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Open Source Cities Followup — Munich Yea, Vienna Nay

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the positively-dickensian dept.

Government 162

We're catching up on two stories of municipal engagement with open source software: Munich (which decided to go OS in 2003) and Vienna (2005). E5Rebel brings us news that Munich has stayed the course. But bkingaut informs that Vienna has decided to migrate back to Windows (Google translation) — to Vista no less. The migration of 720 computers used in kindergartens will cost the city about €8M. The given reason for all this is a language test application for the kids that only works with MS IE and won't be made compatible (by the producer) with Firefox until 2009.

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so... (2, Interesting)

Laebshade (643478) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650037)

IE4Linux? Not exactly legal, but hey...

Re:so... (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650089)

WINE?

Re:so... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23650305)

ies4linux is a wrapper for installing and running IE with Wine. So, yes.

Re:so... (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650299)

Who says IES4Linux isn't legal? Microsoft's EULA for IE states that all you need is valid license for a valid Microsoft Windows OS on each computer you install IE on.

There are numerous methods for obtaining such a license without directly paying for it.

Re:so... (2, Informative)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651387)

Yeah, like buying any non-apple computer from an OEM. All the schools' computers probably came with a Windows license.

Re:so... (1)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#23653121)

There are numerous methods for obtaining such a license without directly paying for it.

Unless you build your own, most PC's come with a valid license. Who cares if it is uninstalled and replaced by Linux. It's still a valid license.

There is no technical solution (1)

westbake (1275576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651139)

for corruption.

Re:There is no technical solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23652203)

Use military hardware instead of computer hardware.

twitter, please read this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23653893)

It would be appreciated if you post a reply to this thread [slashdot.org] , as well as being decent enough to apologize to George Ou for insulting him.

Thank you.

Re:so... (2, Insightful)

RareButSeriousSideEf (968810) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651297)

Or license a Windows Terminal Server with just as many concurrent CALs as they need for this one temporarily-incompatible app?

Price that out vs. converting all 720 physical computers to nonfree software from the OS up, and that for one app that will be compatible in a year.

Stupid developers (4, Insightful)

Swizec (978239) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650047)

Who in their right mind makes something work on a browser that doesn't work well, but neglects to do it for a browser that is easier to develop for?

Re:Stupid developers (5, Insightful)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650105)

Who in their right mind makes something work on a browser that doesn't work well, but neglects to do it for a browser that is easier to develop for?
Obviously someone who is friends with the people who give out contracts for kindergartens in Vienna.

Re:Stupid developers (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650325)

Obviously someone who is friends with the people who give out contracts for kindergartens in Vienna.
Or at least has adequately greased palms.

Re:Stupid developers (4, Interesting)

Swizec (978239) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650567)

Wouldn't it be better to offer Vienna to pay, say, a mere eighth of the money needed to transfer to Vista (a million euro) to the developers so they make their software work with what Vienna already has?

Any decent manager would go for that.

Re:Stupid developers (3, Insightful)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650891)

Or pay some other developers to make an open-source version of the software.

Abso-fricken-lutely (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23651925)

I am dumbfounded that they are spending 8M Euro to make a switch primarily for ONE application. If you have that money to spend, tell the bloody web app vendor to fix their broken app or you will move to a competitor. Heck, I bet for substantially less than 8M you could sponsor an open-source project to CREATE A NEW APP FROM SCRATCH.

Re:Abso-fricken-lutely (1)

boxxertrumps (1124859) | more than 6 years ago | (#23653659)

8 Million?

I'd do it for a case of jolts and a new beanbag chair.

Re:Stupid developers (4, Informative)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#23653837)

And, not surprisingly, this is what a politician of the Greens in Vienna suggested to do (it's in the article).

Re:Stupid developers (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23650215)

In the UK at least, the companies that write the software for exams are MS partners. They have a vested interest in making schools Microsoft.
The Uk regulatory body (OfQual) does not hinder them

Re:Stupid developers (4, Insightful)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650411)

Someone who relies on a windows plugin probably. I bet the web site is really an ActiveX application.

u mean firefox that crashes every 5 mins on flash? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23650747)

when IE doesn't?

Re:u mean firefox that crashes every 5 mins on fla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23651611)

OMG! u r prolly like 13, aren't u?

Re:Stupid developers (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650927)

State/Government contractors? Why follow the write-once-use-anywhere model when you can guarantee job security by writing it only for IE and later get a new contract to rewrite it for Firefox and so on and so forth?

