Munich, Germany's government may use Windows again after failure with Linux [Update]

Update While the deputy mayor of Munich seems to suggest in the article that the government will strongly consider a return to Windows, it appears a final decision to move from the Linux OS has not yet been officially determined.

Original story The city government of Munich, Germany has decided to end its long term use of a Linux-based operating system for its PCs and will move back to using a version of Windows for its computer needs:

Way back in 2004, the Munich government thought that using the Linux-based LiMux operating system would help them save money over Microsoft's Windows, since it didn't cost anything to license and would supposedly be more reliable to use than Windows. However, the government later learned that moving to Linux was in fact a highly costly move for the city, because all those 9,000 PCs were no longer compatible with other computers that still ran Windows.

The end result was that the city had to spend lots of money and time to build applications just so the Linux machines could share files with all those Windows PCs. In the end, Munich's deputy mayor Josef Schmid stated, "When the whole world is working with a standard program, then it is important that we are on the same system." That's why the government is moving all those Linux PCs back to a version of Windows.

What do you think of this apparently failed experiment to use Linux extensively in a major city government?

Source: Sueddeutsche.de via Neowin


Reader comments

Munich, Germany's government may use Windows again after failure with Linux [Update]



Its not that bad but the problem is it's not popular so it doesn't have that much support

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Maybe. But we are talking about productive machines that people rely on to do real and important work all day long, not a basic communication device that you use to keep in touch via voice/txt/IM/FB or kill time when you are out (which I would say WP handles as well if not better than Android/iOS).

True, but the principle is the same. To be successful, a device needs developers to make content appropriate for that device. And more than that, the device needs the appearance of that support. If a device is perceived as lacking support, the masses will be hesitant in buying it.

True, and right now the problem is in *perception*. Microsoft needs to get out there and market the shit out of the fact that Windows Phone outsells iPhone in 25 different countries, that more than 300,000 apps are available, with hundreds more added daily, and that the thing interoperates well with Windows PC's, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, etc. Play up its strengths, in short.

They also really, REALLY need to bring Cortana to Xbox One and Windows, pretty much *stat*.

Perhaps... BUT, most of the world uses Windows. Windows Phone, now that it is a viable alternative, becomes a viable option for corporations wanting to reduce costs associated with mobile device accessibility to their networks. We'll see but that would be an angle I'd go at with corporate clients.

I'd make sure that WP is compatible in whatever ways possible with all WIN8.1 applications for businesses. Push WP for businesses as well as the consumer sector.

Loads of corporations have created custom solutions for iOS and/or Android platforms, and it would be costly to develop one for WP. Some solutions rely on features that are not present in WP, or would require extra infrastructure. And while I applaud the Universal apps -approach, it's been quite painful transferring some WP8 -code / XAML to it.

Even that isnt linux's biggest problem. The peoblem is that it is behind in features "out of the box" and problem solving linux is a huge pain in comparrison to windows

Very true. But that's the one area I have personally found linux to excel. That said, I would never choose linux for a more general type of use.

Virtual box poses problem when you want to use the raw hardware capabilities. The virtual box abstracts the hardware apis so that multiple oses can run simultenously without any fighting for hardware. This will be a great problem when people want to use CUDA programming. It cannot access the graphics card cores through Virtual Box.

The bigger problem is there is no official support with Linux as there is with Windows, so you have to hire an entire team to run it and service it if problems arise, and they usually do. There's an old saying, you get what you pay for it.

There are loads of third-party companies offering different levels of support. A big problem for offices is... the lack of Office (or that the rest of the world uses it, forcing everyone else to proprietary document formats).

Kinda... Linux, just like maldroid, are not meant for the mainstream user. If apple likes to poke and prod at MS for not being user friendly, Microsoft can drop axes and maces down on Linus(X) not being user friendly.

If you are a computer nerd with decent programming skills l, Linux I awesome, but a lot of work to maintain... Not the everyman's computer and definitely not govt employees, LOL. Ditch your android devices as well govts unless you want all your secrets revealed.

