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Government Software Linux News

Open Source Cities Followup — Munich Yea, Vienna Nay 162

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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  • good opportunity (Score:4, Informative)

    by sustik ( 90111 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @08:34AM (#23650165)
    RTFA, they are also willing to pay 8M euros to someone writing the language test application instead.
    Seems like a good price...

    Sorry, reading the onion too much...
  • by schnipschnap ( 739127 ) * on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @08:37AM (#23650207)
    K, I did it for speed, not for quality.

    The city of Vienna is going to migrate its open-source poster child installation to Windows Vista in 2008. In total, Vienna will pay about 8,000,000 Euros for this migration. The final choice is to be made on Wednesday in the district council.

    "That's a major setback to the conversion to linux of the city.", Marie Ringler, a member of the district council and representative of the Vienna Green party, said to On Wednesday the Vienna district council will decide that the most important linux installation (720 computers) of the city council be migrated to Windows Vista. The corresponding proposal was made available to

    -----8,000,000 Euros for Microsoft-----
    The MA 14, the body that is responsible for the city's IT-systems, has thus made available a budget of 8,000,000 Euros for the purchase of software licenses. These costs will be reimbursed to the MA 14 by MA 10 (kindergartens) and MA 56 (school administration).

    The migration of the public authorities' computers from Windows 2000 and Office 2000 to Vista and Office 2007 will cost 7,600,000 Euros, and the purchase of 2,600 licenses for Windows, Office, and Server-software in Vienna's [Bildungsnetz] education network will cost 324,000 Euros. The changeover of the 720 kindergarten computers from the city-branded linux distribution "Wienux"* to Vista will cost around 105,000 Euros.

    -----Language skill tests for children-----
    The migration of the kindergarten computers is because of a piece of software that tests kindergarten children's language abilities is only available on the Internet Explorer platform. The makers will have a Firefox version of their product only by 2009, according to Ringler.

    "The city could have gotten the company to get their version that runs on Firefox out the door faster with only a fraction of the money that the changeover to Windows will cost, Ringler said, who also accuses the city of not following the Open Source concept and not producing any incentive to migrate from Windows to Wienux. The city also missed the opportunity to subsidize the 1,000 companies that make open source software in the Vienna region.

    In Fall 2008, the STOSS2 studies, which was initiated by Vienna and is concerned with the analysis of costs and benefits of using open source software in the city council, will be published.

    -----The MA 14 continues to polish Wienux-----
    Klaus Rohr, spokesman of the MA 14, confirmed the roll-back on Tuesday afternoon, which is to be completed in 2008. The most important reason for the migration from Linux to Windows is the availability of the aforementioned software only for Windows via Internet Explorer. But there have also been problems with hardware detection in linux, according to him.

    But the re-migration to Windows doesn't imply that Wienux will die. The distribution is to be continued to be developed and distributed, according to Rohr.

    -----SPÖ: "Wienux is not dead"-----
    SPÖ-district councilor Siegfried Lindenmayr doesn't view Wienux as dead either. "Wienux isn't dead. The city of Vienna has used open source software since 20 years and will also continue to do so," he said to "The use of software isn't a question of ideology to us, however. The best educational software runs on Windows, and therefore we will use Windows in our kindergartens."

    The city's general open source strategy hasn't changed. The MA 14 will continue to offer linux and install it wherever departments want it.
    * Wien is the German word for Vienna
  • Re:Stupid developers (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @08:38AM (#23650215)
    In the UK at least, the companies that write the software for exams are MS partners. They have a vested interest in making schools Microsoft.
    The Uk regulatory body (OfQual) does not hinder them
  • English Story (Score:5, Informative)

    by struppi ( 576767 ) <> on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @08:42AM (#23650239) Homepage
  • Re:so... (Score:5, Informative)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) * on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @08:48AM (#23650299) Homepage Journal
    Who says IES4Linux isn't legal? Microsoft's EULA for IE states that all you need is valid license for a valid Microsoft Windows OS on each computer you install IE on.

    There are numerous methods for obtaining such a license without directly paying for it.
  • Re:so... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @08:49AM (#23650305)
    ies4linux is a wrapper for installing and running IE with Wine. So, yes.
  • by messju ( 32126 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @09:11AM (#23650571)
    To be fair: The migration of 720 computers used in kindergartens will cost the city about 105,000 euros not 8M.