Re:Stupid developers (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650967)

Simple answer.
IE has a market share of over 50%.
If you develop for the web you MUST develop for IE. It doesn't matter that Firefox is easier to develop for because it is still extra work.
If you are going sell anything that works on a web browser IE support is mandatory.
I along with a lot of other people feel that Firefox is also mandatory for anything you put on the Internet. If you are building a site you don't want lock out big percentage of potental users. I do tend to write for Firefox and then port to IE but IE support is without a doubt mandatory.

Microsoft has it right. Developers, Developers, Developers! People don't use an OS they use applications. I love Linux but I have to keep a Windows for work and for FSX.

If the programs you use don't run on an OS that OS is useless to you.

Re:Stupid developers (4, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651621)

"IE has a market share of over 50%." I can write a web app that works on Firefox 1, 2 and 3 with the same exact code. Can you do that with IE 5,6 and 7? No. So stop pretending that IE in all it's incarnations is the same browser. No single version of IE has more than 30% market share, which makes it about equal with Firefox.

Re:Stupid developers (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23652239)

You don't get it.
You are correct that IE 5,6, and 7 are different but that doesn't matter.
If it works in IE 5 it will probably work in IE 6. IE 7 was a little harder to deal with which is why a lot of companies held off on IE 7. But NONE of that matters. You must support the terrible mess that is IE. There really isn't a choice for most web developers. Heck I wish that we could all just stick with W3C code but that isn't an option in this world.
Firefox's market share is around 30% in Europe. But here is the key question. What market share does windows have? How many Firefox users also have IE so they can use it when they have no other choice?
I love Firefox. It is a better browser than IE. It is easier to code for than IE.
BUT the sad truth is that just doesn't matter.

Re:Stupid developers (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#23653541)

I do it. All my websites, even commercial ones are W3C HTML Strict or XHTML Strict. It works well in Safari and Firefox. If somebody really complains that there is a huge problem with IE to the point of unusability, then I let them know the alternatives out there and if really necessary, I might even show a message whenever they come to my website that their browser might not work well and they'll need to download Firefox. And you don't even need Admin rights in Windows, Linux or Mac to install and use Firefox, just install it in your Users' home directory and run it from there.

Re: Stupid developers (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651727)

My guess: like so many custom/business apps, something gets developed, and once it works, all effort is done to change the existing software environment as little as possible. Or no effort at all, don't change anything unless it's absolutely necessary. Read: apply security updates to OS, and for the custom app: f**k maintenance, as long as it doesn't break badly, don't fix/update it.

Now perhaps this test software was written some years ago, at a time when IE alternatives weren't as 'visible' as they are now? And today, they have something working and would probably rather throw money at it to keep what they have, than spend (less?) money make a shift to new platform/application. It may not be smart use of tax Euros, but it's definitely easy to understand. A bit of lobbying by original vendor(s) removes any second thoughts.

Re:Stupid developers (2, Interesting)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 6 years ago | (#23652839)

Tell me about it. I ran across these schmucks http://lapsteelguitar.com/ [lapsteelguitar.com] last night.

And using the user agent switcher for Firefox on my Mac didn't work either.

It's too bad to, as once you get there it's a fairly good site.

Compatability? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650063)

So much for the web based application cross platform utopia.

These vendors really should target Mozilla, and distribute a client (branded Firefox install) for those fearful of the open source.

Re:Compatability? (5, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650175)

The vendors should have? Ha. My experience with school vendors is that they make the cheapest, crappiest product on the planet, and then spend a lot of money on marketing and "research" that shows their product helps kids learn, and then sell it to schools at crazy prices (sometimes giving kickbacks along the way).

This is pretty sad, because the school system should have told them "Make it work with Mozilla and we'll talk, until then take a hike". I'm pretty sure they would have sped up development quite a bit to get the sale (although it would probably have been just as crappy).

Re:Compatability? (2, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650603)

Especially for â8M. They spent â8M because of ONE application that only worked in IE for Kindergarteners? If I was that company I would have said, sure "We can make it work for linux, it'll only cost â4M, look at that savings".

If I was that government I would have paid some High School students to write a website for a passing grade in one of their classes.

Re:Compatability? (1)

Xiaran (836924) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650743)

Not only that but the app makers are making it work in FF in 2009? It sounds silly. By the time the migration to Vista is complete the application in question will run under Linux just fine. From the summary(I didnt read the art) the Vienna dudes soultion sounds insane.