Android in many ways is a desktop OS that has been shoe horned into a mobile environment.  As a result, it is not very efficient compared to an OS like iOS or Windows Phone that were built from the ground up to be mobile.  This is the reason that Android has a reputation for running poorly and being unstable on hardware that WP runs well on.  Android's is pretty much designed this way from the foundation so it's not something that will go away with a little optimization.  Hardware improvements can help, but Android will probably never be as efficient as it's competitors.  Similar design issues contribute to Android's security problems.

Windows PHone 7 was ground up... Windows Phone 8 is actually based off of the NT Core.. (as is every MS OS since Windows NT....exculding 9 and Me).

That's not what he is talking about. WP7 was also based on an existing core, albeit one that was outdated by the time WP7 launched. But the actual OS that the user interacts with was built from the ground up for mobile devices, as is WP8.
Android was not.

Well i used to think this way until I bought a cheap Moto G for a second phone line and realise it was more fluid and faster than my Lumia 1020 which costed 5x more. :P

Yes WP is a great OS and very responsive but the new versions of Androids are as good in terms of efficiency and performance. All the bias I had from using Android years ago like battery/performance/stability issues I don't have anymore. The OS is rock solid that's why it is hard to make ppl switch. 

Not a great example.  The Moto G has a more modern quad core CPU compared to the L1020's older generation dual core CPU.  The Moto G also has a much faster graphics processor.  The Lumia is more expensive because of all the other components (camera, screen, etc), but as far as the components that make it go fast the Moto G has much more power.  The Moto G is also sold pretty much at cost.  Therefore, this kind of illustrates the point about android.  A "budget phone" running android needs a much more powerful SOC than a flagship (albiet a little old now) Windows Phone to get similar results.

Nope, you Lumia 1020 2core processor and 1gb ram. Moto X 4core 2gb ram. Put WP8 on that Moto G and Maldroid would be left in the dust. My 928 is faster than a Galaxy S3 and as fast as an S4 with half the processing power and ram... Android just is a money out for OEMs and carriers they dump high end specs into it to make I functional instead of fixing it to make it optimized for efficinecy. All google wants is for you to buy an android phone and agree to the T&C so they get you using Gmail and so they can sell everything you do on the phone because they watch everything you do to marketers

Just because this is WPCentral doesn't mean we can keep repeating this to make it true.

Stock Android 4.4 is not only not slower or just as fast as WP8.1U1 but noticeably faster all round and especially in areas such as scrolling (I mean absolute speed not smoothness, though not it is smooth too) and app launch. In app launch, it is often 200-300% (the big difference due to the miniscule time periods involved).

Not just speed, it is often even more battey optimised. Go to Anandtech and check actual figures for a WP and a Droid for similar battery sizes, SoCs and screen size/tech. The upcoming HTC One M8 will probably be the most thorougly reviewed WP with hardware identical to its Droid variant and this myth will be throroughly busted.

As for running on low RAM devices. Android is actually now with 4.4 better at it than WP since a lot of apps don't need modificiation. In WP, MS earlier had a restriction where any one single app could not use more than 128 MB RAM in a 512 MB RAM device, hence the reason why so many games had to be modified to run (512 isn't that bad a limit, 128 is really really pushing it). 

Dalvik is gone in Android L which is suppossed to be even faster, slimmer and longer lasting.

 Couple posts below you flat out get your facts wrong when you claim the 1020's CPU and GPU are better than Moto G. Not only are they not better, they are from a totally different lower class. 1020 has Krait class CPU (between A9 and A15) whereas Moto G has a A7 class processor. 1020 ought to run circles around Moto G, also the GPU is the 1020 is the 225 whereas Moto G has the 305, the numbering might tempt you to think one is better than other but they're again from different classes. The 225 (and its successor which is the 320/330 and 420/430 are the powerful categories and the 3-05 series are the cut down variants).

The Moto G example by the poster below is valid because that was a very much mythbuster device. MS really pushed the 520 and 620 as devices that only WP could achieve then Moto put one out on the market which was better in every way (screen, battery life, speed, ecosystem). 

The competition has not stood still. If WP was far ahead of competition in a category it would show in the market. Remember, WP is now free, Android is not (in terms of overall payments to MS due to patents). At the low end where margins are razor thin, OEMs have EVERY incentive to use WP and double or triple their non existent margins.

