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The City Of Munich Now Wants To Abandon Linux And Switch Back to Windows (techrepublic.com) 557

"The prestigious FOSS project replacing the entire city's administration IT with FOSS based systems, is about to be cancelled and decommissioned," writes long-time Slashdot reader Qbertino. TechRepublic reports: Politicians at open-source champion Munich will next week vote on whether to abandon Linux and return to Windows by 2021. The city authority, which made headlines for ditching Windows, will discuss proposals to replace the Linux-based OS used across the council with a Windows 10-based client. If the city leaders back the proposition it would be a notable U-turn by the council, which spent years migrating about 15,000 staff from Windows to LiMux, a custom version of the Ubuntu desktop OS, and only completed the move in 2013...

The use of the open-source Thunderbird email client and LibreOffice suite across the council would also be phased out, in favor of using "market standard products" that offer the "highest possible compatibility" with external and internal software... The full council will vote on whether to back the plan next Wednesday. If all SPD and CSU councillors back the proposal put forward by their party officials, then this new proposal will pass, because the two parties hold the majority.

The leader of the Munich Green Party says the city will lose "many millions of euros" if the change is implemented. The article also reports that Microsoft moved its German headquarters to Munich last year.
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The City Of Munich Now Wants To Abandon Linux And Switch Back to Windows

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  • but but but (Score:4, Funny)

    by Osgeld ( 1900440 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @03:39PM (#53846747)

    libreoffice is just as good!!!*

    *as MS Office 2000

    • Re:but but but (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:09PM (#53846937)

      Could you name the features the contemporary (or any) MS-Office has that are important to the average secretary and that are missing in LibreOffice?

      • "The Average Secretary" is not your issue here. Using it as the standard is low, in more ways than one.
        I agree the average secretary would make do with anything. Her contacts, boss, clients and colleagues would most likely not agree.

      • Proprietary Word add-in. External merge field.
      • Many prefer to email within word and not open a million compose new message in Outlook. Also the ribbon UI. The file menus are quite dated and mellinials do not know how to use menus outside hamburger ones from their phones

  • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @03:44PM (#53846777) Homepage

    I've seen this: some high-powered MS rep chats up a boss, and *presto*:

    MS is great
    We've got to migrate

    Put that to whatever jingle you want. Also: inspect bank accounts and campaign funds.

    Note also that the study supporting the move back to WIndows was carried out by Accenture [wikipedia.org] (some of us know them better by their old name, Andersen Consulting). Accenture was Microsoft's Alliance Partner of the Year in 2016 [zdnet.com], so I'm sure that they have a neutral, objective reason for recommending Microsoft software.

    • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Saturday February 11, 2017 @03:59PM (#53846881)

      I've seen this: some high-powered MS rep chats up a boss, and *presto*:

      Believe it or not there are other issues beyond "Libre/Open/WhateverOffice is just as good", because you see, big organizations such as municipalities use more software than just office, and many of them simply don't run or run well on Wine or such. And the alternatives to Excel for very complex spreadsheets leave a lot to be desired.

      It's easy to think that money changed hands, but there may just be more to it than that.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:19PM (#53846991)
        There is no need to try to guess...it was widely reported the choice varies the two dominant political parties. It is just a matter of who is in the office. One has probably the hands greased by Microsoft, and the other party does not want to.
      • So, instead of modernizing or migrating these antiquated systems that have not been updated in more than a decade now it seems, the entire municipality should migrate the operating system again for their sake and leave them in their sorry state? Seems like a pretty pathetic strawman to me.
      • And the alternatives to Excel for very complex spreadsheets leave a lot to be desired.

        I won't argue that point except to say that very complex spreadsheets themselves leave a lot to be desired. They are error prone and difficult to audit by their very nature. Generally when computational needs get so involved, a spreadsheet is a bad idea. But spreadsheet abuse and overuse is rampant. Excel encourages this in a big way. LibreOffice Calc, in trying to follow suit, does the same, but being less capable at the high end, doesn't allow you to go quite so far.

