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Munich Open Source Switch 'Completed Successfully'

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the austin-should-follow-suit dept.

Government 275

Qedward writes "Munich's switch to open source software has been successfully completed, with the vast majority of the public administration's users now running its own version of Linux, city officials said today. In one of the premier open source software deployments in Europe, the city migrated from Windows NT to LiMux, its own Linux distribution. LiMux incorporates a fully open source desktop infrastructure. The city also decided to use the Open Document Format (ODF) as a standard, instead of proprietary options. Ten years after the decision to switch, the LiMux project will now go into regular operation, the Munich City council said."

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275 comments

What is my asshole? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45672855)

What is my asshole? What is the nature of my cock sucking asshole? I'll reveal its dark secret to you: My asshole is a tadpole sucker!

good for them! (5, Insightful)

lyapunov (241045) | about 7 months ago | (#45672869)

This is a pleasant surprise.

Hopefully the near 12 million pound savings can be expanded upon and cause others to follow suit.

Re:good for them! (1)

Cordus Mortain (3004429) | about 7 months ago | (#45672929)

+1

Re:good for them! (0, Troll)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 7 months ago | (#45672981)

This is "off topic" but illustrates why Warren Buffett once said he would not invest in Microsoft as he couldn't see a Loooong term profit stream from software.

Time will tell whether MS makes a successful switch to integrated devices.

Re:good for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673065)

Warren Buffett once said he would not invest in Microsoft

whhhhhauuut? You do realize who one of the *first* investors of MS was right?

Re:good for them! (4, Insightful)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 7 months ago | (#45673085)

I would like to see a cite for that.

I have seen him say that he would not invest in technology companies because he couldn’t understand how they would make a profit – as in lack of knowledge verse a conclusion that it could not make money.

If you look at his investment philosophy, it is about investing in long established boring business where he can understand the cash flow. He has stated that he does not have the technical chops to wade into the tech market sector.

Re:good for them! (4, Interesting)

thaylin (555395) | about 7 months ago | (#45673213)

He said he would not invest in MS because of his friendship with Gates, not because of of long term profit from software.

Re:good for them! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673725)

No, he said it's because Gates is an anti-Christ.

This is the place we're just making s*** up, right?

Other Motives (5, Interesting)

mx+b (2078162) | about 7 months ago | (#45672997)

While the financial savings is great, let's also not forget that it is partially about freedom -- no forced upgrades from vendors, no special expensive proprietary software to read what should be public record, etc. I am more excited about the latter -- an openly accessible government and public records is important no matter how much it costs, but it's especially nice that we can have that AND save some cash.

Re:Other Motives (1, Interesting)

Kardos (1348077) | about 7 months ago | (#45673033)

Also no backdoors. This alone would justify switching.

Re:Other Motives (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 7 months ago | (#45673905)

Probably so, but let's be careful about stating that as a fact. The amount of commits per day for Linux increases all the time and so does the probability that someone manages to sneak something nasty there. All I'm saying is that we should still keep our eyes open.

Re:Other Motives (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 7 months ago | (#45673165)

Do we know that they saved money overall? I poked around the article but I couldn’t find anything.

  From what I have read in the past, conversions like this did not save money. The reduced front end costs were offset by higher backend costs. Linux admins have higher salaries then windows admins. Front end staff needs to be retrained and have to spend more time with outside vendors who are on Microsoft Office. Etc.

I really hope that the conversion does save money and I think the open data formats add value. I just want to know how they measured the cost savings.

Re:Other Motives (4, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 7 months ago | (#45673223)

There is much dispute about this, and while the City of Munich claims strong savings, Microsoft published a study which claimed Linux would cost more.

I tend to believe Munich more on this, because they can actually point to real numbers from the real world, while Microsoft's claims are based on speculation and estimates.

Re:Other Motives (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673761)

Microsoft's claims are based on speculation and estimates and blatant self-interest.

FTFY.

Re:Other Motives (4, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | about 7 months ago | (#45674129)

Also, their study omitted the cost of software licensing for some reason.

Re:Other Motives (2)

Zak3056 (69287) | about 7 months ago | (#45673485)

Do we know that they saved money overall? I poked around the article but I couldn’t find anything.

That's also my question. I'm having difficulty wrapping my head around a decade long engineering effort, plus the ongoing costs of maintaining their own distro(!!) is going to lead to a net cost savings. Best of luck to them, and I do hope they succeeded here, but I too would love to see specifics (and not marketing drivel provided by MS, Gartner, etc).

Re:Other Motives (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673989)

It's no more difficult to maintain a custom distro than a custom Windows installation. In fact, many organizations have their own "Windows distro" that comes with preconfigured and preinstalled software and properties.

I'm guessing you, and many others for that matter, think that since they have their own distro, they must be coding themselves almost everything they use. This is simply not true. Simplified version is they just select what software they want to use and install it off the official Ubuntu repositories.

Re:Other Motives (4, Interesting)

haruchai (17472) | about 7 months ago | (#45673525)

The end user retraining is probably the biggest expense but that might be offset by greater productivity / fewer desktop issues - it's hard to say.
I see Linux admin salaries at ~10% more than for Windows but perhaps they can get by with fewer.

Re:Other Motives (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673691)

I see Linux admin salaries at ~10% more than for Windows but perhaps they can get by with fewer.

