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German Foreign Office Going Back To Windows

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the it'll-be-different-this-time-baby-i-promise dept.

Operating Systems 901

vbraga writes "The German government has confirmed that the German Foreign Office is to switch back to Windows desktop systems. The Foreign Office started migrating its servers to Linux in 2001 and since 2005 has also used open source software such as Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice on its desktop systems. The government's response to the SPD's question states that, although open source has demonstrated its worth, particularly on servers, the cost of adapting and extending it, for example in writing printer and scanner drivers, and of training, have proved greater than anticipated. The extent to which the potential savings trumpeted in 2007 have proved realizable has, according to the government, been limited – though it declines to give any actual figures. Users have, it claims, also complained of missing functionality, a lack of usability and poor interoperability."

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The profit motive is a great motivator (0, Offtopic)

SocietyoftheFist (316444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276232)

The big reason this is being typed on an Apple instead of a Linux box is that Apple provided me with what I wanted. I only boot Linux in a virtual machine these days. Of course I work with several servers at work that run Linux and do their job admirably, but desktop Linux was never going to happen.

those silly germans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276244)

hurry up and be october already, dammit :|

Sad (4, Interesting)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276248)

I find it curious that Linux on the desktop should be so well accepted in some markets (especially Latin America) and resisted so vigorously in others. Anyway, this is sad news, whatever the reasons.

Not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276254)

I'm not surprised at all.

One hopes they keep going with the Linux servers.

Blame the report! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276256)

Let's blame the report rather than being introspective about real usability problem with Linux.

I have faith that this thread will remain civil (3, Insightful)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276260)

I can't see how anything could possibly go wrong.

On topic, this situation seems to be a chicken and the egg. Until a lot of people are using Linux, switching from Windows on a mass scale isn't feasible.

cue the ac fanbois (0, Troll)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276262)

Microsoft staff + vendors posting as AC in 3...2...1...

One of these things is not like the other. (5, Insightful)

spqr0a1 (1504087) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276274)

Switzerland and Spain are doing great with OSS in government. What makes linux a bad match for the German Foreign Office? Or what are they doing wrong?

B.S. I say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276278)

Without figures, this whole deal smells like MSFT getting a sweetheart deal with the German gov.
I still don't get the driver issue. I bought a brand new Canon all-in-one printer and found Linux drivers for the scanner and printer in a few minutes of googling.

You can lead a horse to water (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276280)

But you can't make the horse drink it, is the lesson here.

Shocker! (0)

Aerorae (1941752) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276282)

People not adapting to change well!!!

In before fanboyism (1)

doubleplusungodly (1929514) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276284)

n/t

Was? (1)

ThePromenader (878501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276286)

So the human race ~is~ devoluting!

Linux or Windows desktops? (3, Interesting)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276292)

Please, clarify. I understood that desktops was still Windows, but they used open source apps - Mozilla, OpenOffice.org suites, etc. Where's printer and scanner drivers comes in?

Whatever. (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276294)

They'll get the update complete just in time to miss the migration to mobile. What's with Germany?

Change of government (5, Informative)

SmilingBoy (686281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276298)

It is worth noting in this context that there were a number of changes of government in Germany, implying that party politics might also have played a role. Between 1998 and 2005, the German government was a coalition of social democrats and greens (with a green foreign minister); between 2005 and 2009, the government was a coalition of christian democrats (conservatives) and social democrats (with a social democrat foreign minister); and since 2009, the government has been a coalition of christian democrats and liberals (with a liberal foreign minister). The "SPD" mentioned in the article is the social democrat party.

But wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276300)

I thought this is the year of Linux on the desktop!

What the fuck Germany! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276302)

You never quit before even when the entire world was against you!

suspicious (3, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276304)

Henning Tillmann, a colleague of Oliver Kaczmarek, the SPD MP who raised the question, and a member of the SPD executive committee's web policy discussion group, told our associates at heise Open that the government's response was not satisfactory. "The reasons given for the return to Windows are implausible," says Tillmann, "We need the figures." The costs of licensing Windows and MS Office throughout the department would cover the costs of programming a hell of a lot of drivers, notes Tillmann. Oliver Kaczmarek has already announced his intention to take the matter further and demand a clear statement from the government.

