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EU Government Linux

The City of Munich Might Stick With Linux (fsfe.org) 117

Munich's "LiMux" project brought FOSS software to their city's IT administration -- until a vote last month on whether to abandon Linux and return to Windows. "Since this decision was reached, the majority of media have reported that a final call was made to halt LiMux and switch back to Microsoft software," reports the Free Software Foundation Europe. "This is, however, not an accurate representation of the outcome of the city council meeting." An anonymous reader quotes their report: The opposing parties were overruled, but the decision was amended such that the strategy document must specify which LiMux-applications will no longer be needed, the extent in which prior investments must be written off, and a rough calculation of the overall costs of the desired unification... [Only then will the city council make their final decision...] We succeeded thus far in forcing the mayor Dieter Reiter to postpone the final decision, and this was possible through the unwavering pressure created by joint efforts between The Document Foundation, KDE, OSBA, and the FSFE together with all the individuals who wrote to city council members and took the issue to the media.

Although the mandate is highly suggestive in that it suggests that the existing vendor-neutral approach is to be replaced with a proprietary solution, it leaves the door open... The new mandate buys us some time. And we will keep going.

Some politicians said they'd never received this much input from the public before, and the Free Software Foundation Europe says the city's issues were caused "from organizational problems, including lack of clear structures and responsibilities," which should not be attributed to the Linux operating system. "LiMux as such is still one of the best examples of how to create a vendor-neutral administration based on Free Software."
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The City of Munich Might Stick With Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    That Microsoft's current CEO hasn't jumped on a plane and stepped out smiling, offering a huge discount on the usual terms.

    Ballmer is sitting in SoCal thinking "that's his (Satya's) problem now."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nah,
      MS has to be paid back for moving its German HQ to Munich.
      The payback is Windows 10 everywhere or else.

      It ain't rocket science you know.
      MS wants control of everything. Then it will make another move like the one Munich did impossibe.
      As everythingwill be moved on the QT into the MS Cloud guess who will have to pay and keep paying for the pleasure of accessing all their files and documents from then on?
      The Tax payers of Munich and everywgere else that's who.

      This is the MS Long game in action.

  • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

    Good for them!

    Use the would be MS license money to train people. In the long run, it is a win-win.

  • Global Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @01:24AM (#53978683) Journal
    It's somewhat disturbing to me that they received pressure from so many groups around the world, who are really just hoping to promote OSS, not help the city of Munich run better.

    On the other hand, they have a lobbyist from Microsoft who definitely isn't trying to help the city of Munich run better, so I guess it's fair. Must be overwhelming to be an administrator in Munich, though.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The problem is NEITHER OSS or Microsoft are trying to help Munich run better, both are pushing their own agenda. For MS I kinda understand that as they are a business, but the OSS community should be ashamed, They should be spending their efforts fixing the bucket of shit that Munich ended up with and if they did that then the City would not be contemplating the switch back.
      • Re: Global Politics (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I presume you mean "they should do this for free". Why would they do this? Open source is about being open not about being cheap.

      • Re:Global Politics (Score:5, Interesting)

        by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @02:17AM (#53978791) Journal

        if they did that then the City would not be contemplating the switch back.

        Unless....the reason for switching is because Microsoft bribed them in some way.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If a company invests huge resources in lobbying its considered part of the game. Then why shouldn't the FOSS community be able to do the same?

          I find it that people expect open software to be always cheaper than proprietary products. That's not necessarily the case and it should not be an argument when lobbying for FOSS. There are plenty of good reasons to switch to open source - being "cheap" isn't one.

        • by ruir ( 2709173 )
          If people did not care about football, soap operas and reality shows they would remember there are two political parties in scene. One pushes for Linux, and the other is on Microsofts pocket.
          Guess which one is in power now.
          • by Sique ( 173459 )
            The City of Munich moved to LiMux when the SPD was in power, and now the move to Microsoft happens when the SPD is in power.

            Yes, definitely two different parties here at work.

