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Munich to Go Ahead with Linux After All

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the bring-on-the-penguins dept.

Announcements 142

Saeed al-Sahaf writes "According to Groklaw and the German publication Heise (it's in German, of course) Munich's mayor Christian Ude has held a press conference, in which he said that the bidding process for the switch from Windows to Linux will go forward as originally planned, despite patent issues. InfoWorld (in English), quotes Bernd Plank, a spokesman for Munich town hall, saying that he expected that the administration would take a maximum of 'two to three weeks' to decide whether the EU's Directive on software patents could affect the city's plan to switch to Linux, and that would be no 'dramatic setback.'" We reported this earlier as well, but now that it's making the rounds again in English, more of us can read it without resorting to Babelfish.

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fisrty psss0t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942089)

akjwhe klawjehfkawef?

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942090)

fp

YOU FAIL IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942121)

Hang your head in shame.

Discounts? (4, Interesting)

HexDoll (778270) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942098)

Did Microsoft not lower their prices enough at the mention of them going to Linux?

Re:Discounts? (4, Insightful)

danidude (672839) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942149)

Did Microsoft not lower their prices enough at the mention of them going to Linux?


Maybe there is more in it than just price, ya know...

Re:Discounts? (5, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942593)

Maybe there is more in it than just price, ya know...

IIRC, there was. The Munich government reps who were involved in the decision making were insensed that Microsoft didn't make their best offer when asked the first time, but in steps. I certainly know enough people who would have jumped at Microsoft's offer, but the germans were apparently insulted. There's also the likelihood that they were focused on Long Term TCO rather than short term, which was all Microsoft was really offering them. Look at what's going on with Microsoft since, all the patching (which in recent stories highlights the expense of testing, certifying and accepting patches and understanding their impact on software already in use.)

They're showing uncharacteristic good sense and courage in making such a decision... one would almost be convinced these weren't bureaucrats, but aliens who have taken the place of the bureaucrats.

Re:Discounts? (4, Insightful)

Izago909 (637084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942741)

Maybe city officials realize something that a lot of businesses have yet to discover. Even if the initial investment and TCO of Linux and apps were higher than Windows, the fact that it's all built on open standards leaves the ability to make an easier switch in the future to new hardware and software platforms. Take VAX for example. It's a rock solid platform that can be trusted to run smoothly with little or no intervention. That's why many people still have them in operation today even though there are better applications that can be run on faster hardware. It's also going to be a big problem when the time comes for migration. Emulators for VAX have been mentioned on here before. With open standards, Linux won't have near the trouble when it comes time to migrate to new hardware architectures, different apps, or different operating systems. It's fairly easy to port apps between BSD, Linux, and other Unix variants. Future emulation probably won't be an issue once a total switch has been made. Basically, if it's a computer, Linux can be tailor made to run on it. Once the OS is ported, apps will follow. As for the apps themselves, instead of saving your documents as proprietary files, you have an open standard so you can easily move files between different applications without worring about compatability or licensing issues. To sum it up in one sentence: Linux offers a trustworthy migration path even with an unclear vision of what the future holds.

Re:Discounts? (1)

RWerp (798951) | more than 10 years ago | (#9943540)

Take VAX for example. It's a rock solid platform...

Probably Munich will miss the 'rock stability' of its previous platform too...

Re:Discounts? (2, Insightful)

HexDoll (778270) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942789)

Surely this proves that Microsoft is now seeing Linux as a credible threat to their business model and dominant market position.

Of course, even if they halved their prices they'd still be making a massive profit.

This is encouraging, perhaps Linux is just what market needs to bring back competition into play.

Re:Discounts? (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942941)

There shouldn't be, they should go with the lowest long term cost solution that allows them to get the job done. If it is Linux, than so be it. The cost per seat may be less, but that isn't really your main cost source in most cases, your bigger cost center long term is probably administration. In this case, Linux is probably cheaper because once you get over the initial road bumps, you don't have to worry about patching, email viruses etc.

Re:Discounts? (1)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942172)

No, it was probably the drinks Ballmer served Munich's mayor.

Or maybe it was because Ballmer tried to convince them not to switch.

Re:Discounts? (4, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942304)

I think it's because Ballmer blurted out at the meeting, "of course you did, you invaded Poland!"

Obligatory Family Guy Reference (2, Funny)

Psymunn (778581) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942660)

'Ve vere invited. Punch vas served. Check vit Poland.'

Re:Discounts? (1)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942792)

Are heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere come the anti-German jokes... one can always rely on Slashdot!

Re:Discounts? (2, Informative)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 10 years ago | (#9943192)

It's actually a reference to possibly the greatest episode ever of Fawlty Towers (old BBC comedy with John Cleese of Monty Python fame).

Re:Discounts? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942873)

"of course you did, you invaded Poland!"

Sure we did! And it would have worked if it hadn't been for those stupied allies...

