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Microsoft Open Source Windows Linux

Green Party Leaders Don't Want Windows In Munich (techrepublic.com) 139

Reader sqorbit writes: Munich spent a lot of time (9 years) and a lot of money in shifting some 15,000 staff to a Linux-based OS. The plan now is to move to Windows 10 by 2021. Munich's Green Party is citing the WannaCry virus as a valid reason not to switch to Windows. "As with many of the biggest attacks, the computers that were mainly hit were running the Windows operating system," the Green Party said in a statement.
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Green Party Leaders Don't Want Windows In Munich

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  • by I'm just joshin ( 633449 ) on Thursday June 15, 2017 @12:23PM (#54626783)

    Sheesh, are they also anti-skylight?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by gurps_npc ( 621217 )

      /sarcasm activated/

      It's the heat loss in winter. The green party insists on everything being as insulated as possible and you lose a lot of heat via the windows. So they want them all removed.

      I'm as environmentally progressive as the next guy, but this is taking it too far. ;Q

      • it would be more efficient not to heat the office and wear coats indoors.

        • It would be more efficient to stay the fuck in our homes, not drive cars just to be able to work in the same place, not have to heat/cool an office "just because".

          • I hope once the current generation retires and dies off, the next generation realizes that most office jobs are telecommute compatible and we can close down a lot of the office buildings we have today and rid ourselves of a lot of the traffic problems. People will still travel of course, but it won't be a total zoo every morning from 6 to 10.

            • by Kkloe ( 2751395 )
              I would never would like to work in my house, fking stupid to associate your home with work, you will never be free.

              As I work right now it is not in the main office that is in another town, we hire "table seats" on a shared workplace office, ofcourse you have your own table not take the one available crap.
              • Build a home office. Or get over your psychological hang ups. People worked at home for thousands of years, farming, weaving, crafting, and more.

        • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )
          Computer equipment often does not like to operate after frosting over.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    But arguing wanna cry is your reason makes me wanna cry. Updated versions of windows weren't susceptible to the worm. This seems like a moot point or at least one where they're stretching the truth to make one.

    I'm surprised they need windows this badly myself especially after making the switch. My guess is there are a few bureaucrats who can't understand how to use open office or think it's "too difficult" to send/receive attachments. Thus Linux is "no good" and Windows is a "necessity."

    • I never agree w/ the Green Party (anywhere), but on this one, finally they've found something I can agree w/ them on. Since Munich has already spent a ton of cash converting to their own Linux distro, it would be a sheer waste of person-hours to go back to Windows. Since they have something that is totally in their control

      As far as the documents go, would it be very difficult for Microsoft to do a Linux version of Office 365 (they could monetize it that way) client, given that they already have a ver

      • As far as the documents go, would it be very difficult for Microsoft to do a Linux version of Office 365 (they could monetize it that way) client, given that they already have a version for Android? I know, Android has that UI that almost totally masks the Linux underpinnings, but Microsoft could do a client for Linux (and BSD) that would run Office 365, and run the OS off Azure. That way, they can have a steady stream of cash, instead of being caught up in trying to forcibly upgrade people's OSs.

        If Microsoft were to do that then they would lose one of the things that chains people to their operating system; so it would not be a commercially sensible thing to do. The biggest problem is not the word processor (just specify .ODF - the city is large enough to do that), but integration with Microsoft Exchange - especially group-ware (calendaring).

        • Is there even a good suite of FOSS products that does that? I mean LibreOffice is in most cases an adequate replacement for MS Office but what about integrating it with and email and calendar (meeting/booking/etc) with push notifications solution?
        • But Microsoft has already done that w/ both iOS and Android, and IIRC, those applications even exist on OS X. So it wouldn't be a first of anything, and they'd still have a steady income stream of people paying them for an annual Office 365 subscription.

