Munich Makes Yet Another Shift From Microsoft To Linux


There and back again! You’d have to think really hard to name a city that has played more flip-flop than Munich when it comes to Microsoft solutions and open source software.

This latest change for the third-largest German city comes after its political landscape was recently altered.

The saga actually began over 15 years ago, back in 2003 when Microsoft outlined plans to end support for Windows NT 4.0. As a result of this, city official began moving away from proprietary software at the end of 2006, opting for open source.

At the time, this migration was seen as an ambitious and pioneering project for open source in Europe, and led to the creation of a unique desktop infrastructure based on Linux called LiMux.

You know, a combination of Linux and Munich.


The goal was to have 80% of desktops in the city’s administration running this custom OS distribution by the time 2013 rolled around. In reality, though, due to compatibility issues, the council continues to run the two systems side by side, and Microsoft software stayed in the picture for far longer.

Fast forward to 2017, and a change in the city’s government led to a controversial decision being made where they took a U-turn and hopped back onto Microsoft software and services. Of course, the fact that the Redmond based firm decided to move its headquarters to Munich drew suspicion.

This migration back to Microsoft and other proprietary software makers like Oracle and SAP cost the city an estimated €86.1 million. Or $93.1 million in US currency. And it is still in progress today.

Probably not for long.

That’s because a new coalition agreement has been negotiated on Sunday between the recently elected Green party and the Social Democrats, which will see the city put the emphasis back on open standards and open source licensed software.

So, no more Windows and Office, at least until 2026, which is how long the parties will be in power.

Amidst all this hoopla, there is no shortage of voices claiming that this is a political rather than a rational decision.

How do you see this? Is a move away from proprietary software the future?

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