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Munich's Move To Linux Exceeds Target

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the unterpromise-ueberdeliver dept.

Government 235

jrepin writes "In May 2003, Munich's city council resolved to migrate municipal workstations from Windows to Linux and open source. Munich's LiMux project has announced that it has exceeded its annual target for migrating the city's PCs to its LiMux client. To date in 2011, the project has migrated 9,000 systems; it had originally planned to migrate 8,500 of the 12,000-15,000 PC workstations used by city officials in Munich."

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235 comments

Slashdot Poll, Slashdot Poll, The Best... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38414700)

Have you ever had someone, just once, alim tsk tsk your bootyassness minute?

Re:Slashdot Poll, Slashdot Poll, The Best... (1, Offtopic)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414724)

Have you ever had someone, just once, alim tsk tsk your bootyassness minute?

First posts to hit new low.

Re:Slashdot Poll, Slashdot Poll, The Best... (0, Offtopic)

deniable (76198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414748)

Next poll, how much crap is living inside your keyboard?

Re:Slashdot Poll, Slashdot Poll, The Best... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38414806)

Niggers gonna nig.

steve balmer (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38414710)

in 2003 steve balmer travelled to munich to convince the city council to keep running windows

Re:steve balmer (5, Insightful)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414750)

in 2003 steve balmer travelled to munich to convince the city council to keep running windows

And if the CEO of RedHat didn't travel to Munich to convince the city to convert to RedHat, he's an idiot.

Re:steve balmer (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38414764)

Prior to 2003 they were perfectly happy with using windows.
After Balmer's trip.. Wholly shit we have to switch to ANYTHING ELSE ASAP.
Photo from said trip
http://www.models.hr/models/images/stories/slike/najbogatiji/steve_ballmer.jpg

Re:steve balmer (5, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414810)

I was expecting the parent to be goatse, but no, it's actually Ballmer, which is probably more offending to the eye than goatse.

Re:steve balmer (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38414834)

It's still Gotse, but a different angle

Re:steve balmer (5, Funny)

suprem1ty (1854894) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414778)

I heard several Munich city officials were later admitted to hospital with chair-related injuries

Re:steve balmer (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414904)

In other news, mr. Ballmer will be included in next intercontinental ballistic missile agreement?

Re:steve balmer (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415904)

And they probably would have stayed with windows if he did not start throwing chairs all over the council chambers.

Broken link / Florian Schießl blog gone (4, Informative)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414746)

The article says, "Last year, Florian Schießl, a LiMux project director, stated that he and his team had been naïve and had underestimated the extent of minor problems."

"naïve" links to another article on the same site, h-online.com, from March 2010,

  * LiMux project management, "We were naïve", http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/LiMux-project-management-We-were-naive-958824.html [h-online.com]

This one states: On his blog, the IT expert admits that "We were naïve," and confesses to a "miscalculation".

This links to

  * http://www.floschi.info/2010/03/quality-over-time-in-munich/ [floschi.info]

but floschi.info just says "It works". The Internet Archive records only cover up to Feb 2010 (http://wayback.archive.org/web/20100501000000*/http://www.floschi.info)

Re:Broken link / Florian Schießl blog gone (3, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414866)

Yes, I saw that too. I was a little amazed that despite their need to change their approach they stayed with it. This is Microsoft's favorite opportunity to step in and "heal the pain" with discounts and assistance in putting things back as they were.

I would like to be able to see more about this and how the transition went and most importantly, the lessons learned in all of this.

Re:Broken link / Florian Schießl blog gone (5, Interesting)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414992)

He says that 1,000 staff had been maintaining 15,000 Windows computers. Fifteen computers per tech? Not impressive, by an order of magnitude.

Re:Broken link / Florian Schießl blog gone (4, Informative)

bertok (226922) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415258)

That sounds like a shockingly inefficient network, I doubt it has anything to do with Windows, and more to do with ingrained poor practices and typical bureaucratic inefficiency.

Switching to anything would have been an automatic improvement simply because it's an opportunity to cleanse the existing system with fire.

