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Munich Votes for Linux Migration Plan

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the killer-penguin dept.

Linux Business 396

JoScherl writes "The German news site Heise reports (German, Babelfish version) that the city council of Munich (3rd biggest city in Germany, 1.3 million inhabitants) has voted for the detailed concept of the LiMux - Linux for Munich (German, Babelfish version) project with votes from all parties except the CSU (Christlich Soziale Union, christion social union). With this decision the 13,000 Desktops and Servers of the city administration will be migrated to Linux. CSU, which has just won the European elections, said they won't support Linux since its Feierabendprogrammierer ('leisure-time coders') would destroy Munich's IT-landscape (Microsoft Germany and other big companies are located in and around Munich) and they also fear that the personnel would have problems with learning how to use OpenOffice and other migrated systems. The migration plan has the following steps: This year the Windows NT desktops get OpenOffice and Mozilla as their default office and browsing suite. In 2005 and 2006 the systems will be migrated to Linux, with some applications running on Windows application servers. In 2008 all applications should run native on Linux."

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google does better (3, Informative)

elykyllek (543092) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448119)

babelfish's tranlation sucks
google seems to do a better tranlation [216.239.39.104]

Resident of Munich town councillor segnet concept for Linux migration off

30 million euro the expensive project LiMux can start: The town councillor Muenchen adopted the stage plan on today's Wednesday for the conversion of the entire computer landscape for those approximately 16,000 coworkers of the city administration officially. For the Linux migration tuned the red-green coalition governing in the city hall together with representatives of FDP, OEDP and the Party of Democratic Socialism. Alone the CSU governing in Bavaria votierte against the introduction of the penguin into the offices. Conservative politicians expressed doubts that the "end of workday programmers" would destroy the IT economy of Munich from the open SOURCE corner. They were afraid also risks for the persons employed, who must learn now above all handling a new text processing. Announcement

With LiMux the migration of approximately 13,000 Desktop computers and the pertinent servers lines up. First the project responsible persons in the city hall want to select concrete open SOURCE products in the framework of bidding procedures. IBM and the Novell daughter Suse are not only to come to the course, even if the original LiMux Design of the two sizes comes in the Linux market. One of the main goals of the migration is it however to create jobs directly in the residents of Munich IT economy and to receive a competitive market. "we must now watch out that we some monopolist loose will want by we the next global giant to use up", explained themselves the green town councillor Jens Muehlhaus already first under allusion on Microsoft and Big Blue. It wants to bring the small and medium-size IT companies into and around Munich particularly with the necessary specialized technical and special solutions in the play. Opposite heise on-line regretted Muehlhaus the decision of the CSU, which did not understand yet that at free software money is made main with services.

In detail the migration is to take place in three steps: First in this year all computers in the administration, which run so far still on Windows NT, are equipped with open Office and Mozilla as Browser. "first the transformation lines up to that approximately 7000 Office macros for forms such as vacation requests or travel expenses accounts, which can be finally centralized thereby ", are pleased Muehlhaus. 2005 and 2006 go it then to the migration of all office PCS to the new operating system Linux, which is to finally work completely with free software. Until 2008 then the difficult adjustment of specialized's applications lines up, for which according to Muehlhaus creativity and a good co-operation between the administration and open SOURCE developers are necessary. The know-how developed thereby might be internationally in demand however and "also exported themselves and sell to let", is safe itself of Muehlhaus.

The migration motivation is not only to be reported for this reason with the coworkers concerned in the meantime again risen, white the green town councillor. In January from individual city hall departments warning voices had to be heard that the problems with the conversion could grow the residents of Munich over the head. "in the meantime we have the full support for LiMux", get straight Muehlhaus. All involved ones would regard the project as feasible and meaningfully. The timetable for the Green has a who courage drop still: The residents of Munich schools are to be reequipped only in two years on Linux, so that the training grow up up to then still with the Windows world. Microsoft offers very cheap licenses for the education sector "on". There it falls heavily, which political will for rapid migration to bundle ( Stefan Krempl )/( jk /c't)

Re:google does better (1)

oziumjinx (253334) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448137)

this is silly...go play somewhere else with your translatory giddle

Re:google does better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448241)

parent is karma whoring like a mofo.

HOW DOES THIS BASH MICRO$LOTH OR WORSHIP APPLE? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448126)

in other words, WHO CARES?

Re:HOW DOES THIS BASH MICRO$LOTH OR WORSHIP APPLE? (0, Flamebait)

jtev (133871) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448471)

It worships Linux, go away you Apple shill.

You come from a planet called...Mockmoon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448556)

And there is peace

And there is love

And there is OS X

Is this another one... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448127)

...of those bargaining things where they are just trying to get a better deal from Microsoft?

Are They In? Or Out? (3, Interesting)

soloport (312487) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448440)

From the post, it's hard to tell...

With this decision the 13,000 Desktops and Servers of the city administration will be migrated to Linux.

and then

CSU, which has just won the European elections, said they won't support Linux

So, which is it? Can someone who knows the political landscape explain? Much appreciated.

Re:Are They In? Or Out? (4, Informative)

gweihir (88907) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448516)

CSU, which has just won the European elections, said they won't support Linux

First of all, the CSU is a political artefact. It only exists in Bavaria and not in all of Germany. It is sort of the Bavarian complement of CDU, which is the nationwide right-wing party and not present in Bavaria.