Re:Compatability? (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651749)

Especially for â8M. They spent â8M because of ONE application that only worked in IE for Kindergarteners? If I was that company I would have said, sure "We can make it work for linux, it'll only cost â4M, look at that savings".

If I was that government I would have paid some High School students to write a website for a passing grade in one of their classes.
I strongly doubt that is the real reason.

This is a kindergarten-level language application - it's hardly "the entire science syllabus for 18 year olds taking their final school exams complete with diagrams, animations and interactive help".

They're prepared to pay â8 million to migrate to Vista, and I strongly doubt it would have cost anything like that to rewrite the web application even if it was pure ActiveX. Either the management didn't think to contact the developers and say "Would âseveral million change your mind?" (This is possible. Don't discount the stupidity of public servants anywhere in the world) or there's something else going on.

(Oh, and on an unrelated note to /. admins: The Euro as a currency has existed since 1999, and became the official currency of much of Europe in 2002. Any chance you could, I dunno, update the website to support the symbol?)

Re:Compatability? (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23652399)

The Euro as a currency has existed much longer. It was called Ecu before (pronounced french, because there once was a french currency called Ecu, but in fact the abbreviation of European Currency Unit). The name Euro was coined in the Contract of Maastricht 1992.

It's just since 1999 that it was allowed to publish the balance sheet in Euro.

Re:Compatability? (2, Funny)

pcgabe (712924) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650629)

If narcissism=mass, the skulls of those who point out puns would crush in on themselves in a giant black hole of stupity
I wonder if "stupity" is some sort of ironic pun, in which case, I hesitate to point it out.

Why not switch test software? (4, Insightful)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650071)

Seems to me it would be easier and cheaper to find test software that did not require IE.

OR even better, they could write some and help other schools going open source.

Re:Why not switch test software? (2, Interesting)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650137)

If the way things work in Croatia is any clue, money has Changed Hands in order for things to resolve this way.

Re:Why not switch test software? (4, Insightful)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650179)

If the way things work in Croatia is any clue, money has Changed Hands in order for things to resolve this way.
Corruption is common, but IMHO incompetence is far more prevalent.

Re:Why not switch test software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23650529)

Don't mention the "A" word...

Re:Why not switch test software? (2, Funny)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23652425)

A as in Austria (Vienna is the capital of Austria after all, and it's now 90 years ago that Croatia is no part of Austria anymore)?

Re:Why not switch test software? (3, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651803)

If the way things work in Croatia is any clue, money has Changed Hands in order for things to resolve this way.
Corruption is common, but IMHO incompetence is far more prevalent.
Agreed.

My guess is that the schools looked at the applications they needed, found one that didn't work as intended and didn't think to contact the manufacturer to say "Before we drop 8 million euros on Windows, can you speed up engineering your product to run in Linux for, say, 1 million euros?"

Re:Why not switch test software? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650759)

yes, about EURO 8million worth...

Re:Why not switch test software? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650169)

Seriously,

I bet they could do it for half the price of the migration (5 million USD). Schools are one place you would think there is no disadvantage to making software open source too. It's not like they need a competitive advantage for the public schools.

Re:Why not switch test software? (3, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650405)

Really?

The questions are usually copyrighted so you need someone to write a new set of questions, get them certified by the education department, get the app written, the app certified by the education department and so on. All this is subject to junkets, sometimes money changing hands, lobbying and so on.

Educational and testing software is an area which is nearly impossible for a newcomer to break in. Competition is virtually inexistent, quality is crap and there is bugger all that can be done about it.

Re:Why not switch test software? (5, Funny)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650965)

he questions are usually copyrighted so you need someone to write a new set of questions, get them certified by the education department, get the app written, the app certified by the education department and so on.
Yes, if only the school system had a mass of people qualified to write educational questions, willing to work long hours for bad pay while dealing with children all day long. If only.

Re:Why not switch test software? (2, Interesting)

Anonymuous Coward (1185377) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650601)

I bet they could do it for half the price of the migration (5 million USD)
It's 8 million EURO, that's ~12 million USD, not 5.

And if you give me just 1 million, not 5 or 12, I'll wrap you about any windows application to work on linux, in half the time they need to migrate their whole shit to vista. Money-back guarantee.