Re:Broken link / Florian Schießl blog gone (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415330)

Clearly you don't measure the implications of switching from one architecture to another in any organization. There are a lot (I meal a LOT) of specialiazed applications (from accountancy to library management to any professional branch) that just can't magically go or be replaced, and although I don't work in Munich, I guess there's a lot of Wine running there... In fact, speaking of the software tools everyone in the offices uses (and I mean, non-tech staff), and aside OpenOffice, I don't really see what could easily and conveniently replace Windows-based tools automagically.

Depends on the level of service you want (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415374)

The amount of computers I can personally maintain could be as high as thousands or as low as one. All depends on what your requirements are.

For example suppose my job is to do nothing but maintain the systems in working order. I don't help users with problems at all, I just make sure the computers and software works properly. I'm allowed total control, all systems are one make and model and are under warranty at all times, they are replaced when they fall out. They all run a single, unified, set of software, none of it custom. Users have no admin access, all data is stored on a highly reliable, supported, central server.

Well hell in that situation, I can maintain a virtually unlimited number of systems myself. Only real limit is in terms of how often hardware fails and I have to diagnose it and call in warranty support (who will do the actual repairs). Highly reliable central equipment that is supported by the company combined with management software like Ghost mean that I'll do things once and replicate it everywhere.

Now on the other end of the scale, suppose I am expected to provide extremely hands on support. Each and every computer is custom built to the user's wishes, both hardware and software. They get it setup however they want. They also have full and complete admin access. Plus, I am expected to handle any questions or training they have. In that case, I'm not going to be able to handle many systems. 15 might well be too many. I'm going to have to spend a lot of time per system helping people, fixing their fuckups, and so on. I'll hit my limit at a low number of systems.

So it is all in what you want. The more service you want, the more staff you need. We go through that with the Dean at work all the time. He wants us to make faculty happy, which means lots of handholding and support for special research projects, but he doesn't want to spend a lot and hire a lot of staff. We have to keep explaining that you can't have it both ways.

Now they may well have had some inefficiency as well, but part of it can just be a very extensive amount of support. If your support team has a lot of jobs, they need a lot of people.

Re:Depends on the level of service you want (2)

jrminter (1123885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415568)

You are, of course, correct. However, in most organizations, your first model would work for most office staff and production workers but not for some, albeit, limited R&D staff and developers. For the latter, I think both greater control and greater accountability are required. I am one of those .1% in my organization (I do instrument automation and image processing/analysis.) I have a good relationship with our IT staff. If I break something, I fix it. If hardware crashes, they help (they have the parts warehouse.) If I need access to corporate licenses, they either give me access to the share with the licenses or lend a hand. If something is outside my expertise, I ask for a consult before I start the project. The key requirement is mutual respect and high expectations.

Re:Depends on the level of service you want (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415608)

We're talking about the government here.

Re:Depends on the level of service you want (1)

jrminter (1123885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415660)

My comments could apply to a municipal government as well. I would be surprised if a metropolitan area such as Munich did not have at least one data scientist on their payroll looking at economic data and doing the kind of studies that municipalities do to guide setting tax policies to attract jobs. Such an employee would have different needs than the typical office workers. Besides, the post I replied to was far more general than the parent...

Also remember some R&D can be IT in some place (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415894)

In some companies, programming and that kind of thing is IT as well. They need a custom app that does X, so they have an in house programming division that does that kind of thing, and they are called "IT" as well.

I'm not saying any one model is right, just saying these are ways that you can have lots of IT. A company can well decide it wants tons of computer support and development, and thus have a really large IT staff. It is all in what kind of service you want.

Any information on LiMux? (4, Interesting)

astropirate (1470387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414752)

Anyone have any information on what LiMux looks like? What DE does it come what? Screenshots would be nice... I googled around but couldn't find any information on it.

Re:Any information on LiMux? (3, Informative)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414820)

Strange. Google's picture search shows me several screenshots. One can clearly see that LiMux uses KDE.

Re:Any information on LiMux? (1)

Tamran (1424955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414832)

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LiMux [wikipedia.org]

"It was based on Debian. Version 3 available from 2011 is based on Ubuntu 8.10 and version 4 will be based on Ubuntu 10.10."