Hi, WP scrolling is indeed smoother. I clarified that. It is however not faster. Earlier this applied to transitions in Android vs iOS where Android was often faster but iOS was smoother. Transitions in WP on the other hand are usually quite slow but perfectly smooth. Smoothness vs Speed isn't the same thing.

Think about a perfectly smooth pivot transition for launching a WP app that usually takes the time it requires to pivot out the start screen and pivot in the app's content. This is perfectly smooth but often quite slow.

Android will often instantly throw up the app (Whatsapp for instance will come up in less than a third of the time it takes on WP) however there might be some visible tearing, blank out or jaggedyness.

Yet another way of thinking about it: A car that goes a distance of 10 kms at a speed of 20 km/hr is perfectly smooth. A car that goes the same distance at a speed varying every few seconds from 80 to 200 km/hr is much much faster but not at all smooth.

I'm glad you brought up the HTC One M8 hardware as a perfect platform for comparing Android and WP.  Unfortunately, you are wrong about the results.  According to HTC’s own specs, the batter will last as follows:


Android HTC One M8
Usage Time: 12 hours
Standby Time: 12.2 days

Windows HTC One M8
Usage Time: 21 hours
Standby Time: 15.5 days


Android's 12 hours vs. Windows Phone's 21 hours on the exact same hardware is a HUGE difference.  That pretty much proves everything I said about Android being poorly optimized compared to other mobile OSes to be true.  The things you said about the Moto G vs. Lumia 1020 are basically irrelavant give the results with the HTC One M8, but it wasn't correct anyway.  The Moto G's more modern "budget" (and sold at cost) hardware is roughly equal to the Lumia 1020's older "high end" hardware.  One is a 2nd tier S4 SOC and the other is a S400 (also 2nd tier) SOC.  Sure the Moto G runs well on that hardware, but it should run well considering that it's a more modern quad-core SOC.  It would probably not run so well on L520 hardare.


Finally, you keep talking about scrolling speed and transition speed like that is a valid test.  Those are animations that have built in timings (like x frames per second).  The speed of those animations is arbitrary and fixed within the OS code.  If the animations just ran as fast as the CPU allowed you may not see them at all or in the case of scrolling it might be too touchy.  Comparing something like that is to compare apples and oranges.  The only thing that is relavant is how smooth those movements are.  You said yourself that Windows Phone tends to have smoother transitions/scrolling than Android. 

I see this a lot, but it's more like Android runs on linux than android is linux - it's not like you can just start running android apps on any linux distribution.

No, Linux is a UNIX-like OS. Saying it's based on UNIX makes it sound like its core is UNIX, but that's not true - Linux is its own, complete OS designed similarly to UNIX. Android IS based on Linux, though.

To be super pedantic, Linux is not an OS.  Linux is just a kernel.  The OS on the desktop is GNU Linux. Without the GNU bit the kernel wouldn't be terribly useful.  Similarly Android Linux without Dalvik/ART would also be pretty useless. 

True, which brings us nicely to what Android actually is. It is OS based on Linux kernel with Java UI stack forked on top of it in a slow virtual machine. And Google did this only because Linux is free and Java is free (which is still under debate). These were just a way to fork something together for free, and Google didn't even expect it to be successful at first. But it got huge support from Linux and Java fans and these guys are mostly developers.

Android has come long way since, and now its much more mature OS. It is also these days more closed system than open source. The open Android OS today is quite much useless to anyone, and this is why we have only Amazon trying to fork it for their own good. And we all know how well that is going :)

Last estimates of non-Google open source Android was almost 30% of all Android, and growing. A lot of the forking are done by Chinese and Indian OEMs, the Amazon Kindle is just now one of the forks. That's pretty successful don't you think?


My reaction exactly; then followed by picturing the scowly face of certain ZD Net bloggers on reading this.

Yeah this basically. More and more enterprise apps are being architected as web based apps. I don't know for certain but I could see the need for enterprise Windows drop over the next half a decade

I see a lot of the opposite.  I'm a database admin in an enterprise environment and a lot of systems that used to be hosted on Oracle database and Unix/Linux OS have been moved to Windows Server and MS SQL Server.  I still maintain both types of environments, but as Windows Server and other enterprise MS products have become more stable and capable it's just eaiser to build systems on that technology.  It's also cheaper in many cases when you look at the entire picture and not just the intial purchase costs.  It's easier to find people with the skills to maintain an MS environment and the tools provided by MS make it more efficient in most cases. 

