Abrupt end to a software revolution

Chat about Linux in general
expat_tony
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:52 pm

Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by expat_tony »

The above is the translated headline of an article in German that appeared in today's edition of Munich's heavyweight newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

I've translated the rest of the article below. Sorry that it's such a long read, but I think it will give a lot of you pause for thought. I'm reproducing it virtually without comment, but will be happy to join in any discussion about it. I think there are clues in the article to what's really going on in Munich City Hall.
The numbers are just paragraph numbers.
For those who speak German, the original is currently online at this address:
http://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/mue ... -1.2090611

1. It was to be cheaper, more reliable, and politically correct. When Munich City Council decided in 2004 to give software giant Microsoft the cold shoulder and become the first major city in the world to switch the administration's computers to the Linux operating system, it was a revolution. “What the fall of the Berlin Wall was for world politics, this vote will be for our industry”, prophesied former Suse Linux boss Richard Seibt. But now, ten years later, the revolution is facing its end. The city is considering dumping Linux and returning to Microsoft, according to a deputy mayor (CSU Party). The reason was said to be repeated complaints in the past few years from users dissatisfied with the way the system worked. Eight months ago, in contrast, another deputy mayor (Green Party) declared that the switch to Linux had been successfully completed and said the system had long since become of part of the daily routine for municipal government employees.

2. (summary) 15,000 computers have been converted, about 80% of the city's inventory. A brief explanation of open source software contrasts it with Microsoft's refusal to release its source code.

3. (summary) Leveraging the greater customisability of Linux doesn't seem to have been been achieved In Munich. The CSU deputy mayor reports complaints of workers “suffering” in every department he visits. The city is to commission independent experts to advise on a return to Microsoft.

4. (summary) The governing mayor himself (SPD Party) has been quoted as saying that Linux free software “occasionally lags behind the Microsoft applications”. Apparently he had to wait weeks for his mobile phone while it was synced with an external mail server before he could read his e-mails. His deputy complained that he has no app combining mail, contact list and calendar.

5. The fact that ten years ago Munich decided in favour of Linux and against Microsoft also had to do with the fact that they wanted to avoid sending any more expensive royalties to the United States. Thus, the then governing mayor boasted at the time that they had succeeded in "freeing ourselves from our dependence on Microsoft." Now the deputy mayor is alleging that the decision against Microsoft was mainly politically motivated ..... “At that time we already had the impression that it was very largely about putting a monopolist in their place. Although we were sure even then that it would not succeed, because as one municipality, we cannot change the whole world.

6. Similar sentiments were expressed at the beginning of this year by a Green Party mayoral candidate. She complained that data exchange was not working properly, as many citizens and almost all authorities outside Munich had backed Microsoft applications. These, however, had problems reading files created with open source software. "If the whole world uses one standard program, then it is important for us to use the same system," says the CSU deputy mayor. The argument that Linux is cheaper than Microsoft left him unconvinced. "We have the impression that Linux is very expensive, because we have to do a lot of programming ourselves."

7. This must be music to the ears of software giant Microsoft - if only because the US concern will be relocating its German HQ to Munich in 2016. Although a company spokesman said Microsoft was a good loser and had eventually accepted Munich's rejection of their operating system, he added. "But we are ready for talks."
Last edited by expat_tony on Sat Aug 16, 2014 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
DrHu
Level 17
Level 17
Posts: 7537
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 8:20 pm

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by DrHu »

Its the standard problem of trending..
We must follow the trends and always buy the latest.
--usually means the most advertised..
  • You can see the effect of this when you watch the line-ups for the latest Video Game or the latest IPad, and so on..
When people (any) expect to see only their preferred/favorite or what they believe are their own choice of OS and software, they will get antsy if forced or advised to use something else
  • Even if it answers the organization's IT needs just as well or better than the other OS/preferred choice..
I expect Microsoft if they even took notice would simply infer the best software was finally adopted
--we congratulate Munich on their choice