Re:Any information on LiMux? (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415418)

Why on earth would they not be using an LTS version of Ubuntu as the base? If they're going to be using Ubuntu in the first place, they're doing it wrong....

Cost saving? (3, Interesting)

xushi (740195) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414762)

Interesting move,

I wonder, how much will this save them cost-wise? That's 9,000 less licences they'll need to have, but I recall Microsoft usually gives discounts on bulk licences, and further discounts if they hint someone is considering an alternative. Also, along with what you'd pay for in licence fees, you get support from them. How much will it cost now to get support (and on demand support) for the Linux OSs (including training, re-training, hiring, etc..)

Re:Cost saving? (5, Insightful)

Zemran (3101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414840)

The licenses do not tend to be much of a saving but once you have fired the 200+ college drop outs that are looking after the Windows computers and hired 40 people that actually know what they are doing you can save a lot on salaries and the reliability of the system causes a massive saving indirectly. I saw this in reverse several times when places that I dealt with replaced their Sun systems with Windows and had to take on loads of teenagers with a piece of college paper and no idea of how DHCP should be set up. Down times jumped from less than an hour a year to days per year.

But at least the staff could see the acne ridden youths working, they never believed that the old guys with beards and tank tops did anything as the system just worked...

Re:Cost saving? (4, Interesting)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414936)

Yes, one place I was at there were 10x the support staff per Windows desktop compared to the Sun workstations. Sometimes I was the *only* Sun support guy for over 500 machines, which was quite hard work but do-able. Actually, they were so low maint that an audit discovered 100 or so Suns that we had forgotten about and that were doing their jobs just fine! (This was a long time ago...)

And still, the effort that has to go into keeping Windows boxes (even W7) running is hugely more than the Solaris and Linux servers that I have deployed all over the planet, in my experience, though less so than previously.

Rgds

Damon

Re:Cost saving? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415850)

Hell if you consider TCO, even macs are cheaper than Windows as it takes* considerably less effort to keep them up and running, not to mention a complete Unix toolset that blows away anything Microsoft has ever offered in terms of automation and being able to fix problems. Does Microsoft still not ship their OS with an ssh client out of the box? Yes I know there are 3rd party solutions, but guess what, those 3rd party solutions become just another package you have to handle and becomes just another thing Microsoft can break with an update...

*This is only true if your company has a lot of XServes, ever since Apple so stupidly killed off the line without offering a *REAL* replacement, the TCO of Macs in the corporate world has risen a bit, probably still not as bad as Windows, but nowhere near where it used to be.

Re:Cost saving? (1)

derfla8 (195731) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415750)

Right...because "40 people that actually know what they are doing" will want to work for the government.

Re:Cost saving? (4, Interesting)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415292)

They require fewer service personal, the developed Debian/Ubuntu based distribution can be shared with other cities, and all the money spent for services by the city stays in Germany and with German companies which is very clever for a Municipal, as this results in jobs and taxes. Instead of a money transfer to the US.

As a city you should not think in business and macro-economic terms, you have to look on it from a macro-economic viewpoint. And you have to look at the long run. Well you should look on long term results in a company as well, but a state hast to do so. Otherwise it goes bust.

Re:Cost saving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415844)

Don't forget the cost of the head buyer + families Bermudan vacation.

Re:Cost saving? (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415858)

Also, along with what you'd pay for in licence fees, you get support from them.

Since when? We paid for user seats on the OS, plus all the software on the machine, plus support and it was damn expensive. Unless your idea of "support" is security patches, then yeah, Windows comes with support.

They're saving a crap load of money. Maybe not the first year or even the second, but by the third year the savings will be significant, by the fourth year they'll be astounding.

Now switching a big office over to another OS should be a lot easier. With most services available online, there's less incentive for individual copies of software on every machine.

User satisfaction level . . . ? (4, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414816)

I'm more interested in if the users are satisfied. Or works faster? Or works slower? Or users rate the overall experience as positive? Negative?

