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The Man Behind Munich's Migration of 15,000 PCs From Windows To Linux

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the full-conversion-mod dept.

Operating Systems 264

An anonymous reader writes "It's one of the biggest migrations in the history of Linux, and it made Steve Ballmer very angry: Munich, in southwest Germany, has completed its transition of 15,000 PCs from Windows to Linux. It has saved money, fueled the local economy, and improved security. Linux Voice talked to the man behind the migration: 'One of the biggest aims of LiMux was to make the city more independent. Germany’s major center-left political party is the SPD, and its local Munich politicians backed the idea of the city council switching to Linux. They wanted to promote small and medium-sized companies in the area, giving them funding to improve the city’s IT infrastructure, instead of sending the money overseas to a large American corporation. The SPD argued that moving to Linux would foster the local IT market, as the city would pay localcompanies to do the work.' (Linux Voice is making the PDF article free [CC-BY-SA] so that everyone can send it to their local councilors and encourage them to investigate Linux)."

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264 comments

Cheaper beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46958661)

With all this money saved, I hope they will build more hotel to welcome more people at Oktoberfest!

Re:Cheaper beer (-1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 months ago | (#46958819)

What saved money? They went with Linux despite it costing more than the MS alternative - it was buried in the fourth paragraph of the linked-to article.

Rather than send fewer dollars to the US, they spent more dollars and hired local Munich companies to handle the migration.

Re:Cheaper beer (5, Informative)

Racemaniac (1099281) | about 3 months ago | (#46958931)

And you took that out of context. That was on the initial 5 year plan, where moving to linux was a big migration, while moving to windows XP from windows 2000 would have had far less impact.
So of course in the first years such a massive migration and education of your users costs more. But now 10+ years later they estimate they saved money (and that was also mentioned in the part where they mentioned that linux was more expensive. For the 5 year plan microsoft was cheaper, but strategically they were pretty sure linux would be cheaper after that).

Re:Cheaper beer (4, Insightful)

dmbasso (1052166) | about 3 months ago | (#46959003)

So of course in the first years such a massive migration and education of your users costs more.

Yep, higher cost, but the money stayed in the local economy. IMHO, that's the most important aspect of all, even if it had cost more after 5 years.

Re:Cheaper beer (2)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 3 months ago | (#46959415)

Like companies should do instead of outsourcing to other countries?

Outsourcing should be illegal, it's killing nice paying jobs (and the economy, but MBAs and PHBs don't think long-term anymore)

Re:Cheaper beer (2)

swillden (191260) | about 3 months ago | (#46959725)

Don't people in other countries have a right to work, too? Tribalism, faugh.

Not that it doesn't make sense for a city to consider its larger picture... it certainly does. Tax money shipped to the US is gone. If they spend the same money locally, some of it will come back to the city, particularly when you include the ripple effects from that money flowing around the local economy. So the net actual cost can be lower, even if it's higher on paper... and if the outlays are smaller and local, then the city benefits from both effects.

But refusing to pay foreign workers just because their foreign, even when it does make more sense economically, is just tribalism and we should stop it.

Re:Cheaper beer (3, Informative)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#46959855)

Yep, higher cost ...

No, lower cost. The higher cost was only short term. In the long term they saved money. Windows is cheaper in the short run because people already know how to use it, and more importantly, already know how to use MS-Office. So you save on training costs. But that is less true today. Where I live, the schools have all switched to Google Docs, so the kids will enter the workforce with little experience with MS-Office, but plenty of experience with tools that can run on any OS with a browser. So in the future, the break even time for switching will be shorter.

Re:Cheaper beer (2)

kenh (9056) | about 3 months ago | (#46959453)

They were faced with a "massive" migration to either WinXP or Linux, on a cost-basis, MS was cheaper - functionality-wise, benefit to the community Linux was superior, and they choose Linux.

I didn't judge the decision, I simply reported what was written in the article. Personally, I think they made an excellent choice by keeping the money local, even if it was greater than the foreign (MS) option.

I discussed their decision, and when they made their decision Linux was the more expensive option and they took it.

Re:Cheaper beer (1)

Racemaniac (1099281) | about 3 months ago | (#46959659)

Just because you keep repeating that, doesn't make it true you know...
The article at the point where it's mentioned that it's most expensive immediately states it is due to the 5 year plan, and sorry, but a migration of win2k -> winxp (where you can keep most apps you were using, and most users will still be fairly familiar, and tech support won't need to learn much new things) vs windows -> linux where just about everything changes just isn't the same order of magnitude.
They also continue to say further on in the article that by their own estimates they saved money by now (about 12 years later?).

So stop your trolling (or work on your reading comprehension, it's seriously lacking)

And i almost feel like a karmawhore/linux fanboy when responding to you (even though i'm a happy windows 8 user)

Re:Cheaper beer (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46958933)

And that was the reason to do it this way.
Same money to local people, not to corps that move profits thru double Irish with a side of Denmark , so they don't pay any local taxes.
Now you understand ?

