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Red Hat Challenges Swiss Government Over Microsoft Monopoly 245

An anonymous reader writes "'Linux vendor Red Hat, and 17 other vendors, have protested a Swiss government contract given to Microsoft without any public bidding. The move exposes a wider Microsoft monopoly that European governments accept, despite their lip service for open source, according to commentators. The Red Hat group has asked a Swiss federal court to overturn a three-year contract issued to Microsoft by the Swiss Federal Bureau for Building and Logistics, to provide Windows desktops and applications, with support and maintenance, for 14M Swiss francs (£8M; $15M) each year. The contract, for 'standardized workstations,' was issued with no public bidding process, Red Hat's legal team reports in a blog — because the Swiss agency asserted there was no sufficient alternative to Microsoft products.'"
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Red Hat Challenges Swiss Government Over Microsoft Monopoly

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  • by Samalie ( 1016193 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @04:49PM (#28087479)
    Actually, the sad part is there is probably truth in the parent.

    Somebody in the procurement department either

    (a) Has a report from someone in their IT Department that erroneously states that they need won't work with Linux, and therefore has to be excluded from the procurement process.


    (b) Has a report from someone in their IT Department that correctly states that they need won't work with Linux, and therefore has to be excluded from the procurement process.

    Unfortunately, that's not a Microsoft Monopoly, in either case. If its (a) then their IT staff suck, not Microsoft's fault, and not making Microsoft a monopoly. If its (b) then Linux sucks for their needs, which again is not Microsoft's fault and does not make Microsoft a monopoly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 25, 2009 @04:56PM (#28087549)

    The modern Swiss system is the epitome of capitalism. It has been raised to new hights by the long time finance minister Hans-Rudolf MÃrz who happens to be the President for this year


  • by melted ( 227442 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @05:06PM (#28087655) Homepage

    Seriously, I've been running Linux as my primary OS for a while now, and my work laptop is joined to Active Directory at work through Likewise Open. Even so, the integration is rudimentary at best, and every piece of software has its own little tweaks and settings. Single sign-on is a PAIN on Linux. Group policies don't exist. Peripheral compatibility is spotty, particularly with scanners. Multi-factor auth is a pain in the ass. Remote desktop (VNC) is really slow compared to RDP which makes VPN-from-home scenario painful.

    Those are a few MUST HAVE things that work in Windows out of the box. RedHat should hire a few more engineers and get them cracking on those, before spending a ton of money on lawyers.

    I do think that they could have supplied quite a bit on the server side, though. File serving, web serving, document sharing, DB - those things don't need Windows anymore.

  • Building department (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shag ( 3737 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @05:35PM (#28087909)

    The word "building" in there makes me wonder whether this department might actually have some kind of legitimate need for CAD software or such, which tends to be under-represented on Linux (and Mac, for that matter).

  • by carlzum ( 832868 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @05:39PM (#28087935)
    There's no use debating how much the agency would save with an MS-alternative. Influential organizations like large corporations, universities, and government agencies will always get substantial discounts on Windows and Office license agreements. MS knows these entities have enormous leverage over their vendors' and customers' software choices. IE-only web sites, VBA applications, and Word forms make alternative software less attractive or even impossible to use.

    I work for a large corporation that produces a lot of documents and applications our customers and vendors need to work with. MS worked out the pricing so that any other OS or office suite was a much greater capital expense on the balance sheet. They were even nice enough to provide free professional services to help us develop "solutions" that invariably locked customers and vendors into MS products.
  • Re:but..? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by prelelat ( 201821 ) on Monday May 25, 2009 @06:26PM (#28088371)

    I would believe that if the cost of support wasn't thrown into the mix. Windows, Linux, and OSX all offer support services for their software. Part of what the summery was stating was the cost of that support. Red Hat offers such a service for a fee which any one doing the research into the bidding process for the OS's should know. This is why Red Hat is and should be upset they are being taken out of the running before they can even start. This is how they make their money off of their OS.

    I don't know if there is foul play here because some of the applications and hardware that work under windows don't exist or don't work as well under other operating systems. I still think they should have had an open bidding process and if Red Hat(or other linux distros and OS's) couldn't meet their needs with the price as well as the software then Microsoft would be free to take it. It shouldn't be a problem if it's just a formality, but it wasn't even setup like that, which is why I see Red Hat as being justified in being upset with the bidding process.

  • Re:That's odd (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 25, 2009 @06:31PM (#28088415)
    It appears to mean that "Linux doesn't support scanners" is the latest meme: I've seen it posted several times a day on Slashdot the past month or so. Someone further down this article has said the exact same thing. Not a single person making the claim has ever provided actual evidence, even when questioned, beyond "My scanner doesn't work". What scanner(s) do these people all own? Who knows...
  • Re:That's odd (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:37AM (#28092145)

    It appears to mean that "Linux doesn't support scanners" is the latest meme

    Its not a meme if people are being paid to push it. Just think of it as targeted marketing and be sure that companies with a marketing budget will be willing to spend some of it on that..

  • by Bert64 ( 520050 ) < ... NBSDom minus bsd> on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:18AM (#28092309) Homepage

    I have an older HP all in one scanner that doesn't even work with vista, yet the latest ubuntu picks it up out of the box... It did with with xp, but you had to install hp's rather bloated drivers.

  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:09PM (#28100029) Homepage Journal

    Switzerland states that only MS will do, but how can you truly know what's available without a public bid?

    Indeed. But all too often, you can't even know it then. It's common practice in every government agency everywhere to "fix" a purchase or hire process in a simply way. You get together with the bidder/applicant that you want to win, and make up a set of "requirements" that are carefully tailored to have at least one item which you know each potential vendor/applicant will fail. You might include reasonable-sounding explanations for why each requirement item really, really needed. Then you publish your bidding process with the extensive list of "requirements", and whaddaya know, there's only one bidder that satisfies all of them.

    It sounds like the people who run this agency couldn't even be bothered to go through such a simple bogus-bidding process, and just hired Microsoft without inviting anyone else. We have a simple name for that sort of process: corruption. The fix was in, Microsoft got the contract, the managers got their kickbacks, and everyone was happy. Except those spoilsports at Red Hat.

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