            • by ruir ( 2709173 )
              As far as I know it was the Greens that pushed the Linux agenda, and SPD was pushing the Windows agenda.
              • by Sique ( 173459 )
                Christian Ude (SPD) was mayor of Munich between 1993 and 2014, and now it's Dieter Reiter (SPD). There hasn't been any non-SPD mayor of Munich since the late 1940ies, now for nearly 70 years. And the Greens have never had more seats in the Munich city council than since 2014, while the SPD never had less seats than now since 1952.
        • Re:Global Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @05:02AM (#53979027) Homepage

          Unless....the reason for switching is because Microsoft bribed them in some way.

          At the core is probably some TCO studies and they're not exactly indisputable facts. The licensing is just one tiny bit of it, then you try to estimate the productivity, maintenance and administration, difficulty of getting software and staff to operate it, training costs of users and so on. There's a lot of room for bias, particularly when it comes to omitting costs you would have with a different solution but won't be apparent until you get there. Also known as "the grass is greener on the other side", when you jump the fence you'll find the other side has its own set of disadvantages.

          I'm sure Microsoft has made the pitch that Munich is actually losing money on their Linux adventure. And if you're not good at cutting through corporate BS and flawed assumptions - which most people aren't - it's not surprising that some policy makers believe them. Not to mention it probably involves a low-ball offer from Microsoft, which might actually be profitable in the short term until you're hooked on regular upgrade costs, software maintenance and so on in the future. But politicians often do things that look good in this election cycle. You don't have to imagine cloak-and-dagger operations.

          • by orin ( 113079 )
            Other than it being a "flagship Linux project" - the cost benefits to Microsoft of the sort of licensing used by Munich's city council aren't substantial enough that they'd make any extraordinary effort to change what was going on. The project never turned into the sort of unmitigated success that drove other municipalities to adopt Linux. "New Microsoft" even includes a version of Ubuntu on Windows 10, so probably at this stage didn't give much of a shit about what's going on in Munich. On the other hand,
            • by Junta ( 36770 )

              The ubuntu on Windows is a gimped 'linux' that is strictly so that a Windows desktop can be used for Linux VM work on Azure. So no unix domain sockets, no sane integration with desktop for graphics, not really the best filesystem performance, no integration of the native authentication/permission structure... Being binary compatible with Linux is one of the least needed aspects of linux, and it's pretty much the only facet they focused on.

        • Unless....the reason for switching is because Microsoft bribed them in some way.

          People are very quick to use the word bribe when in reality in many business deals it's just a case of a negotiable contract. If Microsoft were to give a huge discount on the software, that's not a bribe but it may dramatically sway the decision given that the basis from switching away from a package that the entire rest of the world uses is typically cost.

        • From the report
          "In 2014, Dieter Reiter was elected new mayor of Munich. He had referred to himself as "Microsoft fan" even before he took office. He prides himself with having played a major part in the decision to move the Microsoft Germany headquarters to downtown Munich. He started to question the LiMux strategy as soon as his term started, and asked Accenture, a Microsoft partner in the same building as Microsoft, to analyse Munich's IT infrastructure. The report can be found here (German). It's notew
        • Unless....the reason for switching is because Microsoft bribed them in some way.

          The geek's all-purpose explanation for any legal or political decision he doesn't like is bribery.

      • Perhaps you need to read more about the situation before jumping and saying "the bucket of shit that Munich ended up with".
    • Re:Global Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

      by execthis ( 537150 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @06:41AM (#53979131)

      One thing that bothers me about the press coverage of this is that there's no discussion about why there was a call to stop using LiMux. I would like to know why - was it certain apps that underperformed? Certain features that didn't exist? What? Discussing this without describing actual details is worse than meaningless. People can suggest all kinds of things, but until anyone actually knows what the issues were, it's a moot point.

      • The article answers this question. Newly elected major is pro-microsoft ideologically.
        • So why are they pro-MS ideologically? Any specific reason that manifests in the LiMux stack currently?

