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EU Government Open Source Windows Linux IT

Munich's IT Lead: 'No Compelling Reason' To Switch Back To Windows From Linux (techrepublic.com) 203

"The man who runs Munich's central IT says there is no practical reason for the city to write off millions of euros and years of work to ditch its Linux-based OS for Windows," reports TechRepublic. Long-time Slashdot reader Qbertino summarizes a German-language article: Karl-Heinz Schneider, lead of Munich's local system house company IT@M, goes on to claim, "We do not see pressing technical reasons to switch to MS and MS Office... The council [in their recent plans] didn't even follow the analysts' suggestion to stick with using LibreOffice." Furthermore, Schneider stated that "System failures that angered citizens in recent years never were related to the LiMux project, but due to new bureaucratic procedures..." and apparently decisions by unqualified personnel at the administrative level, as Munich's administration itself states.
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Munich's IT Lead: 'No Compelling Reason' To Switch Back To Windows From Linux

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  • Translation (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Windows paid off the right people to switch back.

    That said, open source software is great until you have to use it. OpenOffice, GIMP, KiCad...all needlessly convoluted.

    • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cb88 ( 1410145 ) on Saturday March 11, 2017 @07:44PM (#54020169)
      Libre/OpenOffce perhaps, GIMP for sure, and KiCAD a little... but they aren't that bad. I have used very expensive software that was no better... OrCAD for instance (whatever it is called now, Xilinx's toolcina etc..Visual Studio crashes on a whim...
      • Re:Translation (Score:4, Informative)

        by Assmasher ( 456699 ) on Saturday March 11, 2017 @08:23PM (#54020295) Journal

        Visual Studio crashes on a whim? Weird, I use it every single day across multiple machines and virtual machines (Win 7,8.1,10, x86 and x64) when debugging Qt applications, and for writing tools for the Windows side of the house - the last crash I experienced was in a 3rd party plugin for Visual Studio 2010 over 5 years ago. I've been using it on the Windows side for decades (all the way back to Visual C++ 1.5 days when I used it and Borland C++) and never had problems with crashing (not that it never crashed, but it rare.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JoeMerchant ( 803320 )

          A lot depends on how you use it. The people who crash Visual Studio are obviously using it wrong ;-)

        • by cb88 ( 1410145 )
          Yeah, about every other time I use it... it crashes at some point... also intellisense crashes after a few minutes and quits working untill I restart VS.. I'm running VS 2012 with no plugins being used.
          • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

            The solutions to this problem have been known for years:

            Solution 1)
            Reinstall windows from scratch, then install VS.

            Solution 2)
            Run windows in a VM. I found that windows works much better if you only let it see some kind of generic hardware.

            • by cb88 ( 1410145 )
              I'm considering the 2nd option once my work computer gets upgraded... not bothered enough for the first option.
              • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

                good choice!

                this works fine for me with something like: /usr/bin/ionice -c 2 -n 7 /usr/bin/nice -n 5 \ /bin/su qemu -c "qemu-system-x86_64 -m 2048 \
                -smp 1 -net nic,model=virtio,macaddr=$MAC_WIN2012 \
                -drive file=win2012.0.0.img,index=0,media=disk,cache=none \
                -net tap,ifname=${TAP_WIN2012},script=no,downscript=no \
                -display vnc=127.0.0.1:${VNC_WIN2012} -daemonize \
                -pidfile /var/run/qemu/win2012.pid -enable-kvm \
                -cdrom /home/win/nobk/windowsDVD/dummy.iso \
                -boot menu=on,splash-time=15000"

                • by cb88 ( 1410145 )
                  More than likely I'd use VirtualBox.. seamless mode is pretty handy.

                  That said I have used QEMU before.. but even though I doubt I'd use it over vnc.. I probably would investigate the new GPU virtualization support they've been talking up.
          • That's kind of funny because I had heard there were problems with vs 2012 - especially the betas, but they'd been fixed by the time is moved to it. That was about 8 months into it's lifecycle. Never experienced your problems - again, on all the OS variants I have to support today. Kind of curious that you're using vs 2012 when it's 2017 and anyone who paid for MSDN was eligible for 2013. If you're using the express version, that's even weirder. I'm not aware of any libraries or frameworks that are stuc

            • by cb88 ( 1410145 )
              Vendors use what their software is built on... in many cases we don't upgrade untill the job site gets upgraded...etc.. new jobs are running on 2015 it just happens that I do more with KiCad and embedded C/C++ than Visual Studio but we all tend to get our hands in everything where I work.

              Frankly the only reason I haven't been upgraded is I havent' worked on one of the newer jobs where I needed to be upgraded yet (we've been on 2015 for around a year I think but I've been working on other projects).
        • It depends on the version. VS 2010 was solid, but MS royally screwed something up in VS 2012 when they rewrote the IDE, as it was highly unstable (especially with large projects), with VS 2013 just a bit better. VS 2015 has been quite stable, fortunately, and hopefully VS 2017 will continue the trend.