Re:Why not switch test software? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23652757)

The 5 million was a sloppy estimate of half of 8 million euros.

Re:Why not switch test software? (2, Funny)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650213)

Seems to me it would be easier and cheaper to find test software that did not require IE.

My guess is that, while an obvious choice, runs into hurdles that arise within the context of school administration (i.e., all software requires committee approval, public meetings, budget approval, etc.).

If there's an upside to this sad state of affairs, it's that we have a new Slashdot meme:

Vista -- please won't someone think of the kids?

Re:Why not switch test software? (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650255)

Shit, for $4 million (half price), I'll write it for them really fast! I mean, it's a web application, how hard could it be? seriously?

What is actually the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23650119)

I guess the actual problem lies in the fact that IE uses ActiveSEX technology and that site makes use of it.

good opportunity (3, Informative)

sustik (90111) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650165)

RTFA, they are also willing to pay 8M euros to someone writing the language test application instead.
Seems like a good price...

Sorry, reading the onion too much...

More â8M to make a trivial web app compatible (2, Funny)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650173)

I suggest hiring 1000 monkeys for a year, bananas should cost less than $8000 a year.

Re:More â8M to make a trivial web app compati (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651019)

If it takes 100 monkeys some finite amount of time to write the complete works of Shakespeare, then it can easily be said that 1000 monkeys can rewrite a language test application, clearly a simpler task, within a year.

Re:More â8M to make a trivial web app compati (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 6 years ago | (#23653593)

Not a good idea. Bananas are dying [cnn.com] . Netcraft confirms it.

The wonderful world of "educational" software (3, Interesting)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650197)

The wonderful world of educational software. It is usually written by the most clueless and incompetent lowlife out there. It runs only on Windows, only on a specific version and is mandated and approved by the relevant government as mandatory.

It is the _REAL_ reason on why Microsoft is so prevalent.

Wow (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650205)

Can't IE6 run on Wine?

Re:Wow (1)

palfrey (198640) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650355)

Yes, but legally speaking you need a Windows license before you can download/use IE...

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23651445)

Given that you don't have to actually run or install it, can't you just buy bulk second-hand licenses (genuine, non OEM) for an obsolete windows version for next to nothing? I'm sure I've heard of this being done.

Re:Wow (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#23652473)

You could even buy OEM licenses, because the First Sale Doctrin applies also on computer programs in Europe.

Translation of linked article (5, Informative)

schnipschnap (739127) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650207)

K, I did it for speed, not for quality.

The city of Vienna is going to migrate its open-source poster child installation to Windows Vista in 2008. In total, Vienna will pay about 8,000,000 Euros for this migration. The final choice is to be made on Wednesday in the district council.

"That's a major setback to the conversion to linux of the city.", Marie Ringler, a member of the district council and representative of the Vienna Green party, said to ORF.at. On Wednesday the Vienna district council will decide that the most important linux installation (720 computers) of the city council be migrated to Windows Vista. The corresponding proposal was made available to ORF.net

-----8,000,000 Euros for Microsoft-----
The MA 14, the body that is responsible for the city's IT-systems, has thus made available a budget of 8,000,000 Euros for the purchase of software licenses. These costs will be reimbursed to the MA 14 by MA 10 (kindergartens) and MA 56 (school administration).

The migration of the public authorities' computers from Windows 2000 and Office 2000 to Vista and Office 2007 will cost 7,600,000 Euros, and the purchase of 2,600 licenses for Windows, Office, and Server-software in Vienna's [Bildungsnetz] education network will cost 324,000 Euros. The changeover of the 720 kindergarten computers from the city-branded linux distribution "Wienux"* to Vista will cost around 105,000 Euros.

-----Language skill tests for children-----
The migration of the kindergarten computers is because of a piece of software that tests kindergarten children's language abilities is only available on the Internet Explorer platform. The makers will have a Firefox version of their product only by 2009, according to Ringler.

"The city could have gotten the company to get their version that runs on Firefox out the door faster with only a fraction of the money that the changeover to Windows will cost, Ringler said, who also accuses the city of not following the Open Source concept and not producing any incentive to migrate from Windows to Wienux. The city also missed the opportunity to subsidize the 1,000 companies that make open source software in the Vienna region.

In Fall 2008, the STOSS2 studies, which was initiated by Vienna and is concerned with the analysis of costs and benefits of using open source software in the city council, will be published.