No "perhaps" about it. I've been an admin in a lot of different mixed shops and the ratio of servers to admins is always better for *nix than for Windows, true for both servers and desktops. Gotta love ubiquitous scripting tools and absence of Patch Tuesday.

Re:Other Motives (4, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | about 7 months ago | (#45674003)

Do we know that they saved money overall? I poked around the article but I couldnâ(TM)t find anything.

You write as though this point is the end of possible cost savings. In the future, there will be no more Windows licenses, no more CALs to buy. No more Office licenses.

More importantly, no (or perhaps fewer) vendor(s) with a lock-in that prevents effective price negotiations and, for those that do have lock-in, a very credible threat that they will be replaced if they refuse to play ball.

Re:Other Motives (4, Insightful)

jez9999 (618189) | about 7 months ago | (#45673343)

No tablet interface shoehorned onto your desktop because Steve Ballmer says so...

Re:Other Motives (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about 7 months ago | (#45673797)

No, a table interface shoehorned onto your desktop because the Ubuntu devs say so. It's so much better in Linux land.

Re:Other Motives (3, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | about 7 months ago | (#45673925)

Yes it is.

We have alternatives. Those alternatives won't mix with the base system like oil+water because our system is modular.

Re:Other Motives (1)

slashbart (316113) | about 7 months ago | (#45673955)

kde, gnome 2, gnome 3, xfce, ...

Re:Other Motives (2)

vux984 (928602) | about 7 months ago | (#45674135)

No, a table interface shoehorned onto your desktop because the Ubuntu devs say so. It's so much better in Linux land.

What a mess of conflicting things...

On the one hand, the "Modern UI" in Windows 8.1 isn't nearly the issue a lot of people think it is. On the other hand it IS true that users are forced to stay on the Microsoft feature treadmill whether its headed in a direction they like or not.

While the Ubuntu comparison is humorous and somewhat apt, it also fails. Firstly, one can switch distros relatively easily, and one can switch desktop environments on the same distro relatively easily.

Finally one can also simply fork it and do what one wants -- and this is often considered the 'nuclear' option, an option which technically exists, but which is considered too impractical to do... which in this case is exactly what they did.

They are running LiMux which is literally their very own City of Munich distro.

Re:Other Motives (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45674009)

No tablet interface shoehorned onto your desktop because Steve Ballmer says so...

What are you talking about? Microsoft has told us repeatedly that your training budget is $0 with Windows. So clearly that shoehorned botch of a UI must be incredibly intuitive. How else can Microsoft claim that paying for Windows has cheaper TCO than using Linux and controlling your own destiny?

Re:Other Motives (3)

symbolset (646467) | about 7 months ago | (#45674145)

And server. Don't forget Metro on the Server. [semiaccurate.com] Because... we don't know why. Just because.

Re:Other Motives (5, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 7 months ago | (#45673407)

What about motives for us?

To me this is a new wrinkle in the Linux discussion. We've been seeing uBuntu's "slide towards the Dark Side". A city running its own distro built at least partially from scratch (with German Engineers! Ha! Take that!) can potentially have a super clean codebase with none of the bloated and/or dangerous commercial cruft.

To my layman's eyes, Linux has been suffering from a bit of "X distro is/once was good and is slowly dying from lack of funds or internal politics". But a City has its own different motivation - it needs to Get Stuff Done with people mostly properly trained, vs the whole End User struggle for commercial distros.

So what if we can tap into their work and use it ourselves? Could they provide us with a distro with the full power of a city distro with (hopefully!) no hidden agendas, backed by their level of tech support they use themselves? That could be a new go-stone in the OS Wars.

Since the Germans are probably as upset as anyone else at the NSA, isn't that sorta "pitting them in a cage match vs the NSA spy-hackers"? If you had to put a bet on the NSA attacker vs the German Defender, which way would you go?

 

Re:Other Motives (0)

jazman_777 (44742) | about 7 months ago | (#45673769)

Ah, the holy grail: a clean, no-frills distro. If you really want clean and no-frills, go OpenBSD.

Re:Other Motives (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673611)

This is part of the messaging that FOSS advocates get wrong. Do not, ever, try to sell businesses, governments, NGOs, etc. on FOSS based on "freedom". That sounds like hippie logic and it simply doesn't compute with those audiences.

Instead, flip it around and say: Convert to Linux and all FOSS apps and you gain a huge amount of control over your environment. You're in charge and can do whatever you want, without having to deal with Microsoft's (or any other vendor's) latest psychosis that forces you to deal with a uselessly different UI or development model. The more examples you can give people of specific examples -- the Windows 8 flaming, toxic train wreck simply leaps to mind -- the better.

Re:good for them! (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 7 months ago | (#45673037)

Hopefully the near 12 million pound savings can be expanded upon and cause others to follow suit.

The savings will surely help fund their joining the United Kingdom...

Re:good for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673901)

They tried that once, back in 1939. Didn't work for them...

Re:good for them! (1)

tqk (413719) | about 7 months ago | (#45673081)

It's an interesting metric to go by as well. Going proprietary means a large investment in cash and related tangibles, but not many consider how much time it wastes to get away from it. I know junkies who've been on methadone that long.