But they are much more difficult to set up and maintain than their Windows equivalents for the same functionality. You have to wrestle together multiple systems and configurations, where the Windows equivalent just works already. Speaking from a lot of experience.

Very true.  I can build a brand new database server on Windows/MS SQL Server in around 1 hour.  I need 2 to 3 solid days to get a new Linux/Oracle system up and running.  Similar examples exist for other types of servers.

To an extent, but not completely. For instance to get an email server with SMTP, POP, IMAP, Greylisting, and Anti Virus on Linux, with a SQL database and self-management portal, I need to cobble together 5-6 systems and configure their configs in playing text just so to get it working correctly. On Windows I just install hMailServer and Spam Assassin and it's all done already. And I can enable other features like DKIM in a few clicks vs an hour or more of config and potential debugging on Linux.

For DNS on Linux I have to install BIND and muck around with a whole bunch of plain text configs to get it going, or install Webmin if I want a GUI. On Windows I just open DNS Server admin and add my hosts. I can even get things like DNSSEC working in one click.

Similar experience with IIS vs Apache/Nginx. Once you are equally skilled in both sides, the Windows alternatives are usually quicker and nicer to set up and use.

No.  It has to do with all of the additional manual steps, prerquisites, and the actual install time for the Oracle components.  You can't even start an Oracle install on Unix/Linux until you have edited a dozen or so system config files, installed a bunch of packages and their depedancies, and un-tarred a few gigabytes worth of install files.  I love working with Oracle on Linux, but it is by no means quick and easy.  On the other hand, MSSQL is basically just: run setup.exe, pick the options you want, next, next, next, finish.


I'm 100% sure I could talk my mother through a MS SQL Server install faster than Linus Torvalds could setup Oracle on Linux. 


There are 4 other DBAs working in my team.  We support both MSSQL and Oracle including high availability clusters and replicated databases.  We have individual systems that cost about half a million dollars and our company has tens of thousands of employees.  Any one of the other DBAs on my team will say the same thing.  It's not a slam against Linux/Unix.  It's just reality.


In environments where you can built a server once and then clone/script it to a bunch of other servers (web hosting for example), Unix/Linux environments can be more efficient.  However, most business environments (including mine) are not like that.  Each of our servers has different requirements and very differnt configurations.  Often it is based on the requirements of third party software vendors.  We rarely have opportunities to script/clone an install of anything other than maybe the base OS.

I made the first comment because of your very general and incorrect post, your second is no better.  It does not take 2-3 days to get Linux/Oracle up and running unless you don't know what you're doing.  Yes, MSSQL is easier to install but the setup.exe does not run from thin air.  Installation files/media are also needed.  Comparing like for like (MSWin+MSSQL and OEL+RDBMS) there are a few more steps involved on Linux/Oracle but not days worth. I too work in a large IT organization where all DBs and server platforms are represented.  Since this is a WP site I'll leave it at that.

Fair enough.  2 to 3 days was probably exagerated.  I stated that because our policy is 1 business day for a new MSSQL server and 3 for a new Oracle Database server (for a vanilla install, not RAC, etc.).  It probably takes several hours to get the Oracle DB up and running, but none of us have serveral hours without interruptions so it ends up being a few days.  With MSSQL I can have it done in under an hour and it's not hard to block out the distractions for an hour in most cases.  I can basically kick it off before my lunch break and it will mostly be done when I get back.


My second post is entirely accurate.  I actually prefer working with Oracle on RHEL (in part because it is more capable and challenging), but the knowledge and time required to maintain that platform does not compare to MSSQL.  It's not "a few more steps".  Oracle has entire white papers on the OS pre-requisites alone.  Maybe you have Linux Admins do that stuff for you, but not me.  Compare that to just copying setup media for MSSQL + service packs and running them.