A sheer number of workstations migrated is about as useful as a McDonald's "X Billions of Billions Served!" number. Don't tell me how many you served . . . where they eaten . . . ? . . . and how did they taste . . . ?

Re:User satisfaction level . . . ? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415184)

As a Munich user, I can tell you that:

The Finance Databases are always available (they previously had significant down-time).

Log-in takes seconds (not the tens of minutes that previously happened with the Windows systems) - the accumulated savings in work time are huge for log-in alone!

Applications load and run faster - again saving workers significant time.

E-mail always works (the Windows mail servers were frequently unavailable).

Security is enhanced, and there are no panicked messages sent around about this week's virus!

It's just MUCH better and lets us all get our work done more easily. The savings in time, user frustration and in software licences is massive. The staff requirements to maintain the system are fewer, better able people. We've just demonstrated our system to a numer of other cities, and many more are going to adopt it...

Re:User satisfaction level . . . ? (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415204)

Thanks for the summary;

E-mail always works (the Windows mail servers were frequently unavailable).

Do you find many formatting problems working with companies outside the city?

Re:User satisfaction level . . . ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415428)

A simple comment like this is music to my ears. There should be a nice big interview and editorial, covering what you said with some hard numbers.

'Time spent actually working' and 'less user frustration' are often overlooked. Sure people 'cry' that OO.org isn't MSO, but the rest often gets overlooked.

Being able to link a story about a comment like this, being able to show and tell others that it can work, is awesome.

Re:User satisfaction level . . . ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415484)

Sounds like they don't know how to run a Windows environment... lol we don't have any of those problems. But we know what we're doing.

Re:User satisfaction level . . . ? (2)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415880)

No...

I just switched my home network (I trade for a living) to Linux and OSX. It was rough doing the switch since, as the Munich people found out, the details can be frustrating. I had to rewrite some apps in Java as the Mono code could not handle some functionality. But once that development was done, Linux/OSX work like a charm.

I use OSX for my notebook as I have not found a better notebook with Linux on it. For the desktop machines hands down Linux. But I would also add this ease of use where things just work happened in the last year. I have been using Linux since Yggardsil in 95, but completely usable only the last year. Maybe it FINALLY is the year of Linux ;)

BTW why did I switch to Linux and OSX? Cost! With the new Metro interface and the move away from .NET ( yes yes C# still exists, yada, yada, but it is not the same API! and hence still problematic) I would have to cough up around 5500 USD, and that was just too much. Solution, get Linux, get some Ubuntu One cloudspace, and buy Apple notebooks, still saved money...

Re:User satisfaction level . . . ? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415692)

I love Linux and use it everyday at work, but what you describe sounds like you had a horribly misconfigured Windows environment replaced by a nicely configured Linux environment. My guess is that if someone had torn the old Windows patchwork down and rebuilt it nicely you'd get the same benefits you mentioned.

Why roll their own distro? (2)

revelation60 (2036940) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414828)

I don't see why they roll their own distro. This means they have to maintain all sorts of stuff themselves, while there are already so many viable alternatives. If they used, say Ubuntu, support would probably be much better.

Re:Why roll their own distro? (4, Insightful)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414850)

If they used, say Ubuntu, they would have to retrain the personnel every time GNOME or Ubuntu folks decide it's a good idea to rethink the whole UI design and human-machine interaction mechanisms. Regardless of whether the new design is or is not better than the old one, it still needs retraining. Retraining = cost. So no, I think that sticking with their own flavor was an excellent idea.

Re:Why roll their own distro? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414882)

Then you pick a dist and disable or redirect the sources so it stays still until you decide to change. Ubuntu also has a long term support (LTS) version so you could coast off that, picking up the patches for a few years before deciding whether to continuing to support the dist by yourself or upgrading something more recent. Red Hat is probably a safer bet if you want long term support though.

Re:Why roll their own distro? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38414908)

Limux is based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS with KDE 3.5 on top. They do maintain a personalised version of OpenOffice and are keeping Thunderbird and Firefox up to date. source in german (http://www.golem.de/1108/85823.html [golem.de])

Re:Why roll their own distro? (4, Insightful)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38414988)

As opposed to retraining when Windows completely changes?