If they spun the result, that is
--although I don't expect to see any mention of the change..
Last edited by DrHu on Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
kyphi
Level 9
Level 9
Posts: 2632
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:14 am
Location: The Hunter Valley, Australia

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by kyphi »

The FUD rumour mills are in full swing again.
Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon - 64bit

expat_tony
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:52 pm

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by expat_tony »

Read the last paragraph again and bear this in mind: when MS set up shop on the territory of the City of Munich in 2016, they become a - probably not insignificant - payer of local business levies, thus swelling the city's coffers. Now, what might they have asked for in return, do you think? And how does the Governing Mayor know that his mobile phone issue wasn't just parked for a couple of weeks to let him stew?
The even more interesting question is, what does that Deputy Mayor stand to gain from the deal?

This has nothing to do with the quality of their Linux system, imho. But you can't deny, if the Linux community just takes this one on the chin, it'll be a widely-publicised blow to its credibility as a large system operator, even though that's what Linux is best at.
If they go through with it, though, Munich City Hall may live to regret their move, once the regular monthly updates start to jam things up on Black Tuesdays. I think a counter offensive is advisable, listing the important ways Linux is superior. Germans tend to be worriers, and the more they know about the security risks that Linux does NOT suffer from, the better.

User avatar
wanderer7
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 258
Joined: Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:13 pm

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by wanderer7 »

First of all, thank you for translating the article.

Even if Munich goes back to windows, at least there are 15 000 empoyees who now know windows is not the only OS in the world. In the future, they might want to return to GNU/Linux again.
This has nothing to do with the quality of their Linux system, imho.
Agreed. I guess the main problem was lack of training. If you move to GNU/Linux and hope that it is windows with a different name, you're going to get disappointed. Things work differently in Unix world and people should be taught how to use a Unix-like OS.
But you can't deny, if the Linux community just takes this one on the chin, it'll be a widely-publicised blow to its credibility as a large system operator, even though that's what Linux is best at.
The FOSS community doesn't have to worry about it really. We aren't a corporation, we are community. We are not selling anything. We don't sign contracts.
GNU/Linux is free (as in freedom) software and often free of charge as well. There are no warranties of any kind, we - as a community - don't (and can't) promise anyone that the software will be useful for them.
Munich City Hall shouldn't have tried to create their own distro, IMHO. Using SUSE, for example, could have been a better solution. A local school can run a Debian server or install some non-commercial distro like Mint, but the City Hall is different.
And finally, if you start a "revolution", you should be able to stand your ground. It doesn't matter what OS or office suite is another city (or rest of the world) using. You should just stay with GNU/Linux, if this is the system you like.

expat_tony
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:52 pm

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by expat_tony »

There's a very interesting article today, in German on the heise.de website, claiming that this is anything but a done deal, because the City councillors are firing back at their bosses. The deputy mayor's comments to the press have been called "one lawyer's extraneous personal opinion" (SLAP!). It also turns out that the governing mayor was already speaking about Microsoft's move to Munich as a "deal" some time ago.
So it seems that in their eagerness to get Microsoft's tax euros (while omitting to think through the resulting costs of a changeover), the generals may have forgotten to take their troops along with them. We'll see what pans out, but at least the debate's now out in the open.

expat_tony
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:52 pm

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by expat_tony »

There's a very interesting article today, in German on the heise.de website, claiming that this is anything but a done deal, because the City councillors are firing back at their bosses. The deputy mayor's comments to the press have been called "one lawyer's extraneous personal opinion" (SLAP!). It also turns out that the governing mayor was already speaking about Microsoft's move to Munich as a "deal" some time ago.
So it seems that in their eagerness to get Microsoft's tax euros (while omitting to think through the resulting costs of a changeover), the generals may have forgotten to take their troops along with them. We'll see what pans out, but at least the debate's now out in the open.
wanderer7 wrote:We aren't a corporation, we are community. We are not selling anything. We don't sign contracts.
GNU/Linux is free (as in freedom) software and often free of charge as well. There are no warranties of any kind, we - as a community - don't (and can't) promise anyone that the software will be useful for them.
Not true in the real world. There are plenty of IT consultants earning money installing and maintaining Linux systems, on contract, and they do have to offer warranties.