Re:good for them! (1)

mcrbids (148650) | about 7 months ago | (#45673119)

Didn't this take over 10 years? I seem to recall hearing about their decision to switch sometime around the year 2000....

Re:good for them! (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 7 months ago | (#45673245)

Um, it is in the summery.. Are we too lazy to even read the summery now?

A new meme is born (1)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | about 7 months ago | (#45673367)

RTFS - Read the f-ing summary

Cheers,
Dave

Re:good for them! (1)

tqk (413719) | about 7 months ago | (#45673289)

Didn't this take over 10 years?

From TFS: "Ten years after the decision to switch, the LiMux project will now go into regular operation, the Munich City council said."" So, yes, it took 'em about a decade to dig themselves out of that hole. Sad, but true.

Re:good for them! (4, Insightful)

Loki_666 (824073) | about 7 months ago | (#45673339)

10 years in a governmental organization is bloody fast! Not to mention they would have had a ton of apps and systems dependent on proprietary stuff that would either need migrating or testing under WINE.

But mainly, it would be the fact that a majority of departments I can imagine would have been fighting the change tooth and nail, not to mention pressure from MS sales reps who would have been doing the rounds convincing everyone they could that a change would be the end of the world!

Re:good for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45674159)

Strange, because it didn't take them 10 years to get into the Windoze swamp.

Re: good for them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673763)

More important is to get reefom from MS-diktatorship. We should all work to open IT to competition. Open standards, interfaces, files and code are te way to working markets.

Now already? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45672917)

Wow that was fast! I remember like yesterday when I read the first piece of news about this decision, I think it was the days when Reagan was president and Dallas was best the tv had to offer.

Re:Now already? (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 7 months ago | (#45672987)

I think it was the days when Reagan was president and Dallas was best the tv had to offer.

And you think that was bad? At that time, Derrick [imdb.com] was on tv too, and that's the image most people had - and often still have - of Munich around the world. They *had* to do something to change their image!

ODF (5, Insightful)

jones_supa (887896) | about 7 months ago | (#45673005)

The decision to prefer ODF as the document format is my favorite part here. Office and its DOCX format is pretty much the last big thing holding people to the Microsoft monoculture. More ODF files should be put into circulation in the business world.

Re:ODF (4, Interesting)

Poingggg (103097) | about 7 months ago | (#45673447)

More ODF files should be put into circulation in the business world.

I fullhartedly agree! When I have to send a company a file (most of the time my CV, alas :-( ), I always ask if I can send it as an .odt file. Many times I am asked what that is, and then I explain, but offer to send the file as .pdf. I do this, just to make clear that there ARE other things around than MS-Office. However, I find that, slowly, .odt files get accepted more, and companies that do accept them have a plus for me.
Problem is that most people, even when they use Libre Office or any other non-MS suite, will by default send everyone everything in the MS-Office formats, thus establishing the status quo. Non-MS users should use Open Document Format files, especially when sending documents to regulatory organs like city councils etc.
In Europe (where I live), governments and government organs are mandated (hope that is the right word) to be able to handle ODF's, but if they never recieve those, most of them won't even know about their existence, let alone know how to handle them.

(For those who want to tell me I am a pretentious prick: I know. :p )

Re:ODF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673981)

The only downside of ODF is that here in the US, unlike Europe where there is a large installed base on the governmental level of non-MS office suites, sending a CV or a resume in that format usually gets it roundfiled. The adage still holds strong here, of "nobody has gotten fired for buying Microsoft", and no matter what the job is, Word and PDF is the lowest common denominator. If I want a job, I sent in Word. If I want to be told that I need to stay in my mom's basement since I'm not using "big boy" tools like the pros use, I'll use .odf.

Re:ODF (3, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | about 7 months ago | (#45674185)

You send resumes in pdf format. You don't want people editing your resume before forwarding it.

Re:ODF (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673541)

It's already happening, it helps that Microsft Office 2010 can open ODF files correctly. (Office 2007 can open them.. but loses things like comments..)

ODT
1,340,000 results
https://www.google.com/#q=filetype:odt+-facebook

Docx
15,800,000
https://www.google.com/#q=filetype:docx++-facebook

Re:ODF (2)

jon3k (691256) | about 7 months ago | (#45674081)

Someone should write a worm that just changes the default Office document "Save As" filetypes to the Open Office formats. That's it. No harm, no damage. 90% of people wouldn't even notice.

Why did it take so long? (3, Informative)

Kardos (1348077) | about 7 months ago | (#45673007)

10 years is a long time to switch, I can see that being an impediment to other cities following suit. Are they sharing details of the changeover experience? It would be quite valuable to have a list of the major problems that made this take a decade rather than a year.

Re:Why did it take so long? (3, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 7 months ago | (#45673093)

Yes, they regularly publish reports of their switch, they are giving presentations at diverse conferences, and you can get the LiMux distribution including all the changelogs.

Re:Why did it take so long? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673211)

and you can get the LiMux distribution including all the changelogs.

I didn't really take the time to think about it until I read this but having a custom distribution (no matter how minor the changes, if any, were from wherever it started) would add a considerable amount of time to the process. Open source software development + governing bureaucracy (regular style, not american purposefully delaying things style) = a whooooole lot of time spent to do the smallest of things.