          Also, is Exchange a part of what Munich was on? B'cos if that was, they'd never have gotten off Windows in the first place. For group work, there are plenty of Android utilities that would work - all of it doesn't have to be on the desktop, and besides

    • by Jerry ( 6400 )

      No, that's not it.
      In every case (OOXML, OLPC, etc...) key players were bribed to favor MS.

    • My guess is there are a few bureaucrats who can't understand how to use open office or think it's "too difficult" to send/receive attachments. Thus Linux is "no good" and Windows is a "necessity."

      Even then they could switch to Linux as their OS and use Office365 if the office suite is the problem.

  • by js3 ( 319268 ) on Thursday June 15, 2017 @12:28PM (#54626817)

    They were already planning on switching back to windows because something wasn't working with linux/open source. They should try to address that problem instead and make a case for staying with linux instead of fear mongering.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      " something wasn't working with linux/open source" that something was some higher ups didn't like the non-windows(TM) interface after MS lobbyists told them they don't like the non-windows interface. Fear mongering is the only choice left.

    • It's fun to see FUD being employed against M$ though.

      • It's fun to see FUD being employed against M$ though.

        You mean BY Micros~1. Somehow these calls to switch back only seem to come from the sort of high-level exectives that Microsoft sales teams target.

    • by Hentes ( 2461350 )

      Security may not be relevant from a "business perspective", but that doesn't make it any less important.

  • What is their issue? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Camel Pilot ( 78781 ) on Thursday June 15, 2017 @12:29PM (#54626821) Homepage Journal

    I switched to CentOS (with Mate) on the desktop several years ago. I have windows on dual boot. I haven't booted into Windows for nearly year. I don't miss windows for anything. When I upgraded from CentOS 6 to CentOS 7 it literally only took me about 2 hours to upgrade and install my toolchain and have backups working. With Windows this would have taken an entire day. I smirk at my associates who worry about Ransomware or just cruft slowing chocking their desktops/laptops.

      However my use case may be different than others.

    • by burki ( 32245 ) on Thursday June 15, 2017 @12:35PM (#54626871)

      For those of you who understand German I highly recommend:
      http://www.br.de/radio/b5-aktu... [www.br.de]
      It is a 15 minutes talk with one of the members of the city parliament responsible for this decision.

      I'm not saying that the decision to switch back to Windows is the right one, but you get a good feeling for the pain they are feeling. She mentions computers taking twenty minutes to start in the beginning of the day, they have 2'000 different applications in the city for specific tasks, some of them working only on a single versions of a web browsers. Their Linux clients exists in a variety of configurations, some with LibreOffice, others with OpenOffice. And while they managed to switch 70% of clients to Linux, they kept 30% of there machines on various versions of Windows going back to XP in order to cope with domain specific solutions.

      And then she observes that there was a very active generation of IT technicians 10 years ago eager to make a switch to Linux. But the younger people these days neither care too much about Windows or Linux; they are much more interested (and knowledgeable) in coding Android apps. So they can't fill the position for admins with good knowledge of Linux desktops but have to hire independent contractors costing â 1'500 a day (instead of â 4'500 per months if they were regular city employees). To sum it up, they have a variety of IT issues many of them probably typical for any large city that can't pay the salaries good staff would expect in a booming and relatively expensive city like Munich. And all of you pointing out that they would have similar issues with an aging Windows environment as well are probably spot on. But taking into consideration that being the only bigger city with a non-Microsoft client infrastructure in the area certainly doesn't make it easier getting experienced staff from other communities with first hand experience in a comparable environment, their wish of getting closer to the main stream in government ID seems understandable.

      • She mentions computers taking twenty minutes to start in the beginning of the day

        Thanks for that.

        I had to laugh at this one as I have a Windows "Enterprise" computer on the my desktop at work and it really does take 20 minutes from bootup to being able to use it. I look at the task manager and lordy the stuff they install is simply mind boggling.