You say "that says more about your skill".  Even if that were true, doesn't that still kind of prove the whole point?  Someone with zero knowledge of databases can install MSSQL (and they often do, not that it's a good thing).  I wasn't kidding about being able to talk my Mom through an MSSQL install.  I can't see anyone just fumbling their way through an Oracle install on Linux.  As a matter of fact, I know some very bright IT staff (not DBAs) at another company that could not get an Oracle install working on RHEL and it caused project delays.  Eventually, they were forced to restart with MSSQL because they realized that they wouldn't be able to properly maintain the system even if they got it running.  They have plenty of IT skill, but they can't dedicate enough time to become experts on that platform and the company is not large enough to hire a dedicated DBA.  On the other hand, MSSQL has been relatively easy for them to implement despite having started with little or no knowledge of MSSQL.


You can nit pick my comments (which were watered down for WP Central) all you want, but lets be real here.  The skill set required to maintain an Oracle system is significantly higher than MSSQL.  The same goes with Linux vs. Windows Server, Apache vs. IIS, etc.  There is a reason why Oracle DBAs usually have much higher average salaries than MSSQL DBAs.

I disagree, Linux market share is no different today than it was back then, have they even broken past 2% market share? Even that market share is mostly servers. Even OSX in an enterprise environment is costly beyond the hardware, it requires more support when running in a Windows environment and I can see that cost being higher for Linux.

OSX is unimaginable to be enterprise operating system. Sometimes I feel apple can win more OSX market share if they sell their osx to other OEM's.

Not really. There is still no good option to replace Exchange Server, Active Directory, Lync and Sharepoint. You can get similar packages for Linux if you want to, but they neither integrate as nicely as the Microsoft offerings nor are they free.

Granted exchange server is a big deal, but lots of platforms can interface with exchange so could always run that on a windows server

Once 365 exchange server and web client run as well as a local exchange instance and desktop Outlook install you'll have something. We went all goggle docs/drive ay work and it makes me want to kill myself daily.

Bwaha dang. That should open Linux distros eyes. They have to work on compatibility with windows apps or they will completely disappear and then its only windows and mac OS

Windows is not perfect. The problem for these distros is that Microsoft has spent billions and billions of dollars making sure the tools people need work well for THEIR applications. This a problem with Linux because there isn't anyone spending the same amount of money as Microsoft over the last 20 years.

Um Linux is open source.Since its free there's no question of spending billion dollars on it

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Yes, tell that to the guy that coded the heartbeat bug. Sometimes volunteer support means nothing at all.

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2004 to 2014? And custom apps? Sounds like someone back then didn't want to admit they'd done a poor job of researching before they switched. They should have reassessed the hidden costs as soon as it became apparent there would be problems.

Flash forward to 2014, they aren't the only ones with compatibility issues. There are subtle differences between Word on PC and Mac that affect how pages are rendered. Not an issue for casual users, but could be significant when publishing large docs and reports. And a real issue for enterprises that have adopted BYOD policies.

There are tons of solutions for that everywhere, why change the whole OS while the issue is just with apps? I mean just off the top of my head, why not use Office 365 and use office web apps? There's something really weird here, either the IT strategy guys are morons, or the city has extra money it's so desperate to spend on bullshit solutions...

Office web apps are for casual users, not for situations where users need to crank out specifically formatted docs with automated tables of contents, figures with captions, outlines, citations, and more. And on the Excel side, Excel Online does not support macros, conditional formatting (will interpret, but not generate), or many other Excel features.

I've seen enterprises that run Linux servers with Windows workstations without any problem, but desktops need to run the de facto standard. Training costs and learning curves alone dictate that. New hires are more productive if you sit them in front of a computer that looks a lot like the one they have at home.

In any company, there is a very small set of desktop users that actually do all of what you are saying unless the company is in external consulting.

You're absolutely right, makapav. So let's give Windows and Office desktop apps to that "very small set" and tell everyone else they don't need the deep dive apps. Of course, the CEO (who probably doesn't use very many features) might get a little bit upset if he/she only gets the online Excel app...

Mostly true, but it doesn't help IT to have to maintain two very different platforms.  One for power users and one for normal users.  If you have to double your IT staff and the tools they use to maintain systems it's not going to save money in the long run.  The compatibility issues caused by the different environments isn't going to help anyone either.  Also, those normal users are stuck in a watered down environment even though some of them might be able to make use of the more powerful tools on rare occations (even if it's with the help of a nearby power user teaching them something new).