-----The MA 14 continues to polish Wienux-----
Klaus Rohr, spokesman of the MA 14, confirmed the roll-back on Tuesday afternoon, which is to be completed in 2008. The most important reason for the migration from Linux to Windows is the availability of the aforementioned software only for Windows via Internet Explorer. But there have also been problems with hardware detection in linux, according to him.

But the re-migration to Windows doesn't imply that Wienux will die. The distribution is to be continued to be developed and distributed, according to Rohr.

-----SPÖ: "Wienux is not dead"-----
SPÖ-district councilor Siegfried Lindenmayr doesn't view Wienux as dead either. "Wienux isn't dead. The city of Vienna has used open source software since 20 years and will also continue to do so," he said to ORF.at. "The use of software isn't a question of ideology to us, however. The best educational software runs on Windows, and therefore we will use Windows in our kindergartens."

The city's general open source strategy hasn't changed. The MA 14 will continue to offer linux and install it wherever departments want it.
* Wien is the German word for Vienna

Re:Translation of linked article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23651903)

Thanks for the translation.

"The migration of the kindergarten computers is because of a piece of software that tests kindergarten children's language abilities is only available on the Internet Explorer platform."

Wow. And it will work with the version of IE that ships with Vista? Score one for backwards compatibility, I guess, although you would think for a few million euros they could just fund development of a compatible version. And why on Earth did they choose Vista while they still have a choice? Why wouldn't they go for XP?

Unless they are getting the Vista Ultimate/Business license that allows "downgrading", how much do you want to bet that in next year's budget they'll be an item for purchase of ~720 licenses for Windows XP?

I'm no expert, but is there any reason at this time for a large institutional purchaser to choose Vista over XP for deployment?

In my experience (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23650275)

As an experienced developer of browser-based educational software and a cyber-security consultant, I can tell you that IE is much easier to develop for than Firefox.

Microsoft has always been developer friendly, and thats the real reason for their dominance.

Not only that, but what if they need browser support? Who are they going to go with Firefox? Nobody, because there is nobody.

Re:In my experience (4, Interesting)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650415)

Well, you've cetainly reaffirmed my faith in developers of educational software there.

As an experienced developer of browser-based educational software and a cyber-security consultant, I can tell you that IE is much easier to develop for than Firefox.

How can you possibly say IE is easier to develop for then Firefox?

Either way it's HTML and CSS, it's just that one of them has a renderer that actually works, and the other is broken in a multitude of ways.

And that's not even getting started on things like Firebug, which makes it far easier to develop on Firefox then with IE's "something broke, I'm not going to tell you where" model of error reporting for Javascript.

Not only that, but what if they need browser support? Who are they going to go with Firefox? Nobody, because there is nobody.

What? When was the last time you heard of Microsoft providing support for IE?

Lets take the classic example of transparent PNGs, which took years to get fixed. And that's something that thousands of developers have been screaming for - I dread to think what would result if you called up Microsoft and said "I have a really specific problem, can you fix it?"

If you want support for Firefox there are forums, IRC channels, and a publicly viewable bug tracker. I'd imagine that if you waved enough money at them the Mozilla Foundation would be quite happy to get a problem you have fixed pretty damn quick as well.

Re:In my experience (5, Informative)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650961)

Actually transparent PNGs aren't really properly fixed in IE7 - try applying an Alpha filter to a transparent PNG and suddenly the transparency does not work anymore.

This is the nature of Microsoft's software and APIs - if you use it in uncommon ways, it breaks. I can give you such examples all day - JavaScript memory leaks in IE6 and IE7? How window.openPopup() requires weird hacks to work with domain relaxation? Flickering images at page load in IE6? The first BR tag in a block tag does not appear when the block tag has a background image? document.selection returns gives you a selection object from a different document object than the one you specified?

Add these to the fact that IE does not have free developer tools like Firebug, Safari Inspector and Drosera, and Opera Dragonfly available (notice how every significant competitor to IE has one)... I'd take the opinion of anyone who says "IE is easy to develop for" with huge pinch of salt. And please... trying to bully people with "I'm an experienced developer" in the technology world isn't a very smart thing to do.

Re:In my experience (1)

windex82 (696915) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651001)

I use both firebug and IE development toolbar. I'm not sure which came first but one has clearly ripped the other off. ;)

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=e59c3964-672d-4511-bb3e-2d5e1db91038&displaylang=en [microsoft.com]

Re:In my experience (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651127)

Firebug came first - I remember when the IE development toolbar was released, I took a brief look, and went back to using tools that work.