We have scanners and printers running no problem in our office on Ubuntu. Why exactly does he mention having to program printer and scanner drivers?

They might have a legitimate problem but from the information presented it sounds like poor excuses when someone asks for the exact figures and he responds with the need to write drivers. It sounds like something Microsoft would say from their "get the facts" campaign.

winner take all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276306)

of course windows is interoperable with itself. pfft.

Translation from Buzzspeak to English (0)

IICV (652597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276310)

From the article:

Back in 2007, the Foreign Office's IT department regarded the use of open source software on servers and desktop systems as a success story. IT costs per workspace were reported to be lower than in any other government department, despite the demands imposed by running a high security, globally distributed IT infrastructure. The use of Linux desktop systems in the Foreign Office also acted as a beacon for the use of open source software in other government departments.

Translation: Open Source Software has worked really well for us for the last ten years on servers, five years on desktops and three years on office suites.

The Foreign Office launched a modernisation process in 2010, one component of which was the pursuit of a new IT strategy moving away from open source software and towards "standardised proprietary client solutions" as used in other ministries. Specifically, this means a return to Windows XP, to be upgraded at some point to Windows 7, Office 2010 and Outlook. According to the government, this will not give rise to any immediate costs, indeed, they expect introduction of these "standardised software products" to produce "efficiency gains". Open source software will continue to be used on servers.

Translation: Microsoft wined and dined whoever is in charge of setting organization-wide policies (it's not bribery if nothing shows up in your bank account!), and then offered to price-match the Open Source stuff if we would switch back - especially since we were telling other organizations how awesome our Open Source rollout was.

I mean, why else would they take a system that has, apparently, been working pretty well for the last three years and replace it with the system they just left, miraculously at no extra cost?

Driver Costs Not Realistic, Says Article (5, Interesting)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276312)

A comment from someone in the government shows that this isn't going down without a fight. The FO's answers to inquiries claimed driver costs were high. Officials say that something's wrong if writing drivers costs more than refitting the entire bureau with new Win/Office licenses.

interoperability problems? Linux is not to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276318)

I expect that some of the "interoperability problems" here stem from the fact that some manufacturers are not forthcoming with information for good drivers. Another reason is that the interoperability with MS-Windows is not optimal, but here is Linux not to blame......

Yes ... Open Source can present some IT challanges (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276320)

and some issues for certain functions and users. The bigger question for me is how many security / virus issues occurred during the use of Linux for both servers and desktop ?

FOSSFag status? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276334)

SupercalafragalisticexpialaTOLD!

Congratulations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276338)

... to Microsoft ... Guess someone did some good lobbying :)

what is wrong with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276342)

has also used open source software such as Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice on its desktop systems

I also use these on my Windows 7 desktop at the office. Could the missing functionnality be the inability to read stupid PPTs? I call BS on missing functionality, a lack of usability and poor interoperability!

it is difficult (4, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276346)

It's hard not only for governments. A retail operation was trying to switch to Ubuntu boxes and one of the problems became Zebra LP 2824 thermal printer drivers [zebra.com] , which are all for windows and none are for unix/linux. Of-course CUPS support these printers to an extent, but not completely and the worst part is printing in Cyrillic - it doesn't work. Barcodes do print and English prints though. Is this a show stopper for Linux on desktop? It well could be in this case.

Thunderbird would make anyone crazy. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276348)

I use evolution and consider Thunderbird to be worthless. Aside from that as someone who uses Linux as a primary desktop for years (CENTOS/FEDORA) there's more general wierdness for me compared to Windows 7. Stuff is more likely to just work with Win 7.

I think the real benefit of open-source has nothing to do with the license cost which is quite overrated. The benefit is that I can just download the latest stuff anytime without having to worry about licenses or other hassles. Because the cost of MS software is quite insignificant for anybody living/earning in a western country (and people in other places mostly pirate it) when you consider it stays current for years. I mean would anyone seriously have considered themselves to save $200 on an XP license for example that they could've used for 6 years if they preferred XP? Maybe a few insane slashmonkeys would try to argue that.

Sounds about right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276350)

My girlfriend had very similar complaints when I finally convinced her to give linux (Ubuntu) a try on her laptop. At first it was cool and new to her, but then she actually had to do things and was forced back to her macbook/a windows machine at school. I doubt I'll be able to convince her to go back for a while.