          • Only reason is the desire to conform.
          • too old to want to learn anything new?
            • Why do you assume that just because you personally prefer linux, everyone else either does as well or is unwilling to learn? I personally develop for linux at work, but use windows at home mpst of the time even though i obviously know my way around linux. I simply prefer windows workflows, windows ui and windows font rendering.

              • by Anonymous Coward

                Why do you assume that just because you personally prefer linux, everyone else either does as well or is unwilling to learn?

                Hazing.

                Ok, I know that is not a fully informative answer unless you already knew it was the answer, so I'll explain.

                Studies have shown that mild hazing results in a stronger emotional investment in the haze-locked subject matter. One such experiment was done with two groups attending a really boring seminar on avian reproduction. The group that was mildly hazed by being told that it would be an explicit discussion and forced to sign waivers that they were warned about the potential use of crude vocabulary

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            Close source proprietary software has the money and the off shore tax haven bank accounts to pay bribes and Free Open Source Software does not. That is one example and of course we know how much is buried by closed sourced proprietary software companies in tax havens, hundreds of billions of dollars. Would they pay bribes which can quite readily be cashed in as luxury overseas holidays, hmm, let me think about it, yes. They would also pay bribes to gain things we could never hope for tax holidays to bring t

      • would like to know why

        I don't. Changing a system is no reason to not continuously question running a new system. A switch from Windows to Linux is not an end-game but a business decision. That decision may be relevant at a certain period in time. If in the past a company looks at changing their desktop OS every 3 years (for example) I would expect them to continue to look at changing every 3 years even after the change.

        As to why one may win over the other, well a lot of personal preference from people quite high up can have that

    • Indeed it is!
      I mean if local groups hat tried to 'enlighten' the city council, but the FSFE?
      If M$ had be caught doing that we had an uproar ....

  • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @01:24AM (#53978685)

    Interesting how the MSFT trolls didn't show up to this article as they usually do. Microsoft... same old same old. Paid out all that payola and what... sheesh. Buncha pesky citizens got in the way.

  • The open source movement is quite strong in Germeny. I got this from playing Xonotic which has a strong EU/German presence. Much more open to OSS than North Americans.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It is somewhat logical - most software is US produced. If you are a government you want software free from foreign interference or at least something you can check (if you choose to do so). You either rely on closed software and you have to trust the producer (which is US based) or you have the choice to trust the much larger community and even have the ability to do partial checks on the source, in the case of FOSS. For Germany it is probably not such an issue, but what about countries that don't necessari

    • You mean the have sane people in Germany too!!
  • by mattMad ( 1271832 ) on Sunday March 05, 2017 @04:48AM (#53979011)
    Guess where Microsoft just opened their new German headquarters? Right: In Munich... (To be fair: They had their headquarters nearby Munich already before - but now they lured them right into the city)
  • We have all worked with people who shout at you for not using Linux. No one every address the fact that it is cumbersome to use. When there is a linux distro that is user friendly then it will be used more. Geeks are enamoured with all the reasons everyone "should" use open source os's but never address the consumers using the product.
    • I agree with you. Most of the answers I see under here are from the same people you address in your post. Most people do not care about the operating system, and they never will, and they should be free not to care. They do not want configurability, package repositories, terminal windows and a GUI that changes fundamentally every few years (that is why Windows 8 was a disaster). They just want to do what they are required to and then go and live their normal lives.
    • by ( 4621901 )

      Just to let you know they previously
      "replace their no longer supported Windows NT4 workstations"

      It's so old that any new OS like Windows 10, Linux or MacOS would have been just as hard without relearning.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    something about linux not working well with SAP and Oracle, espcially with HR.

    I work with a medium-to-big company (coincidentally headquartered in Munich-- we make... a luxury item). All of our (many) SAP systems run on SUSE and a majority (all?) of those SAP systems use Oracle. (I sit next to the regional database admin and SAP security admin). I have personally built several interfaces from HR systems on linux using SAP.

    So, the mayor's argument is complete bullshit.

    And... wow... we are truly living in 198

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