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The Man Behind Munich's Migration of 15,000 PCs From Windows To Linux 264

An anonymous reader writes "It's one of the biggest migrations in the history of Linux, and it made Steve Ballmer very angry: Munich, in southwest Germany, has completed its transition of 15,000 PCs from Windows to Linux. It has saved money, fueled the local economy, and improved security. Linux Voice talked to the man behind the migration: 'One of the biggest aims of LiMux was to make the city more independent. Germany’s major center-left political party is the SPD, and its local Munich politicians backed the idea of the city council switching to Linux. They wanted to promote small and medium-sized companies in the area, giving them funding to improve the city’s IT infrastructure, instead of sending the money overseas to a large American corporation. The SPD argued that moving to Linux would foster the local IT market, as the city would pay localcompanies to do the work.' (Linux Voice is making the PDF article free [CC-BY-SA] so that everyone can send it to their local councilors and encourage them to investigate Linux)."
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The Man Behind Munich's Migration of 15,000 PCs From Windows To Linux

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  • by bigpat ( 158134 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @09:54AM (#46958769)
    At this point I am surprised that any government would trust a compiled OS that they can't effectively scan for any ease dropping code, intentional back doors or just vulnerabilities. Sure they can monitor the network to see if it is doing something obvious, but with a compiled OS it could be wide open to be compromised with either a back door or some code to send data off someplace and you would likely never know it. At least with Linux you can maintain your own verified version based on the source code. Of course even with wide open source code you get security issues... like openssl. But without the source code there could be a thousand of those types of vulnerabilities and only insiders at Microsoft could know about them. Maybe for most people it is a non-issue, but for governments and large corporations that level of pants around the ankles situation can have very big implications to national security and the economy.
  • Re:GNU/Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @10:04AM (#46958865) Journal
    A few reasons:
    1) People prefer easy to use names. "GNU/Linux" is an awkward mouthful, "Linux" is a nice simple name. For the same reason people refer to the "Tesla Model S" as "Model S", or simply a "Tesla", since the S is the more common model here.
    2) "Linux" has been the most commonly used name from day 1, and that's not going to change, for the same reason that the public will continue to take "hacker" to mean someone who breaks into computer systems.
  • Re:Cheaper beer (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 09, 2014 @10:13AM (#46958933)

    And that was the reason to do it this way.
    Same money to local people, not to corps that move profits thru double Irish with a side of Denmark , so they don't pay any local taxes.
    Now you understand ?

  • Re:Cheaper beer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dmbasso ( 1052166 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @10:21AM (#46959003)

    So of course in the first years such a massive migration and education of your users costs more.

    Yep, higher cost, but the money stayed in the local economy. IMHO, that's the most important aspect of all, even if it had cost more after 5 years.

  • Re:Cheaper beer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by higuita ( 129722 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @10:43AM (#46959223) Homepage

    yeh, right, just because all those problems never happen in windows!!

    and it is really just the reverse of what you said. Linux support better older hardware, when it gives errors, is easier to debug and if you have any problem, is a lot easier to verify the system (file checksum, OS and hardware) remotely and clone and replace the faulty desktop if needed. If it is a HD problem, you can even create a fallback network boot to keep the user working (slower, but working) until someone replaces the HD.

  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @10:46AM (#46959257)
    ... but they're also taking care of the citizens screwed by the XP-end-of-life:

    "Screwed" because MS only supported their OS for 13 years? Riiiight. Which Linux company is going to maintain a version of their OS (for free) for 13 years? Hell, which Linux company is going to maintain a version of their OS (for free) for 3 years?

    That's one of the main reasons my company won't consider Linux on the desktop.
  • Re:Cheaper beer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheP4st ( 1164315 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @10:48AM (#46959275)
    It's not hard finding hardware with excellent linux support, even less so when you buy in the large quantities that the city of Munich do, you do realise that organisations of that size tend to have just a small set of laptop and desktop configurations they use, right? It is not like they randomly pick 10 different manufacturers and 50 models.
    While there might be valid arguments against their move to Linux, your is definitely not one of them.
  • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @11:05AM (#46959433)

    I call bullshit on their training claims. Staff that used Windows at previous jobs or at home will have a lower training needs. They also assume that staff time is free and ignore any lost productivity or errors from their new OS and applications.