        There were a few spreadsheet-like progr

      • by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @07:00PM (#53847797)

        You can also continue using LibreOffice and Thunderbird on... Windows! By saying they want to dump those applications, which have the highest compatibility, they're essentially saying that they want to buy in into the classic corporate culture (spend, spend, spend) with no true reason for it except marketing. Meanwhile the classic corporate culture is moving away from a Microsoft monoculture.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi@evcirc u i t s . c om> on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:34PM (#53847085) Homepage

      Quote: The article also reports that Microsoft moved its German headquarters to Munich last year.

      There you go - take our software and we'll move to Munich, that way you gain the income taxes of our workers regardless of how shitty our software is.

      The issue here is that these decisions are made for political reasons, not technical ones.

      • That part of the story is complete horseshit. Microsoft simply moved into a new building in Munich, they were already on the outskirts of munich in Unterschleißheim and have been for over 20 years.
    • So why isn't there an open source campaign fund?
    • by geek ( 5680 )

      I've seen this: some high-powered MS rep chats up a boss, and *presto*:

      MS is great
      We've got to migrate

      Put that to whatever jingle you want. Also: inspect bank accounts and campaign funds.

      Note also that the study supporting the move back to WIndows was carried out by Accenture [wikipedia.org] (some of us know them better by their old name, Andersen Consulting). Accenture was Microsoft's Alliance Partner of the Year in 2016 [zdnet.com], so I'm sure that they have a neutral, objective reason for recommending Microsoft software.

      Maybe. My company (fortune 500) treats MS as a hostile business partner. We deal with them only because we have legacy systems that we must deal with and because no one really offers a solution as robust as active directory for the enterprise.

      I've made the argument a number of times with the higher ups that by eliminating the Microsoft licensing tax we could higher more people with expertise in Mac/Linux and eliminate MS entirely. They don't listen because "change" is a bad word in the enterprise. My entire

      • by eliminating the Microsoft licensing tax we could higher more people with expertise in Mac/Linux

        Hire.

        If this is how you spell when making proposals to the higher-ups, it's no wonder they ignore your suggestions.

        • by alantus ( 882150 )

          If this is how you spell when making proposals to the higher-ups, it's no wonder they ignore your suggestions.

          Hire.

          No wait.

    • I would say that it is just as likely that they are going back to windows because of the incompatibility issues and the amount of retraining necessary. This sort of change is so expensive and such a big hassle, I really doubt that any single person could push it through if the average user was fine with how the computers were working.

      • by geoskd ( 321194 )

        I would say that it is just as likely that they are going back to windows because of the incompatibility issues and the amount of retraining necessary.

        I wish people would stop repeating that FUD. Maybe 15 years ago, there was a significant cost to retraining to switch operating systems. In this day and age, I can sit 100 people randomly off the streets of any major city down in from of Ubuntu, Mint, or any of a half dozen other distros, and within minutes they will be able to find and execute all of the tasks that they performed with their windows computer at work. Smartphones have trained a generation of people (including virtually every worker you can h

    • I've seen this: some high-powered MS rep chats up a boss, and *presto*:

      MS is great We've got to migrate

      Put that to whatever jingle you want. Also: inspect bank accounts and campaign funds.

      Note also that the study supporting the move back to WIndows was carried out by Accenture [wikipedia.org] (some of us know them better by their old name, Andersen Consulting). Accenture was Microsoft's Alliance Partner of the Year in 2016 [zdnet.com], so I'm sure that they have a neutral, objective reason for recommending Microsoft software.

      Second point first: Accenture spun of a separate company 'Avanade', which partners w/ Microsoft and works w/ clients that are heavily into Microsoft solutions, as opposed to Oracle or SAP or anything else.

      But I agree w/ your first point. Many years ago, had someone suggested migrating back from an FOSS solution to a Windows 7 based solution, it would have made sense, since the legacy support was still there. But that's no longer true about Windows 10. The only reason Windows 10 would make sense is if

  • Everyone is going to point at MS Office, but that's no the problem. There are man many "proprietary" applications that have become standards across certain industries and organizations such as municipalities where Wine simply isn't an option.

    But speaking of Office, and I'm sure the subject will start great arguments, but there are some who like Outlook, and many that rely on some of its features that, sorry, Thunderbird et al just don't replicate well or at all.