The party is on the right side (somewhat) of the CDU and of course they believe they are at least as important as the CDU. But in reality they are a small, local party with an inflated sense of importance.

The CSU did not win the European elections. There is no such thing as winning the European elections. The seats in the European parliament are distributed roughly according to the votes each party got. In fact the larger countries have more seats and smaller have less, and the seats per country are distributed accordingly to the vote distribution in that country. But for example, I cannot vote for a German party, since I am Austrian. I have to vote for an Austrian party.

Anyway, by "winning the elections" they mean sort of a moral win. i.e. they got more votes that the parties in power. Since CSU is Bavaria only, it actually means they got more votes in Bavaria than the parties in power in Germany got in Bavaria. On an European scale the CSU has no importance whatsoever. On a German scale they are nuisance-level.

Re:Is this another one... (2, Interesting)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448448)

Not this time. If you followed the events carefully, they are paying more for Linux than they are for Microsoft (Due to the cost of the migration and all the customizations needed). The situation was so dire that MS sent Steve over there to talk, but they insisted on going on with Linux, IIRC.

This proves it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448134)

John Kerry is a National-Socialist!

This proves it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448158)

You are a knuckle-dragger.

And most likely a mouth-breather.

Sounds cool to me. (2, Interesting)

Wig (778245) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448139)

Although, I think they'd be better off instead of "babying" the employees so to speak and taking such a long time to migrate. Just do it, give them courses, maybe an hour a day for a couple months. Four years seems like a long time just to convert to something extremely simple.

Re:Sounds cool to me. (0)

JPriest (547211) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448321)

They started this 2 or 3 years ago, already are spending way more than they planned, and it's going to take them till 2008 to finish. Call it a hunch, but it may be a little more complicated than just just doing a norton ghost of the HDD's.

Re:Sounds cool to me. (2, Insightful)

citog (206365) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448330)

It's a nice idea, sometimes. However, bear in mind that the people involved are city administrators. So your comment about it (OO etc.) being extremely simple is optimistic. It's also notable that there are 13,000 desktops involved. How much time do you want to put into deskside support? If they get people used to the application on a familiar OS (i.e. something about the new environment feels the same) then they can cut across later with much less resistance.

Re:Sounds cool to me. (5, Insightful)

Canberra Bob (763479) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448372)

Do you have any idea how government / business works when implementing / changing new technology? 4 years is actually a remarkably quick time to change ALL software over to Linux.

So they have decided to do this. Firstly, they have to determine what problems they will encounter. What apps might they need that they may have difficulties finding under Linux? Code may have to be migrated from ASP / whatever. Excel / word macros rewritten. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Implementing a radical change in a very large organisation goes beyond just deciding "hey, Ive got this really cool idea, lets just format all the hard drives and install Linux".

Even training, each hour the employees are in training is not only costing for the training, but also for lost productivity. The IT support has to be re-trained in the new software.

And on the server side, any code / app migration is no "simple" task.

So no, it is not "extremely simple".

Re:Sounds cool to me. (4, Insightful)

AusG4 (651867) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448375)

While this may be hard for you to understand, most people (strange as it is) could care less what operating system or browser they use. All they know is how to accomplish their jobs using the tools they've been trained on, and most of them spent hours upon hours learning those tools.

As a result, when they turn on their computer and their icons aren't in the same place, many people assume that the machine is broken and conclude that the best option is to call IT and open a trouble ticket.

That said, "babying" them, as you put it, can never be done enough. Switching to Linux isn't that simple for someone who couldn't tell the difference between Intel and InDesign. You can replace the word "Linux" with any operating system, application, or even desktop theme.

A smart IT plan never doubts the inability of the users to -not understand-, and the CTO/IT staff who remembers this keeps his/her job. On the other hand, the unemployed IT staffer "-just does it-, giving them courses for -maybe an hour a day for a couple months-".

Add to the fact that this is a government we're talking about, and taking 3-5 years to migrate an entire city IT infrastructure into as yet uncharted waters is probably being -too-optimistic.

Re:Sounds cool to me. (2, Insightful)

emorphien (770500) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448399)

While this may be hard for you to understand, most people (strange as it is) could care less what operating system or browser they use. All they know is how to accomplish their jobs using the tools they've been trained on, and most of them spent hours upon hours learning those tools.

Similarly true for graphic designers, photographers and other media folk (music, movie), however they tend to bring an attitude of what they use is best. This is commonly seen with the majority of these people that use Mac systems. Macs aren't bad, but they'll never accept they're not any better, or that they do something wrong. There's a certain elitist attitude, even though they hardly know anything about the system.

Disclaimer: I realize there are exceptions to this, but dealing with the media students at RIT, I can safely say that the demographic here largely supports this observation. So biznitchin!

Migrations are extremely painful. (2, Informative)

khasim (1285) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448479)

There are always little apps that you didn't know about and no one else has heard of, except for the one guy in Accounting who absolutely needs it to run payroll every month.

Sure it's okay if you migrate it. But it has to work exactly as the current one does. Same input, same output, same format.

And it's a mess of spaghetti code from 20 years and 50 programmers. All undocumented.

And he needs a specific boot disk to make it work.

Moving 95% of the apps for 95% of the people is easy.

It's those one-of-a-kind yet mission-critical apps that take so long and cost so much that your project over runs on cost and time.