        The only valid issue I can see from this is the cost and availability of admin support. As you pointed out all the other issues are prevalent in spades in a Windows

        • Similar problem with my old work Windows box. With AD Servers halfway across the country, thousands showing up at roughly the same time nationwide, site bandwidth at a premium, loads of group policy nonsense, lots of crapware, and older machines a simple reboot was an exercise in frustration. Power-on to login prompt was quick... login to usable was a minimum of 15 minutes, often more like 20-30 depending on network traffic.

          I'd question what sort of software they are using to configure and lock down the use

        • Yeah, it sounds like part of their problem is that IT just isn't managing their desktops very well. That said, there are a lot of good tools available for managing windows desktops, I'm not sure what's available in the Linux world. But Munich is pretty awesome, you'd think Linux admins would jump at a chance to work there. Even if they're relatively rare, they've got all of Europe to recruit from.
        • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

          Competent admin support for windows is as rare and expensive as linux admin support, the difference is that there is a lot lower availability of cheap and incompetent support staff (generally because such inexperienced people have never even heard of linux).
          But the end result of using such cheap staff is not good, you will end up with severe security and stability problems.

      • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday June 15, 2017 @12:57PM (#54627053) Homepage

        Thank you for posting. The first question about something like this should be "what problem are they trying to solve?" and your post gives some idea of the answer to that.

        Having looked at this list, it doesn't seem like the problems they're experiencing are caused by using Linux. If their computers take 20 minutes to boot, there must be something wrong with their computers. If the complaint is that some people are using OpenOffice and some are using LibreOffice, that has nothing to do with the OS whatsoever. Either way, it's pretty easy to fix both of those at once: Buy new computers, and install the same office suite on all of them.

        If the problem is that they have web applications that only work in a specific version of a specific web browser, that's not really a problem with their OS. If it only works on IE 6, then you might need to stick with an old version of Windows in order to use it, but migrating to Windows 10 isn't going to help. The real solution is to develop a new, modern web application (or at least overhaul the old one's front end) so that it's more browser-agnostic.

        If the problem is that your IT people are all Android developers, then once again, I don't know how switching to Windows helps. Maybe the best solution would be to wait for Google to come out with their Android/ChromeOS hybrid and switch to that instead of one of the current Linux desktop distros.

        The only issue that you've raised that seems like it might point you in the direction of Windows is, "they can't fill the position for admins with good knowledge of Linux desktops". It is possible that it's easier to find cheap Windows support than cheap Linux support. On the other hand, if the common computer problems are caused by having extremely old/slow hardware, and having old legacy apps that require Windows XP, then I'm not sure Windows support staff is a very good investment. You're going to hire a bunch of additional people and pay for a large-scale migration, only to find that you still have all the same problems.

        Maybe there's more to it, and I'd be interested to know the details. However, it kind of sounds like someone in charge is under a mistaken impression that running Windows will fix problems that have nothing to do with the desktop OS.

      • But the younger people these days neither care too much about Windows or Linux; they are much more interested (and knowledgeable) in coding Android apps

        Is she saying their IT staff spend most of their time coding Android apps? Or that they can't hire IT staff because they all want to code Android apps?

        No, I don't believe that in the entire country of Germany, Munich can not recruit competent IT staff that will pur down their Android app develpment during work hours.

        • She's saying there are fewer people tinkering with desktop Linux these days so it is harder to find people to maintain and update their customized distribution. That the new generation of techies are much more interested in mobile than desktop.
      • Hardware support (Score:4, Informative)

        by Radical Moderate ( 563286 ) on Thursday June 15, 2017 @01:16PM (#54627251)
        Basically, they're finding there's a lag between new hardware being released and the OS getting updates to support it, and it's a huge PIA for support staff. [techrepublic.com]
      • There sounds like a whole story there that *isn't* being covered. Namely, what happened to that entire batch of IT technicians that were familiar with linux? It seems strange that they'd have such significant turnaround to lose all that experience. Worse still, why are they hiring IT people that "don't care" about linux?