        • I can crash it occasionally. I don't tend to have many computer problems though. I think it has something to do with using them the same way as I always do and as a result they probably used to crash and I just stopped using it that way.

          I had horrible problems with GCC for a long time and with Swift and it's impressively bad compiler front end... honestly, how hard is it to write a parser that actually can tell where it had problems parsing. It's like seeing a parser writing by a lazy oaf.
        • Oh, VS is not free of error. I've seen crashes and freezes beore and currently I have to deal with no longer being able to create new WPF views and windows, only custom controls. (Yes, creating a custom control and changing the parent class works perfectly fine but it's annoying.)

          It is fairly stable but it does screw up occasionally. Sill not "on a whim", though, I agree on that.
      • Libre/OpenOffce perhaps, GIMP for sure, and KiCAD a little... but they aren't that bad. I have used very expensive software that was no better... OrCAD for instance (whatever it is called now, Xilinx's toolcina etc..Visual Studio crashes on a whim...

        Why is Office 365 so much easier to use than Libre? This is surprising to me. Gimp just doesn't have the tools I need, but Microsoftt Office is at the bottom of my Office suite list.

        • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Daemonik ( 171801 ) on Saturday March 11, 2017 @10:12PM (#54020683) Homepage
          Usually the people who complain that software B is hard to use have been using software A for 10 years and B is just different enough to throw them off constantly.
          • Re:Translation (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Saturday March 11, 2017 @11:31PM (#54020947)

            Usually the people who complain that software B is hard to use have been using software A for 10 years and B is just different enough to throw them off constantly.

            Exactly. I made the transition from Microsoft's suite to AO and LO almost seamlessly. I had to look up some things in their spreadsheet, but that might have taken up 15 minutes. since then. On the other hand, fixing documents from Windows to OSX was a regular part of operation, I probably spent months overall.

        • by jwhyche ( 6192 )

          To each his own I say. I use MS office in work environment because of compatibility issues with libre office. I know it has gotten so much better in 5.x now, but still I will stick to MS office there. I can lose a contract just because some client can't open a proposal in their copy of word. Not worth the chance to me.

          I use libreoffice 5.x for personal writings. I like the feel of librewrite over ms word. Librewrite reminds me of the word processors I used to use on the Amiga back in college.

          • I can lose a contract just because some client can't open a proposal in their copy of word. Not worth the chance to me.

            You really really should be sending your proposals as cryptographically signed PDFs. Both because of the aforementioned problem and because you want to have the ability to prove the customer still has what you sent, days or weeks later. PDFs display the same everywhere, including Android and iOS, and any decent PDF viewer makes them easy to annotate as well.

            And... guess which office suite it's trivially easy to export a PDF from, for free? Yeah, LibreOffice.

            As for compatibility issues when editing the sa

      • by kuzb ( 724081 )
        "Visual Studio crashes on a whim" - I fail to understand how you'd know this if you staunchly oppose using Windows to the point that you no longer know what it's like. I dislike Linux zealots because they get so caught up in idealism that they fail to understand anything about what they're decrying.
    • Windows paid off the right people to switch back

      "Windows" did? Is that what they're calling people from the Frankfurt consulate these days?

      • That is that the people from India say when they call and tell me that I apparantly have a problem with my computer that needs to be fixed by installing some trojan of theirs: "Hello I'm calling from Windows".
    • Re:Translation (Score:5, Informative)

      by jwhyche ( 6192 ) on Sunday March 12, 2017 @05:01PM (#54024609) Homepage

      at said, open source software is great until you have to use it. OpenOffice, GIMP, KiCad...all needlessly convoluted.

      I can see that with gimp. It has one of the worse interfaces for any software that I have seen. I don't know about KiCad as I have never used it. Openoffice is several years out of date. Do they still maintain it?

      Libreoffice 5.x+ is what you want to use. 4.x and below I always seemed to have issues interfacing with the rest of the MS office world. Not so with 5.x+ and above.

  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock AT poetic DOT com> on Saturday March 11, 2017 @08:02PM (#54020211)

    Um, it cost that much to switch to Linux? This can't be encouraging to other cities / governments. Exactly how was the money and time spent? Inquiring minds want to know!

    • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Saturday March 11, 2017 @08:10PM (#54020259)
      The cost of buying computers over the last decade adds up to a bit no matter what you put on them.
      • The cost of buying computers over the last decade adds up to a bit no matter what you put on them.

        I'm willing to bet that the cost isn't for hardware, it would be the same hardware whether they were running Windows or a Linux variant. The cost probably went into development of their version of Linux, the packaging and testing of the OS and apps, the development of a support system, and training. All of this requires labour, which tends to be more expensive than software (i.e. most of this would be off-the-shelf software in the Windows world).

