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Government Open Source Windows Linux

City of Munich Struggling With Basic Linux Functionality 394

jones_supa writes: Just like the city planned a year ago, Munich is still calling for a switch back to Windows from LiMux, their Ubuntu derivative. The councilors from Munich's conservative CSU party have called the operating system installed on their laptops "cumbersome to use" and "of very limited use." The letter from the two senior members of the city's IT committee (PDF in German) asks the mayor to consider removing the Linux-based OS and to install Windows and Office. "There are no programs for text editing, Skype, Office etc. installed and that prevents normal use," the letter argues. Another complaint from councilors is that "the lack of user permissions makes them of limited use." These kind of arguments raise eyebrows, as all that functionality is certainly found on Linux.
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City of Munich Struggling With Basic Linux Functionality

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  • Idiocy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shaman ( 1148 ) <shaman@NOsPAM.kos.net> on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:14PM (#50363105) Homepage

    This is computer neophytes telling IT how things work.

    Like the pigs running the farm. Like the inmates running the asylum.

    Like councillors up to their ears in that Microsoft bribe money.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      computer neophytes telling IT

      Because the purpose of the end users is to serve the needs of the I.T. department, and not the other way around.

      • Re:Idiocy. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:34PM (#50363359)
        You're not wrong. IT does not dictate this. IT provides solutions to the requirements of the end users. Now, those requirements could be met in linux, but that's a different story.
        • Re:Idiocy. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:59PM (#50363675)

          There is no way to met the requirement when they change all the time because some porn/gabling/toy software/site will not install/work properly.

          All the 'basic functionally' they claim to need are will know to be found in ubuntu and other distributions. These peoples are lazy liars, or corrupted liars that want microsoft money.

          • Re:Idiocy. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by bhcompy ( 1877290 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @04:44PM (#50365417)
            So why didn't you train them on it? You change their world and you're responsible for educating them
      • Re:Idiocy. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:42PM (#50363469) Journal

        This has been a process that has been ongoing since the earliest days of general use computers.

        I recall when my office moved from Wordperfect 5 to the first Windows version pf MS-Word. It was a fucking nightmare. Despite the obvious advantages WYSIWYG, there were months worth of bitching and moaning, and a few people who pretty much convinced management to let them keep using Wordperfect in a DOS window.

        What it turns out people needed was training. Even a two or three sessions to familiarize people with the interface, and they had at least the rudiments down. I think some of the older staff never got it fully, but as Wordperfect faded into oblivion, they either made do as best they could.

        The complaints being reported here suggest that where Munich has fallen down is in training. People literally have no idea how to use their computers.

        • Could be the "IT councellors" didn't think they needed the training and skipped it.
        • by Tom ( 822 )

          The complaints being reported here suggest that where Munich has fallen down is in training. People literally have no idea how to use their computers.

          The people writing this complaint are from the CSU. That is our equivalent of the worst part of the republican party. In ideology and stupidity. They don't want to understand how to use their computers, because computers are witchcraft.

        • Re:Idiocy. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <(mojo) (at) (world3.net)> on Friday August 21, 2015 @06:18PM (#50366285) Homepage

          Years ago in a previous life I built/reinstalled some computers for customers. We used to install Open Office because most people thought it was part of Windows and couldn't comprehend that Microsoft wanted charge them hundreds of pounds for software that their work/school/mate's dodgy warez copy provided on every other PC they had ever used.

          People were still confused and complained, until we started renaming the program shortcuts to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Just the icons on the start menu, nothing else.

      • Re: Idiocy. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2015 @02:23PM (#50363951)

        The problem in Munich is the same I have seen everywhere I have seen Linux introduced

        The workers use their laptops for personal stuff besides work.

        Often employees get Admin rights as part of their work requirements and installing games and other personal stuff like GPS software or specific hardware drivers is common.

        All of that is fine and dandy on Windows because people is mostly familiar with Windows and any one can click next-next-next.

        Often the IT department has to deal with their system cock-ups and continuous malware infestations. "Uuuh I dunno it broke"

        When you give a Linux computer to people 99% of the time it is a work tool, and obviously the workers are not happy that they can not use their new flashy free laptop paid by the council with public money for personal use.

        And that is all there is to the story.

    • Re:Idiocy. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TWX ( 665546 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:26PM (#50363247)
      Computer neophytes are the reason that the IT department exists in the first place. IT's sole role is support. I don't care if it's a $200 netbook or a $200,000 iSeries financial server, computers are a means, not an end. All of us in IT have a job because we facilitate that means for people that don't know how to do it themselves, regardless of the reason why they don't know how.