        Based on the parent's description, it sounds the technical problems they are experiencing are due to root causes that have nothing to do with linux.

      • However with Windows those problems would still exist. If the staff setting things up on Linux were that screwed up then they'd have been equally screwed up with Windows. Different office applications on different computers, clearly this is not an inherent flaw in Linux but a screw up in administration and support. If they want to hire cheap commodity Windows admins to save money on outside contractors, then they'll be stuck with cheap commodity admins! Yes it should not be so hard to get good IT people

      • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

        And then she observes that there was a very active generation of IT technicians 10 years ago eager to make a switch to Linux. But the younger people these days neither care too much about Windows or Linux; they are much more interested (and knowledgeable) in coding Android apps.

        System admins generally don't want to be app coders, so this is comparing apples to oranges. Maybe MS has been spreading FUD in Munich?

      • It is a 15 minutes talk with one of the members of the city parliament responsible for this decision.

        I don't speak German so I'll take your word for it.

        This is bonkers.

        She mentions computers taking twenty minutes to start in the beginning of the day,

        what the...? how do you do that?

        they have 2'000 different applications in the city for specific tasks, some of them working only on a single versions of a web browsers.

        Well switching no windows won't help there.

        Their Linux clients exists in a variety of confi

      • She mentions computers taking twenty minutes to start in the beginning of the day, they have 2'000 different applications in the city for specific tasks, some of them working only on a single versions of a web browsers. Their Linux clients exists in a variety of configurations, some with LibreOffice, others with OpenOffice..

        The first one is bullshit. I use Windows at work and. The instructions are to turn off the computer at the end of the workday but nobody does that because we I use the computers to check in and out and sometimes the computer take a lot of time to boot up, and if Windows decides to update even more. Number 2 has nothing to do with Linux, its incopetent programming and I dont see how it would be better with Windows. Number 3 is a problem with the systems administrators and it is not Linuxs fault. I dont und

      • by jezwel ( 2451108 )
        What I'm seeing is the constant race to the bottom for IT costs, with the accompanying ever declining quality of delivered services.
        Their inability to move many of their applications from obsolete standards like WinXP and old browser versions means they will continue to waste money and effort trying to keep these old apps going.

        This is 100% a management issue in refusing to invest now in order to reduce maintenance costs in the long term. Changing their OS to the commodity standard may help them find chea

      • Aren't these the sort of things Redhat makes so much money solving for large organisations? Or do Redhat not do desktop support?

        In any case, there are big companies that offer enterprise support for Linux and I'm not seeing any mention of Munich considering that as an option.

        If their reasoning is that they don't want someone else holding their dicks for them while they pee, well that just works against Windows more than it does Linux.

      • She mentions computers taking twenty minutes to start in the beginning of the day...

        IOW, a pack of lies.

    • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Thursday June 15, 2017 @01:06PM (#54627141)
      And I bet you don't spend most of your day in word processing and spreadsheet programs. If you do, you will find Windows far more useful than any Linux distro.
  • Wannacry isn't a valid reason to abandon Windows. Security by removing one single attack vector isn't security.

    How about instead staffing a dedicated IT security department and actually doing security properly?

    • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

      No but diversity is a good defence...
      If everyone runs the same thing then everyone has the same vulnerabilities, if there are a variety of different systems out there it becomes much harder to attack.

      • No but diversity is a good defence...

        And a great policy to set in place by a team specialising in security, and not by some politician who thinks it's the be-all and end-all.