    First I thought this may have been a bug in TFTtranslation but It's even correct in TFTofTFA.
    Just not in the teaser.
  • by kmarshallbanana ( 1192023 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @09:13AM (#23650619)
    A few choice quotes from the article:

    [In 2003] The local government in Munich, Germany, [voted] to move 14,000 computers from Microsoft's Windows to the rival Linux operating system

    [In 2008]Status quo of the LiMux project:
    1000 work stations migrated to LiMux
    6000 work stations using
    90% work stations using Firefox and Thunderbird
    That means that during the five odd years that have elapsed since the decision was taken a grand 7% of the computers have been switched over to linux. And this on what the article states is the budget for the transition was 30 million euros.
  • Re:In my experience (Score:5, Informative)

    by francium de neobie ( 590783 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @09:34AM (#23650961)
    Actually transparent PNGs aren't really properly fixed in IE7 - try applying an Alpha filter to a transparent PNG and suddenly the transparency does not work anymore.

    This is the nature of Microsoft's software and APIs - if you use it in uncommon ways, it breaks. I can give you such examples all day - JavaScript memory leaks in IE6 and IE7? How window.openPopup() requires weird hacks to work with domain relaxation? Flickering images at page load in IE6? The first BR tag in a block tag does not appear when the block tag has a background image? document.selection returns gives you a selection object from a different document object than the one you specified?

    Add these to the fact that IE does not have free developer tools like Firebug, Safari Inspector and Drosera, and Opera Dragonfly available (notice how every significant competitor to IE has one)... I'd take the opinion of anyone who says "IE is easy to develop for" with huge pinch of salt. And please... trying to bully people with "I'm an experienced developer" in the technology world isn't a very smart thing to do.
  • Re:so... (Score:3, Informative)

    by mweather ( 1089505 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @09:55AM (#23651387)
    Yeah, like buying any non-apple computer from an OEM. All the schools' computers probably came with a Windows license.
  • by miawuascht ( 1301887 ) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @10:47AM (#23652389) Homepage
    There is a story on the WKO (The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber) [] , which is closely tied to MS, about the context where this software is used. The initiative which uses this software is sponsored by the WKO with MS as a partner. I suspect that the big advantage the Microsoft technology stack has, compared to other inferior offerings, is the reason that the product is working only with IE and not with any other browser
  • Re:Stupid developers (Score:5, Informative)

    by Knuckles ( 8964 ) <> on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @12:02PM (#23653837)
    And, not surprisingly, this is what a politician of the Greens in Vienna suggested to do (it's in the article).
  • Re:so... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:01PM (#23655973)
    Not to mention that in the EU, EULAS are viewed as quite invalid unless a business (literally) signs one when buying software. Furthermore, as long as MS don't make it blatantly obvious for people that they don't get IE for free but instead pay for it +upgrades when they buy Windows, the requirement to own Windows is certainly not legal (MS, however, have no obligation not to make it fucking hard to use it with wine). Consumer rights legislation here states that free gifts to customers must be free to everyone or otherwise you cannot claim that they are free - so usually ads are something like "buy X, Y is included in the price!!!" or "buy X and we'll throw in Y at no extra cost!!!".
  • Re:Stupid developers (Score:3, Informative)

    by Knuckles ( 8964 ) <> on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:57PM (#23656859)

    You need to look at your sample.
    You don't say. Just as you.

    Are you looking at the average work pc or people's home pc?
    Both work (a lot, many users) and home. Though I agree that they are not "average".

    If they have Windows they have IE.
    Of course, but so what when people don't use it.

    Yes Firefox is free but rolling it out to hundreds of PCs in a company isn't. Then you have the problem of legacy systems.
    15,000 user global company (HQ in US), top employer. We are in the middle of fixing all standard incompatibilities in the intranet and evaluate FF3, Opera, and IE7 as the company's standard browser. Note that even in the unlikely event that IE7 is chosen, the intranet will be compliant and people are free to use an alternative (which most will, since this is where I see FF used as the internet browser on about 90% of PCs).

    I do think IE is under 50% in Germany but in the EU I am pretty sure it is still well over 50%. World wide it is without a doubt over 50%.
    So what? People doing business on the web can't afford to lose 30% of potential customers either.

"I'll rob that rich person and give it to some poor deserving slob. That will *prove* I'm Robin Hood." -- Daffy Duck, Looney Tunes, _Robin Hood Daffy_