I just spent 2 whole days moving ONE user's workstation from NT to Win2K and it was practically perfect...... except ONE thing she prints doesn't print the same way now.

And THAT is the thing that will be remembered.

BORING STORY (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448144)

By the way, the Pistons are the 2004 NBA champs. SUCK IT KOBE!@

$30mil EURO? (5, Interesting)

fembots (753724) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448145)

$30m divided by 13,000 machines = $2300/machine? Is this the reasonable cost companies should budget for to migration from Windows to Linux?

Re:$30mil EURO? (0, Offtopic)

midspot (750702) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448200)

Is that an easy way to test the capability of your webserver? Post a link on slashdot? Cool I'm all game, those newfangled load testing tools cost big bucks! I'm all with you on this!

Re:$30mil EURO? (4, Insightful)

wwest4 (183559) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448227)

European companies buying for their European offices pay with (currently strong) Euro, so it's not neccessarily meaningful to convert it to USD. Also, consider that migration project budgets typically include hours and buffer - 2000 Euro per machine isn't that unreasonable, especially if you take for granted that it's worth it to escape the "MS tax."

Re:$30mil EURO? (2, Insightful)

JPriest (547211) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448389)

You are looking at $2300 just for software on the machine (most of which are still on NT).

So the hardware is possibly behind the times, this means a future upgrade will likely include hardware + new version of Linux distro, which may be more prone to introducing compatibility problems than Windows.

So they may also have to recompile some of the software they are using upon upgrading.

It seems to me more like they are sacrificing themselves to help pave the way for others, it is going to be a long time before they start to see the savings.

Re:$30mil EURO? (1)

wwest4 (183559) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448412)

I'm sure you're right. If they have 30 mil in budget, I'd guess they are thinking about 6 years ahead or so, at least.

Re:$30mil EURO? (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448228)

If that includes software, support, instalation, and training, is it really so bad?

Re:$30mil EURO? (1)

JPriest (547211) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448358)

Well, yes!

Sysadmin plus retraining costs (3, Interesting)

sbszine (633428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448235)

I'd say a little bit of that goes to the labour cost of upgrading all those machines, and the rest goes to the retraining of staff. Two weeks of professional training could easily cost $2000.

Re:Sysadmin plus retraining costs (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448523)

Just think of all those people who will be able to add Open Office and Linux familiarity to their resumes. Will they be able to negotiate raises based on their exceptional proficiency? Munich is taking a small gamble that the rate at which other organizations adopt Linux won't greatly impact their hiring and employee comp. I say small, because it's generally likely that other orgs migrating to Linux will find it more efficient to train existing personnel and hire locally than offer a salary that will draw people from other areas, but it should be remembered, that's not always the way it works.
For example, in the past we've seen a fairtly sizeable number of people move up the economic ladder from their MCSE's by getting rarer certifications such as CNAs and there being an expectation those are worth a certain amount near automatically. If you've ever been advised to get training in something because it's currently rare, that's proceeding from the same assumption.
Companies, and (particularly) Governments, are often reluctant to publicly discuss this potential cost of switching. Remembering it is often there, often undiscussed, helps explain why some are reluctant to switch. Germany has shown a tendency to equate high pay and benifits with resulting high productivity, and expect such costs to be moderate to trivial. They're probably right, but lots of the world doesn't really trust that assumption, hence the hesitation.

Re:$30mil EURO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448391)

Yes.

Linux leads to greater revenues than Microsoft-based operations.

Re:$30mil EURO? (5, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448541)

$30m divided by 13,000 machines = $2300/machine? Is this the reasonable cost companies should budget for to migration from Windows to Linux?

It is. Actually it is a bit more expensive than staying with MS for the moment, but the main criteria were stability, security and removal of the dependency of one company only (MS). The move is expected to pay of in the long term (>10 years). Cities are long-term planners, or at least should be.

That is why Balmer failed to convince them to stay with MS by offering better prices. The fundamental motivation was not the current prices, but strategic reasons.

Re:$30mil EURO? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448551)

30 mil euros != $30 mil

currently one euro is roughy $1.25, so that would sum up to ~$2900/machine not $2300

Re:$30mil EURO? (4, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448553)

$30m divided by 13,000 machines = $2300/machine? Is this the reasonable cost companies should budget for to migration from Windows to Linux?

It's not that simple. This is an I/T plan covering the operational and support costs of the next several years. Keep in mind that if they didn't decide to do this, they were looking at having to pay, IIRC, some 23M Euro in licensing fees to Microsoft to stay on Windows, plus some hardware upgrade costs. So a better estimate of the Linux migration cost would be something less than 7M Euro divided by 13,000 machines, call it 300 or 400 Euro per machine. That's not so bad when you consider all of the migration labor and the retraining costs.

Whether or not it's worth 7M to get off the Microsoft treadmill is a pretty subjective and speculative question. I'm glad they think so.

Isn't that a bit rash.... (2, Insightful)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448150)

Ok Linux is a good OS, but they're about to have to retrain approx 16,000 workers, many of whom never heard of Linux and some are total creampuffs in computers. They will be retraining to a platform the users may not like as well. The long run costs will probably be worth it as upgrades are free. However the short term costs of re-training I shudder to think about. At 16,000 workers they need a whole university's capacity of retraining. In fact any Linux guru looking for a job? Munich sounds like a good bet...