Which printers? (1)

high_rolla (1068540) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276358)

I wonder what printers and scanners they are using that would require them to write their own drivers? I have been using Linux for a few years now as my desktop and have had no problems connecting various printers using existing drivers.

Writing printer and scanner drivers?? (3, Interesting)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276362)

It makes me wonder what arcane version of Linux they were using - or what kind of obscure brand of printers and scanners they insist on using. Any serious manufacturer these days supports Linux.

Now I know not all printers have Linux drivers available; yet this migration has been going on for five years and has been planned probably for years before that.Easy enough to replace equipment that comes to the end of its life span with equipment that's known to work with Linux. At least that is assuming they have a serious and competent IT department.

Economically sound? (4, Insightful)

zebslash (1107957) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276366)

I am sure that with the money they spend in Windows licenses, they could have bought new compatible printers and scanners. Come on, most high grade, networked all-in-one printers and scanners are compatible with Linux.

New trend? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276370)

Will be interesting to see if this is the start of a new trend the same way it was trendy for some governments to start switching towards Linux earlier.

Congratulations to Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276372)

Guess someone did some great "Lobbyarbeit" :)

Which Printers? (1)

high_rolla (1068540) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276376)

I'm wondering which printers they are using that require them to write drivers? I thought most common printers had Linux drivers nowadays?

Smells? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276382)

Looks like someone got a (untracable) bribe maybe?

Why are they writing their own drivers? (3, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276386)

... the cost of adapting and extending it, for example in writing printer and scanner drivers ...

Why are they writing their own drivers? As a sizable buyer of equipment (the government, not the single department) they could simply tell HP and other vendors that the government will only be considering equipment that has Linux drivers.

BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276388)

German Foreign Office hired the wrong people in their businesses. If these people have a college education, I expect they can handle changes as this. Also, writing drivers requires the effort to work with the vendor who sold the equipment. German Foreign Office does not want to admit Microsoft gave them a lucrative contract where they could not refuse to say no.

Servers? (1)

bejiitas_wrath (825021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276390)

Linux has the problems with printer drivers on the desktop, I have had that problem, but for servers it is extremely stable and reliable, not to forget more secure as long as the security people know what they are doing. Modern Linux systems are quite easy to use on the desktop with the Gnome desktop, UNIX and it's descendant Linux are designed for running as a server operating system and it deserves a chance as a business` choice over the Redmond alternative.

ACHTUNG! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276394)

ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!
DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.

Calling bullshit (5, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276396)

While it's very likely that Microsoft-addicted users complained, I am absolutely certain that no resources were spent on "writing printer and scanner drivers", thus making the whole claim untrustworthy.

Someone has to be investigated for corruption -- IIRC, in Germany it actually something that matters.

list plz (0)

epyT-R (613989) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276398)

1. what missing functionality? the article doesn't say.

2. define 'usability.' is this another "it's not windows" whine fest? osx isn't windows either but you don't see many complaining about that. that's right, end users can't install that latest trojaned screensaver or other useless app that, of course, they 'must' have...or maybe they can't play their mp3s, but that's not linux' fault, that's a policy issue. of course, with windows, it's easier for the average worker bee to get around such things.

3. interoperability with what exactly? just about any enterprise level printer and scanner will work with any os. I can't believe it's 2011 and we're still dealing with 'winmodem' style 'hardware'. Even on windows most of that hardware performs poorly. It's junk. Stop buying it.

ACHTUNG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276404)

ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS! DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN. IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS. ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.

All quiet on the western front ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276408)

*tumbleweed*

Lack of training (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276410)

"Users have, it claims, also complained of missing functionality, a lack of usability and poor interoperability."

Sounds like they gave them NO training instead of the minimal training it would've taken to teach them the differences.

This may be true, HOWEVER (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276412)

It seems like these tests always get skewed by IT technicians who think they know it all. Put a grassroots Linux developer in charge of your IT department, and I almost guarantee you, it won't be this bad.

As far as missing functionality and interoperability... if it's missing the function, usually it means it just wasn't all that good to begin with...

In the Linux world, it's not how hard it is to code, it's how badly you want the feature, and if enough users want it, someone will make it happen.

