German Open Source Experiment: Things Not Going To Plan

Recently, the Foreign Office of Germany made the announcement (translated news report) that it is migrating away from Linux back to Windows as its desktop solution. We've covered the concept of national adoption of Linux at a government level a couple of times before, but this is one of the first cases of a government moving back the other way. The most important action that community can take at this point is ask, “why?”

The German Foreign Office first moved over to Linux as a server platform in 2001. It then began using Linux and open source software in general on the desktop in 2005, and all laptops were moved to a Debian system. Making the regression even more frustrating, reports released in 2007 and 2009 (both documents German) indicated that the adoption of FOSS, despite a few small problems, has been a success.

Making matters worse, the transition back to Windows XP, to be followed by Windows 7, includes dropping OpenOffice, Firefox and Thunderbird in favor of MS Office and Outlook. Yuk.

This might a time to start asking some difficult questions. It was a prestige victory for FOSS and Linux on the desktop when the German Foreign Office first migrated, and getting a straight answer about what went wrong is now vitally important.

Actually getting to the answers isn't easy because the decisions weren't arrived at in a technical forum, but rather, in the murky world of politics. For English speakers such as myself, the fact that the available documentation is in German presents a further barrier. From what I've been able to glean, thanks to Google's translation facility, the problems that have been stated fall into three categories: hardware support, interoperability and training and user adoption.

The hardware support problem is an old chestnut, and I think the only reasonable analysis of the situation must be a pragmatic one. Within an office, a certain percentage of hardware won't work as soon as it is plugged in. A smaller percentage of the total will never work at all. The report lists scanners and printers as an example.

Some Linux advocates will be quick to place the blame squarely on the doorstep of the vendors. However, matters are made worse by the fact that vendors face hostility on the subject of binary drivers. Let's reduce the problem to its essence: expert intervention, discarding unsupported hardware, delays while the problem is solved and making do with curtailed functionality all add the cost of running Linux. That's a fact, regardless of who is to blame for it. These problems need to be identified, addressed and alleviated.

Interoperability touches on a problem that I've mentioned before: it's hard to migrate away from proprietary software in isolation. The best solution is to begin to migrate those other departments. In addition, the 2009 report that the problem had been exacerbated by running of older versions of OpenOffice.

Retraining staff to use unfamiliar software is always going to be a problem. It's difficult to avoid completely, but sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Apparently, the staff themselves were sometimes reluctant to make the switch to open source. Perhaps more could have been done, at the beginning, to evangelize the benefits of open source software to them.

Unfortunately, all of the reports that I have been able to find and translate lacked the precise details or hard figures that proved that Linux had failed. The forums and discussion threads on various sites are bubbling with comments hinting that Microsoft may have stepped in with huge financial incentives to switch. However, there have been no reports of a backlash from the workers themselves now that they are being to being moved back to Windows and other proprietary software, and we need to ask some tough questions about why.


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


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Not surprised

Anonymous's picture

Not surprised - the politicians that voted for it will now have a much easier time manipulating Germany's public sector funds, with a private company which produces closed-source software while having no competitor to get in their way...
Cause when the choice is "Microsoft Windows", "Honda Civic" or whichever other brand, there is no competitor there...

Governments should be publishing specifications about their needs and check what the competition has to offer according to these specs, not come up with a "solution" to a "problem" that was never defined. Cause there isn't a solution, without a problem in the first place. Software isn't and shouldn't be an exception to this rule.

Once again, ordinary people will pay the price...

work is work

djfake's picture

What do people do at work? Presumably, they work. Does a worker decide what applications he/she uses at work? Again, presumably no; they are given a set of tools so that they may accomplish their (sic) work. If this great Linux/FOSS experiment was rolled out correctly, wouldn't a worker be given a machine that "works"?

It seems to me that the break down was somewhere other than the desktop.

I feel a bad smel from here...

Eduardo's picture

It seems like the issue here are more concerned with "commercial/sales division" than Technological one.