Re:Discounts? (1, Interesting)

djfray (803421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942185)

is this your pathetic way of again trying to demonize microsoft? Because, as I said, that was pretty pathetic. When you complain and complain about them lowering prices to beat out competitors, and then they actually don't do it, like you've been pleading for them to do, you make sarcastic comments about it. This isn't nearly as interesting as it is flameworthy

Re:Discounts? (2, Informative)

EulerX07 (314098) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942482)

He was mainly referrig to a story about this telephone company [slashdot.org] that used a threat to move to linux to get MS to lower their price. Stop being so defensive.

Re:Discounts? (2, Informative)

djfray (803421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942840)

fine, I mis-analyzed the situation, and took it as a standard game of hit-the-leader and responded as I would to any such remark, I still don't think it deserves the ratings it got though. My apologies.

Re:Discounts? (5, Informative)

thirteenVA (759860) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942261)

Actually... they did. They lowered the price considerably on a couple of occasions. However Munich wound up approving the go ahead of a more expensive solution despite the Microsoft price cuts.

Here's the usa today article [usatoday.com]

Re:Discounts? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942418)

Actually... they did. They lowered the price considerably on a couple of occasions. However Munich wound up approving the go ahead of a more expensive solution despite the Microsoft price cuts.

I'm willing to bet that this was Munich's way of testing MS to see just how greedy those Capitalist pigs really are...And if they dropped the price by a substantial amount (which I'm sure they did), then it just proves that the boys in Redmond are really damn greedy...

Re:Discounts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942745)

Oh please! And if they kept the price the same, they'd still be damn greedy in your eyes.

Microsoft is a business, and they aggressively sell their line of software. This doesn't make them evil or greedy. It's just how they do business.

It doesn't make them the best choice either.

Munich made the right move.

Re:Discounts? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942702)

Even though the Linux proposal is more expensive, a lot of that money stays in (i.e. helps) Germany's economy whereas with the Microsoft solution, essentially 100% leaves the country (i.e. enriches Microsoft). Perhaps that had something to do with the decision.

Re:Discounts? (1)

BroncoInCalifornia (605476) | more than 10 years ago | (#9943094)

There is the higher short term cost for the next few years against the long term cost of being locked into a single supplier (Microsoft).

Anyone with any sort of long term perspective will go for the solution that can be supplied by maney vendors.

Attention, K-Mart Shoppers! (1)

Idontdowindows (804683) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942830)

Attention, K-Mart Shoppers! Over in the aisle marked 'Asia', you'll find lovely gift-wrapped editions of "entry-level" XP OS for Windows-based machines. Do your Christmas shopping early! Pick up an extra copy for those unexpected guests! Excellent stocking stuffer! Fine print here (always read the fine print):

Re:Attention, K-Mart Shoppers! (1)

Idontdowindows (804683) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942870)

details here (for you fine print types!): http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3554084.stm

Why (3, Interesting)

garompa (714684) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942104)

Would the city of Munich care about the UE software patents issues ?

Re:Why (4, Insightful)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942131)

Most countries around the world are not flooded with lawyers like it is here in the U.S. Depending on your perspective, there is a good and a bad. According to slashdot, mostly bad.

Re:Why (3, Interesting)

Teun (17872) | more than 10 years ago | (#9943039)

Most countries around the world are not flooded with lawyers like it is here in the U.S.

Ha!
I recently heard that *half* of all legal books published around the world are in German.
The reason being that German (especially tax) law is so complicated.

Even when this story is only half true it would be remarkable.

Of course there is not necessarilly a lawyer for every book :-)

Re:Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942378)

Because of the EU is about to adopt a similar policy according to software patents as the USA. Sad, but true.

Re:Why (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942505)

This may be offtopic.
On the EU software patent issues:
Just what are they going to do about pre-existing software patents? Just void them and keep the money spent in obtaining them? Will said patents be grandfathered in?
I'm not a fan of software patents, but if I did spend good money in getting one, it was made useless/unenforcable, and I didn't get a refund, I think I'd be rather pissed off about it.

Re:Why (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942712)

So? Slave owners were rather pissed too about losing their slaves.

Re:Why (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942777)

And if you bought a bag of high quality cocaine only to discover that it was just powdered sugar, you'd demand a refund as well?

The people who filed for the patents knew they were unenforceable at the time, and no garantee was ever made that they would ever be made enforceable.

Caveat Emptor, suckers.

Re:Why (5, Informative)

Wolfbone (668810) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942812)

"I'm not a fan of software patents, but if I did spend good money in getting one, it was made useless/unenforcable, and I didn't get a refund, I think I'd be rather pissed off about it."

Then you should have read Article 52 of the EPC which explicitly excludes software patentability. The companies that have been granted software patents by the EPO are mostly the same companies now lobbying for legislation to make valid their patents. They knew the score. They have gambled. They will lose. Tough.