User avatar
gtsfer
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1925
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 9:15 am
Location: Bucks County PA, USA

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by gtsfer »

expat_tony wrote:... The reason was said to be repeated complaints in the past few years from users dissatisfied with the way the system worked. Eight months ago, in contrast, another deputy mayor (Green Party) declared that the switch to Linux had been successfully completed and said the system had long since become of part of the daily routine for municipal government employees.
I'm not buying it. It's been how many years now since Linux was implemented in Munich government offices? Once the "users" get over the little differences they see, they could care less. It's not like they're installing software or doing any IT related functions. Their systems are locked down so they couldn't do so if they tried. They run apps for the most part, that's it. I'd be inclined to believe the deputy mayor's statement first

It's the same kind of transition for the users that say going from Vista to Win 7 would be. They've long ago gotten over it I'm sure. Politics and some financial footsie with M$?
"There is no gravity, the earth sucks." - Issac Newton @ 75
KDE & Cinnamon 18.1 & Win 10 - ASUS M5A99FX PRO MB, AMD FX-8370 Octo-Core CPU, 16GB RAM, AMD Radeon R7 240

expat_tony
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:52 pm

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by expat_tony »

Apparently (underline emphasis intended) there have been long-standing issues with printer drivers. If true, that sounds like poor system management to me. If I could get the correct Canon driver and install it for my PC, I'm sure an IT technician should be able to find one for network printers (mainly Kyocera, I believe).
Now a city councillor, who has an IT background and supports the current system, is going to do an audit of user complaints, to see which are more than just "It's different to my Windows at home!" and how they can be mitigated. After ten years already! Hmmm.
One thing they could definitely do is make sure every user knows how to save and read files as doc(x), xls(x), ppt(x) etc, so there can be no excuses about incompatibility.
I really do get the impression that training has been patchy at best after the first few years. Do you think it's possible they're over-estimating the intelligence of their employees? (Don't answer that :roll: )

User avatar
kyphi
Level 9
Level 9
Posts: 2632
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:14 am
Location: The Hunter Valley, Australia

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by kyphi »

I wonder if the Bavarians have seen this:

http://www.consortiuminfo.org/standards ... 2125241786
Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon - 64bit

User avatar
Pierre
Level 19
Level 19
Posts: 9394
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:33 am
Location: Perth, AU.

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by Pierre »

Now a city councillor, who has an IT background and supports the current system, is going to do an audit of user complaints, to see which are more than just "It's different to my Windows at home!" and how they can be mitigated.
watch that space. ..
Image
Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] - when your problem is solved!
and DO LOOK at those Unanswered Topics - - you may be able to answer some!.

User avatar
monkeyboy
Level 5
Level 5
Posts: 791
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by monkeyboy »

WOW, bureaucrats complaining about software. I don't think I have ever seen that before or not. :lol:
If you don't like it, make something better
If you can't make something better, adapt
If you can't do either ball your panties up and cry.

Complaining is like masticating most anyone can do it.
However doing it in public is really hardcore.

User avatar
gtsfer
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1925
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 9:15 am
Location: Bucks County PA, USA