The truth is -- People do not like to change (What's Open Office?) ;)
The truth is -- Ordinary People do like pasteurized procedures
The truth is -- People do not want to understand a bit what is going on behind their monitors, celphones, Tv's car, etc.
The truth is -- People who do not like to understand a bit what is going on behind their monitors became blinds peoples
The truth is -- People who became blinds can't evaluate what are their best choices
The truth is -- M$ love blind people
The truth is -- OS's doesn't matter for politicians.
The truth is -- M$ do love politicians

Stay cool. We've been there before

yitzhakbg's picture

As one who has lived through the age of IBM and the Seven Dwarves in the 1960's and Digital and the whats-their-names anyway others in the 1980's, there's nothing to get excited over. Why?

  1. Like a flowing river whose water encounters obstacles, the water flows around on its own. The world of freedom discovers avenues of advancement beyond the realm of stifling control by governments, military or commercial concerns. It takes time. Finest example? The Internet.
  2. Every phase in the world's advancement is integrally associated with crises and reversals until it becomes entrenched
  3. Microsoft and its commercial associates stood a lot to lose in this battle. They wage war behind the scenes with intelligence, strategy and tons and tons of money. FOSS is an entirely different concept, not at war with anyone and so has not been defeated.
  4. As we see, FOSS keeps on forging ahead in innovations which were until recently still unheard of such as cellphones, tablets, not to mention in the "hidden" world of servers. We're still in the beginning phase of a long march. Additional spheres of innovation, like the Internet itself, will keep on cropping up in which Microsoft and commercial associates have no stranglehold
  5. Stay cool

Ballmer spotted

Kennon's picture

It all makes sense now...Ballmer was spotted leaving Foreign Office of Germany HQ the other day wearing kneepads.

Linux for goverments and companies.

JHA's picture

I think Linux have a future even if the Germans made a lot of mistakes.
Look at Turkey:

And in Russia:

But in my own contry Sweden it will take much longer time. Schools here uses Microsoft Office and so on. So its not easy if you want to use Open Office or other options.

I work in Sweden and I teach

MOB_i_L's picture

I work in Sweden and I teach the course in webdesign using only FOSS (except the OS which is Windows XP). We have the programs on USB-sticks and use PortableApps.

Here in Finland, MS has

Anonymous's picture

Here in Finland, MS has infiltrated the government and arranged to have all the schools use only MS products over many years as a result of some contract drawn up by both sides.

Linux - Leadership's Strategy? Goals? Action Plan?

Reality Analyzer's picture

All 3 (see subject heading) are limited. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have been well-known to be hard-charging, goal-driven, effective and demanding CEOs. You may not agree with all of their business tactics but they sure get results.

Who is the counterpart as far as Linux is concerned? Are there any articulated strategies or goals? What should they be? Should they be identical to those of MSFT and APPL?

These are tough but serious questions. Linux and software for Linux is known to be technically comprable if not better.

Some critical Problems:
1. Awareness
2. Education - Facilitating total newbies who are interested to easily learn more and implement it in their home setting. There is no 1 fantastic website that will take a person who has just heard of linux to go from curiosity to implementation smoothlt. Ubuntu has helped tremendously but still more needs to be done.
3. DRM files are not guaranteed to play on it in many cases. This needs to be addressed ASAP. Otherwise Linux may not be used in a home setting in the future either.

Who is the leader who can address these issues and set goals? Apple went from near-death to being more valuable than MSFT.

Linux can do better that what it has.

Microsoft going down

bavaneche's picture

Not in our life times...not gonna happen. Microsoft's origin was from C/C++ created on UNIX boxes. Microsoft could at anytime switch to a MAC like appearance running on a UNIX like system and move so far ahead of Linux that it would be shameful for Linux to even occupy the same electricity with MAC and Microsoft.

Look at the REALLY big secret that MAC and Microsoft have that it seems the entire intelligent and narcissistic world of Linux Nerds and Geeks, Linux Developers and Linux supporters like Mandriva and Ubuntu have aren't able to see. Seeee?????? What is that REALLY big secret??? You really don't know do you??? Ha Ha Ha...

Bill Gates figured it out a long time and fixed Windows to be just like Xerox's original plan with their creation...IBM did the same with OS2 and MacIntosh otherwise known as Apple -- did with the MAC...and Linux will never as great as they are because the stubborn Linux developers can't figure it out.

Want the Answer???? OK!!! They tied the GUI and the Mouse together to both run and operate inside the Kernel so to be on the CPU itself. Geeee - if these corporations are smart enough to throw winning touchdowns with this technological know how and have for at least 30 years -- you'd think Linux people would have figured it out so many years ago.

