Back in 2004, the city of Munich decided to make a radical change and replace Windows with Linux, estimating that an open source platform would be much cheaper than Microsoft’s “expensive” operating system. Such a change impressed pretty much everyone and even started a new trend, as several organizations and departments across the world did or wanted to do the same thing.
Fast forward ten years later and you get the same Munich authorities, which are now ready to make the switch back to Windows because they finally realized that Linux wasn’t such an effective platform for their needs.
With Linux, productivity dropped dramatically
German media is reporting that city officials were looking into productivity figures of local departments and acknowledged that many employees actually experienced issues with Linux. That wasn’t the case before 2004, when Windows was powering all PCs, a local source said.
Three years ago, LiMux, the open source platform based on Linux and running on computers belonging to Munich authorities, was installed on 9,000 computers, with figures obviously growing bigger in the meantime.
The main reason for going back to Windows is again related not only to productivity, but also to the overall costs of maintaining the platform up and running.
Professional staff needed to repair Linux issues
It appears that city officials had to hire professional personnel in order to take care of computers running Linux and fix any issue that might appear. Staff obviously needed additional training, which again wasn’t the case when Windows was powering their PCs.
In the end, it all proved to be a much more expensive choice, so Munich authorities have decided to go back to Windows and redeploy Microsoft’s operating system and most likely the Office productivity suite on all their computers.
Is Windows really more expensive that Linux?
The fact that Linux is more expensive than Windows isn’t new, and British authorities are among those who accepted this before starting the transition to an open source platform.
UK government CIO Jon Creese said on several occasions that Microsoft’s products were cheaper, pointing to the needed training and support prices as the key factors for determining the overall value of an investment in new software.
“Microsoft has been flexible and helpful in the way we apply their products to improve the operation of our frontline services, and this helps to de-risk ongoing cost. The point is that the true cost is in the total cost of ownership and exploitation, not just the licence cost. So I don't have a dogma about open source over Microsoft, but proprietary solutions - from Microsoft, SAP to Oracle and others - need to justify themselves and to work doubly hard to have flexible business models to help us further our aims,” Creese said.
Update: Munich officials say they miss Windows apps on Linux
City authorities claim that a switch back to Windows is possible because of the lack of apps.