Re:Cheaper beer (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 months ago | (#46959463)

More money, but to local people.

Re:Cheaper beer (1)

Agares (1890982) | about 3 months ago | (#46958999)

Even if it did cost more it would be better to spend the money in your own country rather than send it all over seas.

Re:Cheaper beer (-1, Troll)

sosume (680416) | about 3 months ago | (#46959095)

They will deeply regret this once a weird error on a critical system pops up in a few years time, and nobody is around to give support. Or when the laptops start failing. Or when they hire an incompetent admin from one of these small local companies. Linux is fine for running servers or machines with limited functionality (appliances). But for a full fledged desktop, Linux just doesn't cut it due to many reasons. WHy do you think MacOS restricts itself to a verry narrow hardware profile? Windows is the only complete system able to run userland on so many different configurations.

Re:Cheaper beer (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 3 months ago | (#46959173)

Sounds like a straw man argument to me. Why would a single organization need a system able to run on many different configurations, when the goal of most organizations is to run as few configurations as possible?

Re:Cheaper beer (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 months ago | (#46959495)

Sometimes organizational goals don't match organizational realities.

Did Munich buy 15,000 identical desktops & laptops for all users, and will perform similar massive (government-wide) forklift upgrades going forward, or will new models be brought in over time, creating an ever-changing mix of systems?

My corporate IT background tells me the latter is more likely, but hey, maybe Munich is different.

Re:Cheaper beer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959743)

They are germans, keeping in lockstep is part of their culture.

Re:Cheaper beer (4, Insightful)

higuita (129722) | about 3 months ago | (#46959223)

yeh, right, just because all those problems never happen in windows!!

and it is really just the reverse of what you said. Linux support better older hardware, when it gives errors, is easier to debug and if you have any problem, is a lot easier to verify the system (file checksum, OS and hardware) remotely and clone and replace the faulty desktop if needed. If it is a HD problem, you can even create a fallback network boot to keep the user working (slower, but working) until someone replaces the HD.

Re:Cheaper beer (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 months ago | (#46959559)

Support of older hardware is a meaningless metric, will the city of Munich be purposefully running older hardware bought surplus/off-lease, or will they buy current hardware going forward? Systems have a certain useful life, and buying machines mid-way through their useful life, while extremely cost-effective, can result in more frequent hardware swaps/upgrades, increasing labor costs but each iteration will cost less.

Put simply, let's say a given laptop has a five-year useful life, buying a laptop that is three years old doesn't extend the useful life of the laptop out to eight years, you are instead buying the last 2-3 years of it's useful life.

Re:Cheaper beer (4, Insightful)

TheP4st (1164315) | about 3 months ago | (#46959275)

It's not hard finding hardware with excellent linux support, even less so when you buy in the large quantities that the city of Munich do, you do realise that organisations of that size tend to have just a small set of laptop and desktop configurations they use, right? It is not like they randomly pick 10 different manufacturers and 50 models.
While there might be valid arguments against their move to Linux, your is definitely not one of them.

Re:Cheaper beer (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 3 months ago | (#46959441)

"Windows is the only complete system able to run userland on so many different configurations."

And it's a wonder it's not more unstable with all those possible configurations. Besides, companies tend to have identical or similar models, makes imaging easier...

Re:Cheaper beer (4, Insightful)

yacc143 (975862) | about 3 months ago | (#46959965)

You do realize that having stayed in the Windows camp, they would have one migration more, because they're (12 years ago) migration target Windows XP is unsupported.

Re:Cheaper beer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959009)

Try reading to the end.

Through... (-1, Flamebait)

Old Fatty Baldman (3630557) | about 3 months ago | (#46958677)

...obscurity.

Well, here is the problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46958713)

There is a "man behind the migration". What is a city supposed to do when it hasn't such a man?

Re:Well, here is the problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46958771)

"Linux Voice is making the PDF article free [CC-BY-SA] so that everyone can send it to their local councilors and encourage them to investigate Linux)."

Well now it's easier for people to make a case for it, since there is a live example to point to.

Use Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46958791)

Any city of any size gets it's tech support from somewhere, whether they have "a man" or not. The choice is do you get that tech support from Redmond, or do you pay someone in your own city to do it?

Re:Well, here is the problem: (0)

kenh (9056) | about 3 months ago | (#46958831)

Save money and go with MS?

Re:Well, here is the problem: (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46958937)

They could have saved a lot of money just by threatening plausibly to switch to GNU/Linux.

Microsoft is known to be very forthcoming when people start considering alternatives. "We'll give you the Ballmers and Chains for free. You'll just pay for the thumbscrews later on. And you'll get a sweet deal for rack-mounted whatevers to boot."

Re:Well, here is the problem: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959369)

MS tried that...

It didn't fly.

I wonder about man hour figures... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46958723)

One of the most often mentioned issues with Linux that is brought up is the man-hours it takes to get a deployment up and running. I'm curious how long it took for them to make the changeover, and what the day to day costs are.

Advocacy aside, Windows has a lot of management tools in the OS that make dealing with thousands of machines doable, be it SCOM, GPOs, or the flexibility of domain authentication.

