The City of Munich's project to roll-out open source operating system Linux, along with LibreOffice, was working fine when it was killed off by political intervention.
That is the claim of Karl-Heinz Schneider, the head of IT at the City of Munich's IT services provider [email protected], the company behind the City's desktop Linux implementation. In an interview, he claimed that there were no "compelling technical reasons" for the authority to order a migration back to Windows, suggesting that political interference was behind the move.
Speaking to German IT publication Heise.de, Schneider claimed that he was surprised by the move, adding that any compatibility problems that the City had initially encountered had been fixed.
[email protected] had developed LiMux, a distribution of Linux for the local authority based on Ubuntu and rolled it out to 20,000 workstations across the organisation. However, following a review by services giant Accenture, politicians at the City of Munich ordered a return to Windows by 2020.
The report suggest that running Linux was proving more costly than expected and "The Linux client and the LibreOffice open-source office package, which was used in parallel, also caused compatibility problems, and many municipal computers, systems and workflows did not run smoothly".
But Schneider said: "We do not see any compelling technical reasons for a change to Windows and Microsoft Office," adding, "we solved compatibility and interoperability problems by providing MS Office, mostly virtualised, at workplaces that need to work together with external offices on office documents."
Systems failures at the District Administration Board in recent years, added Schneider, were nothing to do with the Linux and LibreOffice implementation.
Accenture had claimed that running a mixed environment - to accommodate those users who could not do without Microsoft Office or other Microsoft-only applications - would be more costly than running an all-Microsoft environment.
However, Schneider claimed that the decision had been political, "not made on the basis of facts", with even Accenture recommending the continued use of LibreOffice, he claimed, as the office applications standard across the City of Munich, as the Open Document Format standard has been integrated into the local authority's specialists applications, according to Schneider.
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