No need to get pissed (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 10 years ago | (#9943358)

No need to get pissed because they were not made useless/unenforcable by a change, but knowingly made useless/unenforcable in the hopes that they will be changed to usefull/enforcable. There is no guarentee that these useless/unenforcable extra-legal software patents will become usefull or enforceable if or when the EU law changes to permit them.

These people are gambling when they got their "patents".

No fish? (4, Funny)

general_re (8883) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942110)

...now that it's making the rounds again in English, more of us can read it without resorting to Babelfish.

What the hell fun is that?

--------------

City Munich continues Linux migration

Despite legal ambiguity and continuous fears of a patent war approximately around open SOURCE of Munich wants to start mayor Christian Ude the bidding procedure for the re-equipment of the Desktops in the city administration on free software. This announced the SPD politician on today's Wednesday on a press conference in the city hall. The Prozedere is brought to the active migration phase of the LiMux project after a "pause for thought by few days" in course, gave to Ude with well one week delay green light for the introduction . An appraisal and the participant competition should be final up to the autumn. If a conversion to Linux appears then harmless, can be begun immediately with the Bieterverfahren. In any case one however wants to remain the city with its confession to Linux: "it remains with the fact that the city Munich decided for open SOURCE."

Ude announced that the city will give a legal opinion for clarifying to the question in order, which effects the disputed European Union guideline to the patenting barness of "computer-implemented inventions" in its present version of the Council of Ministers have could. Of the Federal Government Ude information required, why she had votiert in Brussels at all for a change before good of the version of the directive which was called by the European parliament. If one wants to promote to Berlin of far open SOURCE projects, how from the Federal Department of Justice week passed stresses again , one must create right security for the public and private expenditures also. Furthermore Ude requested other cities, municipalities and authorities, which work on Linux migrations, to the shoulder conclusion with Munich -- the argumentation residents of Munich of the city head and the demands on the Federal Government submitted the city equivalent again in writing therefore .

With the temporary stop of the LiMux advertisement the residents of Munich city administration at the beginning of of August had fed the continuous debate over software patents and the lining up Brussels legislation on an expanded summer high floated -- in addition, doubts about the feasibility of the Linux re-equipment. Also the camp of the proponents of free software was in disagreement itself in the estimate of the concrete danger for the residents of Munich of migration plans. In a pointed reaction to the interruption of the project the Free warned software Foundation Europe ( FSFE ) and the LinuxTag e.V. Beginning of the week again together before the abuse of software patents "for psychological war guidance" in the economy.

"at present mechanisms from the cold war are adapted for the keeping by interests of enterprise", echauffierte themselves olive Zendel, chairman of the LinuxTags. The principle of the atomic deterrence is replaced by armament by Patentportfolios, while other companies nonaggression treaties would lock by a Kreuzlizenzierung of the own patents. Wrong-basic are thereby "programmers, small and medium-size enterprises and thus the economic situation Europe." Disturbingly to it above all, supplemented FSFE president is George Greve that do not even need to be prozessiert: "a confused rumor is completely sufficient, in order to bring a complex and complex project for days from the trace. It would be interesting to compute the economical damage."

The residents of Munich city administration does not see so far under any circumstances eliminated the fears of the open SOURCE scene despite the appeasement attempts from the Ministry of Justice. It has a number of open questions listed, approximately after long-term investment security for LiMux estimated approximately 30 million euro, after appearing a patent flood in the software range, itself the complaint waves and its consequences for the innovation strength of the economy, resulting in from it. With their "residents of Munich line", thus the demand for right security and clear formulations in the Brussels guideline, the city turns therefore now to the European Union parliament, the Federal Government, the Bundestag as well as other municipalities, which could be affected by a law change likewise negatively.

Considering past statements requires meanwhile also the LinuxVerband ( LIVE ) of the Ministry of Justice. In a letter member of the board Werner Riek writes that already today "a set of patented algorithms for example within the ranges cryptography, Multimedia and data formats in suitor software cannot be used -- with negative consequences for security, interoperability and competition" - further conflicts by infringement of a patent procedures would appear. The patent protection for technical inventions is not to be questioned, "also not, if in this connection software is used." But by this connection and may "software" can become not patentable as epitome of organization and arithmetic rules for computers themselves. Infuriated Riek shows up besides, because "the interests of the middle class and the free software became" perfectly ignored "Community" at rounding table of the law department the software patenting.

Linux in munich (5, Insightful)

bunburyist (664958) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942124)

The more organizations deploy Linux, the lower the cost will become for further deployments. For example Munich will use VMWare while slowly porting their special Win-only software to Linux.
The next generation will do without VMWare and will lower the cost to migrate to Linux.
Oh, and I might add that 5 cities in Bavaria are also thinking in joining Munich directly.
Also, in 3-4 years, if any hardware company will want to sell hardware to Europe or Asia, it will have to provide Linux drivers which will be beneficial for ALL Linux users.