    Two Words:

    Metro Desktop

    Oh, you mean I'm supposed to learn to deal with this thing (and the Ribbon) for FREE?

  • by Assmasher ( 456699 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @11:05AM (#46959439) Journal

    Perhaps Microsoft has a patent on this new technology?

    Amazon has a provisional patent for this in the pipeline I hear.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 09, 2014 @11:13AM (#46959531)

    "Screwed" because MS only supported their OS for 13 years? Riiiight.

    They still sold brand new Windows XP licenses till Win 7 was ready in order to get a foothold into the netbook/subnotebook market and that was not full 4 years ago (Debian LTS is 5 years with free upgrades). The 13 years only counts if you had it from day one, in which case the pain of pre service pack 1 Windows XP would have screwed you at the beginning instead of the end.

  • by Peter Simpson ( 112887 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @11:19AM (#46959597)
    And with Microsoft deciding to change their UI every few years now...,

    You've hit on what I consider to be Microsoft's biggest problem: they are no longer making basic functional improvements to their products. Instead, they are adding bells and whistles, and changing file formats to force upgrades (if your clients have ver XYZ+1, then you need it to read the default format of the files they send you).

    To me, this indicates a change in attitude. No longer are they striving to put out the best software, they're churning revs to keep revenue up. It's a sign of desperation and it has been going on for several years, now.
  • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @11:21AM (#46959609)
    Munich is in South-East Germany. Google Maps isn't that hard to use, is it? :)
  • Re:Cheaper beer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by yacc143 ( 975862 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @11:57AM (#46959965) Homepage

    You do realize that having stayed in the Windows camp, they would have one migration more, because they're (12 years ago) migration target Windows XP is unsupported.

  • by westyvw ( 653833 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @12:04PM (#46960051)

    You are WAY over simplifying the mystical licensing systems in Windows. It is one of the most confusing things to manage, and yes I know what I am doing.

    Second, I never really understand this training with office products. The best training you can give anyone is to teach them to stop using office products becuase the last thing a company needs is a bunch of random content producers. Get your work into a content management system (and NO that is not Sharepoint), and force workers to only create content as it specifiucally relates to their job, and not via word processors and spreadsheets.

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @12:26PM (#46960271)

    > How hard do you imagine MS software licensing is?

    With Linux I don't have to deal with this bullshit at all, ever.

  • Re:Cheaper beer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dragonslicer ( 991472 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @01:00PM (#46960587)

    They will deeply regret this once a weird error on a critical system pops up in a few years time, and nobody is around to give support.

    Yeah, Munich is such a tiny little backwoods place that there's no way they'd ever be able to find someone who knows anything about Linux.

  • Re:Cheaper beer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by swv3752 ( 187722 ) <swv3752&hotmail,com> on Friday May 09, 2014 @01:09PM (#46960663) Homepage Journal

    No, we should value our neighbor more than some remote individual in another country. Besides the ethical and moral considerations, there are practical ones as well. If your neighbor has a job, he will not have to steal from you to survive. there will be networks effects where the area improves as more people have moeny and spend it. look at urban renewal efforts where as people see improvements and have stable jobs they improve their properties and it encourages their neighbors to improve their properties. The reverse happens all too often as well.

  • Re:Cheaper beer (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Friday May 09, 2014 @01:19PM (#46960753)

    It does seem to me that a local government should have the welfare of the local community in mind. After all, that is really the purpose of government. If the local government can improve the quality of its services (Linux migration) and at the same time, build skills and direct resources to the local community, then it is a win-win situation.
    That is the problem with corporations; they are only concerned with profit and not their workers or communities. They will sell their mother into slavery if it improves their bottom line (and their income).

panic: kernel trap (ignored)