Re:Isn't that a bit rash.... (5, Insightful)

log2.0 (674840) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448186)

Well, they will first be trained in OOo and mozzy while still running windows. Then a few years down the track comes linux. I would expect that in a few years, linux will be a lot easier to use than it is now. Even now, if you are given a linux desktop box that has already been set up, its easy to use.

Re:Isn't that a bit rash.... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448302)

My company (which is also based in Munich) is getting on this bandwagon as well, except in a more subtle way. Users are getting used to Mozilla and open source graphics programs on Windows... then we'll replace their engineering workstations with PCs running linux... ta-da, Linux on the desktop.

Granted, it probably won't undercut terminal services for cost per seat for office and groupware, but the acceptance of Linux as a desktop platform opens the possibility for competition at that level of the enterprise too... especially as an alternative when a windows solution is too costly or a hassle to maintain. For a while, Linux couldn't compete even when it made sense, because it was still a dirty word to MSCE IT managers. Now (hopefully) it will become a legitimate tool when appropriate.

Re:Isn't that a bit rash.... (4, Insightful)

sohojim (676510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448195)

I would wager that >90% of the computer-using employees only use a browser, an email client, a word processor, and a spreadsheet.

Those are all pretty much platform-independent. Interacting with shared files and printers? Pretty much the same on either platform "\\server01\accounting" is the same in Windows or Linux.

These people won't be installing hardware drivers or trying to get the latest game to run or tweaking .conf files. Relax.

Re:Isn't that a bit rash.... (2, Interesting)

Hiro2k (264020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448428)

Well I did the same thing with my parents before I left. I had 3 computers in the house and one of them was a my linux server. So of course no one touched it. Once I found out I was going to be moving to a place where I only had dial up, I realized that my server had to stay.

So I switched all their programs to the linux variants (Firefox, Thunderbird, AMSN, Open Office). At first they were scepticle, but I told them it was to prevent viruses.

Then 3 days before I left, I took my linux computer and gave it to them. And said You can use this just the same or you can fight with my brother for the other computer. They were shocked, but eventually they came around. All they do is browse the web, chat, and check thier mail.

NO Problems what so ever. And if there is, I can always SSH into the box and fix it for them. So it took a few months, but it was worth it. And my parents are now using Linux!!! I never thought Ide see the day.

Re:Isn't that a bit rash.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448429)

I would wager that >90% of the computer-using employees only use a browser, an email client, a word processor, and a spreadsheet.

Previous reporting said they had a hundred or more custom Win32 apps. Very few offices run only on general purpose software.

Re:Isn't that a bit rash.... (5, Insightful)

smash (1351) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448209)

This is brought up every time someone proposes switching to linux/anything else.

Fact is, virtually none of my 150 users know how to use Windows, so why should Linux be any different? Its the applications that users care about.

In fact, one of the biggest excuses for them not trying is "i'm afraid I'll break something".

If they're not logged on with a root account, they can't really break anything, so if anything, Linux will be easier for them to learn, too :)

Besides, the re-training thing is just as bad when switching from Windows 98/NT to Windows XP anyway....

smash.

Re:Isn't that a bit rash.... (2, Insightful)

focitrixilous P (690813) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448394)

If they're not logged on with a root account, they can't really break anything

Famous last words, especially with the users you describe

Re:Isn't that a bit rash.... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448480)

If they're not logged on with a root account, they can't really break anything
Famous last words, especially with the users you describe
They can still corrupt or erase their own data, which is really the only thing that matters on a single-user system. Hard to stop that one though.

Re:Isn't that a bit rash.... (2, Insightful)

SSpade (549608) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448476)

Besides, the re-training thing is just as bad when switching from Windows 98/NT to Windows XP anyway....

Hmm. Lets look at two transition scenarios for a typical office worker.

Windows Anything to Windows Anything

  • Microsoft Office -> Microsoft Office
  • Internet Explorer -> Internet Explorer
  • Outlook -> Outlook
  • Windows Explorer (or predecessor) -> Windows Explorer
  • Half Dozen Productivity Tools -> Same Half Dozen Tools

Windows Anything to Linux

  • Microsoft Office -> Open Office
  • Internet Explorer -> Konqueror
  • Outlook -> Nothing comparable
  • Windows Explorer -> ?
  • Prouctivity Tools -> ?

One of these scenarios has drastically higher training costs than the other. Even if you believe the long-term benefits outweight the short term training and support costs (which they may, or may not, depending on the particular situation) the short term costs in training, IT support and lost productivity will be pretty large.

Re:Isn't that a bit rash.... (1)

Tuxedo Jack (648130) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448501)

Konqueror functions as Windows Explorer, and I've never had a problem with it.

What manner of productivity tools are you talking about? Games or something? Geez, they don't need games. Give them Tux Racer and Nethack and they'll be happy. If not, they should play games at work anyways... unless they're netadmins.

In terms of comparable software to Outlook, you might look into Thunderbird. Less security holes, and it doesn't launch crap just by loading a message in the preview pane.

Re:Isn't that a bit rash.... (2, Insightful)

danharan (714822) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448509)

Besides, the re-training thing is just as bad when switching from Windows 98/NT to Windows XP anyway....
A very good point- switching to Longhorn is not going to be cheap either, so organizations might as well choose now to keep their options open.

It's not the change of OS that is most scary to me. It's thousands of users using a new productivity suite, and 7,000 macros that have to work like they did previously.

