Munich Officials Who Dumped Windows For Linux Want Microsoft's OS Back

By James O Malley on at

"Windows is rubbish, use Linux" is a common cry heard amongst IT geeks. Getting rid of evil, corporate Microsoft's operating system and replacing it with open source software is widely viewed as a good thing by many people - but it seems that the city of Munich has had enough.

According to The Inquirer local government officials who dumped Windows XP in favour of Kubuntu Linux way back in 2003, and €11m Euros in the process are having second thoughts on what would be best for the city's 15,000 government computers. Apparently at the time then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was so keen to retain Munich as a customer he offered a 90% discount on the software - but even after that, Munich said "Nein".

The problem is a perennial bugbear for Linux users: Compatibility. Apparently most of the complaints are centred around the fact that government workers can't easily use Skype, and reliably opening Microsoft Office files can be nightmarish. Presumably while open source LibreOffice will do the trick for inter-office communications, dealing with outside organisations and people is causing some headaches as they will mostly deal in Microsoft Office. As for Skype, well, good luck explaining these installation instructions to normal people - and in case, apparently security on the systems is so tight that it can't be installed anyway.

Apparently it has also effected mobile working, as presumably Kubuntu isn't offering the same level of tight integration that Windows and Mac do with iOS, Android and Blackberry.

It is an interesting case and perhaps demonstrates the added challenge that Linux evangelists face when promoting their operating system ahead of more established competitors. Whilst pretty much everyone would agree that saving €11m Euros is a good idea - and whilst many would agree that Linux is a better choice in principle... is it really worth the sheer amount of hassle? [The Inquirer]