AFIAK, Linux has no scalable tools. Chef and Puppet are nice, but don't come close to gpupdate /force and GPOs for deploying something on an enterprise level.

Re:I wonder about man hour figures... (5, Informative)

TWX (665546) | about 3 months ago | (#46958821)

Any large-scale deployment takes significant man-hours to achieve, but can be made easier through the use of imaging and common platforms. If I standardize on only a handful of models of computers then I can load-up the OS and build everything that I need for that OS on each model, then simply duplicate the drive over all of the others of that model, change the few things that need to be changed (name, network credentials, possibly some security hashes) and I'm done.

This is arguably even easier in Linux than in Windows because there are no particular licensing issues with just copying a Linux installation or with how many Linux installations are deployed. One's backend servers are now for updating and package management rather than for licensing.

And with Microsoft deciding to change their UI every few years now, coupled with competing UIs from Apple and Google, it's much easier to change people to a diffrent platform when they have to learn a new UI anyway. Had Microsoft kept variants of the Windows 95 UI going past Windows 7 then it would be harder, but with the Metro debacle it's a lot easier to make that change, and since most users won't go deeper than the UI anyway it's not so bad.

The hardest part is training the support staff if they've been Windows-centric their whole careers. Somehow just reiterating that everything-is-a-file isn't enough, and many professionals struggle to understand UNIX-style paths.

Re:I wonder about man hour figures... (3)

Entropius (188861) | about 3 months ago | (#46959179)

many professionals struggle to understand UNIX-style paths

Wait, really?

There are IT professionals who have trouble with the idea that /home/entropius/widgets is a subdirectory of /home/entropius, and so on?

Re:I wonder about man hour figures... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959355)

There are IT professionals who have trouble with the idea that /home/entropius/widgets is a subdirectory of /home/entropius, and so on?

Well, what drive is it on? Why is my thumb drive copied to the hard disk when I put it in? Why does Loinox use the wrong slashes?

Re:I wonder about man hour figures... (4, Informative)

CronoCloud (590650) | about 3 months ago | (#46959569)

Well, what drive is it on?

There's no worring about C: or D: or E: in Linux. It's all one filesystem.

Why is my thumb drive copied to the hard disk when I put it in?

What makes you think it is?

Why does Loinox use the wrong slashes?

Some might say that DOS/Windows is using the wrong ones because Unix-style paths' predate the use of "\" by Windows.

Re:I wonder about man hour figures... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959447)

Many IT professionals are idiots with degrees. They know what they studied in school and nothing more.

Re:I wonder about man hour figures... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959537)

That happens with "click admins" that have no real understanding of what they do.

In most organizations that is referred to as "incompetence".

Re:I wonder about man hour figures... (5, Insightful)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about 3 months ago | (#46959597)

And with Microsoft deciding to change their UI every few years now...,

You've hit on what I consider to be Microsoft's biggest problem: they are no longer making basic functional improvements to their products. Instead, they are adding bells and whistles, and changing file formats to force upgrades (if your clients have ver XYZ+1, then you need it to read the default format of the files they send you).

To me, this indicates a change in attitude. No longer are they striving to put out the best software, they're churning revs to keep revenue up. It's a sign of desperation and it has been going on for several years, now.

Re:I wonder about man hour figures... (0)

kenh (9056) | about 3 months ago | (#46959703)

Any large-scale deployment takes significant man-hours to achieve, but can be made easier through the use of imaging and common platforms. If I standardize on only a handful of models of computers then I can load-up the OS and build everything that I need for that OS on each model, then simply duplicate the drive over all of the others of that model, change the few things that need to be changed (name, network credentials, possibly some security hashes) and I'm done.

It's called WDS, and it's included for free with Windows. Clonzilla, Ghost, and other tools work equally well with MS and FOSS system images.

This is arguably even easier in Linux than in Windows because there are no particular licensing issues with just copying a Linux installation or with how many Linux installations are deployed. One's backend servers are now for updating and package management rather than for licensing.

How hard do you imagine MS software licensing is? You configure one server VM to serve out licenses, and when new license codes are available, the admin simply adds them to the license repository. The client OS and applications (MS Office) are pre-configured to seek out a KMS license server. Once the server is configured, there is no need to even think about licenses on client machines, it just works.

And with Microsoft deciding to change their UI every few years now, coupled with competing UIs from Apple and Google, it's much easier to change people to a diffrent platform when they have to learn a new UI anyway. Had Microsoft kept variants of the Windows 95 UI going past Windows 7 then it would be harder, but with the Metro debacle it's a lot easier to make that change, and since most users won't go deeper than the UI anyway it's not so bad.

And by "every few years" you mean every decade? As you alluded to, Windows 95, Vista, and Windows 7 have essentially the same UI, conversely, Ubuntu has changed it's desktop interface more frequently.

The hardest part is training the support staff if they've been Windows-centric their whole careers. Somehow just reiterating that everything-is-a-file isn't enough, and many professionals struggle to understand UNIX-style paths.