Re:Why roll their own distro? (4, Informative)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415132)

We find that a large part of the employees at our company has the new version at home long before they are migrated at work, so due to enterprises being slow adopters of new versions, the problem sort of solves itself.

Re:Why roll their own distro? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415230)

Windows (sadly! - and I say this as a Windows user) didn't change much in terms of UI in the last 10 years.
Why? Besides the possibility that they just don't have the required skill to improve the UI, backwards compatibility and familiarity is one of Windows' strongest selling points (especially when you're dealing with old secretaries).

Re:Why roll their own distro? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415650)

10 years is lowballing it. My home PC runs Windows 7 and the UI still looks pretty much like the way I configured Windows 95 to look. Needless to say I'm using the "classic" theme. There are some additions but except for the My Computer link being in the start menu now (and of course the login) I don't think one would need to know more than Win95 to operate it.

Re:Why roll their own distro? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415118)

Just because Ubuntu or GNOME changes their default window manager||metaphor every six months does not mean that you have to use it or follow them.

(this is what is so insidious about .gvfs, by taking obnoxious liberties with the filesystem it tries to take over your unix system too, not just that one particular user's desktop, so you are left to not allow ANY of your users use GNOME, which stinks because if they like to that should be their business, not the IT manager's)

Re:Why roll their own distro? (1)

jrminter (1123885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415712)

You are correct. Note the migration of many to Xubuntu. I was planning to move off of Mandriva because of their continued churn and was concerned about the bloat of both of the new KDE and Gnome desktops. I was many pleased with Xubuntu and gave it a shot. I am generally pleased. Most Linux distributions give the user more choice than they realize; the variants of Ubuntu simply packages these conveniently.

Re:Why roll their own distro? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415300)

or they could just usevone of the LTS versions of ubuntu and control the updates so that its a non issue.

Re:Why roll their own distro? (1)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415248)

As far as I know, they use a Debian derivate. However, most of their installed applications which have to come wit the distribution are municipal specific. So when they would use Ubuntu or Debian alone they would have to install their software by hand on every machine. It is much wiser to use a package system which is already available and make your own distribution.

According to Wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LiMux] they used Debian and are now using Ubuntu 8.04 and will use 10.10 in their 4th version.

Re:Why roll their own distro? (1)

jrminter (1123885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415688)

If I read things correctly, they are basically repackaging a Debian variant. Many places with specific needs do this. CERN did this when they created Scientific Linux. The proliferation of such repacking schemes suggests that it is not as much of a time/resource hog as one might think.

inneficiency goes open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38414852)

I don't know which is more unfathomable
That 15000 _city_ workers actually need computers
That there is a 3000+/- gap.
That they allot 1 IT staff for every 12-15 computers.
That it has taken this long already.
That their biggest obstacles aren't people - be it fanboys or just stubborn to change.

I'm sorry, but I don't think switching to Linux can fix the underlying problems here.

Re:inneficiency goes open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415112)

Think of the money... Are you fracking serious?

Which target? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38414876)

I guess it depends which target you look at. They certainly haven't met their original target set 10 years ago. Met and exceeded their revised target, yes, they did.

This isn't about Linux (3, Interesting)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415006)

As much as it is about German efficiency.

The real amazing thing is that they beat the communists.

Linux uber alles!

Re:This isn't about Linux (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415466)

I'm amazed that they beat the financial crisis. We all know Windows costs a lot for licences and today's governments are very cash-strapped. So like Portugal that recently announced they would not pay for any more Windows upgrades [google.com], I'm surprised more countries aren't looking closely at Munich to see if they can reduce their deficits slightly by going this route too.

Re:This isn't about Linux (0, Redundant)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415670)

Have you SEEN the horrible job the communists did? Germany was a neat experiment with the whole GDR shit and after the wall fell it became pretty damn clear which side is better at management. West Germany is still paying for the shitty management of the commies (in the form of a solidarity fee, used to bring the former GDR states up to speed).