Re:Isn't that a bit rash.... (3, Insightful)

martinX (672498) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448231)

In an office environment, most workers are using a limited number of apps. Even further, they are using them in limited ways to perform a limited number of tasks.

We recently migrated from W95 to a locked down SOE of XP, with commensurate migration to Office XP. 3000 people in my local area. 50 000 across the state. It was (and still is) a very big job (mostly) ably handled by the IT staff.

Users' biggest complaint? They can't customise their desktop picture or use their own screensaver.

Re:Isn't that a bit rash.... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448410)

In fact any Linux guru looking for a job? Munich sounds like a good bet...

My German sucks. I can get through the pleases and thank yous and inquire into the location of the bathroom and that's about it. I wouldn't mind improving it though.

And I wouldn't call myself a guru by any means, but when I once said something to my sweety about not being a power user she gave me her most disdainful of looks, let out a "Pfffffft, yeah, right", and walked away. Since she once single handedly recoded an entire small division of General Electric I guess the jury is in that I'm at least a power user.

So if they can deal with an English speaking power user who'll do his best to meet them half way linguistically I'd be positively delighted to spend the next year or four explaining to the secretaries, et al, that "See, In MS Word if you want to make something bold you highlight it and then click on this big B button right here, whereas in Open Office to do the same thing you have to highlight it and then click on this big B button right here. I know that's a shock, but just hold my hand and we'll get through this thing together."

The fact of the matter is that they don't really need all that much retraining at the desktop level. What they need is a bit of "counseling," a friendly face, and a cheery voice, to help them deal with the impression that they're making some sort of big change in their life.

At the next level of abstraction down they'll, which I'd guess would only effect 500 or so of those 16,000 workers they might need to shown how some things are done in Linux to accomplish the same thing that they use to accomplish in Windows, but those people are already power users. They'll cope. I'll bet not a few of them are already looking forward to it and buying O'Reilly books.

Below that level of abstraction they'll need a few real gurus to get the system up and running smoothly and with a fairly seamless transition. They've got all that lock in technology to work around.

But I'd hazzard a guess that Germany might well have an engineer or two up her sleeve.

KFG

so... is IBM going to donate the manpower again? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448173)

Is IBM going to donate the services (as in lots of IT help for free, again) of a large crew of techs to assist in the transition like they did for the earlier part?

A plea to Munich... (4, Interesting)

overbyj (696078) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448180)

I hope those in charge of this migration is honest in reporting how the migration goes. I wouldn't expect the migration to go without some hitches somewhere and I hope it is reported what the glitches are. Of course, expect MS to jump all over the problems and say "I told you so!" but overall I hope Munich becomes the standard bearer for a mass migration to Linux.

Basically they should come out and say hey here is how things went, here are the problems and here is how to avoid them. The moral of the story hopefully will be that any large entity can migrate to Linux and get away from the MS lock-in.

Razors edge (5, Insightful)

noelo (661375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448188)

Linux fans had better hope that this goes well because if it doesn't you can guarantee that Microsoft will be hopping up and down screaming "I told you so".....or "Ich tolden youze sozen" (in German)

Re:Razors edge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448206)

That'd be more like "Ich sag du so!" and even then, that's not 100% correct.

Re:Razors edge (1)

wwest4 (183559) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448318)

I think it's "ne, bitte" oder "na bitte."

nice try (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448324)

but 'sag' is present form; something like: "Ich hab es dir gesagt!"

The irony of slashdot (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448190)

Where people complain about losing jobs to foreigners, but cheer when an American company loses a contract. Way to guys - brilliant strategy.

Re:The irony of slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448210)

I complain about neither, actually.. free trade benefits all in the long run. Besides, with 85% margins (or something like that) microsoft can afford it.

Re:The irony of slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448259)

How is "free trade" free if labor cannot move freely as capital can?

Answer: It's not.

Re:The irony of slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448213)

IBM isn't an American company?! News to me.

The irony of your comment (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448240)

Did it occur to you that a lot of us slashdotters are foreigners?

Re:The irony of your comment (1)

name773 (696972) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448376)

ahh i get it, he lives in canada

right?

Re:The irony of slashdot (4, Funny)

martinX (672498) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448254)

The US is a foreign country.

Re:The irony of slashdot (1)

aixou (756713) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448323)

The US is a foreign country.

Not according to $whois slashdot.org

Re:The irony of slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448383)

---- I own a Mac. I love the Mac

Uh-oh. -1 Flamebait.

Re:The irony of slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448414)

> Where people complain about losing jobs to foreigners, but cheer when an American company loses a contract. Way to guys - brilliant strategy.

Don't be upset, it's just schadenfreude... huahauahuahau!

Re:The irony of slashdot (4, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448518)

cheer when an American company loses a contract.

Do you mean Microsoft Deutschland Gmbh losing out to IBM Deutschland?

Christian Beliefs - Nothing to take seriously? (2, Interesting)

Nicholas Evans (731773) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448194)

"The German news site Heise reports (German, Babelfish version) that the city council of Munich (3rd biggest city in Germany, 1.3 million inhabitants) has voted for the detailed concept of the LiMux - Linux for Munich (German, Babelfish version) project with votes from all parties except the CSU (Christlich Soziale Union, christion social union)."