Overall, I congratulate their achievement. This also provides a solid precedent for other cities/countries/organizations to follow suit!

Re:Why did it take so long? (3, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 7 months ago | (#45673301)

In each large organisation (and Munich's administration has 15000 seats), you don't roll out the software as it comes from the vendor, you always customize and put your own addons while removing parts you don't need or consider dangerous. So I would expect the work you have to do to tweak a Microsoft install for your organisation to be on par with modifying a Linux distribution to fit your needs.

Re:Why did it take so long? (2)

davydagger (2566757) | about 7 months ago | (#45673181)

I could imagine a large amount of infrastructure, and the need for custom applications to be re-written.

I hope the massive development they did is open sourced, and makes it easier for other cities and governments to switch, and the code and effort can be reused to make it easier for other cities

Re:Why did it take so long? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673285)

For one thing, Microsoft spends billions on making sure their customers have the most difficult time imaginable trying to end the business relationship. They are heavily invested in both technical and legal strategies for this.

Re:Why did it take so long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673429)

i have no evidence to support what you have said, but strangely, I have no problems believing it!!

Probably the most positive thing to come from this experiment is that other cities just need to download it and try it themselves. Probably easy in Germany but once an English speaking country gets it (yes, I would hope the UK but they are too corrupt for this), it may well spread to the USA....

Re:Why did it take so long? (4, Insightful)

firewrought (36952) | about 7 months ago | (#45673477)

10 years is a long time to switch

Seems quick to me... where I work, I saw it take ~8 years for a modestly complex VisualBasic application to be replaced with a .NET one. These sort of transitions take place in an environment with a lot of moving parts and ongoing demands for change and many competing priorities. Heck, we're just now to the point of completing the Windows XP --> Windows 7 transition. Big organizations move slowly... sometimes for reasons that are dumb, but frequently because that's the only way to do it.

Whatever Happened... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673027)

Whatever happened to the City of Largo Florida?

Re:Whatever Happened... (1)

Coeurderoy (717228) | about 7 months ago | (#45673095)

Re:Whatever Happened... It's 2013! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673239)

The link is to a 2001 Roblimo article.

It is nearly 2014. What are they up to now? Maybe Roblimo could do a follow up, he lives less than an hour away and certainly doesn't have anything better to do.

Re:Whatever Happened... (1)

tqk (413719) | about 7 months ago | (#45673453)

FYI, that's from 2001.

Re:Whatever Happened... (0)

jdmuskrat (1463759) | about 7 months ago | (#45673417)

it has been under heavy right wing control for a long time. that says it all.

Congratulations! (1)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 7 months ago | (#45673035)

One step toward an open-source world. What an exciting idea! Imagine computers out there computing, with no license fees that seem to propagate.

Re:Congratulations! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45674047)

Yeah...the idea that companies make money off of software is absurd. Who cares that a company like Valve spends millions on developing games...they should be free.

You're such a genius!!!

It'll cost them more in the long run (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673043)

Doing this sort of thing to spite Microsoft is silly.

Whatever they save on licensing fees will end up being spent on support, and then some. Playing computer politics with the taxpayer's money is irresponsible. There's a good reason why Microsoft is the standard for business computing and that's because their products are almost always better than open source.

Re:It'll cost them more in the long run (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673109)

Doing this sort of thing to spite Microsoft is silly.

Whatever they save on licensing fees will end up being spent on support, and then some. Playing computer politics with the taxpayer's money is irresponsible. There's a good reason why Microsoft is the standard for business computing and that's because their products are almost always better than open source.

There is, indeed, a very good reason. It only has a little to do with the free market and their actual products. It has more to do with unethical behaviour, ruthless exploitation, luck, and adequate products.

Re:It'll cost them more in the long run (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673327)

Munich Open Source Switch 'Completed Successfully'

Excellent, now the Microsoft shills and lobbyists can really get started with their...

Doing this sort of thing to spite Microsoft is silly.

Oh, I see. Already in progress. Wow, Microsoft really IS becoming a leaner, faster company!

Re:It'll cost them more in the long run (2)

haruchai (17472) | about 7 months ago | (#45673561)

Troll of the day. Well done, AC

Re:It'll cost them more in the long run (1)

Razalhague (1497249) | about 7 months ago | (#45673681)

There's a good reason why Microsoft is the standard for business computing and that's because their products are almost always better than open source.

No, it's because Microsoft is better at running legacy software (or at least that's how businesses see it). And business computing is all about legacy software.

Re:It'll cost them more in the long run (5, Funny)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 7 months ago | (#45673831)

<voice class="TV gameshow host" style="decade: 1980">

It's time to play Spot The FUD! With your host, Sarten-X!

Doing this sort of thing to spite Microsoft is silly.

Our game opens, and THERE'S SOME RIGHT THERE! Wow, right outta the gate! When we're talking about a large-scale integration project, "spite" isn't likely a significant factor, unless Microsoft has somehow managed to personally offend every politician in Munich. Note the literary device, though... by saying the decision was spiteful, the people who decided against Microsoft are cast as being evil... Who'd want to agree with someone so mean?

Whatever they save on licensing fees will end up being spent on support, and then some.

Ah, now there's the biggest bit of FUD we've seen in a long time here on Spot The FUD! Now, this might look like a restatement of a zero-sum philosophy, but it's really FUD! Not only hasn't it been established how much they'll actually save on licensing, but there's no real indication that support costs would change at all, or which direction they would go.