Yeah, because users that have learned "to the click" to work in Office 2010, 2011 (Mac) or 2013 will have virtually no learning curve under any of the free Office alternatives...

You ignorance of the Windows ecosystem makes it easy to find fault in it - you can simply say you prefer Linux and leave it at that, but your arguments against Windows are really rather trivial issues, nothing more.

Re:I wonder about man hour figures... (5, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 3 months ago | (#46958881)

If only the linux community could come up with some kind of "packaging" mechanism that would make software deployment easier.

This "package" could be comprised of compressed files that the OS could then "copy" to relevant locations on the system. I don't want to get to Star Treked out but perhaps we could then send these "packages" over the network to computers, instead of manually copying the files on our tape drives like we do right now.

If only Red Hat or one of the other distros had a system like this in place, it would make Linux so much more competitive. Perhaps Microsoft has a patent on this new technology?

Re:I wonder about man hour figures... (2, Insightful)

Assmasher (456699) | about 3 months ago | (#46959439)

Perhaps Microsoft has a patent on this new technology?

Amazon has a provisional patent for this in the pipeline I hear.

Re:I wonder about man hour figures... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959421)

??? no scalable tools???

Where do you think Microsoft got theirs?

LDAP, Kerberos, DNS...

I've worked with UNIX systems for 40 years now. And with thousands of machines is trivially doable once there is an organization standardization to do so.

Re:I wonder about man hour figures... (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 months ago | (#46959611)

Canonical offers a comprehensive management suite for desktops and servers, that in may ways compares with Windows AD and associated tools. Canonical charges about $200-250/system per year (I assume volume discounts are available, but I'm not privy to them), while annual software license costs for most MS software users is well under that number (for example, schools can get client OS license, MS Office, server CALs, and misc other MS software for $35/desktop per year).

There are other options, including "roll-your-own", but when considering 15,000 desktops the task can become overwhelming and take a number of years to fully design and implement, and what to do during that transition period?

money saving? Nice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46958737)

good for them lets hope it actually saves money in the long run and microsoft isnt going to pump money bonuses in other city councils.

if microsoft doenst pump money into council's then maybe other city's will switch over to a cheaper system.

Re:money saving? Nice! (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 months ago | (#46959721)

Yeah, why would MS try and retain clients? They'll just let cities drift off into "roll your own" land and watch their business revenue shrink...

Governments need the source code (4, Insightful)

bigpat (158134) | about 3 months ago | (#46958769)

At this point I am surprised that any government would trust a compiled OS that they can't effectively scan for any ease dropping code, intentional back doors or just vulnerabilities. Sure they can monitor the network to see if it is doing something obvious, but with a compiled OS it could be wide open to be compromised with either a back door or some code to send data off someplace and you would likely never know it. At least with Linux you can maintain your own verified version based on the source code. Of course even with wide open source code you get security issues... like openssl. But without the source code there could be a thousand of those types of vulnerabilities and only insiders at Microsoft could know about them. Maybe for most people it is a non-issue, but for governments and large corporations that level of pants around the ankles situation can have very big implications to national security and the economy.

Re:Governments need the source code (3, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 3 months ago | (#46958941)

Large organisations and governments typically do have access to the source code, under heavily restrictive NDAs.

You don't get to put Windows on a warship without the DoD being able to see what it does.

Re:Governments need the source code (4, Interesting)

bigpat (158134) | about 3 months ago | (#46959151)

And at this point you have to ask whether the NSA took a look at the code for the Pentagon and found some holes and diligently reported them back to Microsoft to get them fixed... or did they certify the code figuring it was better to know about the vulnerabilities and be able to exploit them than to try and fix them? I think the track record here is that relying on the NSA to certify windows at least in some way has been an exercise in balancing an inherent conflict of interest. And in terms of institutional self interest it seems that the NSA is going to be more on the hook for what they can find out through surveillance than what kind of compromises of US computers there are on their watch. That combined with monthly patches creates a moving target that is probably well beyond the capabilities of even hundreds of dedicated people to adequately keep up with. In that environment finding a few holes out of perhaps many and exploiting them, at least for some period of time before reporting them, is clearly in the NSA's institutional best interest even if that means leaving the DOD and Industry more vulnerable. Even the latest directive from the Obama administration left that door wide open... saying that the NSA only had to report security vulnerabilities if they couldn't be used in the interest of national security... so basically publicly confirming the NSA policy of finding vulnerabilities and not reporting them because they can use them for their own surveillance activities.

Re:Governments need the source code (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959161)

That's still not the same, unless they spend billions hiring people to look through the code. Each organization could not share findings with each other, so every one has to start from scratch. In addition, you can't really be sure the code is correct, as what is the likelihood of the organizations being able to compile from the source they were given. Having the source code is meaningless with a closed source product.

Re:Governments need the source code (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 months ago | (#46959771)

I always laugh at those that say we need to "read the source code" [youtube.com] - with apologies to Rep. Conyers.