  • cause that is how you leak government data. windows 10. lol.
  • by Train0987 ( 1059246 ) on Thursday June 15, 2017 @12:58PM (#54627077)
    Crap, I thought for sure 2021 was going to be the Year of Linux Desktop! they spent 8 years preparing for it to!
  • switching back to MS_Windows is only setting yourself up as a target for attack, stick with Linux, even with Linux if one distro is targeted it would be super easy to switch distros and still install the same applications built to run on another distro of Linux that is not targeted, so with Linux you have that strength too
    • No, their problem is not being able to hire people who can maintain Linux. So they wouldn't be able to "super easy to switch distros", since they don't have people who can install distros. If you can hire Windows admins, they can maintain the systems with the latest patches and avoid most of the common attack routes used to attack Windows.
      • This sounds like a business opportunity to provide a school for training young Germans that want to work in the government's IT.

        I'm sure there are plenty of Bulgarian, Romanian, and Hungarian people who would like an Linux IT job in Germany. Isn't one of the benefits of being part of the EU the opportunities available to foreign workers?

      • you sound like a windows fanboy trying to do damage control for your favorite OS
        • I dual boot Windows and Fedora. Our production servers are Sun, Redhat and Windows. In trying to hire people, I can tell you it is far easier to find Windows people than any other OS.
      • So basically, they're unable to hire anyone who knows how to use Google?

        Because that's how I've learned:
        - C#
        - Windows Administration
        - Javascript/jQuery
        - Linux
        - Linux Administration
        - Linux specific APIs

        All in the last three years too. Why? Because my boss said "Go fix this problem." And my answer couldn't be "I don't know." It had to be "I'll figure it out."

        Seriously. What kind of world does everyone else live in where a lack of knowledge is an excuse for failu

        • So basically, they're unable to hire anyone who knows how to use Google?

          No, of course, they know how to use Google. The problem is that they are not willing to learn. Twenty years ago, it was Macs, even though the Windows interface was pretty much the same as they copied it. People just didn't even want to try. I got sent to a lot of places because I knew how to work on Mac and nobody else would even try, a decision supported at the admin level because they didn't want to have to support Macs even though the effort was trivial. Today, it's the same with Linux and I get sent out

        • by bankman ( 136859 )

          This is how smart people work and not how governments or administrations go about things. Their solution is throwing money at it until the problem goes away, ie. it has shifted to something else, which somebody else has to fix. And don't forget, even in an environment similar to yours, there are people who fix problems and who embrace change, like yourself, and people who can't deal with that kind of effort, pressure and mental flexibility. You need them too, but not to solve problems. I have worked with co

  • by iampiti ( 1059688 ) on Thursday June 15, 2017 @12:59PM (#54627087)
    If the green party is anything like similar parties here in Spain you'd expect them to be very nitpicky about what they use and to care about freedoms and such.
    So I've been really disappointed that the reasons they give to stay in Linux is "WannaCry", i.e. Virus and the like.
    I'd hope such a party would know and care about Windows 10's telemetry, publicity and user tracking. If even they don't know or care means that 99'9% of people don't and so Microsoft has no reason to change and then probably Windows will get worse and worse.
    It's a pity because i quite liked Windows until 7 and I'm unlikely to ever be able to get completely away from it.
    • by gosand ( 234100 )

      Hmmm, I have to wonder about Windows telemetry in the Enterprise environment.

      I use it at work, and I was thinking that surely there must be a way for them to disable it... my company doesn't want MS to be able to see into our company.
      Then I wondered if perhaps MS is selling the view into that telemetry back to the company, so THEY could see what their users are doing.

      I haven't done any kind of digging to see if this has been brought up or discussed by anyone else, but it sure seems plausible to me.

      • There's an enterprise version of Windows 10 that has less telemetry/more controls about it but AFAIK isn't totally clean.
        Also, some weeks ago there was an article here that said that Microsoft had reached an agreement with China's government for a special, more controllable, version of Win 10. So it seems you must be a government with a lot of money to get a good version of Windows 10
    • I'd hope such a party would know and care about Windows 10's telemetry, publicity and user tracking. If even they don't know or care means that 99'9% of people don't and so Microsoft has no reason to change and then probably Windows will get worse and worse.