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by gtsfer »

expat_tony wrote:One thing they could definitely do is make sure every user knows how to save and read files as doc(x), xls(x), ppt(x) etc, so there can be no excuses about incompatibility.
I really do get the impression that training has been patchy at best after the first few years. Do you think it's possible they're over-estimating the intelligence of their employees? (Don't answer that :roll: )
This is so easy it's not even funny. You can set the default in options -> load/save to "not warn when not using odf" and "always save" to "MS Word 97/2000/XP/2003". Now your default is "doc" files. Do the same thing with LO Calc for "xls" file type and you're done. Again, it's an IT thing and a simple one at that.
"There is no gravity, the earth sucks." - Issac Newton @ 75
KDE & Cinnamon 18.1 & Win 10 - ASUS M5A99FX PRO MB, AMD FX-8370 Octo-Core CPU, 16GB RAM, AMD Radeon R7 240

expat_tony
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:52 pm

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by expat_tony »

gtsfer wrote:This is so easy it's not even funny. You can set the default in options -> load/save to "not warn when not using odf" and "always save" to "MS Word 97/2000/XP/2003". Now your default is "doc" files. Do the same thing with LO Calc for "xls" file type and you're done. Again, it's an IT thing and a simple one at that.
Imagine they send an ODS file to an external contact, and then get a mail saying I can't open your file. As we know, this is the first thing you see in Excel, with some stuff about 'choose an application to open the file'. But most Win users don't read past the first line. I know this from repeated personal experience of the issue.

Who does the city employee then blame? Themselves? Perish the thought. The dumb, lazy, or equally untrained person at the other end? Doubt it, they probably don't know the person is like that. Their own IT department? More likely than #2 but still improbable. Of course! The culprit is literally staring them in the face. It's the free software!

The in-house IT people may indeed be part of the problem, though I wouldn't blame admin for not setting defaults to MS Office formats, because many contacts will be in-house and ODF will be a logical default. What they probably haven't done is hand out cheat sheets for dummies. So the staff are left alone with it, but even though it's so easy, no-one ever tells them how, and ultimately, they are passive consumers of a system's features, not users like us.

EDIT: Did you follow the link in kyphi's post of Aug 20 (or is it 19 in your time zone)? So the British Govt. finally went ahead and did it! They stood on the edge of the pool for quite a while, getting up their courage to jump in, but they finally took the plunge. That'll be a game changer in the UK, but Europe- or world-wide? Let's see.

User avatar
gtsfer
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1925
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 9:15 am
Location: Bucks County PA, USA

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by gtsfer »

expat_tony wrote:The in-house IT people may indeed be part of the problem, though I wouldn't blame admin for not setting defaults to MS Office formats, because many contacts will be in-house and ODF will be a logical default. What they probably haven't done is hand out cheat sheets for dummies. So the staff are left alone with it, but even though it's so easy, no-one ever tells them how, and ultimately, they are passive consumers of a system's features, not users like us.

EDIT: Did you follow the link in kyphi's post of Aug 20 (or is it 19 in your time zone)? So the British Govt. finally went ahead and did it! They stood on the edge of the pool for quite a while, getting up their courage to jump in, but they finally took the plunge. That'll be a game changer in the UK, but Europe- or world-wide? Let's see.
Yes, I did look at that link, very interesting. There are still some businesses to this day use old versions of MS Office (granted they may be way behind the times by now).

I still don't see document formats as a Linux issue. Isn't the latest MS Office using ODF as the default too? So why "blame" compatibility issues on the penguin? It just doesn't make any sense. The whole thing about "user complaints" makes no sense to be.
"There is no gravity, the earth sucks." - Issac Newton @ 75
KDE & Cinnamon 18.1 & Win 10 - ASUS M5A99FX PRO MB, AMD FX-8370 Octo-Core CPU, 16GB RAM, AMD Radeon R7 240

User avatar
kyphi
Level 9
Level 9
Posts: 2632
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 1:14 am
Location: The Hunter Valley, Australia

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by kyphi »

The article that started this discussion was a piece of "inventive journalism". The following article seems to be quite rational.

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/no- ... o-windows/
Linux Mint 19.3 Cinnamon - 64bit

expat_tony
Level 4
Level 4
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:52 pm

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by expat_tony »

kyphi wrote:The article that started this discussion was a piece of "inventive journalism".
But how much was invented and why was it? The deputy mayor is a party member of a junior partner in the coalition that runs Munich City Council, but his party has been in unbroken power in the Bavarian State govt. for decades. This is despite numerous scandals that have shown various members of the party, up to and including the highest levels, to be at least equally interested in serving themselves as serving the public. Whether the deputy mayor has somehow come to have the interests of Microsoft at heart, I cannot say, and only time and investigative journalism will tell. The quotes attributed to him about "suffering" city employees, etc, are certainly not invented.