Trying not to sound to troll-ish, but why was the Christian group the only group to say nay to this? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, correct? Are they saying they support being locked into an operating system and helping a monopoly? I'd think they would be jumping for this...And hell, the philosiphy behind linux is one of sharing and helping your fellows!

Just a thought...

Religious Conservatives != Christianity (3, Informative)

yuri benjamin (222127) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448262)

There are plenty of grass-roots non-profit christian groups using free open source stuff. The CSU are not the best example of christianity.

Re:Religious Conservatives != Christianity (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448277)

So they are pretty much the republican party? Mouth the words but don't give a shit?

Re:Christian Beliefs - Nothing to take seriously? (1)

SkoZombie (562582) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448337)

I totally agree, it seems stupid that christians would reject the idea.

One thing i like about F/OSS is that it is more closely aligned to my philosophies as a christian. Freedom of choice, helping each other out, doing something because you're able to not for what you can get out of it ... etc. ... Contrast this with the monopolist "Greed is good, lets squeeze them for cash" view point.

I was really annoyed when my church spent as much on microsoft software as it did on hardware for a new computer. Sure you might have helpers not knowing initially how to use AbiWord/ OOo ... but it isnt hard to use, and people will learn what they use. Some of the people at my church cant even use MS-office, so why not start them off on the free alternative?

I think christians in germany should write to the CSU and ask what part of christian theology conflicts with linux. My condensed version of theology is "love God, love others" ... how is linux and F/OSS failing to show love to either God or others?

Crazy politics i guess.

Re:Christian Beliefs - Nothing to take seriously? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448362)

Groups like the CSU aren't really Christian or Socialist. Well, I mean, they are, but that's not their focus. In the US, you have well-defined seperation of Church and State and so with a political party having a name like this, one would assume that it is a "left wing religious group" (socialist, christian).

In Germany, there *is* state-sponsored religion. I'm not sure which are ok these days, but when I used to live there one had a choice between Catholic, Protestant and Jewish IIRC. Furthermore, all government buildings had a cross hanging somewhere (granted, this was in Bayern, the Texas of Germany) as was apparently required by some law or other. This is what keeps the Church of Scientology out of Germany, incidentally. They have every right to ban religions that are not state recognized, it's not like the US.

However, Europeans in general are culturally much less religious than Americans. The television evangelist, right wing nuts you get in the states are few and far between out here, and Europeans in general are somewhat embarassed by very religious people. Which means that in practice, groups like the CSU aren't really Christian in any real way other than historically. They were founded because the religious were oppressed in Nazi Germany; they have religious roots and still cling to what they call "Christian values", but what that means other than "respect each other" and other such common sense stuff these days, who knows.

Re:Christian Beliefs - Nothing to take seriously? (3, Informative)

doktor-hladnjak (650513) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448421)

CSU is simply the Bavarian equivalent of CDU, the mainline conservative political party in Germany. In reality, it doesn't have that much to do with Christianity at all.

in other news (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448196)

In other news, the CSU passed a law preventing youth groups from spending their leisure time collecting trash in order to prevent huge damage to munich's Trash Collection-landscape.

christian socialists (1, Troll)

fermion (181285) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448199)

Since some are so fond of relating OSS to socialist and communist schemes to destroy the free market, I think it is good that a major socialist party is against OSS. After all if the socialists like closed source software, nee MS, certainly no self respecting patriotic conservative Amercian can support it.

OTOH, does the fact that christians socialists are against OSS mean that we might see a crusade against OSS users. Is it time to prepare our attics?

Re:christian socialists (2, Informative)

jmulvey (233344) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448287)

Although your post was obviously tongue-in-cheek, it is not far from the truth. Apparently in Germany, they are petrified of the Church of Scientology. So much so that they demanded Microsoft provide them with instructions to remove "Disk Defragmenter" [winnetmag.com] , because it was developed by a company whose CEO was a scientologist.

Re:christian socialists (3, Interesting)

mnmlst (599134) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448290)

Slashdot's US-centricism is showing...

Basically, the Chrsitian Socialists Union in Bavaria or Christian Democratic Union as it is known in the rest of Germany is the "Conservative" party of German politics. It's the big conservative party, so I guess for Americans it's the equivalent of the Republican Party. Helmut Kohl, practically Chancellor for life there for about 15 years, was from the CDU/CSU.

Politically active Christians in the USA would find the CDU/CSU's positions on many issues abhorrent; the Christian label is just an historical anachronism from what I could tell during my two years in Germany.

Gerhardt Schroeder, the current Chancellor, is from the major "liberal" opposition party- I forget the name now. For what it is worth, West Germany only had one Chancellor in the postwar era from the opposition party. All the rest were CDU/CSU until the "wiedervereinigung".

Re:christian socialists (3, Interesting)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448465)

That's funny because, for Republicans in the US, the 'conservative' label is also just a historical anachronism.

A few corrections (1)

harmonica (29841) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448544)

Politically active Christians in the USA would find the CDU/CSU's positions on many issues abhorrent; the Christian label is just an historical anachronism from what I could tell during my two years in Germany.

Actually, they take the C for Christian rather seriously. And there are quite a few overlaps between CDU/CSU and the Republican party.

Gerhardt Schroeder, the current Chancellor, is from the major "liberal" opposition party- I forget the name now.

SPD.

For what it is worth, West Germany only had one Chancellor in the postwar era from the opposition party. All the rest were CDU/CSU until the "wiedervereinigung".

