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Munich May Opt for Linux After All

May 26, 2003, 23:44 (32 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

According to the German publication Heise Online, the City of Munich maybe using Linux desktop systems after all, despite recent offers of discounts from Microsoft's Steve Ballmer.

The decision, which is apparently not quite official yet, seems to indicate that Munich government officials in the SPD party are indeed leaning towards migrating city administration desktops from Windows NT to the Linux operating system. The party officiuals are also advocating the use an open source office suite, though no word was mentioned on the specific package.

Along with the decision, members of the Munich Green party have also decided unanimously to shift the city's systems to Linux.

Boris Schwartz, deputy leader of the SPD parlimentary group involved in today's decision to shift the city government to Linux, made the statement that this move by the city would strike a blow to the monopolstic position held by Microsoft. He also indicated that this would not only benefit the economy of the city but also make a contribution to "genuine competition in the software market."

Last month, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer met with Munich officials and purportedly offered a 15 percent discount on Microsoft licensing fees if the city opted to go with Microsoft.

The reasons the SPD party members cited for the decision to go with Linux was not just a matter of cost. The flexibility of open source software in the future of the Munich administration was also cited.

The migration of the 14,000 PC systems and notebooks and over 16,000 users is to take place "gently," according to the Heise article. Specialized applications' migration will take place over a longer period of time.

The final decision will take place in the plenary assembly of the town councillor on May 28. Currently the SPD party holds 35 of 80 seats , the CSU 30, the Greens 8, and the FDP 3. The remaining four seats have no party affifiliation. With the 43 SPD and Green seats held in the legislative body, it seems very likely that the Linux initiative will pass.

Original Story (in German)

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