Playing computer politics with the taxpayer's money is irresponsible.

Wow! We're three for three here, folks! Just like the last one, this is FUD disguised as common sense. Also like last time, a little analysis shows the problem. Sure, tax money should be spent responsibly, but there's still no reason to think that "computer politics" was behind this decision. It'd be equally irresponsible to choose to be locked in to a single vendor, especially with a vendor that's made such an effort to be incompatible with alternatives.

There's a good reason why Microsoft is the standard for business computing...

This must mean it's time for...

<voice class="crowd">

THE BOOK OF HISTORY!

</voice>

That's right, folks: The Book Of History! Let me just crack it open and... here we go! Throughout the '80s and '90s, Microsoft made exclusive deals with developers and hardware manufacturers to ensure that Windows was the operating system with the widest support, regardless of its actual merit as a platform. Once Microsoft had money to spare, competitors were purchased just to be shut down, or occasionally to have their product bundled into Windows, ensuring that there would be little viable competition in that market.

Ah, I just love history... but we're not done yet! We'll be right back after these commercial messages!

<voice class="pushy salesman">

Do you suffer from shills? Do you wish you had more rational discourse? Are you irritated by ignorance? Order FUD-B-GONE today! Apply directly to shills' sinus cavities! It might look like a set of brass knuckles, but FUD-B-GONE is really a precision-engineered shill ELIMINATOR! Only $19.99! Send check or money order to the address on your screen! Ordervoidwhereprohibitedbylawmustbeeighteenoroldersorrynoc.o.d.

</voice>

and that's because their products are almost always better than open source.

Well, we're almost out of time, but here's our last bit of FUD for today! It's a pretty easy one, too... Of course, there's no definition of "better" to go along with this unqualified statement, so this shill expects you to accept it at face value, but we know that "better" depends on a wide variety of criteria!

And that's all the time we have for today! Thanks for joining us! Be sure to tune in next time when we hear a concerned parent tell us about the hidden dangers of vaccination, even though her "research" is based on urban legends that predate vaccines!

</voice>

<audio><source src="endtheme.ogg" type="audio/ogg"></audio>

How much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673059)

Freedom has its price. How much you value that freedom is the key.

Re:How much? (2)

rjstanford (69735) | about 7 months ago | (#45674199)

US$1.05 seems to be the going rate.

Why roll your own distro? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673091)

Why waste time and money creating your own distro when there are many good ones available?

As long as you stay away from crusty old debian and its bastard children, there are some great options.

Re:Why roll your own distro? (2)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 7 months ago | (#45673233)

Because creating a linux distro based on a popular distro is easy -- individuals do it in their spare time -- and a city is bound to want a different set of packages installed than any particular distro will have by default. It presumably saves them a lot of time [and thus money] not having to separately install programs on each computer, by including them in the distro.

Re:Why roll your own distro? (1)

LDAPMAN (930041) | about 7 months ago | (#45673515)

If all your doing is defining a specific set of existing packages then you really aren't creating your own distro. All the major players let you define a configuration to install.

Re:Why roll your own distro? (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 7 months ago | (#45674201)

The LiMux wikipedia page mentions "platform independent (e.g. Java-based) business applications." So these java-based business applications wouldn't be in the ubuntu repositories.

Re:Why roll your own distro? (1)

firewrought (36952) | about 7 months ago | (#45673781)

Why waste time and money creating your own distro when there are many good ones available?

It may not have a custom-compiled kernel, but companies do the same thing with Windows. They take the stock OS, tweak all the settings, add custom scripts, install various software packages (database drivers, antivirus, remote management tools, etc.), put their own branding on it (with wallpapers and other gimmicks), and then burn a disk image. Same thing with PC manufactures, if you've ever had the pleasant experience of scraping away their bloatware.

And it makes a lot of sense for a company to roll their own: it allows a single specialized group of sysadmins to decide best policy, implement it, test it, and roll it out in a single uniform way. Front-line support can then provision a new server or workstation without having to think about it, and everything will tie into LDAP/Active Directory/asset management and the rest of the corporate network just fine.

Re: Why roll your own distro? (2)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | about 7 months ago | (#45674101)

All of the huge financial organisations I have worked for pretty much ran their own Windows distro. Sure, standard Windows with a bucket load of special features. You'd be amazed at how much needs tweaking. An own Linux distro isn't' completely out of this world.

Product cycles? (0)

DogDude (805747) | about 7 months ago | (#45673103)

If one of the goals was reducing having to switch software because of product cycles, they should've been using Windows XP. It's been supported for 12 years. I don't think there's any other OS that's been supported for anywhere near that long.

Re:Product cycles? (2)

Sique (173459) | about 7 months ago | (#45673161)

MVS was supported for 34 years, from 1966 to 2000, when it became replaced by z/OS. But z/OS still supports most code written for MVS.

Re:Product cycles? (1)

bored (40072) | about 7 months ago | (#45673917)

MVS was supported for 34 years, from 1966 to 2000, when it became replaced by z/OS..