Having been a sys admin for 65 users who were 50/50 casual/power users, I agree with you Cleavitt76. I should have noted that I was being sarcastic about deploying 2 different workstation configurations...

Windows Server OS is solid and integrates seamlessly with IIS, SQl Server, Azure, etc. For the smaller datacenter operation Linux was (and probably still is) a cost savings, but in this ever increasing connected world, a full service platform MSFT offers tips the scale back IMO. Especially for someone that needs more than to just setup a server and host a few websites.

To me, this is the main strength, and possible saving grace, with WP as welll.   The victories for WP will probably start from the business side rather than the consumer side because of that.   When Win9 is released next year I believe momentum will start to build for this new UI and the WP will come along for the ride.  

But to be honest with ourselves, right now on the consumer side, WP really brings very little extra to the table that Apple and Android don't already offer. In fact, WP still falls short in the consumer offerings like available apps.  So is it really any mystery why WP isn't selling very well yet?   

Unfortunately, this is what we've been hearing forever... Win8 was supposed to be the big breakthrough, where the common interface would prove to be the thing that wins us market share. I just don't know anymore... and MS is showing a very weak hand on the hardware front this year. I really hope they don't abandon the high end, because they will be abandoning me in the process.

I hear you.  But it was clear to many in this business that Win8 was badly flawed.   The integration between the very necessary desktop platform, and the new touch centric tile UI, was not done.   As a result, Win8x was a failure in the business world.    From what I see, Win9 will be what Win8 should have been.   I suspect Win9 will be the starting gun for a lot of businesses to start upgrading their older systems off XP, Vista, and even the now aging Win7.   Win 9 sounds like it will "invite" people to learn and use the Modern UI features  rather than "demand" it.   This should go over much better and people can learn about what it offers at their own pace, while businesses won't fear a significant productivity drop in their workforce.   This will help support WP and its sales should improve as well.

It's all speculation I admit.  But this is what I personally see happening.

For me, apps are not the problem with WP. The problems I have with WP coming from my years of experience with PalmOS, WinCE for palm-sized PC, Pocket PC, Windows Mobile, BlackberryOS, Android, and WP is the lack of real multitasking, lack of common folder for all apps and the bloated nature of most if not all WP apps. Each program operates due to "security" reason in a kinda cocoon. When you download and open a pdf with Adobe Reader, it's loaded into Adobe reader's own memory. Should you want to open the same document with Microsoft Pdf reader, you will need to download the damned thing again, because the Microsoft Reader has no access to the file already downloaded and saved in Adobe Reader's own memory.

Save for the smoothness and the moderness of WPOS, I prefer the openess and versatility of Windows Mobile to WP. Modern Windows is a failure not because of Apps, but because it's not productive. Microsoft thought using 2 or 3 windows side by side is a revolution, but in Desktop Windows, you can open many Applications as far as your System is able to cope with. You can play music, watch/listen to YouTube in the background while you do your main stuff without having to divide your screen into 2 or 3 parts to keep the App alive. Why do I have allocate or remove background task ability to/from Apps everytime there's an OS upgrade?

Anyway, congrats to Windows, but not Modern Windows. Solche eine irre Idee! Microsoft, tun WP se. Tun ile e se.

I haven't used Linux before ... So I can't speak on how Good\Bad is it ... But perhaps they should've thought about the 9000 PCs before they decided.

I think this argument applies for vice versa as well. If they were originally on Linux, then switching to Windows would be a costly move.

Linux is an alternative to Windows Server.  It's not really a desktop alternative for Windows XP, Vista, etc.   They no doubt switched their SERVER operations to Linux back then but were still using Windows for the desktops.  That's not so uncommon.   But, to Microsoft's credit, Munich found that after it was all added up, the savings wasn't there and they are switching their backend servers again.   Good news

Windows ideal for government....come on Germany!!!, I bet higher government guys just want to get there hands on the new surface pro 3.....politics is always first in government

Threshold should make people look stupid when using an android phone with a windows PC, only if Microsoft writes their codes right.

Now Imagine half of people using Windows OS switching to Windows Phone!