Achtung, Schweinhunde! (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415008)

Die Jahre von Linux auf Bürotish ist angekommen, aber ich habe kein Versicherung für meinem Polenuberfallenmittelstoff! Nilpferdsheisse!

Re:Achtung, Schweinhunde! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415058)

Meine Güte, wie schlecht ist das denn?!

Re:Achtung, Schweinhunde! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415606)

Wuuuuusch!

Oh Yeah, Mr Hillbilly (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415122)

Continue playing with your GI Joe toys. You just blurbed two words I never heard here in Germany since I was born in the 70s (in Germany to German parents).

Re:Oh Yeah, Mr Hillbilly (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415294)

I don't know, something about the year of linux on the desktop, and something about a hot hippo? Is that the new Ubuntu distro?

Re:Oh Yeah, Mr Hillbilly (1)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415334)

What do you mean? Efficiency or "beat the communists". By US standards we are all communists in Europe (minus that rainy island) and German "efficiency" can be seen at a daily basis on every commercial or public helpline or office. ;-)

I feel their frustration (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415040)

At every turn I am faced with more Microsoft lock-in. Most recently has been an inventory tracking database system. They advertised a "web interface" option but were unable to provide a demonstration of it. After the company bought the product anyway, it was revealed that their "web" interface was actually Silverlight. I realize that Microsoft just released an update to Silverlight, but isn't it already slated for extinction? And when I asked the vendor if they have any HTML 5 intentions, they had no answer at all. So here I am facing yet another application which requires Microsoft Windows, MSIE 8 and a proprietary control set which cannot easily exist in any other way. We already have Documentum which is supposed to be able to use Firefox and the like but thanks to Mozilla's insistence on their INSANE version escalation practices, every update is an X.0 update meaning Documentum thinks it can't support it.

Frustration all around. Thank you Microsoft for shoving your crap through developers and vendors. Thank you vendors for buying into their crap only to find yourselves having to re-write your software AGAIN as Microsoft drops support for the platforms you built your apps on. Thank you Firefox for making the task of trying to migrate to your client all the more difficult. Thanks go around pretty evenly.

Re:I feel their frustration (5, Insightful)

FaxeTheCat (1394763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415104)

So the fact that they were not able to provide a demonstration did not ring a few bells? LOUDLY?

I guess the company got what they deserved, then.

Re:I feel their frustration (1)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415668)

So the fact that they were not able to provide a demonstration did not ring a few bells? LOUDLY?

I smell some "political" decision here.
Probably the guy who pushed for this solution is friend with the company that sold the application.

Re:I feel their frustration (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415150)

We already have Documentum which is supposed to be able to use Firefox and the like but thanks to Mozilla's insistence on their INSANE version escalation practices, every update is an X.0 update meaning Documentum thinks it can't support it.

Would it be considered acceptable to install a reverse proxy that rewrites the User-Agent?

Re:I feel their frustration (1)

The Askylist (2488908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415340)

Two seconds of Googling found this: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/uacontrol/ [mozilla.org]

Depending on the number of users, either this add-on or a reverse proxy might be easier.

Re:I feel their frustration (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415610)

Oh I tested and used that, but it is complicated to say the least when it comes to deployment of such things. It is a whole other topic... "How do you run an IT shop when you don't have control of your own AD?" Deploying things like that would be trivial with a few scripts at login time.

The add-on does work. It's a deployment issue primarily.

Thanks To Your Stupid Managers (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415154)

If they can't be bothered to check the "Web Interface" by qualified IT personnel (who would have found out about the Silverlight thing), then the situation you describe appears to be primarily the fault of your employer.
Unfortunately you are not alone with this, I have seen lots of instances of companies buying $hitty software after having been nicely talked to by a seasoned salesman. "Leadership" personnel is quite often extremely sloppy when it comes to software purchasing decisions and they certainly don't even ask for expert advise. They leave it to their experts to attempt a fix of the mess they bought.