Its not really the same thing, MVS went through lots of revisions in that time period, and in many ways zos is just another step in that list of revisions (aka add a big feature and rename the OS). The early versions of zos could run on non 64-bit hardware and were basically identical to mvs.. Its just that support for legacy systems were dropped along the way. Even the applications have sort of moved on and now require the newer zos features.

That said, you could take a system programmer from the 1970's and put them in front of a 3270 emulator connected to a zBC12 and besides the fact its in color they wouldn't know that the machine is in a couple racks rather than taking up 40k sq/feet in the basement.

Re:Product cycles? (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about 7 months ago | (#45673249)

they never planned on supporting it for 12 years, they just wound up supporting it, because well, just because no one wants to give it up. Its far worse than the windows 98 hanger on ers.

Re:Product cycles? (2)

haruchai (17472) | about 7 months ago | (#45673617)

On the plus side, it's given them more time to find the remote holes, a number of which have been fixed in the last couple years.
By the time it's no longer supported, it'll be rock solid.

Re:Product cycles? (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 7 months ago | (#45673861)

they never planned on supporting it for 12 years, they just wound up supporting it, because well, just because no one wants to give it up.

It also interestingly shows that there is a market demand for ultra-long-term-support desktop OS.

Top official in Obama birth mystery killed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673203)

http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/top-official-in-obama-birth-mystery-killed/ [wnd.com]

"A key Hawaii official in the dispute over Barack Obamaâ(TM)s birth certificate â" who lifted state restrictions to allow the White House to present the document to the public - has died in a plane crash.

Loretta Fuddy, the state health department director, was the only fatality among nine people aboard a Cessna Grand Caravan that went down at about 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday while heading to Honolulu.

Richard Schuman, president of Makani Kai Air, told NBC that the other eight people aboard were rescued from the site of the water crash.

KITV-TV in Honolulu reported Fuddy had been on health department business. Keith Yamamoto, the departmentâ(TM)s deputy director, also was aboard and survived.

Makani Kai officials said it was was the companyâ(TM)s first fatality.

WND has reported since before the 2008 election on the dispute over Obamaâ(TM)s birth documentation.

Fuddy took over the agency when Gov. Neil Abercrombie took office.

USA Today reported on a statement from Abercrombie.

âoeOur hearts are broken,â he said. âoeLoretta was deeply loved and respected. She was selfless, utterly dedicated and committed to her colleagues in the Department of Health and to the people of Hawaii. Her knowledge was vast; her counsel and advice always given from her heart as much as from her storehouse of experience.â

Recently she had been working on the stateâ(TM)s Obamacare website.

On the subject of Obamaâ(TM)s background, Abercrombie, who claimed to have had a relationship with Obamaâ(TM)s parents in Hawaii as a fellow student, vowed to settle the dispute once and for all but finally gave up, insisting his hands were tied.

Read all the arguments in the birth certificate controversy, in âoeWhereâ(TM)s the Birth Certificate?â and check out the special reports, banners and bumper stickers on the subject.

Abercrombie told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser regarding Obamaâ(TM)s birth documentation: âoeIt actually exists in the archives, written down.â The London Daily Mail reported, however, Abercrombie âoesuggested that a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate for Barack Obama may not exist within the vital records maintained by the Hawaii Department of Health.â

Later, Obama asked for copies of the document, and under Fuddy, the state instantly waived a long-claimed ban on reproducing long-form birth certificates. On Fuddyâ(TM)s instructions, copies were produced and delivered to Judith Corley, a private attorney for Obama.

Fuddy had written to Obama: âoeWe hope that issuing you these copies of your original Certificate of Live Birth will end the numerous inquiries received by the Hawaii Department of Health to produce this document.â

Immediately after the delivered copy was posted on the White House website, however, numerous computer graphics and software experts declared it fraudulent.

The birth certificate dispute centers on the constitutional requirement that a president be a âoenatural-born citizen.â Some argue that even if Obama was born in Hawaii, he was does not qualify because his father was a Kenyan citizen.

Still a live issue

The one official law enforcement investigation into the issue, conducted on the orders of Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, concluded the document posted by the White House is a forgery.

Arpaio has said the investigation is ongoing and more evidence has been discovered to bolster his teamâ(TM)s conclusion.

WND reported Mike Zullo, the lead investigator for Arpaioâ(TM)s Cold Case Posse in Arizona, has contributed evidence to a court case pending before the Alabama Supreme Court.

He has testified that the White House computer image of Obamaâ(TM)s birth certificate contains anomalies that are unexplainable unless the document had been fabricated piecemeal by human intervention, rather than being copied from a genuine paper document.

âoeMr. Obama has in fact not offered any verifiable authoritative document of any legal significance or possessing any evidentiary value as to the origins of his purported birth narrative or location of the birth event,â he explained. âoeOne of our most serious concerns is that the White House document appears to have been fabricated piecemeal on a computer, constructed by drawing together digitized data from several unknown sources.â

Zullo also has noted that the governor of Hawaii was unable to produce an original birth document for Obama, and it should have been easy to find.

See some of Zulloâ(TM)s evidence:

More recently, Grace Vuoto of the World Tribune reported that among the experts challenging the birth certificate is certified document analyst Reed Hayes, who has served as an expert for Perkins Coie, the law firm that has been defending Obama in eligibility cases.

