Munich Looks To Switch Back To Windows

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Fresh from the completion of its Linux migration, the City of Munich, under a new mayor, is now considering scrapping its open source programme

The City of Munich, fresh from completing its widely publicised ten-year transition from Windows to Linux, is now to consider switching back again.

The government coalition that took power in Munich in May is now revisiting the so-called “LiMux” plan, which has seen about 80 percent of city workers shift to a custom version of Linux since 2003, Munich’s Second Mayor Josef Schmid told Munich’s largest newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, over the weekend.

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He said the change of heart was due to complaints from employees across all government departments. The city is to turn to an independent review panel, Schmid said. “If the experts recommend a return to Microsoft, it cannot be ruled out,” he said.

The turnaround is a sharp change from the city government’s previously enthusiastic approach to LiMux, with Christine Strobl, formerly Munich’s Second Mayor and now Third Mayor, declaring the project’s successful completion only eight months ago, and describing Linux as having become integrated into the “daily routine” of the city’s staff.

The shift coincides with the departure of former mayor Christian Ude, who had been in office since 1993. Ude had originally pitched LiMux not so much as a way of cutting costs as an experiment to reduce the city’s dependence upon Microsoft.

Schmid said the cost issue is now being revisited. “We have the impression that Linux is very expensive,” he reportedly said, citing the custom programming it requires.

New mayor

Incoming mayor Reiter has also criticised LiMux, according to the report, saying the open-source software it uses sometimes lags behind what is available from Microsoft. The Green party’s Sabine Nallinger earlier this year said LiMux is poor at handling data exchange with Microsoft systems.

The new approach comes as Microsoft plans to shift its German headquarters to Munich in 2016. Microsoft told the paper that while it had “eventually accepted” the city’s shift to Linux, it was all the same ready to talk about a return to Windows.

In 2012 Munich said it had saved more than 4 million euros (£3.2m) through LiMux.

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