Re:Governments need the source code (1)

PPH (736903) | about 3 months ago | (#46959389)

"have access to" or "can independantly build new systeml from source"?

I wouldn't trust Microsoft to provide the complete or even correct source, NDA or not.

Re:Governments need the source code (2)

schlachter (862210) | about 3 months ago | (#46959615)

You don't get to put Windows on a warship without the DoD being able to see what it does.

Actually, you don't get to put Windows on a warship, period.

They're all running Linux/Unix/Custom OS

Re:Governments need the source code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959661)

Didn't you hear?

The navy is replacing that "Windows for Warships" with Linux.

They need a system that won't make the ship dead in the water and have to be towed back to port.

fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959307)

At least it is open for anyone to view and find any holes, the problem as has been stated on /. no one is really investigating the code for those holes. Everyone just keep adding to it, but there needs to be a better attempt at getting hosts of programmers/security researchers to view the code and try to find an exploit. The community is fragmented, and there really is unified effort to prevent openssl, but that can change from the openssl debacle hopeful everyone takes notice and does something.

I read the entire article, and the city knew the costs, and those costs were the initial costs of getting the entire thing up and running. Once it is there it pays for itself. I kind off figured you would get nothing but MS fanatics on /. bad mouthing the entire move. And now with Windows 8.X they would have to upgrade yet again.

This is a huge step for free software, but only if the programmers can make the OS's more user friendly to eliminate the need to hire linux specialists in order to train employees. Of course I am aware the switch started 10 years ago, so things have changed quite a bit for Linux.

The humorous part of the article is when Ballmer went to Munich to talk to the Mayor, and the mayor isn't good at English so his translator told him if he doesn't understand just reply "what else can you offer?". Ballmer being a total idiot admired the mayor for being a hardline negotiator.. ;)

TAANSTAFL. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 3 months ago | (#46959517)

At least with Linux you can maintain your own verified version based on the source code.

At the cost of maintaining your own IT department or an ongoing contract with a third party.
 

But without the source code there could be a thousand of those types of vulnerabilities and only insiders at Microsoft could know about them.

Even with the source code, there could be vulnerabilities - that nobody knows about. Look how long Heartbleed existed before it was discovered more-or-less by happenstance.

TANSTAAFL.

Re:Governments need the source code (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 months ago | (#46959759)

You imagine governments are staffed with computer professionals capable and motivated to worry about their OS being compiled by the Mfg.?

At what level of government do you imagine would be performing code reviews and building their own OS images? Federal? State? County? Municipal? Here's a better idea, keep government worker desktops off the Internet, then it doesn't really matter how vulnerable a desktop OS is if there is an air-gap between it and the internet.

GNU/Linux (-1, Troll)

2ms (232331) | about 3 months ago | (#46958777)

Ok, I find RMS to be completely annoying, but I find myself being even more annoyed, at this point, by people calling GNU/Linux Linux. Linux is a kernel. Why do people continue to call GNU/Linux (i.e. the whole system) by the name of the kernel it uses? To me it's like if you were to call the Tesla Model S "Goodyear" or something because it had Goodyear tires. Would seriously like a person or two to explain what exactly the reasoning behind this phenomenon is, if indeed there is any.

Re:GNU/Linux (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46958807)

Would seriously like a person or two to explain what exactly the reasoning behind this phenomenon is, if indeed there is any.

It's lack of pedantry.

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

2ms (232331) | about 3 months ago | (#46958857)

If GNU/Linux is too detailed, then why don't people just call it GNU then?

Re:GNU/Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46958955)

I didn't say verbosity. I said pedantry. Average Joe just doesn't give a fuck.

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | about 3 months ago | (#46959135)

Because GNU's Not Unix, but Linux is very like Unix.

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

krashnburn200 (1031132) | about 3 months ago | (#46959181)

Linux is easier to say, and everyone already knows what I mean when when I say it,
even you,
even RMS,
or else you would not be telling everyone what we really mean is GNU/Linux.
It's here it works get used to it.

At the same time I also understand your frustration with the fast and loose nature of our language usage
Like so many things it's just human nature, you want to fix something help fix humans, after all someone is going to be releasing the first patches for the human genome soon,

I for one hope it's open source....

Re:GNU/Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46958851)

Why do we call a refrigerator a "fridge"? It's just easier.

Re:GNU/Linux (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 3 months ago | (#46958865)

A few reasons:
1) People prefer easy to use names. "GNU/Linux" is an awkward mouthful, "Linux" is a nice simple name. For the same reason people refer to the "Tesla Model S" as "Model S", or simply a "Tesla", since the S is the more common model here.
2) "Linux" has been the most commonly used name from day 1, and that's not going to change, for the same reason that the public will continue to take "hacker" to mean someone who breaks into computer systems.

Re:GNU/Linux (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 3 months ago | (#46958971)

For the same reason you ride an escalator up and down floor levels, you take aspirin as a pain killer, and you store your hot beverage in a thermos.

It's not a genericised trademark, per se, but the term "Linux" is now used to describe the whole, incorrect or not.