âoeWe have obtained an affidavit from a certified document analyzer, Reed Hayes, that states the document is a 100 percent forgery, no doubt about it,â Zullo told the World Tribune.

âoeMr. Obamaâ(TM)s operatives cannot discredit [Hayes],â the investigator told the news outlet. âoeMr. Hayes has been used as the firmâ(TM)s reliable expert. The very firm the president is using to defend him on the birth certificate case has used Mr. Hayes in their cases.â

The Tribune reported Hayes agreed to take a look at the documentation and called almost immediately.

âoeThere is something wrong with this,â Hayes said.

Hayes produced a 40-page report in which he says âoebased on my observations and findings, it is clear that the Certificate of Live Birth I examined is not a scan of an original paper birth certificate, but a digitally manufactured document created by utilizing material from various sources.â

âoeIn over 20 years of examining documentation of various types, I have never seen a document that is so seriously questionable in so many respects. In my opinion, the birth certificate is entirely fabricated,â he says in the report.

Investigator Douglas J. Hagmann of the Northeast Intelligence Network reported this month that in October an affidavit was filed in a court case, under seal, that purportedly identifies the creator of the Obama birth certificate.

He said Douglas Vogt, an author and the owner and operator of a scanning business who also has an accounting background, invested over two years in an investigation of the authenticity of document.

Vogt, along with veteran typesetter Paul Ivey, conducted âoeexhaustive research of the document provided to the White House Press Corps on April 27, 2011 â" not the online PDF, a critical distinction that must be understood,â Hagmann said.

âoeUsing their combined experience of 80 years in this realm, they conducted extensive examinations of the âcopyâ(TM) that was used as the basis for the PDF document. They acquired the same type of equipment that was used back in the late 1950s and early 1960s in an attempt to recreate the document presented as an âauthenticated copyâ(TM) proving the legitimacy of Barack Obama. Instead, they found 20 points of forgery on that document and detail each point of forgery in the affidavit,â wrote Hagmann.

âoeEven more interesting, Mr. Vogt claims to have identified the âsignatureâ(TM) of the perpetrator, or the woman who created the forged document, hidden within the document itself. Her identity, in addition to the identity of other conspirators and their precise methods are contained in a sealed document supplementing the public affidavit.â

Grounds for impeachment

Last month, WND columnist Christopher Monckton wrote that the controversy he calls âoeHawaiigateâ should be âoethe central ground of impeachment.â

âoeFirst, the dishonesty is shameless and in your face. Mr Obamaâ(TM)s advisers, once they realized the âbirth certificateâ(TM) was as bogus as a $3 bill, knew that if they simply went on pretending that $3 bills are legal tender the hard-left-dominated news media would carefully and continuously look the other way, pausing occasionally to sneer at anyone who pointed out that, in this constitutionally crucial respect, the âpresidentâ(TM) has no clothes,â Monckton wrote.

âoeSecondly, not one of the numerous agencies of state, as well as federal government, whose duty was and is to investigate the Mickey-Mouse âbirth certificateâ(TM) has bothered even to respond to the thousands of requests for investigation put forward by U.S. citizens.â

He said that in Hawaii last year, he watched âoeas a senior former state senator called the police and, when they came, handed over to them compelling evidence that the âbirth certificateâ(TM) had been forged.â

âoeThe police, correctly, passed the file to the stateâ(TM)s attorney general, a âDemocrat,â(TM) who did nothing about it,â he said.

âoeIn Washington, D.C., I watched as a concerned citizen from Texas telephoned the FBI and reported the âbirth certificateâ(TM) as being a forgery. They said they would send two agents to see him within the hour. No one came.â

One of the highest profile skeptics has been billionaire Donald Trump.

Trump said he canâ(TM)t be certain that Obama is eligible to be president, and he pointedly noted that a reporter who was poking fun at the issue admitted he canâ(TM)t either.

Trump repeatedly has insisted Obama has not documented his eligibility. At one point, he offered $5 million to the charity or charities of Obamaâ(TM)s choice if he would release his passport records and authorize the colleges he attended to release his applications and other records.

Trump argues that those documents would show whether or not Obama ever accepted scholarship or other aid as a foreign student, which could preclude him from being a âoenatural-born citizen.â

Trumpâ(TM)s conversation with ABCâ(TM)s Jonathan Karl started with Karl noting that Trump took on the âoenot seriousâ issue of eligibility.

âoeWhy does that make me not serious?â Trump demanded. âoeI think that resonated with a lot of people.â

Karl replied: âoeYou donâ(TM)t still question he was born in the United States, do you?â

âoeI have no idea,â Trump said. âoeI donâ(TM)t know. Was there a birth certificate? You tell me. You know some people say that was not his birth certificate. Iâ(TM)m saying I donâ(TM)t know. Nobody knows, and you donâ(TM)t know either. Jonathan youâ(TM)re a smart guy, and you donâ(TM)t know.â

When Karl admitted he was âoepretty sure,â Trump jumped on the statement.