User avatar
gtsfer
Level 7
Level 7
Posts: 1925
Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 9:15 am
Location: Bucks County PA, USA

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by gtsfer »

The real issue that started the post was the heart of the quoted article that stated...
expat_tony wrote:The city is considering dumping Linux and returning to Microsoft, according to a deputy mayor (CSU Party). The reason was said to be repeated complaints in the past few years from users dissatisfied with the way the system worked. Eight months ago, in contrast, another deputy mayor (Green Party) declared that the switch to Linux had been successfully completed and said the system had long since become of part of the daily routine for municipal government employees.
But since it turned into a heated "debate" for want of a better word I'll put my 2 cents worth in. Microsoft is in the business of making money. Period. They could care less about quality or selling a product that wasn't so virus prone and buggy. They're very good at producing a product that the poor masses are stuck with because they don't have the technical know how to use anything else. In some circles that's called "fleecing the buyer". I'd personally be ashamed to work for such an outfit and I've been involved with some pretty big ones. Even Apple does way better with security and the stability of their products.

To close I'll post two quick links and hope I stirred the pot just a little. The first is that even Microsoft knows a superior product when they see one as evidenced by their move to Linux on their own Skype servers. Skype replaces P2P supernodes with Linux.

The second link I had in mind must have been a real embarrassment for M$ in that their OS got booted off the International Space Station. ISS Dumps Windows for Linux. So M$ will apparently never make it to Mars, or even into earth orbit anymore it seems. But the customer base is pretty small out there so there's no great loss in revenue. If there was significant money involved you can bank on the fact that they'd try and do something about it.

Linux is hardly the inferior product as it powers the internet by and large, meaning most of the web sites you visit and also handles your email on servers running Apache Linux.

So how does this relate back to the OP's original post? Simple. There's nothing "wrong" with Linux, far from it. I still believe that the statement that "users are complaining" after all these years of using Linux in Munich government offices is a fabrication and that someone is being bought to say so.

:D Have a nice day! 8)
"There is no gravity, the earth sucks." - Issac Newton @ 75
KDE & Cinnamon 18.1 & Win 10 - ASUS M5A99FX PRO MB, AMD FX-8370 Octo-Core CPU, 16GB RAM, AMD Radeon R7 240

User avatar
Pierre
Level 19
Level 19
Posts: 9394
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:33 am
Location: Perth, AU.

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by Pierre »

Example Word DOC, then comes openorg, and google spread sheets. Shortly after I got hit that Office 2000 needed to be upgraded to 2002, then more Microsoft apps had competition so they trash me again having to upgrade to 2010.
THEN you have stuff like Libra, so Microsoft thought ok lets trash DOC and go with DOCX
so if you are still using M$o 2002 - then you need a patch from M$ to read the "new" docX format,
- at least the patch is gratis, but a upgrade to M$o 2010 is not. ..

and YES - there are still people who are still using M$o 2002 :shock:
Image
Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] - when your problem is solved!
and DO LOOK at those Unanswered Topics - - you may be able to answer some!.

User avatar
xenopeek
Level 24
Level 24
Posts: 24263
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:58 am
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Abrupt end to a software revolution

Post by xenopeek »

This thread went completely off-topic in last two days of August and first day of September. Apologies to those who had been staying on-topic. Most comments from those days have been removed as adding nothing to the topic at hand.
kyphi wrote:The article that started this discussion was a piece of "inventive journalism". The following article seems to be quite rational.

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/no- ... o-windows/
Before proceeding with on-topic discussion, read the link kyphi shared as Munich isn't moving back to Windows.
Image

Locked

Return to “Chat about Linux”