Re: GNU/Linux (2)

samkass (174571) | about 3 months ago | (#46959265)

I think you have it reversed. The OS was originally called "Linux", and it included a kernel, GNU user space tools, MIT's X-windows system, some BSD api's, and later Apache web servers, etc. There was a Linux kernel, but also an entire Linux distro.

It was only years later that RMS tried to retroactively name someone else's project with his organization's name, and that's one reason there's resistance there. Now the Linux kernel has "kernel" dropped and people try to say "Linux" only refers to that part. Ok, whatever. It's just RMS politics. People can name their distro whatever they want. But don't pretend GNU/Linux is a more "correct" way to refer to anything-- it's just a brand.

Re:GNU/Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959053)

What non-GNU Linuxes are there?[*] People also say a M3 when they should say a BMW M3 or a Testarossa when they should mention that it's a Ferrari or a MacBook Pro when they should say it's an Apple MacBook Pro. Do you care about those? Until other non-GNU ones are common and also called Linux, there's no reason to spend the extra-time saying "GNU/". Everyone knows who makes the iPads... and even if they don't it doesn't change anything.

[*] Google's Android is one of them, but no one calls it just Linux. A few other options in embedded systems, but no one refers to them as Linux either.

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

Tx (96709) | about 3 months ago | (#46959217)

I think you're just trolling. Seriously? You're annoyed that common usage of a term has diverged from its original correct usage? Better rip out about 90% of your dictionary and burn it then. So operating systems using the Linux kernel have become known as Linux in common parlance; how infuriating. I tell you, I am completely fascinated to know what other earth-threatening evils are giving you ulcers right now.

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 3 months ago | (#46959353)

Because Linux is the name of the kernel and also the name used to call distributions of Linux (the kernel). Context normally makes it clear what the word means and if necessary it is appropriately qualified. Whereas GNU/Linux is just sour grapes.

Re:GNU/Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959513)

Huh?

Most people DO call the Tesla Model S "Goodyear"

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 months ago | (#46959675)

Linux is a kernel. Why do people continue to call GNU/Linux (i.e. the whole system) To me it's like if you were to call the Tesla Model S "Goodyear" or something because it had Goodyear tires.

Well if you're going for a car analogy then Linux is obviously the engine, not the tires so you're painfully trying to avoid the flaws in your own argument. And GNU is not the rest, not for the user. What they see is the chassis and the interior. which might be called KDE or GNOME or XFCE. GNU is more like the gearbox, suspension and steering column - you wouldn't want to try to drive without them but to most people they're just hidden middleware. And it's what everybody has and uses, would you say "I've bought myself a new car with windshield wipers"? What's the point? Every normal car has them so it's totally redundant.

Re:GNU/Linux (1)

kenh (9056) | about 3 months ago | (#46959851)

Because Linus referred to it as Linux when he released his kernel, and when other people added a large number of GNU utilities to that kernel and called it an OS they simply perpetuated the name.

Any thoughts of a greater "conspiracy" is a wasted effort - maybe if RMS had actually focused on writing his own kernel instead of taking a decade to decide on the "proper" kernel his suite of software utilities and another decade to write the kernel [wikipedia.org] then it would be regarded as something more than a set of tools added to Linus's OS.

Re:GNU/Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959937)

GNU/linux? Why? Everyone's whining about the desktop. Don't you mean KDE/linux? Or Gnome/linux? GNU supports the command-line. No one uees the command-line.
In 1986 I was working on some F-code for a Sparc that was just delivered. I noticed some goofy results from some of the shell commands. I mentioned it to an old-timer'. "Oh, that machine hasn't had GNU installed on it yet." That's the first time I heard of GNU. It was standard practice to put it on Solaris and HPUX and the SG machines. But no one called it GNU/Solaris or GNU/HPUX. It was just taken for granted that GNU was on there. Same thing at another UNIX shop I worked at.
Most linux users today are just MS fanboys in disguise. They got to have their little trash cans and task bars and folder icons so they can still play Windows. None of them give a hoot about GNU tools. So give it up. Quit pretending that you have some 'deep insight' into a system you don't really make use of.

Since no one reads the story - MS was cheaper! (2, Informative)

kenh (9056) | about 3 months ago | (#46958799)

As the study progressed, two main options emerged as choices for the council: remaining with a purely Microsoft solution, which would involve upgrading existing Windows NT and 2000 systems to XP; and moving to a purely Linux and open source alternative. “If you lay more emphasis on the monetary side, the pure Microsoft alternative would have won, or if you lay the emphasis on the strategic side, the open source alternative was better.

This was not a decision based on cost, it was based on functionality - being able to invest in their platform and implement exactly what they wanted was worth the additional expense, in large part because they committed to investing the money that would have gone towards US license fees into the local economy.

Re:Since no one reads the story - MS was cheaper! (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 3 months ago | (#46958903)

Keep reading to the end ...