There never was an "opposition chancellor", the opposition by definition does not provide the chancellor. And if you mean opposition = SPD: there were two SPD chancellors, Brandt and Schmidt. Combined they ruled for 13 years, that's not so bad. Add another three years when the SPD shared administration responsibilities with the CDU in the fundamentally flawed "big coalition" 1966 - 1969.

Re:christian socialists (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448292)

Who modded that Insightful? It's the Christian Social Union, not Socialist.

Re:christian socialists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448308)

> Since some are so fond of relating OSS to socialist and communist schemes to destroy the free market, I think it is good that a major socialist party is against OSS.

yes ... yessss ... especially if they're (National) Socialists in Germany!

Re:christian socialists (1)

wwest4 (183559) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448370)

Those guys are probably conservative in general.

The way I understand it is that one of the major system of checks/balances in the German Federation is the fact that the states have a powerful federal legislative house - the "Bundesraat" - which is generally conservative, since they represent the "Bundeslaender," or states, which all have their own agendas and therefore tend to resist changes like this. This body is equal in power to the other house in that to pass a law both houses must have a 2/3 vote for it.

Re:christian socialists (4, Informative)

doktor-hladnjak (650513) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448466)

The Christian Social Union really has nothing to do with socialism (as we know it in the American vernacular) or for that matter Christianity at all. It's just the mainline conservative political party in Germany. For example, the main opposition party is the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and they are often refered to as "social democrats". I would even go so far to say that the conservative CSU/CDU is actually more like the US Democrats, while the SPD is somewhere to the left of that even.

In Germany, at least, the term 'socialist' has never really had a negative connotation like in the US. In fact, it seems to be thrown around all over the place like we throw 'democratic' around.

The naysayers will be naysayers will be naysayers. (5, Interesting)

LibrePensador (668335) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448250)

We are bound to get a score of people telling us how staying with windows is easier and how it is the past of least resistance. They also said this about the server a few years ago, although they are quieter on that front now.

What they do not understand is that this was a strategic and long-term move for the city of Munich. When you are creating infrastructure, you care about long-term benefits. In my eyes, the city of Munich is making a serious investment to create a future they can control. No doubt, this is a political move, but it is one that highsight will reveal as path-breaking, as in, breaking the path-dependence of Windows.

Finally, I have moved a bunch of small non-profits to Linux, and all these alleged retraining costs are not there, even for the computer challenged. Real computer novices can get to work after an hourly week of training. Those that have used a computer before can do so almost immediately, with the occasional question posted on the site's intranet and quickly answered by yours truly.

Come on, guys, if we are to bring on the Linux desktop, we need to dispell the myth that it is hard to use. Suse 9.1 or Mandrake 10 are a freaking joy to use.

Re:The naysayers will be naysayers will be naysaye (4, Interesting)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448386)

This is true about public infrastructure. If a city tore out and repoured its sidewalks every three years, the citizens would be up in arms about such a waste of money. But with computering infrastructure, this is just accepted. Even projects funded by entities such as the WPA, which were intended to generate employment, were built to last. Many of the sidewalks in my town still have the letters WPA cast into the concrete. In fact, the Munich Linux installation may become one of those seemingly permanent pieces of public infrastructure that future generations will marvel at for its solid construction and longevity.

Great Accomplishments in Civil Engineering:
1. Hoover Dam
2. Roman Aqueducts
3. Brooklyn Bridge
4. Munich Linux installation

In honorem of the spelling brigade (1)

LibrePensador (668335) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448508)

Not highsight, but hindsight....

And I meant after a week where each person devotes an hour in their day to training. There are a few other things I'd have phrased differnently, but most of it should be clear.

LiMux (2, Interesting)

ryanmfw (774163) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448258)

So, is LiMux going to be a new distro, or are they going to be buying one from a certain vendor? The translation was a *tad* too horrible for me to figure out. It would be cool if they made a new distro, but I think the best goal would be to take a commercial one and just make it fit. Maybe take SuSe, strip out the unnecessary stuff, change the desktop and that's really all they would need. Of course, they have extra apps that they need to install. Well, I'm sure they have much more of a clue about what they need to do than I do. Good Luck Munich!

Interesting to see how it develops. (5, Interesting)

eddy (18759) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448295)

This is going to be interesting to follow. The biggest problem will probably be the users that Do Not Want Change. There's always some of these, and they'll raise a stink about it. Hopefully, things will go mostly smoothly [desktoplinux.com] such that not to many No Opinion Either Way-people are swayed by their bickering.

I hope that IBM/Novell/SuSe provide some easy and well documented way (should be in the training "If you have a problem, don't mumble, speak up and we'll fix it!") for the users to send in bug reports. That and some developers/funds dedicated to fixing those precise problems could dramatically improve OpenOffice.org and the other applications they're switching to. That way, the users will see "Hey, we can actally influence this!" and the software projects will move forward, regardless of how the switch project ultimately ends.

Re:Interesting to see how it develops. (1)

Strudelkugel (594414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448434)


I hope that IBM/Novell/SuSe provide some easy and well documented way (should be in the training "If you have a problem, don't mumble, speak up and we'll fix it!")

Sure they will, as long as they get to say: "That will be E200 / hour please..." They might consider taking a loss leader to get things started, but remember these are public companies. Their institutional shareholders care about earnings much more than desktops.