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )
          You are only willing to bet because you can't understand that in open source a large portion of the development work is already done for you. Sure, somebody's taxes/payroll/whatever paid for each piece but it only has to be done once instead of so much reinventing wheels.
          Also you don't seem to get that administration costs for non-MS systems are low due to replacement being far more trivial than even re-imaging. Throw a drive with an installed system in just about anything and you are good to go, no mucki
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Licenses... $0
      Anpassung... $2,000,000
      Transexuellen Waschraum für Linux-Benutzer.... $2,500,000
      Prostituierte und Kokain... $3,500,000

    • Linux is only free if your time is worth nothing. Hardware and software had to be spec'd and tested. Software had to be written, people had to be trained, etc etc. It certainly isn't as easy as installing Linux and then sitting someone down and saying "here you go, carry on".

  • Whenever I read stories like this, ie. Windows vs. Linux vs. OSX vs. it seems to always be from the perspective of the implementers or those looking to make a point about whether it can be done. Why not offer choice? Why the constant insistence that users must have the flavour of the day foisted upon them?

    There is complexity in running an estate with multiple OS on offer but the truth is, any sysadmins capable of running a *nix infrastructure and operation should find supporting and mainlining other OS est

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )

      Why the constant insistence that users must have the flavour of the day foisted upon them?

      Because it's driven by salesfolk who focus on the very short term.

      And with modern browsers offering productivity suites through web based platforms

      Yes. Also X Windows and RDP things make it easier to run stuff where it will run well and display it on whatever the user has, even a phone or tablet if necessary. Some of the third party RDP things even have similar functionality to X where they can export a single applic

    • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Saturday March 11, 2017 @08:42PM (#54020339)

      Do you rejoice when you get an email about an upgrade of the vending machines in the company cafeteria, or do you worry about the new machines not carrying the kind of soft drinks or candy bars you're used to? That's basically how a typical office worker feels about computers. Spend a week working helpdesk and you'll understand that very very clearly.

      That's why when you manage a large pool of workstations you want the bare minimum that users need to do their work, and why you want that bare minimum to be set in stone. Otherwise you're just annoying users and adding more support tickets to your queue.

    • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Saturday March 11, 2017 @08:53PM (#54020379)

      Whenever I read stories like this, ie. Windows vs. Linux vs. OSX vs. it seems to always be from the perspective of the implementers or those looking to make a point about whether it can be done. Why not offer choice?

      If you use Microsoft office, you put a straitjacket on your system. Not compatible with OSX version of Office, no software at all for Linux.

      Choice is nice, but why choose the most limiting OS and Office Suite? I run LO, and my Mac shows the same as my Windows shows the same as my Linux shows the same.

      That's why I use it.

      • by jeremyp ( 130771 )

        If you use Microsoft office, you put a straitjacket on your system. Not compatible with OSX version of Office

        That comes as news to me as a Mac OS user in a mainly Windows based office environment. There are no serious compatibility issues between the two versions of Office in my considerable (more than 10 years) experience of use g the Mac versions.

      • But your LO document doesn't show the same as your co-worker's MSOffice.
        • But your LO document doesn't show the same as your co-worker's MSOffice.

          Right. That's my point. MSO is the outlier, the program that just isn't compatible with anyone else, and often not with itself. My answer was to the question of why the users shouldn't just pick and choose their Office suites.

          Unless you are going to dictate the platform as Windows only, and dictate MSO down to the version level, and dictate the printer used, you're going to be spending some time fixing documents that shouldn't need fixed.

          And that's a pretty good reason to use software available on mu

    • Why not offer choice? Why the constant insistence that users must have the flavour of the day foisted upon them?

      False dichotomy. The users should be given the best tool for the job, when all requirements are considered. Standardizing on one platform makes many things simpler, so it should surprise no one that people would like to do that. Hell, I avoid running any Unix other than Linux simply so that I don't have to remember a whole other set of tools. I'm going to have devices running Linux, why complicate things?

      In my personal life I make good use of all 3 mainstream OS and at work I have a choice which is made available all users too.

      It's nice when that makes sense, but it costs more to do things that way in many if not all cases, and i

    • Why not offer choice?

      As an IT technician, I'm more than happy to take away your a PC and give you a box of crayons to get your work done. The employer provides the equipment to get the job done. Not every job requires a PC. Some people can get by with a typewriter, a pen or crayons. I once had a boss who gave me a box of crayons and I embarrassed the hell out of him by presenting my finished report in crayons to his boss.