Article is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276418)

very light on details.

inb4 (0)

Xaemyl (88001) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276422)

inevitable throng of fanbois

poor interoperability (3, Insightful)

sxpert (139117) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276428)

right... it's much easier to be interoperable when everyone is running the same (MS) crap... morons, that's not interoperability....
as for writing printer drivers, well, their fault for not selecting a manufacturer that makes sure it's hardware is compatible, such as HP

Just works. (-1, Redundant)

dadelbunts (1727498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276430)

Great example of how windows "Just works".

Printer drivers? (5, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276432)

Really?

I mean, I suppose I don't really know much about this, but did they really have the sort of volume where a rollback to Windows was cheaper than writing printer drivers, and writing printer drivers was cheaper than buying a printer with open drivers? Seriously, what doesn't CUPS support these days?

One has to wonder ... (4, Interesting)

HW_Hack (1031622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276434)

what the number of security / virus issues was (or wasn't ) during the period of using Linux in the office ? I do tech support for a medium sized school district and we are constantly getting pretty sophisticated phishing emails to some of our staff. And some staff still fall for them or send out emails or try to reply ... Fortunately we are 70% Mac based so most of that just blows by.

The issue with teachers is that they regularly email parents and students who may have infected PCs and their email addresses are then harvested.

Just Works (-1, Flamebait)

dadelbunts (1727498) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276440)

Great example of windows systems "Just working" no huss no fuss.

In other news (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276444)

Wikileaks is already preparing for the deluge of sensitive German diplomatic information that is bound to come in when someone hacks the new Windows machines. I give it a month, tops.

What a waste (1)

Palmsie (1550787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276448)

You spend all that money training people and changing the culture of your office to become more open minded and active learners with regard to technology only to switch back after you spent all the resources. Of course people are going to complain, change isn't always easy but if you facilitate the transition through training or knowledge management it eventually pays itself off.

F1rst PsoT ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276454)

Yeeaaahhh !

As always (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276456)

The user is THE key.

Burrnnnn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276460)

Linuxxx suxxx

Stunned silence? (0)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276464)

Why no comments yet? Is everyone in denial?

In other words (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276466)

I am sure some nice rebates and a few government lobbyists paid for special information sessions on learning the joys of Microsoft products of course. Maybe these including some nice resorts, dinners, and tickets for sporting events for these lovely educational lessons.

If they are anything like our staff at my office. (4, Insightful)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276472)

We still have some staff members using typewriters. I shit you not.
Never underestimate just how reluctant people are to change.
Especially when there is no incentive to do so.
And you want them to work harder to learn something that does the exact same thing except its cheaper for you.
And you expect them to get the same amount of work done different system.
And you cut their pay.
And their money isn't worth as much anymore.
And they could probably earn more as a bar tender.

Ways to make a change feasible.
Rule #1: If it doesn't make sense to the person doing the work to switch ie. no discernible benefit your screwed before you even started.
Rule #2: Build solitaire directly into clones of word and excel.
Rule #3: Build facebook games directly into all office apps.

You could say.... (1)

ALeader71 (687693) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276476)

Buy cross platform compatible hardware, but they do have a point.

I do wonder about the "lack of functionality, usability, and interoperability" claims. If you phase in the back end items: databases, web servers, file sharing, and LDAP then implement standards compliant replacement information stores and better looking front end client applications most users will scarcely notice the change. You could even keep Windows on the desktop. Microsoft Office is still king, and Open Office lacks the click-for-click interface cloning that stymies the average user.

Just in time (2)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276480)

To miss the migration to mobile.

As Nelson Muntz would say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276488)

*haha*

missing out on group savings (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276490)

as the other departments were using windows and so the cost of writing the drivers wasn't being shared out amongst all of them, but kept in the single department... anyway, they should have been insisting on hardware only coming from manufacturers who provided Linux support... buying winprinters and expecting them to work on Linux is just stupid...

Implausible (3, Insightful)

Delgul (515042) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276496)

As the article states, the reasons given are implausible. More likely, the move is politically motivated.

Standardised? - Proprietary (1)

udippel (562132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276498)

"standardised proprietary client solutions" is what the article says they want to return to.
By all means, they didn't get it: It is not about the software; but about standards. If I were a German taxpayer, I'd be up in arms: From now onwards, again, taxpayers' monies are used to produce documents that are inaccessible in future. Ask your parents, how nicely old MS-Office documents can opened in newer software versions: zero and nada.