Considering the fact that ALL of Microsoft apps actually work BETTER on Android rather than Windows I somehow think Threshold will actually increase Android and Windows integration,.Also MS was pondering on bringing Cortana to Android so they could enjoy desktop Windows to its fullest

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Bro you know there are two sides to this story. 1 The future where Microsoft doesn't fix sync between windows & WP and 2 The future where Microsoft has fixed WP to sync with windows. Look on the bright side bro, it doesn't mean you have forgotten the woes of WP.

"9000 PCs were no longer compatible with other computers that still ran Windows"... Did they REALLY didn't realize that earlier before adapting Linux? Sounds weird to me...

Makes no sense does it.   Something wrong with some details in the story.    Plus,  Linux is an alternative to Windows Server.  It's not really a desktop alternative for Windows XP, Vista, etc.   I'm guessing the truth is they switched their SERVER operations to Linux 10 years ago, but were still using Windows for the desktops.  That's not so uncommon.   But, to Microsoft's credit, Munich found that after it was all added up, the savings wasn't there and they are switching their backend servers again.   Good news

They tried to switch everything to Linux.  Servers and desktops.  It's not that they didn't know it would be a challenge.  It's that they severely underestimated how much of a challenge it would be.  They also severely overestimated how much money they would save by using "free" software.  It often costs as much or more to support "free" software because instead of paying a vendor (such as MS) for support you have to hire and pay more of your own people for that support.

Yeah that's why I found it strange. Besides, the article is too short or that they didn't reveal much for our deduction. I kinda agree with Cleavitt76 that it's possible they tried to convert both PCSs and servers into Linux but the compatibility might have cost much higher than they actually thought it would. But something still doesn't join the ends... IDK what...

LOL hey I guess some one was bound to try this experiment at some point. Maybe now they will realize how awesome a standard platform is and get windows phones for government officials.

WTF is this shit? Incompatibility, really? Are there any specifics to this?

I tend to believe that they just invented an excuse to spend some money. They could use one of the many stable distros out there as-is, without that bullshit, but it seems something fishy happened and they paid someone a huge amount of money for basically nothing.

And I tend to believe that if confirmed, this "unsatisfaction with Linux" (really? judging Linux based on an assessment of LiMux? :v ) is just an excuse to spend some more money with a new excuse.

This is I'm an enterprise type deployment. Red Hat is the most popular Enterprise Linux variant and even that is very expensive to support. By support I mean that you don't even get updates unless you pay Red Hat 2300/year last time I checked. And no one in their right mind would run unsupported Linux.

Indeed.  People tend to not realize that in an enterprise environment it's not really acceptable to have mission critical systems running on unsupported platforms.  I work with RedHat Linux, IBM AIX Unix, HP-UX Unix, and Windows Server.  Out of those, Windows Server is the least expensive (over the life of the product) and easiest to support in most cases in our environment.  RedHat is a close second.  Both Unix platforms are a distant third.  We have evaluated the costs many times over the years for many different projects and these results have been consistent.

Please mind that the German government is NOT located in Munich but in Berlin. It is only the local administration for Munich you are refering to!

can't wait for all the linux fans blaming this on use of a certain flavor of linux and not their own personal one they picked up last tuesday after the one they used since the friday before broke the one they tried on the prior monday. ah the linux story.

I Guess they had plenty of Money to experiment with Linux. Great Brittain did Homework and learned the TCO of Windows is just much lower as Linux. Australia copied the Report of Great Brittain and decided the same. If German did their homework they would have known. Its political motivated.

Well, I'm not sure Germans qualify as a race.  It's a generalization for sure, but probably not racism.  It also happens to imply that Germans are normally smart people so it shouldn't hurt anyone's feelings too much, right?

LInux is great stuff for us geeks on the desktop but its a sucky desktop replacement for the masses.  It would be a large investment of resources to train in Linux.

Moral of the story you never use Linux in the enterprise or government environment. Windows is the only option for enterprises that is good. Server side a bit different Linux can work well there.

I'm actually a little surprised by that they would fail so spectactulary after such an investment for software compatibility reasons. There are several Office type application suites for Linux that support the Office formats, especially up to 2007... though there may have been a gap while they were upgrading for that file format change.

On top of that don't most Windows applications run on Wine in a worst case scenario?