Good for Munich (2)

Starji (578920) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448296)

This is good to hear, I think. They're going slow so users get used to the new stuff (not that word processing on OpenOffice or browsing on Mozilla is all that different from MS stuff), and will eventually do a complete OSS converstion (yeah, I guess I just restated the article...). What does sound interesting is the part about specialty software, and how that will probably end up as open source. I'm curious as to what will come out of that.

the CSU does NOT have won the EU elections (5, Informative)

golgafrincham (774723) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448307)

CSU, which has just won the European elections[...]

sorry, but that's wrong. the party-system in germany is transparent and clear, except for the cdu (christian democratic union) / csu issue. the cdu is a big german party and the csu is a pure bavarian party. and in bavaria there is no cdu. but when it comes to nationwide elections these two parties run as one. they have different programms and different campaigns, but you can only vote for cdu/csu.

it is a major flaw in germany's democratic system bacause one can't elect one party without electing the other. the reason for this (there maybe are historical reasons, but that's no excuse): both parties are very conservative, but bavaria is an ultraconservative state (the csu gets always around 50-60% in bavaria) and so there is an ultraconservative christian union especially for them and no one else.

btw, i don't even understand why there are religious parties in a democracy.

Re:the CSU does NOT have won the EU elections (2, Insightful)

aminorex (141494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448373)

> i don't even understand why there are religious
> parties in a democracy.

Because the demos (the electorate) is(/was)
religious?

Re:the CSU does NOT have won the EU elections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448395)

> (the csu gets always around 50-60% in bavaria)

makes sense in a place where "Gruess Gott" is still a common greeting ;)

Re:the CSU does NOT have won the EU elections (2, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448449)

*btw, i don't even understand why there are religious parties in a democracy.*

because there can be.
don't like it? make up your own party. convince people to join and vote for it.

It's commonplace to see 'election alliances'(the proper english word eludes me right now) between parties in just about any multi party system. if you don't like the allegiances the parties have made, tactically to get more of their own folk elected, then vote some other party's members. those two parties are obviously co-operating wanted you it or not.

It doesn't seem like a flaw in the system, just more like 'flaw' in their election tactics(or if it gets them large amount of vote points then it's not even a flaw, it's a succesful tactic).
-

Re:the CSU does NOT have won the EU elections (4, Insightful)

Erwos (553607) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448469)

As others have pointed out, the CSU is "Christian" in name only.

However, I don't understand why you think that religious parties don't belong in a democracy. People who are serious adherents to a religion tend to feel in a similar way about certain issues (death penalty, abortion come to mind), and thus it makes _sense_ for parties to come together under a religious guise. This does not mean they should be exclusionary, of course, but it's not at all unbelievable that the party would initially form under a religious core.

A religious party does not necessarily mean imposing your religion on everyone else, either. The strict Islamist party won in Turkey, yet Erdrogan hasn't rocked the boat like some people imagined he would. Obviously, in the more liberal European states, the idea of imposing a state religion is even more laughable.

Of course, some /.'ers hate religion in general, so it's not a surprise they would hate religious parties. A matter of opinion, I guess.

-Erwos

Even phase 1 is a good idea all by itself (0)

motorsabbath (243336) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448346)

Moving to OO and Mozilla on Windows is a great idea all by itself. Kudos to the planners for coming up with a sane, gradual plan for transition. Hmm. Large Christian organizations siding unswervingly with big-business. I guess there are definate political consistencies on both sides of the Atlantic....

Linux does Munic (0, Flamebait)

loid_void (740416) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448360)

votes from all parties except the CSU - Chicken Shit Union

Bloomberg article in english (4, Informative)

solferino (100959) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448413)

If you'd been reading lwn.net [lwn.net] you would have already noticed their link to a Bloomberg article [bloomberg.com] , written in english, which covers this.

Germans are intelligent, hard working people (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448432)

Asking them to migrate systems should stimulate their natural drive to dominate everything.

Das ist eine Witze, meine deutsche Freunde!

Re:Germans are intelligent, hard working people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448484)

Oh the wit in that statement!

FUD and more FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9448462)

"they also fear that the personnel would have problems with learning how to use OpenOffice"

Considering StarOffice is originally from Germany, while MS Office is not, this is rather.....strange!

One step forward for Linux Community (0, Troll)

KrisCowboy (776288) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448539)

Ain't that a slap on your face, Mr. Gates? With hardware becoming amazingly cheaper, who wants a costly software? Free all the way.

I am not optimistic (4, Insightful)

Tarantolato (760537) | more than 10 years ago | (#9448543)

It sounds as if they're going from a Wintel fat-client/server architecture to a Lintel fat-client/server architecture. Whether or not you agree with me that this is a dubious decision, consider that deploying a true multiuser operating system in effectively single-user mode is a lot like deploying chainsaws to a bunch of chimpanzees.

In my experience *nix's strengths become apparent when you use it as it was meant to be used: a lot of terminals plus maybe a few high-powered standalone workstations. For many standalone machines it's no less of a headache than Windows and in some ways more of one.

I know, I know, thin-clients never took off, yadda-yadda. But I maintain that the biggest part of why they haven't is that deploying Office this way is prohibitively expensive. If you're moving to OO.o, it starts to look a lot better.

(One nice thing about a Linux thin-client setup is that legacy Windows machines can act as terminals with Cygwin/X, allowing Windows and Linux apps as to be deployed in parallel.)
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