Something smells corrupt here.

Oh, no, I suddenly - struck by enlightenment - understand: the crybabies ("missing functionality, interoperability") can't play Crysis on their workstations.

Meh, is anyone really surprised? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276500)

Open Source's strength has always been in code. Without the marketdroids demanding shininess or you're fired the shiny just doesn't happen.

Patches or GTFO doesn't help much either, no-one accepts GUI suggestions from users (either the current design is "fine" and you need to RTFM, which is usually either useless or out of date) or they want you to fix it yourself. Digging into a new codebase isn't a 5 minute endeavour, never mind that the best people for it are specialised in UI and may not be good code monkeys.

[It isn't a coincidence that a lot of cheap utility applications for Windows and Mac are basically just various open source tools wrapped up in a shiny UI, the fact that people are willing to pay for something they can get for free just because the payed version isn't a complete pain in the ass should tell you something. On the other hand, if you're hardcore you probably relish RTFMing and spending hours trying to figure out how to coerce ffmpeg into transcoding a video into a format compatible with your MP3 player]

Captcha: "ostrich" — seems oddly appropriate somehow.

Year of the linux desktop? (1)

Laser Dan (707106) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276506)

Maybe next year will be the year of the linux desktop...

Why write printer and scanner drivers? (1)

youn (1516637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276508)

I know it's good for the community as a whole, but if it is too expensive for them and cost is an issue... most of the mainstream stuff is supported out of the box these days... and definitely cheaper to buy a new printer than write a driver

WTF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276514)

The document being referred to [oliver-kaczmarek.de] (German) doesn't say what kind of free open-source operating systems they tried to use on the desktops. I really wonder what that was, b/c I never came across a missing scanner or printer driver when using a halfways modern free open-source OS. Didn't they take a look at some modern Linux distros? And when an issue like that really comes up, before I'd write a scanner or printer driver, I'd purchase devices that work with my OS and sell the other gear. It really looks like the administration has been ripped off.

Virus Functionality (1)

mathex (1917848) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276516)

They missed the viruses

Did anybody factor security in the cost ? (1)

what about (730877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276518)

Nobody knows what is in the windows updates.... (beside maybe some Microsoft employee)
I would think that a gov. body should consider security as a top priority !
(Is anybody concerned that one day all WIndoze machines just stop and the whole department is stuck ?)

Also, even assuming the TCO is the same Win-Linux (I do not believe this) but instead of shipping money to Redmond you keep them in Germany, something a government should think about, or not ?

There can be a simpler explanation, as usual, a Microsoft representative visited a key person and explained the advantages to switch back to Microsoft.
(Any of you may just guess who will gain the most for the switch back)

Lack of focus (1)

Yuioup (452151) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276520)

It all comes down to the lack of focus and consistency with a few Open Source projects. Unfortunately making a desktop environment does not lend itself to a every-developer-is-equal type environment. In order to succeed a desktop environment project needs to be ruled with an iron fist from top to bottom.

See (albeit non-Open Source) examples: Windows, iOS.

This does not sit well with at all Open Source developers in general. The concept of a dictatorship flies in the face of whatever they hold dear.

So for this to succeed, somebody has to step up and create a desktop environment built from top-to-bottom with a no-questions-asked policy.

Y

Poor interoperability (2)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276522)

One of many reasons I don't run Windows is, in fact, the poor interoperability with some of my favorite Linux only programs. That extends very few programs however.

It would be relevant to see which programs lack the stated poor interoperability.

missing out on group savings (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276524)

as they were the only ones involved in the experiment, then their costs of writing drivers weren't being shared out... also, they should have absolutely insisted on hardware having to have Linux support out of the box from the suppliers. Expecting winprinters to work is rather stupid as winprinters aren't really printers at all as the manufacturer has shed a lot of cost by using the computer itself to do the hard work.

The rest of the article says it best (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276526)

Almost no need for comments here in Slashdot as the second half of the article "balances" the initial assertions.