  • An AMA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MeanE ( 469971 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:02PM (#53846911) Homepage
    I would love an Ask Me Anything from some of the sys admins. I'd be curious how the switch went, the troubles or lack of them they had during and after the switch and why there is pressure to switch back to Windows.
    • I second that. Thus, we would discuss the matter in a more practical way, which suits betters most people here. How hard is it to get an AMA with some sys admin from Munich?
  • Follow the money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wolfrider ( 856 ) <kingneutron AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:02PM (#53846913) Homepage Journal

    --I bet somebody's getting "compensated" in some way to bring this forward. Not only would they be giving up flexibility for a corporation-centric solution, but they would be giving up privacy as well. This site alone is full of Win10 articles detailing what a POS bit of spyware it is, masquerading as an OS. Not to mention random reboots due to upgrades.

    --I can only hope this doesn't get approved, but in this world currently nothing is apparently safe or predictable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:11PM (#53846949)

    If the leader of the Munich Green Party is right and the city will lose "many millions of euros" if the change is implemented, it's too bad they don't use all that money for hiring an army of programmers. They could implement the changes they want in the FOSS themselves, and give something back to the community for the billions they will save over the next 100 years.

  • Monopoly Abuse (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:23PM (#53847009)

    The desire to switch to an office suite with the "highest possible compatibility" clearly indicates they've had trouble opening MS Office documents, and that people with MS Office have had trouble opening ODF documents.

    To maintain their position in the market Microsoft make a deliberate attempt to make other software incompatible with their formats, and make their software incompatible with other formats. For example, they claim 100% technical comparability with the ODF formats, but if you open an ODS spreadsheet in Excel it strips out all the formulas, thus rendering the spreadsheet worthless.

    This seems like intentional abuse of their market position to me.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:33PM (#53847063) Homepage

    I'm sure the founders of the LiMux project thought that by 2017 the YotLD had long since come and gone, that mainstream drivers and software would be there almost by default at near zero cost. The latest stats from StatCounter says that worldwide Linux has 1.55% desktop OS market share. Even if I pick Germany which is a very pro-Linux market it's 3.46%. From a local politician's view I can understand that it looks like an endless uphill battle, regardless of the actual merits of the OS there will be far more solutions for Windows. It's just a fact of running an obscure solution.

    • I'm sure the founders of the LiMux project thought that by 2017 the YotLD had long since come and gone, that mainstream drivers and software would be there almost by default at near zero cost.

      Who cares if it's the year of the blah blah blah or not? Or if the mainstream software is available? For those few times it matters, you sneak in a Wintendo or a Mac. Mostly it doesn't, especially when you're governmental entity and in a position to set standards. If people want to communicate with you, they can damned well speak your language — especially if it's ODF, if the alternative is DOC.

      From a local politician's view I can understand that it looks like an endless uphill battle, regardless of the actual merits of the OS there will be far more solutions for Windows.

      But do you want them?

  • by Voyager529 ( 1363959 ) <voyager529@yahoo.3.14159com minus pi> on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:34PM (#53847079)

    Obviously, the go-to assumption is that there was a deal made on a golf course somewhere. It's entirely possible - probable, even...but let's take a moment to suspend the "crucify Microsoft" direction and consider a possible alternative...

    Libreoffice is a solid product. I do not mind it one bit; in some cases I even prefer it to MS Office. Munich probably did save a bundle in licensing costs for Office. However, that's not the whole story. Integration with Office can frequently be a mission-critical requirement. There's a whole lot of reporting software, calculation software, CRM software, and document management software that integrates with Office. These vendors do not typically include integrations for LibreOffice, which means there are two options:

    1. use products that work with LibreOffice.
    2. roll your own.

    Option 1 is a bit of a quagmire because it's not like they were moving to a computerized system from filing cabinets and typewriters, so it's not like they could just start with "linux/LO compatibility required" as a bidding condition. If they did, it probably would have been better for OSS as a whole, but alas, there is data residing in incumbent systems which need to be considered. Thus, we land at option #2.