      If the IT department for Munich either failed to train users how to use their equipment (like how to find a simple GUI text editor like Mousepad) or failed to install such software it's not the users' faults that they're upset. I use vi, but I don't expect Bärbel to get escape-shift-colon-w-filename-enter to save her file, or to understand the differences between CR-LF and UNIX-style file structures.

      I also wonder how good of a job they did keeping the users' workstations up-to-date. That's a huge problem in IT even on systems that were designed from the outset for it.
      • Re:Idiocy. (Score:4, Informative)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:37PM (#50363413) Homepage Journal

        Computer neophytes are the reason that the IT department exists in the first place. IT's sole role is support.

        Wrong. IT's role is to make things work. Support is part of that, but it's not the whole job. Congratulations, you don't understand IT. You must be ready to be a CEO!

        I don't care if it's a $200 netbook or a $200,000 iSeries financial server, computers are a means, not an end.

        That's right. Very good. But the users are not absolved of responsibility.

        IT's job is to enable work. It's not to hold hands, except where necessary. But workers who need their hands held can be replaced... except in government where it's difficult to fire even those people who clearly deserve it.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          So, what about making things work isn't support, at least in the context of making things work for a company whose primary mission isn't itself doing IT work for the rest of the world?

          'cause where I work, technology isn't the end, it's merely a means. A very important, very expensive, very prominent means, but if another better means beyond technology-as-we-know-it came along they'd drop the IT department like a bad penny.
          • So, what about making things work isn't support, at least in the context of making things work for a company whose primary mission isn't itself doing IT work for the rest of the world?

            What we're really talking about here is training. I'll bet all that equivilent stuff of what they want is installed on the computers, but that's easy. Even putting icons on the desktop and telling the users which icon corresponds to what use they want. However, actual training in how to use those programs beyond open, save, close, is usually batted around from department to department as it requires trainers with specialized knowledge, lots of time to hand hold users, and usually at odd hours as the users s

        • But workers who need their hands held can be replaced... except in government where it's difficult to fire even those people who clearly deserve it.

          Wrong. But like in any other workplace, workers can only be fired by their boss, not by mere coworkers. And the boss, in this case, is the citizens of Munich, and they make their hiring & firing decision on election day. Make sure these 2 councilmembers' ineptitude (or worse: bribability) is well-known so that the "boss" can make an informed decision the next time he is called to make one.

          In the meantime, if these councilmembers let their laptop "age there unused", maybe they can be put to better use e

      • by pla ( 258480 )
        Computer neophytes are the reason that the IT department exists in the first place.

        No. IT needs to make sure the end users have the technology resources available to do their jobs, and to some degree, help users resolve unusual events in their computing environment. When the same user calls every single morning asking for a password reset, you don't blame IT - Their manager has a "Come to Jesus" chat, that they need to either catch on or move on.

        IT doesn't exist to teach people basic computer skills,
        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          It's still the department's failure, even if it can be tied to the director of the department or to any staff whose job is to actually train. New systems that are radically different from old ones require training. Hell, we trained users when we switched from Netware to Active Directory, even though the differences only manifested if they selected advanced options to see that it.wasn't.context.anymore and was now an ADDOMAIN instead.
    • Who got the kickbacks for recommending this?

    • This is computer neophytes telling IT how things work.

      Like the pigs running the farm. Like the inmates running the asylum.

      Like councillors up to their ears in that Microsoft bribe money.

      I really doubt you need to bribe "conservatives" for them to know to hate that lefty "free public infrastructure" software and support The Established For-Profit Company.

    • Re:Idiocy. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Yunzil ( 181064 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @04:26PM (#50365201) Homepage

      Sure, keep insulting the people telling you that Linux just might have a problem or two. That'll surely convince them of the error of their ways.

  • Tell the old dogs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:16PM (#50363117)

    that they simply have to learn a new trick. Switching back to Windows because some old geezer can't find the right icon is ridiculous.

    • It sounds like the problems they are having could have been avoided with a few well-labeled icons on the desktop.

      If you expect people to hunt through a menu and find Chrome, some will have trouble. I've found that more often than not, of you give people a a few clear options, such as desktop icons for "Internet" and "Documents", most people can handle that. MOST of the time when people have trouble using a system, the UI can be improved to make it much more intuitive.

  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:16PM (#50363119) Homepage
    Throwing Linux on the PCs and letting users figure it out isn't a proven strategy.
  • Translations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:16PM (#50363121)

    The councilors from Munich's conservative CSU party have called the operating system installed on their laptops "cumbersome to use" and "of very limited use.

    Translation: We don't want to be bothered learning anything new and it doesn't have solitaire on it.