Personally I would have believed user compatibility more than software compatibility because, as we've seen with Windows 8, people don't like change and unfortunaely for Linux, most of their windowing systems are different enough from Windows that people don't like them.

I don't think the issue is with them not being able to make it compatible.  I think the real issue is that making it compatible enough required a lot of effort, layers (Wine/emulators for example), and exceptions that supporting it became more expensive than the money saved by not buying Windows licenses. 

Looked up LiMux, and supposedly the government not only built their own distro with a planed huge update coming up. But also supposedly "successfully" finished updating all of their systems to LiMux in 2013. They also reported saving over €10 million as of last year. So... Did they lie about saving €10m, or did they save over using Windows spent what they saved on the new implementation? Also, I find it humorous that they switched to save money, but had to spend on developing the new distro in-house.

Bear in mind that in 2004 Windows XP was under attack for security issues, a certain degree of instability, and high cost.  Service Pack 2, which addressed a significant number of the security and stability issues, wasn't released until the third quarter of that year.  I'm sure Munich had optimistic estimates about how much their 'free' OS and applications would save them, and thought they were making a good decision.  10 years later, enterprise Windows costs have dropped a lot versus alternatives, the current Windows versions are quite secure and stable, and Windows management tools are substantially better than most others.  Windows servers are still a bit pricey to run, but Windows desktops and laptops are cheap to operate, and Office is the standard that businesses and governments use.  The decision they made may have been valid then, based on what they thought they knew of the future, but obviously things didn't go the way they expected.

I'm Nostradamus as I foresaw this happening when they first announced the change. Now if I could only use my soothsayer skill to hone in on the right lottery numbers!

Microsoft and Microsoft fans should be humble about this and help get them back on their feet.  Use it as an opportunity to show Germany that coming back was the undisputed correct choice. The good word will spread.

From what I read, its not even that.

The Deputy Mayor wants to contact a study to evaluate the benefits of returning back to Windows.

Sorry, but your article is completely WRONG. Maybe Bing Translator didn't serve you well on this one. They elected a new mayor and his deputies in Munich and one of his deputies was p****ed of he had to wait a few weeks for a new mailserver to have the smartphone connected he knows (from what I herard an iPhone because he was not amused to use a WP). He complained about Windows and still does but the technical director stated clearly that he should stay with politics and keep his mouth shut when it comes to things he doesn't understand. All complaints had nothing to do with Linux on would occur under Windows as well. On a political side the deputy mayor established an evaluation of Windows against Linux but there is definitely NO decision to migrate back. On the cost side the town complains that running Linux is far cheaper than Windows but the specialized tools for community service are not available without costly modifications. They do not propose to go back to Windows but to ask Germany's Government to push Linux/Open Source in other Communities/Cities so the averadge cost would decline. Please update this article, its statemnt is simply completely wrong.

Thanks for that comment, I was just about to add something along the same lines (I actually live in Munich). I'm glad the article has by now been updated with some clarifications, before it really was COMPLETELY wrong, there is definitely NO decision to return to Windows.

Gotta wonder if the IT manager who made the original recommendation is still in charge. I hope they've taken note that Win7 is scheduled for EOL early next year...

All the time (I mean even before your Update of the article) the Süddeutsche article clearly said that Munich is EVALUATING going back to Microsoft products.


Gee, first WMPoweruser misinforming its readers and now you as well. I am disappointed.

If they are evaluating it's because something is wrong with Linux (less productive, compatibility problems or anything else) or they are spending too much money than expected, in the worst case they have spent more money for supporting Linux instead. Anyway if I evaluate to switch from something it's because that "something" it's not so good after all.

Hmmm, 2004 is about when I decided to ditch windows and move to Linux too.  Though in all fairness, the windows offerings at the time were not great or inspiring.  Even worked in OSX, as I liked the BSD foundation under it.  I'm back because windows 8 is such a forward thinking, inspired design, and I truly believe it is the most creative OS out there. 

But when it comes to enterprise, there is no choice.  Windows all the way, despite the fact that I hated it back then.  You are shooting yourself in the foot going in a different direction.

Moral of the story: Saving money doesn't always save money.

Although this story could be way off base and skewed by politicians with the real problems being something else.