I will admit that Windows 95/98 and Windows NT4/2000 Microsoft still had some glitches in the kernel with the GUI and Mouse tied to it which used to cause the "Blue Screen of Death" as it was known...but, that's gone now to be replaced with the "Linux Black Screen of Death" on an OS of that era's caliber and quality. Until Linux ties the GUI and Mouse into the kernel -- Linux is always going to be thought of as a unreliable computer system. Now - I'm not talking about Linux without a GUI on top of it. The Linux w/out GUI is totally a UNIX like solid as a rock system. Add KDE, GNOME or any of the other untied, unsecure GUI's you're always going to have corporate doubt cast over the intelligence of the Linux developers...which means "NO SALES".

Sorry for the ad-hominem attack, but...

CommentWriter's picture


I am a fairly normal person - meaning that, when I read something, I have no difficulty understanding what I read.

However, sometimes people write without thinking. Or sometimes they are unable to express themselves in a way people can understand.

Or, sometimes, they are so out of touch with reality that nothing that they write makes sense, except to themselves.

That seems to be the case with your post. Your language is so confusing that the ideas, if there is any, is very well hidden. One who reads your post must spend a lot of time trying to figure out what is going on in your mind - and why. I, for one, came to the conclusion that you have no clue what you wrote about and, with high probability, have been totally brain-washed.

So, if you want you comments to be taken seriously, try to put some sense in them. Write to speak your mind; don't just throw together some possibly related words. Try to be clear and make a point.

But, hey, when you are able to organize and express your ideas, maybe then you will have evolved enough to come to Linux's side - where people think by themselves and actually contribute to a better world.


Lord_Beavis's picture

You honestly think that is a big secret? Someone should have warned you to not drink the Kool-Aide.

You apparently don't grasp what Open Source means.

What is this "Linux Black Screen of Death" you refer to? Did you get dumped out to a terminal session and were totally lost because you couldn't use the mouse?

Corporate doubt? No that's just FUD that the MS sales reps spread to keep MS from losing revenue.

And, um, everything "runs" on the CPU.

I wish MS would go down. All they are doing is stifling innovation.


Anonymous's picture

That much hate in only one post. But why? linux is a platform no better no worse than any other, including your precious microsoft. You go that far to say that Microsoft be that far ahead in aperiance that will leave linux based distros in the dust. The problem is that Microsoft wont do that, and it wont because they dont need to do that. Microsoft have only one reason to make something better and thats money. Linux programmers make better software just to see how good a software can be. Its all about progress and sometimes you have to sacrifice your income to make it. Microsoft will never do that. They will, however, react according to market; nothing wrong with that, but next time you have an urge to put microsoft and linux in same sentence you might want to research what open source actually means.

Your last 4 setences are also funny.


Anonymous's picture

Well, um, this didn't come as such a big surprise.

About use of Windows instead of Linux (Germany)

Mauricio Tristao's picture

What I do think about this:

If You are paying, and paying well,
You must have the best. That's the core of it all (for my own).


City of Largo, Florida

eric.john.miller's picture

It looks like the city of Largo, Florida is still successfully using Linux. Perhaps it's time for LJ to do an interview.

2nd Sad but true

david120's picture

I suspect this is about a change in management, not the failings of an OS. I am only a desktop user; I have no connection to the IT industry. With that qualification, I would submit that if those who selected Windows think they will have an easier time of it because they have done so, they are mistaken. Good luck to them. And, look for a headline in another 10 years, to the effect that this bureaucracy is, once again, considering an open source solution.

Politics, politics, politics, and politics

Sad but true's picture

The choice is rarely technical. Proprietary vendors are very good at marketing, sales people want their commissions, and non-technical people rarely question. (Sad but true.) I worked for a Unix shop that was bought by a much larger Windoze shop. All our Sparc boxes went, replaced by virtual machines running on big PCs -- at orders of magnitude slower -- and MS products were mandated. Everyone in engineering had two boxes on their desk: Windoze and Linux. One for corporate communications and the other for doing work. Productivity did not increase. (Sad but true.) And the training bit is a canard -- when MS moved all their menus around, people lost (and still lose) a huge amount of time trying to find where things went and hovering the mouse over an icon to see what it represents. I get so frustated that I often used OO or LO or SO and then export appropriately.