    "There are no programs for text editing, Skype, Office etc. installed and that prevents normal use,"

    Translation: We have no idea what we are talking about, can't be bothered to ask any questions and only want to use what we are already familiar with.

    Another complaint from councilors is that "the lack of user permissions makes them of limited use."

    Translation: We want to be able to download whatever malware infested screensaver or porn we feel like.

    • Re:Translations (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:29PM (#50363283)

      "There are no programs for text editing, Skype, Office etc. installed and that prevents normal use,"

      Translation: We have no idea what we are talking about, can't be bothered to ask any questions and only want to use what we are already familiar with.

      Wrong translation. This should be: "those that install the systems have no idea what they're doing", as such software should be pre-installed on any system and be ready for use. Of course I'm taking the complaint at face value here, and the complaint is that standard productivity software has not been pre-installed. To ease transition, they may even consider using the default Windows icon for Word on the OpenOffice/LibreOffice launcher and so. Skype has a Linux version so that's even more of a no-brainer, it should be pre-installed or made dead easy to install if licensing prevents pre-installing it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by spire3661 ( 1038968 )
        ITs time to stop coddling these people. WE are neck deep into an Information Age. ITs time to let those that cant live in our new environment die out. Im DONE coddling users. Keep the pace or be left behind. Too much of computing is getting dumbed down and locked up because idiots wont take courses on how to actually operate a computer.
      • Re: Translations (Score:5, Insightful)

        by buchanmilne ( 258619 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @02:09PM (#50363811) Homepage

        As far as I remember, their transition strategy started with deploying OpenOffice and Firefox on all Windows machines and making them the default, then removing MS Office a few months later, then switching the OS a year later while keeping most applications the same.

        IOW it is almost impossible that the users didn't have a word processor available or know how to use it, or even if it was the case, thus wasn't as a result of the OS change.

        Not having Skype may be due to policy (which would apply regardless of OS), in favour of other privacy-respecting IM platform.

        • Not having Skype may be due to policy (which would apply regardless of OS), in favour of other privacy-respecting IM platform.

          On one hand the German government is very angry about all the NSA spying on their officials. Microsoft is *very* clear that Skype has hooks for the NSA (thank you, fellows). And yet the German officials can't get enough of their Skype.

          Blame the Germans for electing these idiots.

      • The software probably is pre-installed and they don't know it because they skipped the training sessions that were offered and didn't even read the memo that listed the linux equivalent and showed which icons to click.

        If I had a dollar for every time someone emailed me to tell me that email wasn't working, I could have retired even sooner.

      • Of course I'm taking the complaint at face value here, and the complaint is that standard productivity software has not been pre-installed.

        From googling, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] is about the software they have. Down around Linux-Client section, it said that the OS is actually Ubuntu 12.04 which has OpenOffice, gedit (text editor with GUI), Firefox (Internet Browser), etc., installed by DEFAULT (these software come with the OS). However Skype must be installed manually.

        To ease transition, they may even consider using the default Windows icon for Word on the OpenOffice/LibreOffice launcher and so. ...

        Are you kidding me? Anyway, I am not sure if they (OpenOffice) could actual use MS Office icon in their software. It could easily be an IP issue. Besides would you want

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Translation: "Linux is free" often does not factor in real-world retraining and retooling costs.

      Want to push OpenOffice / Linux as cheaper alternatives? Wonderful. Just dont pretend that theyre actually free when it comes to use in a business, especially with folks used to a different system.

      • by khasim ( 1285 )

        All systems require support.

        No one is saying that installing Linux means that you do not have to pay for any of the standard costs associated with a system.

        And remember that the opposition NEEDS to find a cause to champion that is contrary to the current system. Otherwise they aren't the opposition.

        Whether or not their complaints are valid is irrelevant. That's how politics works.

      • Spend less on licensing, spend way more on IT, training, custom programming, etc.
      • Translation: "Linux is free" often does not factor in real-world retraining and retooling costs.

        Want to push OpenOffice / Linux as cheaper alternatives? Wonderful. Just dont pretend that theyre actually free when it comes to use in a business, especially with folks used to a different system.

        Sure, it costs a bit to train somebody to use Unix and LibreOffice. Of course, that training is basically permanent, because the IT administration can keep them on the same user interfaces forever. Contrast this to MSOffice and Windows, whose shitty and random UI rollercoasters (Ribbon & Metro being the prime offenders) have probably cost the world tens of millions of dollars in retraining.