Re:Linux in munich (4, Insightful)

4of12 (97621) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942252)


The more organizations deploy Linux, the lower the cost will become for further deployments.

Not only will a sizable deployment of Munich office workers using Linux reduce the transition costs of future organizations migrating to Linux (that is, applications evolve more into what people are used to from Windows), but it will also help drive further improvements in the quality of Linux applications and tools (we want this new feature added to this Linux application).

Munich could very easily be the first leak in what could turn into a torrential migration.

Every day that goes by, the costs of migration away from Windows go down and the benefits of migration to Linux go up.

Re:Linux in munich (4, Insightful)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942945)

There is another factor.

The germans are generally considered to produce the finest things in the world on a technological standpoint. They also recognize the finest things, technologically. People all over the world (and there are) know this.

I contend that while Linux may cost more than windows in TCO, it is a better investment because it is a better, more reliable product.

Not to mention that a lot more money stays in the country when linux is used, and that always affect the elected ones.

Re:Linux in munich (1)

pilot1 (610480) | more than 10 years ago | (#9943125)

Are you serious? I've never heard that, but I do find it very interesting, considering the fact that I'm German.

Breaking News: Bunbury dead at 55 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942284)

Mr. Bunbury took deathly ill at an unspecified location in the country, and perished just as the importance of being ernest was fully understood.
He will be missed. Truly a /. icon.

Re:Breaking News: Bunbury dead at 55 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942825)

/.'s friend Bunbury was quite exploded.

There will be a patent war (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942142)

Don't worry Billy Boy (along with all the big IP pimps) will not leave without a fight.....a patent fight that is! Look out.

about time. (0, Troll)

ch0p (798613) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942152)

Finaly someone has the common sense to ditch m$. It's about damn time if you ask me.

FAQ and popular errors (5, Informative)

Eloquence (144160) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942159)

Before you bring up some of the standard arguments in defense of software patents, please read the FAQ [ffii.org] . There is a lot more good analysis in that section [ffii.org] . For an easier to understand example of how software patents affect real world applications - a big reason many small businesses oppose them - look at the webshop [ffii.org] demo.

Re:FAQ and popular errors (1)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942236)

I am pleased that FFII did not contribute to the Limux FUD despite the fact that a draft of a FFII supporter listing patents was involved.

Of course there is a problem with Software patents but is does not apply to Linux or Free Software in particular.

Everybody knows this from recent slashdot reports.

I think what is really needed is a FFII US to combat software patents on a global scale. Are there such organisations?

An American mailing list about the patent problem in the US can be found here [ffii.org] .

Re:FAQ and popular errors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942282)

While I agree that software patents (as opposed to patents in general) are a bad idea, I find the Stallmanish habit of declaring any contrary thoughts to be "errors" to be extremely off-putting, if not downright unsettling.

Die microsoft die (5, Funny)

marika (572224) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942175)

It's german.

Re:Die microsoft die (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942571)

That's like saying "the microsoft the"...

Clueful links (1)

whovian (107062) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942817)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sideshow_Bob
http:// www.fact-index.com/s/si/sideshow_bob.html
http:// www.anvari.org/fortune/Simpsons_Subtle_Allu sions/13.html

In Munich, there is municipal Linux (1, Offtopic)

dupper (470576) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942189)

One, two, chug your beer!

In related news... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942224)

...the People's Union of Information Workers for our Fatherland salivated at the upcoming massive influx of new members the Linux switchover will generate. Independent studies have dicovered that at least 3 support personnel will be required for every Linux installation, more if the box is actually required to do any work. Hiring additional IT staff is not the only effect of the switch, 4 more workers per task will be needed, due to the paucity of any Linux apps that are useful.

The situation looks to be so severe that Munich is ironically considering asking Microsoft to locate additional IT technicians. This is a logical move, since MS is the premier IT source in the world, and their expertise as creating world class tech is unparalleled.

Die Linuxboxen runnen sofwaressen mit du lieber! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942245)

Offen runnenboxen ach du lieber Augestien. Heil Torvalds. Fingerpoken offen mousenkeyboarden unixen blitzkreik der vindows. Uber Alles!

Der fingerpoken filterin Unix tochen English softranslaten Deutch offen. Sour kraut.

Re:Die Linuxboxen runnen sofwaressen mit du lieber (1)

marcomuskus (628509) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942297)

i dont understand you !
no te entiendo !

Re:Die Linuxboxen runnen sofwaressen mit du lieber (1)

nova20 (524082) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942335)

Damnit, babelfish doesn't have a "bork bork bork to english" translator!

-nova20

Re:Die Linuxboxen runnen sofwaressen mit du lieber (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942607)

I thought "bork bork bork" was the swedish stereotype thingy, not german :O

Re:Die Linuxboxen runnen sofwaressen mit du lieber (0, Offtopic)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942824)

Moderators: is it really funny, and not redundant, to make these same jokes every single time Germany is mentioned?

