FSFE: City Of Munich Might Not Ditch Linux After All

FSFE campaigning forces a delay in Munich Mayor’s mandate to return to Microsoft software

The City of Munich might not be planning on ditching Linux in favour of Microsoft software after all, according to the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE).

Last month it was widely reported that the city was considering scrapping its ‘LiMux’ open source programme, currently running on around 15,000 government systems, and moving back to Windows.

However, the FSFE believes “the last word has not been spoken” and that the door is still open for the current vendor-neutral approach to be retained.

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Hope for LiMux?

Munich mayor and self-confessed Microsoft fan Dieter Reiter is the person spearheading the calls for a return to Windows, but his mandate has faced push-back thanks to “the unwavering pressure created by joint efforts between The Document Foundation, KDE, OSBA, and the FSFE together with all the individuals who wrote to city council members and took the issue to the media”.

Despite opposing parties being overruled at a hearing on 15 February, the final decision was amended so that it has to specify which LiMux applications will no longer be needed and the extent to which prior investments will be written off.

The FSFE argues that the main issues with the software are organisational in nature and that “switching operating systems will not solve them”. 

The charity goes on to say that “by solving the organisational problems only, Munich could continue to successfully foster not only an independent administration but also a strong and healthy IT landscape.

“We understand that LiMux has not solved all problems, but we maintain that the root of the problems are of organisational nature, and thus must not be confounded with the technical choices.”

Linux recently celebrated its 25th birthday, having grown dramatically over the years to become the beacon of free, open source software, as illustrated by the success of the Linux Foundation.

However, as with most operating systems, security has become a prominent concern. For example, in January a new variation of KillDisk malware was discovered to be targeting Linux machines with a £160,000 ransom demand.

Before that, RedHat revealed that a decade-old Linux security flaw in the Linux kernel was being exploited by hackers and it was reported that Linux systems could be shut down by a user command short enough to fit into a Twitter post.

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