Why Munich Dumped Microsoft for Linux

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.