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Munich Linux experiment might end with return to Windows

Advisors to examine refenestration
Tue Aug 19 2014, 16:53
Munich Linux experiment might end with return to Windows

MUNICH COULD BE about to abandon its 10-year plan to adopt open source software with a return to Windows.

In 2003, the southern German city decided to spend €30m on converting all local government systems to a customised version of Linux, affectionately known as Limux, and the Openoffice productivity suite of applications.

But now that experiment could be about to end as members of the ruling coalition government who were previously in opposition are pressing for a review of the scheme amid claims that city workers are "suffering".

Although Microsoft has made no secret of its opposition to the decision, repeatedly arguing that the project went over budget and that staying with Windows would have been cheaper, it is estimated that the savings made by dodging the migration from Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003, both of which reached end of life earlier this year, saved €5m.

Microsoft made similar noises when Francis Maude announced last year that the UK Government is actively looking to moving to open source software, however so far there have been no further announcements about this initative.

Meanwhile, in Munich, second mayor Josef Schmid has been leading the charge to examine whether bespoke programs that are used for many of the city's infrastructure operations would be better served by running Windows.

One approach would involve virtualising Windows on some machines, which would result in paying licence fees to Microsoft anyway.

An independent team of consultants is examining the situation. There's no word as to whether Microsoft might offer incentives to make the decision easier.

"If the experts recommend a return to Microsoft, then it cannot be ruled out," said Schmid. µ


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