German Company Switches 10,000 machines to Ubuntu

German insurance company LVM has switched 10,000 laptop and desktop machines over to Ubuntu Linux with the help of Ubuntu creator Canonical (announcement). Some early reports on the net have hailed this as a victory for Linux, but it seems like the company was already a mixed shop of Windows and Linux machines with a long history of reliance on open source software.

According to this announcement on the Red Hat website, LVM had been using a customized Linux solution as early as 2000. It seems that they migrated from that to Red Hat in 2005. Presumably, the company have now migrated from Red Hat to Ubuntu. So, the story that is floating around the internet at the moment, of a massive company abandoning Windows in favor of Linux, seems to be the result of a misinterpretation. However, it is an example of Linux achieving success on the desktop.

The main applications that the system has to support are Open Office, Lotus Notes, Adobe Reader (presumably, that just means any PDF reader) and a custom insurance application that was written in Java. Ubuntu's good level of hardware support was also a point in its favor as this allows the company to be flexible in its hardware purchasing decisions. It seems that this is a company that has kept its options open from the start with sensible IT decisions that have avoided the dreaded lock-in.

The move to Ubuntu began in 2010 with 7000 machines in individual offices spread out over Germany. In first quarter of 2011, the remaining 3000 head office machines were converted. It seems that there is still some Windows in the organization, and some use of virtualization on Ubuntu desktops to support this.

It's a shame that some of the tech press have represented this as a mega-coup and mass abandonment of Windows. In many respects, a company that has been using Linux since 2000 and has now moved over to Ubuntu, is the more encouraging, although less dramatic, story.

Canonical's original announcement. Notice that it doesn't actually state that this is a migration from Windows to Ubuntu Linux.
Google Translate makes a good fist of translating LVM's announcement.

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UK based freelance writer Michael Reed writes about technology, retro computing, geek culture and gender politics.

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Great news for all Ubuntu/Linux fans!

Anonymous's picture

I've been running Ubuntu Linux on all my workstations & laptops for the past 3 years as well. Even loaded it on my wife's Lenovo T410! -- and she loves it.

For the Ubuntu-curious, check out this article on how to transition from M$ Windows to Ubuntu.

-Phil
Phil's Blog

Hmmmm

flywheel's picture

Migration to Ubuntu - in the backyard of SUSE - that is a victory for Canonical.

Live long and prosper...
flywheel

German Company Switches 10,000 machines to Ubuntu

Anonymous's picture

I can only hope they didn't install 'Unity' as it presently stands. It would be better to describe this incident as a disaster if that was the case discrediting Linux altogether.

India should learn from Germany

Sunil Thakare's picture

In India, most of the PCs are either preloaded with m$ or users load it. Also government is compelling to use m$ directly or indirectly by a way of compulsory training in m$ os and its products start from school level. Most of the branded PCs and Laptops available in India are preloaded with m$. Computer literate even don't know other OS than m$. Due to this computer virus culture also spread over and I think computer virus is a proprietary term gifted by m$. People are spending money to purchase anti-virus but not thinking of switching from m$ to Linux. In India govt. spending millions over anti-virus but not thinking of virus-free culture like Linux.
Ubuntu is great. and most of the Linux distributions are equally good. Open Source culture should be propagated through preloaded Linux distribution on PCs and Laptops.
Now its time to learn from Germans...
Great job Germany, keep it up.

I think it's a never ending

Anonymous's picture

I think it's a never ending game of cat and mouse with operating systems, regardless where your from its a common understanding computing history is all about big names and tycoons. I have seen enough of the era over the past decade, all I have to say is nothing is really perfect. The only thing that makes Linux stand out is its practices and its EULA. Everything else is hype brought on by propaganda regardless what OS we talk about. So the negative and positive is purely superficial. Its better to know everything in the sort of world and environment we are living in.

India should learn from Germany

Sunil Thakare's picture

In India, most of the PCs are either preloaded with m$ or users load it. Also government is compelling to use m$ directly or indirectly by a way of compulsory training in m$ os and its products start from school level. Most of the branded PCs and Laptops available in India are preloaded with m$. Computer literate even don't know other OS than m$. Due to this computer virus culture also spread over and I think computer virus is a proprietary term gifted by m$. People are spending money to purchase anti-virus but not thinking of switching from m$ to Linux. In India govt. spending millions over anti-virus but not thinking of virus-free culture like Linux.
Ubuntu is great. and most of the Linux distributions are equally good. Open Source culture should be propagated through preloaded Linux distribution on PCs and Laptops.