Essentially, one group in a political party is against the use of F/OSS in favor of Microsoft and other BSA groups' products. They give arguments that do not contain any figures to support their claims. The article indicates this much but also asserts that the costs of creating various forms of support for hardware are CERTAINLY less than the costs of Windows and other software licenses. (You can almost certainly expect Microsoft to step in to offer discounted license costs to the German government to prove that's not true as they have in the past)

With all that said, it certainly does show there is still an uphill war going on where hardware support is concerned. Without question, the battles have mostly been won though the determination of developers, hackers and crackers where the results are an extensive pool of hardware supported under Linux. Trouble is, hardware development hasn't stopped and new ways to shut out access to Linux users have been added as it goes on. One that gets under my skin most recently is NVidia's Optimus technology that has made the use of the nvidia gpu impossible on my little alienware.

Until hardware makers are legally inhibited from doing so, this will go on for as long forever or until Windows becomes the next IBM or Novell. (Nobody believed IBM on the desktop could be killed off... nobody believed Novell on the server could be marginalzed either and they both happened. Why anyone thinks Microsoft Windows will still dominate in 5 years amazes me. They might, but they might not -- things are changing rapidly and there is still lots of government support and development of Linux around the world.)

dirst post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276528)

GNAA

GNAAAAA

The price of business as usual (1)

muckracer (1204794) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276530)

Monopoly Vendor - meet locked-in Users. Locked-in Users - meet Monopoly Vendor.

Poor interoperability (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276532)

The article or the linked pdf:s don't specify which programs cause the poor interoperability.

In view of that, it may just be some (illegal?) lobbying from other OS owners.

Subject (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276534)

I guess that's that then.

That's a shame (1)

lakeland (218447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276538)

Sounds like too many staff were experienced with Windows and didn't like learning something new... training, missing functionality, lack of usability and poor interoperability all sound like the complaints I've heard from users when asked to use a different system.

Incidentally, what on earth were they writing printer or scanner drivers for? Could they not specify 'compatible with our environment' on the RFP?

2011... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276542)

2011 The year of Windows on the Desktop

d'oh!

My guess is OpenOffice.org was the biggest hurdle (1)

webagogue (806350) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276544)

I love what the OpenOffice.org (and varriants) have done, but MS Office is SO INGRAINED in the soul of office work that anything else is unbearable for the majority. I'm sure that will change as younger generations utilize google docs, iWork, etc, but that's not the case today. At least not in German government.

Money, money, money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276546)

Yeah, you don't think someone was paid off for that?

frist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276548)

psot

Oh? (1)

Ventriloquate (551798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276550)

Highly vague and seemingly riddled with underhanded intentions but maybe their games didn't run on Linux.

Usability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276554)

Well they gave it a shot, wonder how soon they would have dropped the project if they were using gentoo or slackware.

I don't get the interoperability argument. Both Word and OpenOffice.org export to PDF, and linux has great PDF readers. Windows has Adobe Reader, which gets the job done albeit being a little bloated.

The issue, I believe, lies not in the usability of the software, but the premature judgement of software missing functionality, just because some random yahoo can't figure it out.

Management.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276556)

Of course it is the "management" that are deciding it is too costly to continue with free open source. The IT department can't get a real reason why. The IT could do tons with the cost of licensing Office/Outlook/Windows and they can do many training seminars on how to use the Linux desktop (gnome is not that hard).

Looks like (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276560)

Looks like a few German officials are going to be making easy money as "consultants" over the next few years. What a shame.

Ha ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276562)

I told you so

Credibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276566)

They go back to windows without giving -or maybe without being able to give- credible monetary figures why this would be a good idea?

I don't think that's the proper way to decide on something with such major impact on the budget and productivity, is it?

Germans Going Back To W... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276568)

...WIII!!!!!!!

In other words (1)

geek (5680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276572)

The idiot users were to stubborn to learn how to use it so they gave up and dropped millions on windows

I'll agree with the opposition... (4, Insightful)

moco (222985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276578)

FTA:

Henning Tillmann, a colleague of Oliver Kaczmarek, the SPD MP who raised the question, and a member of the SPD executive committee's web policy discussion group, told our associates at heise Open that the government's response was not satisfactory. "The reasons given for the return to Windows are implausible," says Tillmann, "We need the figures."

It sounds more like a change in IT leadership to me.

Quick question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35276580)

How much?

It worked! (1)

Arador Aristata (1973216) | more than 3 years ago | (#35276584)

I see the Microsoft marketing team finally got to them.
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