Re:Since no one reads the story - MS was cheaper! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46958917)

Apparently you didn't read it either.
2nd paragraph of the section "Money talks" says
"Yes, it has, depending on the calculation. We did a calculation and we made it publicly available on our information system for the city council. We have the exact same parameters for staying with Windows as with the migration to the Linux platform. Based on those parameters, Linux has saved us €10m.”

Short-term costs...LONG TERM savings! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46958923)

You conveniently left out this part of the article:

the calculations were based on a five-year period, so they mostly covered migration costs (staff, technical support, retraining users etc.) rather than operational costs (buying new hardware, licence fees and so forth).

In the short term - they would have saved. However over the 10+ years since initial migration, they've saved and estimated 10 million Euros:

Today, over a decade down the line, has LiMux been a good idea in terms of finances? “Yes, it has, depending on the calculation. We did a calculation and we made it publicly available on our information system for the city council. We have the exact same parameters for staying with Windows as with the migration to the Linux platform. Based on those parameters, Linux has saved us €10m.”

  Here is an english article [h-online.com] discussing that publicly released report. For the actual german report. see here [ris-muenchen.de]

Re:Short-term costs...LONG TERM savings! (1)

Manfre (631065) | about 3 months ago | (#46959125)

I call bullshit on their training claims. Staff that used Windows at previous jobs or at home will have a lower training needs. They also assume that staff time is free and ignore any lost productivity or errors from their new OS and applications.

Re:Short-term costs...LONG TERM savings! (2)

Entropius (188861) | about 3 months ago | (#46959205)

Training people to use Linux is pretty simple unless they're dense. I've known quite a lot of nontechnical people who, when presented with LXDE or similar, go "oh, okay, this is pretty easy" and proceed to do all their shit just like they did before, except the slashes go the other way.

Re:Short-term costs...LONG TERM savings! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959213)

I call bullshit on their training claims. Staff that used Windows at previous jobs or at home will have a lower training needs. They also assume that staff time is free and ignore any lost productivity or errors from their new OS and applications.

Doesn't take much to have users clicking on icons. Not like they need to know the deep things in Linux nor Windows. That what administrators are for and I'm sure the Administrators that did the migration already had the training (one would hope that is the case in both with Linux and Windows.)

Now, the real training might be what programs that are used by the users and who knows what that actually requires other than the people involved.

Re:Short-term costs...LONG TERM savings! (4, Insightful)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 3 months ago | (#46959433)

I call bullshit on their training claims. Staff that used Windows at previous jobs or at home will have a lower training needs. They also assume that staff time is free and ignore any lost productivity or errors from their new OS and applications.

Two Words:

Metro Desktop

Oh, you mean I'm supposed to learn to deal with this thing (and the Ribbon) for FREE?

Not only that... (4, Interesting)

NapalmV (1934294) | about 3 months ago | (#46958841)

... but they're also taking care of the citizens screwed by the XP-end-of-life:

http://www.itnews.com.au/News/... [itnews.com.au]

.

Re:Not only that... (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | about 3 months ago | (#46959257)

... but they're also taking care of the citizens screwed by the XP-end-of-life:

"Screwed" because MS only supported their OS for 13 years? Riiiight. Which Linux company is going to maintain a version of their OS (for free) for 13 years? Hell, which Linux company is going to maintain a version of their OS (for free) for 3 years?

That's one of the main reasons my company won't consider Linux on the desktop.

Re:Not only that... (1)

MeistaDieb (3647703) | about 3 months ago | (#46959405)

you can't mix up private use with business use. If you use Debian, Kubuntu, CentOS etc you will always have a maintained OS for years. You don't have to pay for updates if you use them on your private computer. In business you don't want to update your users desktop that often. People don't like changes ;-) But you don't have to consider Linux on the Desktop, stay with MS, just change your server OS. People won't remark it and you will get much more possibilites in using different software =) Or just expand your MS environment with OpenSource software. There are millions of possibilities to make a admins life easier :-D

Re:Not only that... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959531)

"Screwed" because MS only supported their OS for 13 years? Riiiight.

They still sold brand new Windows XP licenses till Win 7 was ready in order to get a foothold into the netbook/subnotebook market and that was not full 4 years ago (Debian LTS is 5 years with free upgrades). The 13 years only counts if you had it from day one, in which case the pain of pre service pack 1 Windows XP would have screwed you at the beginning instead of the end.

Re:Not only that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959455)

Helping them with migration? [youtube.com]

confirmed: Linux a communist plot (0)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 months ago | (#46958859)

angry ... left political party ... politicians backed the idea of the city council switching to Linux

There was also transition to Linux and... back (2)

Kartu (1490911) | about 3 months ago | (#46958893)

Open Source Advocates Angry at German Gov't Decision
May 13, 2011

The German Foreign Office first started using Linux as a server platform in 2001 before making Linux and open source software their default desktop choice in 2005. Most observers thought the move a success. However, the government will now transition back to Windows XP, to be followed by Windows 7, also dropping OpenOffice and Thunderbird in favor of MS Office and Outlook.

http://www.pcworld.com/article... [pcworld.com]

Re:There was also transition to Linux and... back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959207)

The NSA threatened to bill the BND for the additional cost it would have taken to compromise, download and convert Angela Merckel's private documents from her computer.