Yes, they talk differently (from y'all).

Yes, you shot at them in the 1940s.

No, this is not doing your public image in Europe any damned good!

Re:Die Linuxboxen runnen sofwaressen mit du lieber (1)

Ethelred Unraed (32954) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942887)

Well, I live in Germany, I'm married to a German, I speak fluent German, and I found it damn funny. ;-)

Cheers,

Ethelred

Re:Die Linuxboxen runnen sofwaressen mit du lieber (1)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942954)

Cool. Similarly I think there's humour in the Fawlty Tours sketch (though certain kinds of people seem to miss that Basil's the figure of fun and all the sympathy is with the diners). Excuse my being personal, though, but does your wife like to be called Kraut and reminded of Blitzkrieg (or however he spelt it)?

Re:Die Linuxboxen runnen sofwaressen mit du lieber (3, Funny)

Ethelred Unraed (32954) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942973)

Excuse my being personal, though, but does your wife like to be called Kraut and reminded of Blitzkrieg (or however he spelt it)?

Well, to give you a hint: she calls me Hunnybun. I call her Bunny-Hun.

Get the picture? ;-)

Sure, some Germans (mostly northern Germans) have had their sense of humor surgically removed. But most that I know have a pretty black sense of humor, too.

Cheers,

Ethelred

Re:Die Linuxboxen runnen sofwaressen mit du lieber (1)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9943040)

Actually my experience is the opposite, having been funded by a large company in Berlin (where I found people very open) and then spending a lot of time in Bavaria these past five years... I guess that explains a lot though ;)

Re:Die Linuxboxen runnen sofwaressen mit du lieber (1)

spektr (466069) | more than 10 years ago | (#9943206)

No, this is not doing your public image in Europe any damned good!

Take it easy. The stupid joke works in both directions: it sounds equally hilarious for german speaking people as for english speakers. I don't think that any German minds the blinkenlight jokes. I'm only an Austrian, but after all we bred Hitler, so I think my opinion on this subject still counts.

Don't pop the champagne quite yet... (5, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942255)

All they're doing is re-opening the bidding process. Not the actual migration.

From TFA:

Mayor Ude, who said he's been thinking it over for a few days, says there will be a legal study completed by Autumn concerning the migration, and if it looks safe, they will go forward and meanwhile the bidding begins.

With any luck, this will crystallise the issues surrounding software patents more clearly in Euro MPs minds and make them think about more than Microsoft et al's bottom line. Indeed, looks like Munich is really pushing that bit:

He also announced that the city is going to request a legal study on the question of what consequences the EU-directive on the patentability of "computer-implemented inventions" will have in the current version of the Council of Ministers's proposed law.

(All emphasis mine)

Babelfish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942256)

now that it's making the rounds again in English, more of us can read it without resorting to Babelfish

Unless of course, you don't speak English...and you read and resond to slashdot through babelfish.

Show respect (3, Informative)

Tomcat666 (210775) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942262)

I just expressed my respect to those people a minute ago. It takes a lot of courage to do this, having Microsoft Germany in your city and all that...

If you want to show them respect, go to http://www.muenchen.de/home/81124/contact_form.htm l [muenchen.de] and put in your thanks!

The fields' descriptions are as follows (top to bottom):
Name
Given name
Location
E-Mail
Topic (use "Sonstiges" = Miscellaenous)
Comments / Questions / Suggestions

Re:Show respect (2, Funny)

Wudbaer (48473) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942553)

I just expressed my respect to those people a minute ago. It takes a lot of courage to do this, having Microsoft Germany in your city and all that...

What do you expect Microsoft to do ? Break their legs ? "Mr Ballmer is very unhappy about all of this..." Move ? Even if this might be a foreign thought for some people here: MS is not the Mafia, it is not the Spanish Inquisition and it is not someone's secret police. They are just a (albeit very big) corporation. Munich is still free to do what they like. Courage, my ass.

Re:Show respect (3, Insightful)

Tomcat666 (210775) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942848)

I don't know how it is in $YOUR_COUNTRY, but in Germany, if a city/state/federal government doesn't play by the rules of a big company, they usually say stuff like "You won't do this? Oh yeah? Well then we'll go to another country that will appreciate our efforts!"

You're right, this is far from being physically dangerous, but it could cost the city lots of money in lost taxes, jobs and the image of the city. Getting Linux into their offices doesn't mean abandoning Microsoft altogether, and losing money in the process.

Considering my city's moves towards Daimler-Chrysler (Stuttgart), I think it is courageous of Munich to not give in to the demands of a big corporation.

About Microsoft being the Mafia: Most big corporations here behave like the Mafia, not only Microsoft. What Daimler-Chrysler demanded here was outrageous considering how much money they earn.