The only time I start IE is when I'm testing a site works in it, and even that has dropped off since I started working for a company that requires (your choice of) working web browser to access web applications.

Re:In my experience (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651251)

And there's the Microsoft Script Editor for script debugging as well, but...
  1. IE development toolbar does not update the DOM tree display automatically if you have modified its structure in JavaScript, you need to close and open the toolbar to view the updated tree - that's just fucking convenient for debugging AJAX apps is it?
  2. The Script Editor loses the stack trace if you've looked at enough steps - that's just fucking great isn't it?

Re:In my experience (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23652007)

Yes Firefox is easier to develop for than IE but.
With IE market share you MUST develop for IE.
For any website I feel that IE and Firefox are mandatory. Safari is getting to be mandatory but thankful it is well behaved from what I have seen.

When developing for browser apps that run on an Intranet Firefox is less important. You will not loose many sales saying it only works on IE. You will loose a lot more more if you say it doesn't work on IE.

So in that case getting your application to work on Firefox is extra work. It really doesn't matter now easy that extra work is.

Of course if you want to develop for that market you now have a key feature you can use to get sales.

Re:In my experience (2, Insightful)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#23653113)

The thing that I've found in the past is that it's far easier to develop for Firefox first, and then make the changes required for Internet Explorer.

Going that way, it takes about a day to get things working right in IE once things are working. Going the other way you could easily drop a week, bouncing back and forth between the two browsers.

Re:In my experience (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650467)

As a professional software developer and college system administrator, I disagree.

Re:In my experience (1)

dutin (890499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651023)

third party paid support [mozilla.com]

plus, it's a freaking web browser. you point, you click, it works. really, what problems do you need real support for with kindergarten aged children?

Re:In my experience (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23651643)

Not only that, but what if they need browser support? Who are they going to go with Firefox? Nobody, because there is nobody.
Um, what about you, Mister (or Miss) Experienced Developer? You have the source code! Get in there and fix it!
Oh, that's right, you're a Developer of Browser-Based Educational Software, not a real coder.

The only solution (1)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650383)

The only way to solve this kind of problem is to make the decision makers accountable to the people who employ them (the public). If this made headline news (and possibly some rent-a-celebrities got onboard) this kind of thing wouldn't happen.

Little Bug in the Teaser (3, Informative)

messju (32126) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650571)

To be fair: The migration of 720 computers used in kindergartens will cost the city about 105,000 euros not 8M.

First I thought this may have been a bug in TFTtranslation but It's even correct in TFTofTFA.
Just not in the teaser.

yuo Fail 1t!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23650587)

The COMPLETE migration will cost about 8M euros. (1)

bkingaut (963434) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650589)

The migration of the 720 computers will only cost 105,000 euros. Sorry about that. Couldn't edit it anymore

Re:The COMPLETE migration will cost about 8M euros (2, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651381)

The migration of the 720 computers will only cost 105,000 euros. Sorry about that. Couldn't edit it anymore
Someone seems to be getting their sums wrong here. At only about 140 euros per computer, this is most likely the cost for Vista licenses. It doesn't count time for installation, training, downtime, and all the other mess that comes with changing from a stable operating system to a new, unproven platform. But apparently these costs can only be counted when switching away from Windows, not when switching to Windows.

Hardly a complete success (2, Informative)

kmarshallbanana (1192023) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650619)

A few choice quotes from the article:

[In 2003] The local government in Munich, Germany, [voted] to move 14,000 computers from Microsoft's Windows to the rival Linux operating system

[In 2008]Status quo of the LiMux project:
1000 work stations migrated to LiMux
6000 work stations using OpenOffice.org
90% work stations using Firefox and Thunderbird
That means that during the five odd years that have elapsed since the decision was taken a grand 7% of the computers have been switched over to linux. And this on what the article states is the budget for the transition was 30 million euros.

Euro 105K not 8M to migrate kindergarten PCs (1)

HTD (568757) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650763)

the budget for migrating all vienna offices to vista is 8million, the 740 kindergarten machines "just" cost 105k. I am not saying that this is a good thing, since the software that is the reason for the switch is unnecessary no matter on which OS it runs... But still the numbers are wrong.