India is trying a lot for changing things the way things are

Vivek Thakar's picture

India is trying a lot for changing things the way things are. BOSSLinux is also promoted and supported by governments organizations. The reason they are currently teaching government employees on M$ is that they have current infrastructure of Windows and we all know how resilient are they to any change in computer systems.
In Gujarat Board Schools, they have stared teaching Linux and OpenOffice and some other basic utilities. Don't you think that as a long term plan to switch people to Linux. New generation will have better knowledge of Linux and will adopt it faster.
Indians will never spend money on M$ if they have a better awareness of Linux and if they know that what they are doing on M$ can be done on Linux too.

India is trying a lot for changing things the way things are

Vivek Thakar's picture

India is trying a lot for changing things the way things are. BOSSLinux is also promoted and supported by governments organizations. The reason they are currently teaching government employees on M$ is that they have current infrastructure of Windows and we all know how resilient are they to any change in computer systems.
In Gujarat Board Schools, they have stared teaching Linux and OpenOffice and some other basic utilities. Don't you think that as a long term plan to switch people to Linux. New generation will have better knowledge of Linux and will adopt it faster.
Indians will never spend money on M$ if they have a better awareness of Linux and if they know that what they are doing on M$ can be done on Linux too.

Well said..

Sunil Thakare's picture

I agree that India is changing and young generation rapidly adopting Linux as desktop as well as server. Still the awareness should rapidly need to be spread and get a rid of m$ who earned billions. Good to know that Gujrat Board schools are adopting Linux but the picture is different in other states. You may be aware that, in Maharashtra, state employees are forced to qualify the computer certificate course which contains nothing but m$. Income Tax Department of India released software to file returns in Excel which contains proprietary scripting language - vba - which runs only on m$. Is this not compulsion to use m$?

It would also be of note to mention the desktop in use

Anonymous's picture

Many of Novell's desktop clients ( esp the 40,000+ desktops at Elcot, India) involve use of KDE rather than the officially supported gnome desktop. But they neve seem to mention these in their PRs due to the obvious reason of having no reason to justify supporting gnome officially when indeed customers are asking for KDE.

It also makes you wonder why customers even bother to go with commercial vendors for linux use esp on the desktop. They can pretty much pick any reasonably supported project such as opensuse and run with it.

Novell's reasoning for supporting gnome can be ximian ( part of novell, started by miguel deicaza, the founder of gnome). What is the reasoning given by canonical ?

Customers go with commercial

mikesd's picture

Customers go with commercial distros for the support that comes with it.

--
That which does not kill me only postpones the inevitable.

you mean, tethered to corporations

Anonymous's picture

like they are to m$ now, eh ?

If freedom is not what you are looking for with using linux, you should probably stick to windows - it is "supported" well by the most ubiquitious corp.

The paid for linux distros

mikesd's picture

The paid for linux distros are the ones you can call for help when your server goes offline. It doesn't take any freedom away from you. It just gives you extra official support. But I don't expect you to get that since you're too focused on your hate for Microsoft, made obvious by the "m$" trolling.

--
That which does not kill me only postpones the inevitable.

do you listen to yourself

Anonymous's picture

do you listen to yourself talk, or read what you write ?

>> you're too focused on your hate for Microsoft, made obvious by the "m$" trolling.

I could ask what that means but it would be a rhetorical question.

BTW, I am NOT a m$ hater. I have been using linux since late 90s, mostly for the freedom it affords. I do have a window partition in virtualbox, to run windows apps ( currently only tax s/w) when necessary.

You circular arguments are only paradoxical. They do not address the issues. You cannot be free and then dependent on a commercial entity. There is nothing wrong in being dependent on a commercial entity but if you choose to do so, m$ ( or apple) is a good choice - linux is probably the worst choice, IMO.

>You circular arguments are

mikesd's picture

>You circular arguments are only paradoxical. They do not address the >issues. You cannot be free and then dependent on a commercial entity.

You're still looking at it wrong. Paying for support, as in "help me, it won't boot any more" from a commercial distro is not giving up freedom. You're not being dependent on the commercial entity. The commercial entity is simply there as an extra safety net if things go sideways. It's not a proprietary lock in. The fact is that businesses may require some kind of technical support for a Linux distro, and by paying for it and not having to parse through forums and mail lists, which you still can if you choose to. This does not take any of your freedom away. You can always drop that distro and put in a different one if you choose to. But in a commercial setting it does make sense to have the extra technical support available.

--
That which does not kill me only postpones the inevitable.

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