Re:Show respect (3, Interesting)

Wudbaer (48473) | more than 10 years ago | (#9943058)

You know, I am in Germany, too, not far from Munich also (Ulm).

I know that it seems to be the thing to do at the moment over here (as well as in other Western countries) if you are a larger employer to go running around demanding all kind of silly stuff and shouting "Do to my bidding, or I will move to Elbonia/fire all my workers and replace them by robots or do something else undesirable". But to be honest, those companies either never put up or they wanted to do those unpopular things in the first place and were just looking for a pretense so the public blames politics and not those companies.

Part of this used to be part of the usual haggling between companies and cities about tax advantages, subsidizing, whatever, and usually both of them got something out of it to show for their efforts. Today some companies (Siemens, Daimler etc.) seem not to understand what is decent and reasonable and what not and I am sure the public will pay them back sooner or later one way or the other.

Regarding Microsoft: If MS really would state to the major of Munich that they would leave the city if Munich does not buy MS they would make themselves look like complete fools. And by that they would basically force the city to decline any offer MS could make, for ever, even if they paid them money to install their software. MS is a lot, but they are neither stupid nor bad tacticians.

That doesn't mean that they don't tell the relevant people "Oh ! Don't buy that hobbyist stuff ! Bad things will happen !" But every company does that when a customer wants to leave (a former co-worker experienced something like that when switching a large project from IBM to Sun some years ago, it must really have been funny), and all those threats and promises do not have any real meaning and value.

Re:Show respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9943281)

You are comparing to very different stories.
Daimler-Chrysler wanted to place a single factory and they had to chose among several locations. Microsoft can sell their OS to may cities at the same time, so they don't have to choose among several locations. Daimler-Chrysler were able to create a lot of jobs in Stuttgart. Microsoft will not create more jobs in Munich than Linux. In conclusion the two stories don't have much in common.

green party is for open source (4, Interesting)

i_should_be_working (720372) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942274)

i forgot where i read this, probably linux today or here at slashdot. but apparently the guy who stalled the linux implementation because of the patent problem is in the Green Party [worldsummit2003.de] which is very much for open source and against software patents.
the article suggests that stopping the linux roll out and citing software patents as a roadblock was a way to wake up the government and public to get them to see why software patents is a bad idea

Re:green party is for open source (-1, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942333)

It was a great way to "wake up the government". Hey, if we start enforcing patents, we won't be able to steal other people hard work for free!

The municipal govt of Munich doesn't mean shit to the EU, frankly, and doesn't have the power to stop this legislation. And if it does go through, and it seems likely, it'll be the law of the land, and I dont see municipal governments as an appropriate place for "civil disobedience". I mean, what if the local PD decided to ignore all those "due process" and "civil rights" because they dont agree philosophically?

So, whats a little odd to me is that the city knows about possible patent troubles, and doesn't care.

So if they don't care about possible IP issues with Linux, what's stopping them from just downloading free versions of what they already have off of Kazaa? Then there's nothing but savings. Just stop paying the software vendors. "Sorry, but morally I feel your product has no tangible value, so therefore I wont pay for it" Hell, why pay for the equipment either? Why pay salaries?

Euro governments are fuckin wacky. Not to be mistaken as an affirmation of American government, of course.

Re:green party is for open source (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942612)

Software is already protected by copyright, and patent infringement is not stealing anyway! - Why the HELL should you have a "right" to stop me implementing something that you also do anyway? Patents are antithetical to the competitive free market. I wouldn't try to stop you walking your dog just because I walk my dog.

Re:green party is for open source (5, Interesting)

Elektroschock (659467) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942370)

Call it a auto-da-fe Public relations of the Limux project. They didn't expect the media reaction in Munich, so they cooled it down. They didn't want to spread FUD about the Limux oproject, they wanted to say that software patents are dangerous for them and cause costs. They wanted to urge the German Government to stop software patents [ffii.org] .

Even FFII was surprised about Munich's initial press release, Hartmut Pilch wrote [ffii.org] :

We were surprised by the announcement of Wilhelm Hoegner and the mayor. I learnt from both only through the media.
Yet I think their message is exactly to the point.

Municipalities must assess the risk caused by software patents. Some government authorities in Sweden and the UK have already seen themselves forced to litigate against frivolous software patent claims in order to retain their freedom to do basic day-to-day business. Interestingly, in these cases there was no Linux or free software involved. Yet, it can not be denied that solutions supplied by local SMEs on the basis of free software, as envisaged by Munich's IT strategy, involve greater patent risks than a contract with a single big supplier such as IBM or Microsoft. In any case it is the normal procedure to try to assess the risk and insure it, be it through the supplier or through a separate insurance. Recent estimates from the US suggest that such a patent insurance could cost more than 100,000 eur per year. The costs would be very similar in Europe, if the Council's political agreement, for which the German government and other national governments have been fighting, became law. If, on the other hand, the European Parliament's version of the directive was adopted, the risk would drop to zero.