I can't believe that this made headlines - just do the math 8M divided by 740 - that's 10810 Euro per machine, you could buy server grade hardware with 32 cores and 64gb ram (running linux of course) for every kindergarten, or a single license of vista according to the editors...

Re:Euro 105K not 8M to migrate kindergarten PCs (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651455)

yeah, but they want MS Office 2007 to go with that. 10k wouldn't be enough for Enterprise edition :)

Re:Euro 105K not 8M to migrate kindergarten PCs (1)

level_headed_midwest (888889) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651559)

105000 divided by 740 is 141.89. 141.89 Euros is probably the cost of the Windows license.

Developers! Developers! Developers! (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650791)

MS knows what sells windows - IE only Kindergarten Language applications and the like.

While GNU Linux is making great progress to get better software on their systems many people need specific software such as that language program.

On the other hand a LOT of these applications were written years ago (sometimes more then a decade) and if they were to be updated they would probably have to be re-written as the original developers have since moved on to other things. Which means XP is kept alive, and developers who do re-write may be considering more cross-platform oriented applications with the increase of the Mac/Linux use in business and schools.

I think though that those tides are turning a lot with FOSS, as a lot of talented people can build/adapt on the works of others and make better educational and other vertical market applications. MS knows its a matter of time, and they are trying to PR/license it to their advantage while they can.

User Agent Switcher (1)

highvelocitypenguin (554307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650795)

User-Agent-Switcher [mozilla.org] anyone? Just a thought.

Re:User Agent Switcher (2, Interesting)

daemonburrito (1026186) | more than 6 years ago | (#23650995)

I'm guessing that the requirement is actually activex.

Munich (1)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651683)

On the Munich site they are going to move 14000 computers from Windows to Linux and they currently have:
1000 work stations migrated to LiMux
6000 work stations using OpenOffice.org
90% work stations using Firefox and Thunderbird

And in addition of using open source software, they have also written some (OOo plugin) of their own and released it as open source.

Re:Munich (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23652749)

I spent a lot of time in Munich last year and I heard worse things then this. The project had more or less failed, but the sponsers cannot afford to admit it politically and keep a few departments on it just for show. But everyone (and every department) who asks gets an exception so they can run windows or macs or anything they need to actually get their work done.

This is well-known in Munich too.

All-in-all not a pretty picture.

Support open source (1)

Thomas Mertes (951431) | more than 6 years ago | (#23651791)

For a fan of open source the switch of vienna to vista is a sad story.

--- begin complain mode
Given that the 8M euros are 'just' the money of taxpayers and the city of vienna is dominated by one party for at least 90 years (minus the years during WW2) there is no reason to wonder about. Democratic power changes form one party to another do not happen in vienna. A lot of the voters in vienna just vote automatically for the same party all the time, independent of what this party does. Therefore the government of the city of vienna has no motivation to save the taxpayers money. I do not want to start a political discussion. I just think that power changes between partys are essential for democracy.
--- end complain mode

If you want to support an open source project in vienna, support Seed7 (I am living in vienna / austria (no kangaroos here)) :-) .

Greetings Thomas Mertes

Seed7 Homepage: http://seed7.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
Seed7 - The extensible programming language: User defined statements
and operators, abstract data types, templates without special
syntax, OO with interfaces and multiple dispatch, statically typed,
interpreted or compiled, portable, runs under linux/unix/windows.

I don't know about school IT in Vienna... (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#23652287)

But I do know about it in the UK.

Generally, educational software falls into one of two categories:

1. Written by IT professionals. The user interface is consistent with everything else on the platform, there's a nice easy way to roll it out to everything, it doesn't stamp crap all over the system, it doesn't do something silly like want admin rights to run.

It's the IT admins dream, with only one minor disadvantage: It tends to be very bad at actually getting information across.

2. Written by teachers and other educational folks. This tends to be hacked together, with a user interface which defies belief in every way. Think the worst nightmare software you've ever used and multiply by 5. It's shipped with instructions saying "Go to every PC in turn and double-click on the setup icon" - and it is not uncommon to find the setup procedure is actively hostile to any attempts to automate it. Despite being generally relatively simple, it only works on a few specific versions of Windows and tends to break very easily. It makes assumptions like "The application will always have its CD available and it will be on a disk in a CD-ROM drive at D:" (even if you've explicitly paid for a version to run over a network) or "We can write wherever we like in C:". It's licensed on a per-machine basis and the idea that you might want to license or indeed work with more than about 5 copies honestly never occurred to the developer.