  • by Schezar ( 249629 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:17PM (#50363131) Homepage Journal

    Normal people don't know what applications are or how to install them. They click blindly, like newborn infants, until Microsoft Word appears, and then they express whatever it is in them that drove them to this extreme. Outlook is a gateway into a magical world of 576,442 unread emails and 500,333 unsent drafts. The "fix it" button on the front of the machine usually works, but sometimes doesn't. Their grandson tells them to stop hitting that button, but he's into voodoo and something called Mimecraft, so what does he know?

    • I am sad to say my coworkers outlook boxes are just like that. They are amazed I have zero unread emails and like 4 emails in my inbox. Then I expand the folders to reveal hundreds of folders with 500 MB from just the last six months.

      The thing is I just file things when I am done with them for future referencing. I can find things quickly just by knowing where to look. The seem arch box only helps if you have lots of details and time to go through the false positives.

  • by Noble713 ( 3516573 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:18PM (#50363149)
    As TFS states, all that stuff should be readily available in Linux/Ubuntu. If users complain about the lack of a text editor in all likelihood the training program for transitioning Windows users is mediocre (and the users themselves are stuck in their ways and won't adapt easily). If the systems are being issued to users with no day-to-day office functionality, that's a problem with their IT department dropping the ball setup-wise. That's not a failure of the operating system itself.
  • Beautiful Theory (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The people of Munich are obviously wrong, and need to be replaced.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's *GNU/Munich*, you insensitive clod!

  • by jfbilodeau ( 931293 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:23PM (#50363209) Homepage
    If they can't find anything on their laptop, could it be they are actually running Windows 8? It's the only mainstream desktop environment that I know of that makes it obtuse to find anything.
    • "Windows Key" then begin typing the name of the application you are looking for. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

  • Every public servant are free to BUY and INSTALL himself Windows, Office and whatever program he will think it better suits his needs. :-)

    (Software privacy will be punished)

    • by Lisias ( 447563 )

      Where I wrote "privacy", please read "piracy".

      But given the present status quo on Windows 10, the present phrase will fits too. =P

  • by LichtSpektren ( 4201985 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:34PM (#50363363)
    I know it is ubiquitous in journalism to abbreviate e.g. "two senior members of the city's IT committee" to "Munich", but it is not correct, and the imprecision of such phrases can wildly skew the impression that a reader gets versus the facts.

    Examine the headline: "City of Munich Struggling With Basic Linux Functionality". Without any sort of clarifying modifier to "City of Munich", one is liable to take this to mean a significant portion of the populace (millions of people), when in fact the subject aforementioned is really a small group of sabre-rattlers.
  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:35PM (#50363373)
    Sure there are! You have your choice of vi or emacs. :)
  • "There are no programs for text editing, Skype, Office etc. installed and that prevents normal use,"

    LibreOffice is available from the Ubuntu package manager. Skype is also available for Linux. There're also a plethora of text editors available for Linux, including but not limited to emacs, vi, nano and Sublime Sheeeesh!!!!

  • instead of trying to do it on the cheap.

    Yes, that's exactly what I said.

    You save the money on the license fees, not the support cost.

  • wtf? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by znrt ( 2424692 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:42PM (#50363483)

    Unter anderem können keinerlei Programme
    (Textbearbeitungsprogramme, Skype, Office, etc.) selbst nach installiert werden, welches
    einen normalen Gebrauch verhindert

    no text processing? no skype? wtf? LiMux must be the worst distro ever.

    or it could be that this is the worst fud ever.

    • Re:wtf? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ve3oat ( 884827 ) on Friday August 21, 2015 @02:43PM (#50364147)
      For some reason, "etc" appears as "etc', rather than "usw".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 21, 2015 @01:46PM (#50363515)

    Going to Linux was a big politcal thing (pushed by a social democratic administration) in Munich, being thoroughly planned project for over 10 years. Goal: reduce license costs, increase independence. Losing Munich to a self hosting project did cost Microsoft a lot, including prestige. They are very committed to see it fail.
    Now, they recently moved their German HQ from rural Munich into the center (read: into central Munichs tax borders). And they have unleashed all lobbying power they could get hold on.
    These two Politicians from the letter are from the CSU, that is Bavarias quasi-monarchistic conservative big-industry corruption-laden redneck shithead party, that is in lead of whole Bavaria - except Munich, which means, they are in opposition.
    Now, review that case again ...

  • The main problem those conservative (CSU) guys have are the security precautions. They asked for admin access. With Windows, they won't get that either. Secondly, they are in the pocket of MS.

  • This is originating from Microsoft shills or inept IT admins. Either way, It's bullshit.

  • It really is awesome. I suck at using it though, but I have a blast learning the ins and outs of a new system. I would be rightly pissed if someone plopped a new linux system in place of my current windows work mess without training.

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