It is a good exercise for municipal governments to estimate patent risks in terms of insurance costs, and it would be an even better exercise for national governments to start serious assessment of the effects of legislation. No such calculation has to date been made, in spite of regular calls from Brussels to do so -- not to speak of calls from FFII to calculate the macro-economic costs of the various legislative options. The message from the Munich's mayor is therefore timely and should be heeded by other municipalities and governments, regardless of whether they plan to deploy free operating systems or not.

Gun, foot, bang. Ouch! (3, Insightful)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942301)

So the Munich Greens thought that having a small temper trantrum about the patent trheat in Linux would have an effect. Instead, they discovered that all they'd done was shoot themselves in the foot.

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

So now what happens? The city government takes the same gun, and shoots itself in the other foot. "No, Linux is still threatened by software patents, but...uh...well...we're going to go aghead with the bidding because...we're going to ignore the threat we tried to blackmail all of Europe with." Yeah, that's the ticket, boys -- make it intentionaly infringement. Right.

Somebody send these guys a clue, please?

Re:Gun, foot, bang. Ouch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942331)

Mod up. This is exactly correct.

Re:Gun, foot, bang. Ouch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9943008)

Don't bother, it's really not. At least if you are range sighted beyond 10 feet and 6 months! Otherwise, you would be right. Why think about the future? There is so much to mess up today!

Re:Gun, foot, bang. Ouch! (2, Insightful)

flacco (324089) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942885)

Somebody send these guys a clue, please?

they might have a long-range clue. this dilemma raises the issue of software patents in a stark way *now*, while policy is still being formed.

can you imagine trying to roll back software patents *after* they've been absorbed into the consciousness (and bottom line) of the german economy?

Re:Gun, foot, bang. Ouch! (2, Interesting)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9943061)

If they'd had a single clue to rub together, much less two, they'd have gone about this in a different way. What they've done is make themselves worse off. First, they tried to blackmail Europe with one small politically-motivated project in one city. Then, when the EU called their bluff, they turn around and say, basically, "Didn't mean it! Don't worry, we were just trying to scare you." That's not going to stop software patents in Europe. It only makes the opponents of software patents look foolish and out of touch with reality. (Of course, that could be said of the Greens in general, but...)

The city could have done much better. For instance, Munich could have applied to the EC asking for a grandfather clause in the patent legislation, arguing that the current proposal essentially criminalizes acts which were legal at the time they were committed. Alternatively, after their first stunt, they could have recovered by saying: "No, we haven't stopped the process indefinitely, we're waiting for this committee to report to reopen bidding." Instead, they're reopening bidding with some vague contingency that they'll stop if the committee reports the wrong way.

So, somebody please send these guys a clue. I'm told that air freight is really cheap these days.

heh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942346)

Linux is gay. They should have gone with AppleSOS.

hey it worked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942349)

Black October email threat to take linux or bust worked after all, what do you know.

What do the users think? (1, Redundant)

Dracolytch (714699) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942428)

I agree that this is a great step forward for Linux, and can have some profound effects.

At the same time, I wonder how many people that work with these computers on a daily basis are confused/frustrated about the transition. I wonder how they'll feel about 3 months after the transition.

I just know at my office, any kind of deviation from a working norm is frowned upon.

~D

Re:What do the users think? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942841)

I have a cure for employees incapable of change. Let them frown on not having a pay check for a while. You will be suprised how adaptable they can become.

Re:What do the users think? (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 10 years ago | (#9943488)

any kind of deviation from a working norm is frowned upon.
Yes, but the frowning doesn't stop it from happening. A MS Win98 user's machine finally croaks and they buy a replacement, and it comes with the alien-looking MS WinXP where everything has changed just enough that it's confusing.

Whether it's MS WinXP or Gnome or KDE or whatever, the change is about the same. Transition and frustration is going to happen anyway, so you might as well have it be transition to something you can trust. Retraining and compatibility problems are a function of the passage of time, not a function of switching to Linux.

Linux Community Support (4, Insightful)

Bandit0013 (738137) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942465)

I hope for Linux's sake that the community gives Munich some special attention/aid if they decide to migrate and that whoever they have doing the migration knows what they're doing.

Imagine the field day Microsoft will have if the project goes over budget or outright fails!

I still say you have to throw the cost argument right out the window though. In the end, organizations will pay a premium for quality support/service and applications that play nice together easily. That is the biggest challenge Linux has to overcome before it can truly stand toe to toe with Microsoft.

Re:Linux Community Support (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942522)

The switch is mostly in the hands of SuSE/Novell and IBM. For them, this is a showcase project. If they can pull it off there, they can expect a lot of followup business.

I guess they'll do their best, whatever that is :)

Re:Linux Community Support (1)

DarkDust (239124) | more than 10 years ago | (#9943042)

The switch is mostly in the hands of SuSE/Novell and IBM. For them, this is a showcase project. If they can pull it off there, they can expect a lot of followup business.