      It seems that the Pirate Party is the only one that knows and cares about such issues. My city council recently welcomed its first Pirate members, and they promptly took up the issue of public documents being distributed in proprietary formats. E.g. Android users could not open the documents so far, so it was something that concerned people beyond the hardcore Linux geeks.

  • When German Green party says something then it is usually exactly the opposite of one should do if one were to use reason and facts. That is the sorry state of affairs in Germany these days. It means that this recommendation should be looked at carefully before deployment.
    • I generally disagree w/ everything they stood & stand for since the 80s, when they opposed Pershing & Cruise missiles in West Germany. However, on this one, they got it right, although there are more reasons than WannaCry to stay away from Windows

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The reasoning in this case (as usual) may be doubtful, but they are right for once: it is better if the Munich city administration keeps using Linux, despite the bribes offered by Microsoft.

  • by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Thursday June 15, 2017 @02:52PM (#54628217)
    Okay, if one is in the medical profession and you are bound by proprietary drivers (probably outdated), or in some other professional with similar hardware lockins (Construction, Automobile/Farming equipment Computer diagnostics/calibration), or POSSIBLY hearing aid equipment interfaces/drivers (again outdated typically), you don't need MS Windows (feel free to add professional category subject to hardware lock-in). 95% of all tools are web based via Intranet or Internet. Linux does all the word processing, email, messaging, web surfing and even video chat options you need. LibreOffice's only serious weakness is on complex tables. But since MS and Google are pushing web based subscription, that may not even matter a lot unless you work with confidential data requiring local access only use + complex excel tables. I've been seeing/helping people convert to Mint Linux and Debian for years with no complaints. Gamers may complain about not having the full selection of games, but in government that is not a positive factor I think. Also, Windows 10 is NOT immune to WannaCry. you can patch it, but, given MS's recent history with buggy (or misleading) patches you can't really rely on it. Plus you can be sure others are adapting it to new "patched" Windows 10 anyway. Also will Munich get a "special" version of Windows 10 like China did to prevent government secrets going to the USA? (And the government agencies within) https://thenextweb.com/microso... [thenextweb.com] I think most non-USA governments, as well as business/agencies that have confidential information in non-USA location will have to make a hard choice to avoid violating their basic oaths/ethics requirements.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      LibreOffice's only serious weakness is on complex tables.

      No, that's not its only serious weakness. *Office Calc needs a whole lot more love than it currently gets. Two issues that bite me every single day: 1. I still have to build histogram tables by hand because there's no built in function for it; 2. You can't insert Charts as worksheet tabs, only embed them in a data worksheet and "try to make it fit" which obviously doesn't work for people with differently sized screens.

      • I can not vouch for the German part, but the Spanish dictionaries in Open/LibreOffice can not hold a Candle to their MSOffice Counterparts.

        If the Spelling, Grammar and thesaurus dictionaries in LibreOffice in German are as bad as their counterparts in Spanish, then is office for the win...

        The English ones are serviceable. And OpenOffice originating with a German company (a loooong while ago) may help a little bit there.

        • Comprende. (My Spanish, much like libreoffice I guess, sucks). That is more of a resource problem than a technical problem. We need volunteers to help with that. Can a Spanish speaker like you throw a line (and possibly a hand?). If I had the skills, I'd contribute a bit. One of the beautiful things about Libre/Open Office is anybody with a great idea has a better chance of getting it in. Perhaps MS has it now, but if Linux proved anything, it's given time and love it can become more powerful/better than a
      • interesting. Let's throw the Document Foundation and Apache Foundation a few lines about that. Maybe some of us can help fix that.
  • They are using 3 versions of their local image (LiMux 5.x, 4.1, 4.0) alongside with Windows 7, Xp and ...windows 2000. What could possibly go wrong ? Furthermore when you know there is not one IT department but... 22 and that "a lot of work that's not done in the central IT but in the distributed IT,"

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