It's the kind of thing that most admins thought died (or at least had the worst stupidities ironed out) a long time ago. But once you get it working, it's generally very good at getting information across.

Guess which one teachers prefer?

Multiply that by every single subject taught at every single level for which a suitable piece of software exists and you have a rough idea of how much fun educational IT is.

Regarding the actual issue of the kindergarten app which is IE-only - thinking about it, this doesn't surprise me. I've worked in a school and I found that the idea of any software which isn't entirely available off the shelf was absolutely terrifying to the Powers that Be - even though in this case paying for the relevant migration would almost certainly have been a lot cheaper.

Microsoft develops software for Austrian kindergar (4, Informative)

miawuascht (1301887) | more than 6 years ago | (#23652389)

There is a story on the WKO (The Austrian Federal Economic Chamber) http://portal.wko.at/wk/format_detail.wk?AngID=1&StID=366673&DstID=0 [portal.wko.at] , which is closely tied to MS, about the context where this software is used. The initiative which uses this software is sponsored by the WKO with MS as a partner. I suspect that the big advantage the Microsoft technology stack has, compared to other inferior offerings, is the reason that the product is working only with IE and not with any other browser

Ridiculous! (1)

schoschie (1006039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23652443)

The reason given by the Viennese sounds a lot like the kind of perfidious methods M$ would employ to secure market share.

It's ridiculous. For the cost of changing back to Windoze, 8 m EUR, you could probably hire *ten* companies to port that silly language test application to Linux in a couple of weeks. Who are they kidding?

I wonder if there is a decision maker in the city of Vienna who maybe got a birthday present or two from Bill.

Re:Ridiculous! (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#23653187)

Not quite, the money's already been paid in its own form recently for this marketshare (aka bribes:

It's Microsoft's "OnMyWay [microsoft.com] ". Groklaw has coverage. [groklaw.net] So yeah, the bribes are pretty much out in the open on this. It's just a continuation of the OOXML bribes fiasco for marketshare.

Too freaking stupid.... (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#23652507)

So Wien is changing their computers all over to Windows... again. How long is this expected to take? And when in 2009 (presuming that for once some sort of software will be completed & delivered on-time) is their program supposed to be compatible with the Gecko engine? I'd be surprised if the reverting to Windows part would be completed more than a couple months before the program is compatible.

Kick out Vienna's IT head ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23652735)

This has got to be the dumbest IT blunder of all time, if Vienna's IT pros knew a little about computers, they'd try it with Wine. Or heck, it'd be cheaper to develop their own kids language test application & contribute it to the open source community. To top it off, using a heavy weight resource hog Vista to run a browser based web application is ridiculous!

Given their reasoning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23652891)

"The given reason for all this is a language test application for the kids that only works with MS IE and won't be made compatible (by the producer) with Firefox until 2009"

Isn't that a reason in and of itself to push for open source solutions?

This is how it works (1)

io-waiter (745875) | more than 6 years ago | (#23653047)

As an example, The Swedish goverment once bought an unlimited licens for http://www.agresso.com/ [agresso.com] accounting and management system, this was then forced onto all parts of of the goverment, departments, agencies .e.t.c. Now comes the fun part, the system only works with IE, and itÂs very dependent on Excel. There are tons of software out there for accounting and records keeping and similar that are MS only and canÂt be replaced because of legal issues and certifications. All parts of public sector has software that are more or less monopolies because of legislation.

Vienna rolls back Linux in favour of Vista (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23653879)

This submission couldn't make it:

ORF reports [futurezone.orf.at] (machine translation [yahoo.com] ) that the city council of Vienna, the capital of Austria, plans to spend 8 Mio. Euros in 2008 chiefly for Windows Vista and Office 2007 licenses. The migration plans include undoing the efforts of the most important Linux deployment-at-large, namely 720 computers used in kindergartens running the custom Wienux distribution; this costs 105000 Euros additionally. One thousand of the 32000 PCs in government and official departments runs Linux.

Cause of the plans is that a certain language test software for kindergarten kids only works in IE. A Firefox-compatible version is only expected next year. Critics note that a part of that money could have been used to accelerate the completion of the software and accuse the council of not consistently following their Open Source concept, not creating incentives for migrations from Windows and neglecting the 1000 businesses in the region that produce Open Source software.

Submitters, editors: Systran Babelfish is way better than Google Translate.
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