No, they did make the cost estimation, if I remember correctly, but the city of Munich wants the main work to be done by local middle-sized companies. This is because the whole concept about switching to Linux is getting vendor independent and the city also wants that the money they're spending to stay in the city rather than flowing to large (foreign) companies.

And this is what the current stage is about, which was delayed: Munich is about to start the call for bids for several parts of the project.

Re:Linux Community Support (1)

Fire Dragon (146616) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942832)

Imagine the field day Microsoft will have if the project goes over budget or outright fails!

Then it would look like any normal Windows project. And that would upset them more.

This might be political?!? (5, Insightful)

michaelzhao (801080) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942591)

With the trouble the US has had with Europe, this very well might be political. Microsoft is a very big US company and switching from Microsoft to identityless software may improve the mood of some Europeans. This is not a unfounded belief. Korea-Japan-China initiative to develop an alternative OS was to depend less on the US software industry. The result was Red Flag Linux.

Re:This might be political?!? (2, Insightful)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942855)

Reading through the thinly-veiled racism on this board, who could blame them? And let's not forget the non-US origins of Linux itself...

Re:This might be political?!? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942925)

Korea-Japan-China initiative to develop an alternative OS was to depend less on the US software industry. The result was Red Flag Linux.

I don't think Red Flag has anything to do with the Asian OS project. The CJK "alternative OS" project began last year or so, but Red Flag [distrowatch.com] started in 1999. Most importantly, it only supports Chinese, not Korean or Japanese. Although KDE's standard tool sets may have other two languages available, I doubt that Red Flag's own management tools do. The Asian alternative OS is yet to come out.

I still have to agree with you on your comment. Non-US governments are moving so that they don't have to depend heavily on products of US corporations. The impact of this move is more than money-saving.

Test (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942638)

Don't click this unless you support freedom of speech [www.goat.cx] ! (Oh yeah. Don't pay attention to what Slash is indicating the URL is, I'm deep linking, so it isn't the main page.) You know which one I'm talking about...

/. as usual (1)

xlyz (695304) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942724)

We reported this earlier as well, but now that it's making the rounds again in English, more of us can read it without resorting to Babelfish.

mmmh, that means it will be posted again when it will be published in spanish, and then in italian, and then in french, etc. etc.

back and forth (1)

Keruo (771880) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942820)

there was an article while ago somewhere that most german it projects ended up failing
maybe this is another evidence why that keeps happening
apparently they just can't make up their mind wheter to go one way or another and end up stuck in the switching process

Re:back and forth (1)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942868)

There's a charming generalisation...

I think you'll find that the truth is that European software, especially in public administration, is more accountable and failures are publically examined.

This is also the case in the UK, for example...

there are no patent issues (4, Insightful)

dekeji (784080) | more than 10 years ago | (#9942924)

That's like the question "when did you stop beating your wife?", which simply plants the idea in everybody's head that the person questioned did, in fact, beat his wife.

The fact is that Linux does not have any more or less "patent issues" than any other OS: nobody who develops software and has good legal advice will try to do background searches on patents. Instead, the rational thing to do is to develop the software and then see who complains. As a result, just about every major piece of software infringes on lots of patents.

Given that Linux source code is out in the open, any patent holder who believes that their patent is being infringed can complain, and as soon as they do, the infringing code will be removed from Linux and life will go on.

Asia (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942946)

Everyone's focused on Europe and America. The battle of MSFT and SCOX and patent.

Not paying any attention to China and Korea. China has the man (and woman) power to develop and manufacture their own processors. And they're already switching over to Red Flag. At some point, companies on both sides will have to exchange documents in a format that is intra-compatible. More than likely, American companies will convert their documents to something the Chinese can use, negating MSFT Office's proprietary format. The only way MSFT could combat this, directly and in their current spirit, is by not allowing conversions from within Office or Windows.

I honestly believe China will bail us out of this whole mess. Just give them a bit more time; they're industrious people.

Re:Asia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942990)

If china stoms on patents within their own borders, there is very little we can do. If they attempt to distribute such infringing code to the EU or the US, there will be a hell of a lot that we can do.

They will not bail anyone out of THIS mess. In fact, be quite sure that even if they invernt their own version of everything (like DVD format) they will suddenly become very patent conscious of their own work!

Re:Asia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9943340)

You americans can take your patents and stick it where the sun don't shine.

- A proud Canadian

Obvious arm twisting. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9942951)

What a transparent attempt to get cheaper GPL licensing terms from Stallman and the FSF!

Germany probably demanded something extreme, like perpetual access to source code.

Who cares! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9943112)

Who cares. So Munich decided for about 3 or 4 days to put a stop to Linux deployment. Who cares! Does this warrant that much attention? Is the world coming to an end? Find something interesting.
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