Sunday, 12 March 2017 14:51

Munich IT chief sees no reason to move back to Windows


The head of IT@M, the main technology provider for the city of Munich, has expressed surprise over moves by the city to return to Windows, after it adopted a Linux-based system for most of its PCs.

Karl-Heinz Schneider was quoted by the German publication Heise as saying he could see no practical reason for the city to waste millions of euros and many years of work to move back to Windows.

In February, the city of Munich voted to create a draft plan outlining the costs involved in moving back to Windows. If the plan is given the go-ahead, then the move back could be effected by the end of 2020.

The city had moved to its own customised Linux distribution called LiMux over 12 years from 2001 and by 2013 about 15,000 of its 18,000 desktops were running this system.

"We do not see any compelling technical reasons for a change to Windows and Microsoft Office," Schneider was quoted as saying by Heise.

"We solve compatibility and inter-operability problems by providing MS Office, mostly virtualised, at the workstations that need to work together with external offices in Office documents."

The decision to begin a move back came after Munich's new mayor, Dieter Reiter of the Social Democratic Party, who took office in 2015, and has said publicly that he is a fan of Microsoft, commissioned Accenture, Microsoft's Alliance Partner of the Year in 2016, to report on whether a change should be effected.

Reiter had asked Microsoft to shift its German corporate headquarters from Frankfurt to Munich, and the company obliged.

Some employees, notably those of the city's human resources department, have been complaining that they need Windows to run its SAP and Oracle applications and display PDFs correctly.

Accenture also runs a joint business with Microsoft called Avanade that helps businesses implement Microsoft technologies.

But despite these close connections, Accenture recommended that different city units should be allowed a choice between Windows and LiMux, depending on which ran their applications better.

Schneider said system failures in the District Administration Council in recent years, which also angered many citizens, "never had anything to do with LiMux".

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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