- After around 14 years of LiMux, Munich's open-source software initiative which turned to Linux over Windows, the Germany city will return to Microsoft and run about 29,000 computers on Windows 10, reports TechRepublic. The city council decided on the switch last week, and the rollout, which is expected to take place from 2020-2023, will cost the city around $60 million.
- The return to Windows comes alongside $106 million IT restructuring and virtualization efforts in Munich, but political disagreements over the matter continue, reports TechRepublic. Proponents cited incompatibilities running two operating systems, as a minority of computers were kept on Windows after 2003, and the need for simpler IT management as reasons for the switch.
- Critics, however, blame inefficiencies on a lack of communication between the departments and say the move is too costly and will breed dependence on a single vendor, which may lead to security issues, according to the report. The city hopes to move more applications to virtualized infrastructure and web browsers, and opponents say the expensive switch to Windows is an intermediary solution to long-term goals for the cloud.
Debates over LiMux have been ongoing in Munich for a long time, but Mayor Dieter Reiter got the ball rolling last November on a possible return to Windows.
Looking at Microsoft's domination of the software market — and strong presence in the IaaS and PaaS markets — it is not unreasonable to be wary of a single-vendor lock, especially for public officials subject to the electoral will of their constituents.
Microsoft may make many of its applications and services compatible across other platforms, but when it comes to software the king is king. Successful hybrid models are effective in the cloud, but, as Munich has demonstrated, they are less so in the software department.
There is certainly a case to be made for uniformity. When all city business is run on the same platform, internal collaboration and data transfer are easier, and this ease translates to intercity and federal affairs. Organizations are constantly grappling with a tight budget, IT departments even more so, and a simpler, single system reduces the bureaucratic and financial headache a little.