dropped a lot of cash on this transition and if those are the only two real complaints it seems more likely that the politicos are banking on a pile of $$ concessions from MS.

  • will be zero, once Microsoft products are installed. Sure. And don't forget to put those old LiMux dvds under your pillow for the dvd fairy to exchange for credit at the Windows Store.
    • by bobbied (2522392)

      And don't forget to put those old LiMux dvds under your pillow for the dvd fairy to exchange for credit at the Windows Store.

      I don't think the DVD fairy is real... I've had the AOL CD's under my pillow for decades and she never even left a note saying "no thanks!"

  • I'm sort of kidding, but at the same time Microsoft actively maintains their bloatware and has profit as a motivation to do so.

    And "normal people" are used to it because as sheep, they are familiar with the product.

    On the other hand, the various open solutions are ok on a screen shot level and for very elementary tasks, but unfortunately when you go to do complicated things, you frequently find the Microsoft product has a feature to handle it and the open solution either doesn't or it is rather messy.
  • Why not google docs? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:16PM (#47699285) Journal
    Our (S&P Midcap) company switched to Google docs + Google Apps packages successfully. It lets people buy Microsoft products too if they ask for it. But except for a few fancy presentations including lots of animation no one on the engineering side uses Microsoft. Some in accounting use Excel. But almost 90% of the time people stay in google docs. Slowly people have figured out what features not to use in Microsoft to interoperate with Google docs. There is relative peace and clam. Its integration with gmail, and collaborative editing and sharing makes google docs very useful. We no longer have multiple versions mutating through the email attachments. That is the biggest benefit as far as the users are concerned.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:30PM (#47699415) Journal
    Microsoft used to pay hosting service providers to switch to IIS. To gain a few server count numbers in netcraft.com surveys or something. It actually paid people to use Bing. Well let us see how much they are willing to give Munich to buy one more headline. All the while Google is consolidating its position in search and is seriously undermining the Office monopoly through Google docs.

    I just met a 50 something guy who bought Nokia latest phone Lumia 650 or whatever. His phone constantly forgets the google log in, changes the ring tone and randomly shutsdown. Normally some kid or a nephew would have fixed the issue had it been a iPhone or android. There is no kid in his extended circle who knows to troubleshoot a microsoft phone. His complaint is not the problems with the phone. ALL his phones malfunction because he answers yes/no to prompts without fully understanding the questions. But there are always children who would bail him out.

    I wonder how long its desktop monopoly is going to provide the cash to try these gimmicks.

  • by onkelonkel (560274) on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:41PM (#47699491)
    Work has recently added Lync to our standard MS environment. It's far from perfect, but we now have integrated everything. I do mean everything. We get IM/VOIP telephony/email/shared calendar/book rooms and meetings/desktop sharing/n-way calls/webcam video conferencing/etc, all in one package.

    Is there any open source equivalent that has all these features? Because that is what MS is bringing to the fight.
  • Munich Schmunich (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tailhook (98486) on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:46PM (#47699521)

    Please, stop posting blather about Munich adopting Linux. This drama has been going on for years and years and I'm tired of it. There are stories going back past 2004; "City of Munich Freezes Its Linux Migration", "Munich to Go Ahead with Linux After All", blah blah blah.

    Munich uses Linux to pressure Microsoft for better deals, which is just fine, but not interesting to me or most of the rest of us I imagine. Linux is not some struggling underdog begging for attention. So much computing today is Linux, from super computers to $90 smartphones, set tops, huge cloud infrastructures, corporate data centers, weapons systems, etc. — what Munich's government clerks happen to use to print emails or whatever just doesn't matter anymore, if it ever did, and I don't care either way.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:49PM (#47699555) Journal

    The Microsoft party-line has always been that retraining employees to use Linux is far more expensive than paying those license fees... It was always a ridiculous argument, since Microsoft products make major UI changes between versions that require just as much training.

    But here, the employees are trained and working on Linux. So how is it that the fees for all that Microsoft software, PLUS the retraining fees, PLUS the undeniable reports of money savings, are still going to make a switch to Windows somehow worthwhile?

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Monday August 18, 2014 @06:52PM (#47699589) Homepage

    Reading TFA I suspect that the sorts of problems are:

    • * Interoperability with third parties. Eg document exchange. In a world where most others use MS software then there will be issues, moving to ODF will help, but not eliminate all issues -- incompatabilities between the way that MS and Open/Libre Office interpret the spec will remain. People will still use other formats where Open equivalents may not exist - eg CAD
    • * Munich have gone out on their own, few are following their lead. They thus have to pay the first implementor's penalty. Those who follow will find things easier and cheaper.
    • * Hardware devices (eg mobile phones). Although many of these might have Linux as the base, the vendor will make sure that it works with MS products and not worry about Linux equivalents
    • * Users are using something that is new and will blame problems on it. This time they have a name ''Linux'' - this becomes perceived as the root of all evil.
    • * Similar problems would have happened with a roll out of a new MS system and these problems would just be accepted as teething problems of a new system. But because Munich is doing something different by having software running on Linux systems this will be seen as the cause of it and thus blamed, with a belief that return to MS will fix all the problems. It will fix some but cause others, but until then Linux systems will get all the blame.

    The best way to fix Munich's problems is for others to grab the LiMux distribution and use it. This will:

    * Reduce compatability problems. A tipping point will eventually be reached, look how MS IE was king and then it went to less than 80% and suddenly slid as web sites had to take web standards seriously.

    * Hardware vendors will have to test against more than just MS Windows and its ecosystems

    * Others will contribute software and patches, the cost to Munich will drop.

    * Munich IT department will not be seen as maverick since others are also doing it. Eventually they will, hopefully, be lauded as pioneers and visionaries.

  • by Kabukiwookie (2677869) on Monday August 18, 2014 @08:37PM (#47700189)


    http://www.heise.de/open/meldu... [heise.de]

    It looks like mayor of Munich is the one complaining about Limux, while the entire city council is united and calls it "sachfremde Einzelmeinungen", which translates into 'a single opinion from someone who's talking out of his arse'.

Make headway at work. Continue to let things deteriorate at home.