    How many programmers would be required to make a LibreOffice/LogicalDoc rollout roughly comparable to MSO/Sharepoint, move all the data over, access the same set of databases and workflows, etc., and do it in a timeframe that doesn't bring the city to a halt? Well, that needs to be compared to the cost of just using MSO, and do so favorably...but let's say that it did, and we ignore the user training side of things. What about the server side of things? Were they still using Windows Server and Active Directory, or migrate all that over to LDAP? Same with Exchange and Dovecot? MS SQL and Postgres? It's a bundle of money, but moving everything over, everywhere, ever, is almost as challenging as getting Linux desktops to work flawlessly with a Microsoft backend.

    Now, let's head back to the golf course. Who called the meeting? If it was Microsoft, that's a good thing. Do you really think that Microsoft will be able to convince the city to migrate back without giving them one hell of a good price on it? If MS wants the contract back, you know they're taking pennies on the dollar for it.

    If the takeaway of this exercise is that Microsoft is giving the city of Munich a software contract at 70% off for the next decade and that the OSS community ends up with a to-do list of functions that were considered shortcomings, then it sounds like some good ultimately came out of it. If it really was an offer they couldn't refuse, then by all means, crucify them.

    • It's the City of Munich. They don't have a CRM. They don't have customers, they have subjects ;-)
      And Exchange - how many of these people have a packed agenda that they need something like Outlook to shuffle around appointments?

      GIS-software and other specialized software for all kinds of things (large and small) the city manages and runs is probably a bigger problem. IIRC, they run thousands of pieces of software altogether. Most of that only available on Windows. They could have (and did so, to some degree

  • Given that you can basically spin up Linux userland stuff with Ubuntu/Bash on Windows Services for Linux - including Compiz - on Windows 10, switching would simply allow them to keep what they have on the Linux side on the same desktop as on the Windows side without resorting to VMs. The big expense in any rollout of this type isn't licensing, it's deployment and maintenance of the environment. Nerds are always more expensive than licenses - especially the nerds with the unique skillset required to manage
  • Just as evil as ever. To this day, the pustulent ghost of Grand Architect Gates still restlessly wanders the halls of Redmond, shedding clouds of toxic dandruff that instantly purges whoever it contacts of all morality.

  • I just did a migration for a Windows 7 customer to a new Windows 10 machine. Manually get all of the accounts and settings on the new system set up like the ones on the old system. Copy over all the data folders. Change over from the old Windows Live email setup to the new Windows 10 Outlook that won't import Windows 7 mail archives and with the People contacts application that doesn't work. Then for the hard part: wait while user thrashes through every file cabinet and closet box looking for his software i

  • would make me dump the whole thing, too. Easily one of the Worst Email Clients, ever.
  • by SpaceDave ( 4139061 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @07:11PM (#53847857)

    I own a private museum with about 100 computer-driven displays and half a dozen admin/office PCs. Originally I used Linux for 95% of it. Ten years later I have 2 Linux boxes left and the rest are Windows 10. I used to believe all the pro-Linux arguments I'm reading again here, but in the real world there are just too many problems with Linux. It's not any one problem - it's the plethora of annoying niggles that eventually wear you down. For example:

    - Unavoidable but incompatible 3rd party hardware and software.
    - "Linux-compatible" versions of software that are just crap.
    - Driver issues.
    - Minor but frequent differences in the way MS Office docs are rendered.
    - Browser rendering differences and problems with 3rd party websites (shouldn't happen but does - nothing I can do about that).
    + many, many more little things.

    If I was a better sysadmin/programmer and enjoyed spending time addressing these issues then maybe I could make Linux work better. But I'm not and I don't, so Windows it is.

    • by Gussington ( 4512999 ) on Sunday February 12, 2017 @06:42AM (#53850103)
      I'll back that up. I've been part of a few "let's dump Microsoft" projects, and they all ultimately failed, because the driver behind them wasn't let's use the best product, it was an ideology that MS sucks so let's use something else instead regardless. That is a poor requirement for any solution.
  • by khz6955 ( 4502517 ) on Sunday February 12, 2017 @04:05PM (#53852157)
    "The mayor was against free software from the beginning," said Matthias Kirschner, the president of Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). "When he was elected, he took pride in getting Microsoft to move their office to Munich [a move that took place last September [zdnet.com]]. He even gave this study to Accenture, which is a Microsoft partner."

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.

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