    • by Matt Bury ( 4823023 ) on Saturday March 11, 2017 @10:41PM (#54020769)

      The trouble is that Microsoft don't like their users to have choice. They bake-in proprietary features and incompatibilities that prevent users from sharing documents and files across operating systems or going outside their software walled gardens. How many prosecutions against Microsoft for anti-competitive practices will it take to convince you? They don't want their users to have choice, they want their users to be stuck with using their products and services and unable to easily switch to others.

      I can see that for people whose jobs are doing stuff other than ICT will see the transition from one OS and office software to another as a problem. It's one transition, once. Anyone who's experienced Win10 can attest that it's so different to previous versions and that they've changed around MS Office so much lately, that the learning curve to switch to Linux is comparable. So why not? Also, there's the privacy issues with Win10 (Microsoft calls their key-loggers and spyware "telemetry") that all governments should be wary of. Keep your privacy and control with Linux as well as save a few € in the process.

      • Also, there's the privacy issues with Win10 (Microsoft calls their key-loggers and spyware "telemetry") that all governments should be wary of.

        I'd change the last part of that sentence from "that all governments should be wary of" to "that all people/businesses should be wary of"... I'd bet all of this
        "telemetry" crap is *not* just desired by MS but was requested by the government.. After all the NSA needs *something* to fill that giant Utah datacenter they spent so many billions on....

        • I'd change the last part of that sentence from "that all governments should be wary of" to "that all people/businesses should be wary of"... I'd bet all of this
          "telemetry" crap is *not* just desired by MS but was requested by the government.

          Not necessarily by the Munich government.

    • There is complexity in running an estate with multiple OS on offer but the truth is, any sysadmins capable of running a *nix infrastructure and operation should find supporting and mainlining other OS estates relatively straightforward.

      Salty Linux & Solaris SA: If you can afford a *nix sysadmin team, you can afford a contractor to install and run Windows management infrastructure while you look for a permanent hire.

      Anyone's capable of learning Mandarin, and it'd be swell if everyone learned another language, but don't tell me to start doing "just" half my work in it next week... "cause you're smart." I'm not that stupid.

    • Whenever I read stories like this, ie. Windows vs. Linux vs. OSX vs. it seems to always be from the perspective of the implementers or those looking to make a point about whether it can be done. Why not offer choice? Why the constant insistence that users must have the flavour of the day foisted upon them?

      Because the cost of maintaining one system is far less than half the cost of maintaining 2 systems.

  • by julian67 ( 1022593 ) on Saturday March 11, 2017 @10:15PM (#54020697)

    Obvious solution: switch to ReactOS. Or, if that seems too time consuming, just install Gentoo.

  • More Corruption (Score:4, Informative)

    by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Saturday March 11, 2017 @11:19PM (#54020907)

    This is a glaring example of corruption at work. Microsoft bribes the council into shoveling millions back into Microsoft. I wish I could say something like, "how are these clowns not being thrown out of office?!" However, this is standard operating procedure in corrupt governments around the world.

    • Oh please get a grip on yourself.

      This is a glaring example of personal preference taking over a group agenda nothing more. It's like I know that I won't be offered an Android phone anymore through my company when this one breaks because the 2IC to our current CTO is an Apple fan not a multiple choice fan, and our CTO is near retirement. People in power drive agendas without need for bribery or corruption. Heck sometimes you promote these people to those positions specifically to incite change.

      At the very wo

  • Usually that job is to _advise_, but not to _undermine_ his bosses. Advising is something you do internally, not publicly.

    Look, I get he cares about this. But if his bosses tell him to make sure application or OS get installed, it's his job to make it so - and not to bitch about it in public. If he doesn't like his job, I'm sure there are plenty of other people who will do it without complaints.

    • Usually that job is to _advise_, but not to _undermine_ his bosses. Advising is something you do internally, not publicly.

      Look, I get he cares about this. But if his bosses tell him to make sure application or OS get installed, it's his job to make it so - and not to bitch about it in public. If he doesn't like his job, I'm sure there are plenty of other people who will do it without complaints.

      His bosses are the tax-paying citizens of Munich. If he has the idea that the process by which the os was chosen is wrong, he almost has an obligation to express his opinion.

      There are reasons why certain decision-making is private, but especially in a public organisation, there shouldn't be too many. I don't see why a decision on windows vs linux shouldn't be transparent for everyone.

  • MS made a deal with Munich's mayors office to move its german headquarters to Munich. Wonder what the other side of that deal was...
  • 1. IT Lead originally failed to understand the needs of the users of such system.
    2. IT Lead implements alternative to MS software that doesn't meet the needs of the users
    3. Users say "this doesn't do what we want, lets go back to how it was"
    4. IT Lead blames shift back to MS software on the users; "System fails [were] due to new bureaucratic procedure"

    Ie, IT Lead implemented something the users didn't need or want and is blaming the users for that.

    It might be an unpopular opinion on a tech site;

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