Why Munich Dumped Microsoft for Linux

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-05-28 Print this article Print

Microsoft on Wednesday lost its bid to keep the German city of Munich a Windows customer.

Microsoft on Wednesday lost its bid to keep the German city of Munich a Windows customer. The Munich City Council on Wednesday announced that it has decided to deploy the Linux open-source operating system and will migrate its 14,000 desktop and notebook computers away from Windows products to Linux. Richard Seibt, the CEO of SuSE Linux A.G. in Nuremberg, Germany, told eWEEK in an interview on Wednesday that the Munich City Council would be moving away from all Microsoft products and implementing Linux as its strategic infrastructure platform.
The city currently runs Microsoft Office, Windows 3.1, 95, 98 and NT as well as the Internet Explorer browser. The council also plans to move to the free OpenOffice desktop productivity suite and may also decide to use Suns StarOffice suite, he said.
Although the council has not as yet made a decision on its choice of vendor, SuSE Linux AG and IBM Germany will participate in the resulting contract bid. "The city of Munich believes that from a long-term perspective they are by far better positioned if they use Linux and open-source software. This is a momentous decision because we believe this truly marks a watershed moment for Linux. "The city clearly sees Linux not just as cost savings over costly, proprietary software, but also as the best tool for the job—bringing security, stability, flexibility and privacy not available to them before," Seibt said. The move away from proprietary Microsoft software is not just a German phenomenon but a European story, he said. This has nothing to do with the fact that Linux was born in Europe but rather that it is more competitive in lowering the total cost of ownership and allowing customers to chose from a range of products from different vendors, he said. "I have talked to the German government many times, and they understand that Linux and the application development associated with it, helps create jobs in Germany. We are talking about investment as well as customer savings," Seibt said.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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