Re:There was also transition to Linux and... back (3, Interesting)

higuita (129722) | about 3 months ago | (#46959473)

They where using ancient versions of thunderbird and openoffice because of internal rules that didn't allowed upgrades... by doing this, of course any interoperability problem would get worst each year. They even report that updating most software would solve most problems...

So it was not a open source problem directly, but a internal planning and rules that caused the problems. I'm just guessing, but i suspect that the one that made the "no updates" rule didn't knew anything about computers or was already secretly preparing everything to cause problems and propose later a migration.

"It has saved money..." (2)

Assmasher (456699) | about 3 months ago | (#46959149)

I think they made a smart decision that keeps their money in their borders, but the "calculations" as the main proponent of the migration used are really bent towards Linux.

Just one example would be that he considered the cost and effort to retrain people from Windows XP to Linux and the cost and effort to train people to already using XP to Windows 7 would be equal.

That's ridiculous.

Again, it's a smart decision, but not because of saving money - but instead keeping the money circulating in your own economy. It may ultimately save money due to increased tax revenues but that's a tough one to figure.

Cost RTFA (5, Informative)

puddingebola (2036796) | about 3 months ago | (#46959219)

1. Initial costs of staying with Microsoft's software were lower.
2. Customizable security was one of the pros of switching to Linux.
3. Initial costs were projected over 5 years.
4. 10 years have now past and the city made an assesment of cost. Conclusion was 10 mllion euros saved.
5. HP made there own analysis and concluded that the Linux conversion had cost the city 60 million Euros more. However, when contacted for their methodology and numbers for the analysis, they declined to provide the information.

Only One Thing to Say About This (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 3 months ago | (#46959351)

Bravo

nannyware and other excuses (2)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 3 months ago | (#46959385)

Nearly everyone fights change. In the absence of good reasons, MS will desperately push out slanted, factually incorrect studies with huge omissions. And it works. Local governments gratefully seize on these as the excuses to keep their old Windows systems.

Software is a big excuse. For example, somehow, computers in the public library can't simply be connected to the Internet, no. They have to have nannyware. On further inquiry, it turns out that such software has to be approved, and approval is a lengthy process. Naturally, the approved nannyware is Windows only. (What nannyware is there for Linux?) They will wax poetic about how they don't want the town to be sued because Little Johnny saw something inappropriate on a computer at the library. Yes, Little Johnny's eyes are why they can't switch away from Windows, even in the back office in city hall.

The most likely way to get the local politicians and bureaucrats to move on something like that is to make them more afraid of not doing it. Repeat, over and over, that Windows is much less secure. Ask them if they'd enjoy being sued because Big John had his passwords intercepted on a library computer. Or sued because hackers broke into their database and got all their information about property owners in the town. Would they enjoy being another Target? Saving money also gets their attention, but not as much as fear.

You'd think that the military, an organization that is under constant attack, would want more security than Windows has. Maybe more than plain Linux, maybe SELinux, or OpenBSD. Or make their own, which they can afford to do. But no. The soldiers are mostly young men who grew up with PCs that had Windows installed. The officers will argue that it is also important that soldiers be able to do their jobs, and that's why they have to have Windows, because that's what they know. Train them on other OSes? Never! The officers aren't experts with computers either, and will demand contradictory and downright stupid things of any proposed replacement. They will also want to be in control, and try to keep everything secret, thus virtually guaranteeing that any project they launch will fail. Though they have the resources, their ability to make their own is poor. Another excuse in the US is the home grown argument. MS is American, Linux is not. Who knows what hacks some foreigners might have inserted in Linux, as if, unlike MS's code, they can't check the source themselves, and as if MS never outsources any software engineering work or hires foreigners.

Munich is where now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959477)

Located in the southeast of Germany, Munich is surrounded by nature being situated on the river Isar and north of the Bavarian Alps.

Re:Munich is where now? (1)

ssam (2723487) | about 3 months ago | (#46959755)

Bavaria doesn't count as Germany?

Open government ... (1)

Rambo Tribble (1273454) | about 3 months ago | (#46959519)

... cannot be achieved without open standards, and open standards in computing can only be guaranteed through Open Source.

Munich is in South-East Germany (3, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | about 3 months ago | (#46959609)

Munich is in South-East Germany. Google Maps isn't that hard to use, is it? :)

Re:Munich is in South-East Germany (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959829)

Thank you for that, I was about to say the same thing.

For a moment, I wondered if I'd had a small stroke when I visited there, because I was pretty sure it was in the south east.

Excellent summary and information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46959683)

The PDF article is excellent. This should be distributed widely to show that Windows to GNU/Linux migrations are possible in large scale. I am glad finally a large organisation has accomplished this task to pave the way for future migrations. The City of Munich is way ahead in the game.

Geography 101 (4, Informative)

yacc143 (975862) | about 3 months ago | (#46959931)

Munich is in the southeast of Germany.

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