âoeYou just said youâ(TM)re pretty sure ⦠you have to be 100 percent sure,â he said. âoeJonathan, you said youâ(TM)re pretty convinced, so letâ(TM)s just see what happens over time.â"

Patents? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673219)

Wondering if MS would charge them as they're doing with Android.

help (4, Funny)

Fluffy the Destroyer (3459643) | about 7 months ago | (#45673235)

Is there any other alternative to let say outlook exchange servers ? Can an email server hold more than 1000 accounts ? I know I can use openoffice but the email would be a big pain

Re:help (1)

LDAPMAN (930041) | about 7 months ago | (#45673539)

What??? There are several options for open source email servers and most of them scale really well. Exchange typically takes a lot more resources for the same number of users...not less.

Re:help (3, Funny)

ledow (319597) | about 7 months ago | (#45673713)

"Can an email server hold more than 1000 accounts?"

Hahahahahahahhahahahaaha.

Oh, you Microsoft jokers...

Re:help (1)

sribe (304414) | about 7 months ago | (#45673869)

Is there any other alternative to let say outlook exchange servers ? Can an email server hold more than 1000 accounts?

Are you fucking kidding? Seriously?

Re:help (4, Informative)

haruchai (17472) | about 7 months ago | (#45673875)

Start here - http://www.smallbusinesscomputing.com/biztools/article.php/10730_3932591_2/Top-5-Open-Source-Alternatives-to-Microsoft-Exchange.htm [smallbusin...puting.com]

A 1000+ users isn't that many nowadays. Sogo, Zarafa, Zimbra should manage that without too much trouble. I'd check for the other groupware / calendar features that your users depend on before seriously considering a switch.

And there's always hosted mail / hosted Exchange. I think some of these are really running Exchange on the backend but so long as they provide the features and fully support Outlook or whatever mail client you're using, I don't think it matters.

Here's a vid from Sogo demonstrating Outlook compatibility, narrated by a very boring robotic voice - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hcBSB4Kxww#t=292 [youtube.com]

Mod Up Parent (1)

bityz (2011656) | about 7 months ago | (#45673941)

Mod Up Parent +Informative

Re:help (2)

Sique (173459) | about 7 months ago | (#45674149)

Back in 1993, when I was playing LPmuds, we had an email system for all players open to the outside. As the LPmuds I was playing had between 10,000 to 100,000 accounts, I would say: even toy email servers had no problem with 100,000 accounts 20 years ago ;)

What? (1)

grumpyman (849537) | about 7 months ago | (#45673503)

Windows NT... are you serious?

Re:What? (2)

kenh (9056) | about 7 months ago | (#45674211)

The last users to be converted (upgraded?) to LiMux spent the last TEN YEARS on WinNT? Whoa!

Watch out for patent legal action (1, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | about 7 months ago | (#45673717)

I know this is Germany and there are no software patents but why would that stop Microsoft (or some MS funded troll) from trying?

They simply can't let the public know that whatever it is, it can be done with F/OSS and if it can't now, a project can be launched and funded to pay for it... ONCE! Not over and over and over again, by the seat, by the user, by the processor or however a software might be licensed. It's just better. But people have grown pretty fat, dumb and lazy and are willing to just let the product vendors tell us all how to work and what is good and what is safe.

Also, the dairy counsel says we need more milk in our daily intake, Monsanto says their stuff is perfectly healthy and that HFCS doesn't cause any problems either.

How on earth can a properly skeptical person ever believe that letting the people who profit the most from a thing tell us what's best?

Re:Watch out for patent legal action (1)

kenh (9056) | about 7 months ago | (#45674191)

Munich proved it took TEN YEARS to migrate off Microsoft to Linux, and in the process they had to roll-their-own distribution.

This won't convince major corporate installations to cutover to Linux, it will scare them off! I mean seriously, a ten year process?

How on earth can a properly skeptical person ever believe that letting the people who profit the most from a thing tell us what's best?

So wait, Steve Jobs was wrong? He said Apple stuff was the best, but he also profited off it greatly...

And what about all those politicians telling the kids they "have to go to college"? Last year the Federal Government made over $40 Billion in PROFITS off the Student Loan program [usatoday.com] - slightly less profit than (good) Apple and (evil) ExxonMobil...

too big to fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45673931)

I mean it's great they got off MS, mind that NT!, but rolling their own Linux distro just says:
a. they maintain the entire distro from years on end vs. leveraging the community help out (duplicating work)
b. it's their own distro, so 25 yrs from now the IT staff will still need to maintain this (job security).

And that the gov't is the only group that can maintain this distro... sort of secures the gov't in that it can't be replaced (or the distro will not be supported, aka system goes down). Just look at unsupported distros... they are (or usually end up) dead. So in essence the gov't just made itself too big to fail.

It only took... (2)

kenh (9056) | about 7 months ago | (#45674123)

"In one of the premier open source software deployments in Europe, the city migrated from Windows NT to LiMux, its own Linux distribution ... Ten years after the decision to switch, the LiMux project will now go into regular operation, the Munich City council said."

It only took ten years and the development of their own distribution of Linux to migrate from WinNT to LiMux (their own Linux distro) - wow.

I guess if Munich can do it, anyone can!

Question - were the last few users to convert (upgrade?) to LiMux still running WinNT for the last ten years or did they upgrade from WinNT to one of Microsoft's other interim offerings before finally landing on LiMux?

As I remember, one thing a leader of this effort pointed out was that this was not about "saving money," and if that was your primary goal you should reconsider any plans to migrate to a Linux distribution - there are many valid reason for the cutover to Linux, but cost savings alone won't justify the change.

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