Re:Thanks To Your Stupid Managers (2)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415314)

The problem is, that IT is not seen as a mission critical element of the companies success. It is just a tool, like a coffee machine. As long as it works somehow, everything is fine. Management has to learn that data and information processing is important, yet crucial for company success.

Re:Thanks To Your Stupid Managers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415398)

The problem is, that IT is not seen as a mission critical element of the companies success. It is just a tool, like a coffee machine. As long as it works somehow, everything is fine. Management has to learn that data and information processing is important, yet crucial for company success.

So is coffee. But seriously, many IT staff tend to overestimate what importance they should have, almost like a smoothly running IT setup that causes the least trouble for IT support, even despite user wishes/needs, is the purpose of the org. IT is just a tool to get the other stuff done. It is IT peoples job to keep supporting that million dollar sales rep that IT hates because he is so 'stupid' and causes them so much trouble, because he rakes in the revenue that pays the bills. I'll agree that IT is a fairly important tool in many businesses and even a competitive strategic asset for some (but far from all, for many it is more of a standard utility). But sometimes the 'stupid managers' actually have their priorities right for the business and org, at least better than us nerds complaining about our part of it.

Re:Thanks To Your Stupid Managers (4, Interesting)

jrminter (1123885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415796)

I think all sides would benefit from seeing this as a symbiotic relationship and treat each other with mutual respect. Yes, IT staff needs that troublesome salesman who rakes in the orders. That salesman also needs IT support to be productive. And those managers are really only effective when they create an environment where their minons can do what they hired them to do.

The system breaks down when any one group deludes themselves into thinking they are more valuable to the organization than they are. In my case, I remind myself that even the "lowly janitor" who cleans my lab (always with a smile) and keeps the dust away from my sensitive instruments, the skilled tradesman who fixes the water chiller that keeps my electron microscope running, and the technician that refills my liquid nitrogen cylinders enable my productivity. They each deserves my respect - and admiration. It is honest labor; tasks that I don't like to do or am not good at. It is a much more pleasant work environment when everyone realizes that the whole is more than the sum of the parts...

Re:I feel their frustration (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415214)

I've seen all of that. We're stuck on Firefox 3.6 or IE8 because Oracle can't give us an answer about supported browsers. Given that they're already on the way out, they're not big on support. We don't know what's going to replace them but it won't be fun. At least we've dumped IE6.

My biggest bit of fun lately has been developers that think the right-click is OK in a browser interface. Management love their iPads and need to talk to their software.

Re:I feel their frustration (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415698)

Oracle just need to give us a place where we can add more "acceptable browsers" to the list and be done with it and let the local admins be responsible for that aspect of the deployment.

Re:I feel their frustration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38415570)

Until the "No one ever got fired for buying $(vender_name)" line becomes untrue $(vender_name) will continue its practices and you'll get this crap.

Re:I feel their frustration (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415642)

Good practices for websites and applications are to not check the version of the browser you're using, or even its name. The only thing that could be relevant is the engine used under the hood (which version doesn't keep jumping, even with Chrome or Firefox). And even then, you shouldn't need that at all.

9000 Linux desktops isn't a measure of success. (1)

dicobalt (1536225) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415522)

So what? They installed Linux on a bunch of computers. The real test here is measuring productiveness of people using those computers. Are they still doing their jobs just as well as they were with Windows. That's the real reason why desktop Linux deployments fail. Anyone can install a Linux distro but not everyone can use it.

Re:9000 Linux desktops isn't a measure of success. (2)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415956)

People can be productive using Windows? It all depends what you mean by "productive".

German Coast Guard (0)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415540)

Does the German coast guard have any offices in Munich?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yR0lWICH3rY [youtube.com]

Waaay off topic. But I like it.

Re:German Coast Guard (1)

johnjaydk (584895) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415640)

Does the German coast guard have any offices in Munich?

Somebody needs to retake geography 101. Munich is about as far as one can get away from the German coast and still be in the country.

Submarine parts (1)

roguegramma (982660) | more than 2 years ago | (#38415754)

Well, it is unlikely that the German coast guard have many offices in Munich. However, thanks to advances in military computing, the army can now order submarine parts in Munich, if they feel like it.

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