All of the above, but ...

Gaius Maximus's picture

There's a larger picture to be regarded here: Germany practically *IS* the EU, but, more importantly, it's also one of the prime promoters and contributors to FOSS, especially GNU/Linux.

Microsoft would be foolish not to see Germany as THE decisive battle in the war. If the German government successfully switches to FOSS, so will the private citizens. If Germany makes the switch, so will all the other Germanic states, comprising about 70% of Europe. Once the Germanic states switch, the Latin ones will, too. Then all the rest will follow.

If Microsoft loses Germany (and they have already lost their share of battles there), they could very well lose the war. And they have to know this.

Take it from one who knows them: There is nothing they won't do to win. Just assume all the very worst: Espionage, bribery, blackmail, ... you name it, they'll do it, but always through third parties, covering their trail well.

Forewarned is forearmed. You've got to understand what you're up against here, and adjust your strategy accordingly. Knowing what to suspect should allow you to more accurately guess which rocks to turn over in your search for snakes. Now start looking for ministers moving to new, much more lucrative positions, retiring to Ibiza, receiving coveted title (especially an honorary professorship in addition to their doctorate), or driving very nice new cars. Look for anonymous donations, especially of Windows, and hardware with Windows preinstalled, to IT schools and programs. Look for Windows-based administrative systems to be installed by Microsoft business partners in elementary school offices and computer labs, hardware and all, free of charge, under the guise of pilot programs and prototypes, which, of course, also get hefty tax incentives.

"If the German government

Heikki's picture

"If the German government successfully switches to FOSS, so will the private citizens. If Germany makes the switch, so will all the other Germanic states, comprising about 70% of Europe. Once the Germanic states switch, the Latin ones will, too. Then all the rest will follow."

I'm sorry but this statement has very little to do with reality. Where did you get this stuff from?

A domino theory simplifies reality way too much in this case. Moreover, there is no such thing as "Germanic" culture area in Europe. Well, maybe Austria and parts of Switzerland, but I'd hardly call that 70% of Europe!

100% true

Anonymous's picture

may i say you are g.o.d. ?

Can't Blame Them

HawaiiMike's picture

I love using Ubuntu as my primary system. But I still think it would be tough to implement a desktop FOSS environment. I'm still learning about desktop usage but it's a pain mounting CIFS drives of which only half seem to work because of vendor implementation (example ReadyNAS server with ADS integration which doesn't authenticate my share even though I can mount a standard windows server drive no problem). Transfer rates for network copies to CIFS drives (at least for Ubuntu) is messed up currently with only 3.5 MBS transfer speeds where a regular Win7 system get's gets 15MBS transfer rates.

I use LibreOffice for pretty much all my work and make it work, but Office still has some really nice features such as table formatting. Many people dislike the Office Ribbon, but I have a staff of about 10 people who would have a hard time transitioning back to the two generic bars in Libre/Open. Plus I'd probably get lynched if I took down Exchange and they couldn't use Outlook with calendar scheduling. It's tough to migrate over from familiar apps people have been using for years over to FOSS solutions.

I've no doubt that if I keep plugging away I'll get more and more issues worked out, but for a system's guy who is used to just setting up Win boxes for basic network access, going over to Linux is more work and struggle. I love my primary Ubuntu laptop system I'm currently using and don't plan to give it up, but I"d shudder at the idea of trying to hook my entire workplace up with a Linux desktop environment.


fried's picture

Turn off kernel locking and then benchmark. Samba pays a big price for dual access.

there is another option

gray_geek's picture

My company switched to GOOGLE docs, GOOGLE calendar, GOOGLE mail, GOOGLE *etc. 3 years ago. For the technical people (engineers, technicians, designers) UNIX/LINUX is their home land. Managers from bottom to the top live in the M$ World all day long. We coexist very happily. Technical people edit the common documents on LINUX (Firefox) and at the same time MS crowd edit the same files using IExplorer, Firefox and Chrome.

BTW: my company is 7500 employees wide. We have branches all around the world.

Why did we go in this direction ? Because it is cheaper and because our CEO had a vision.

Things 'just work[TM]' (thanks to GOOGLE)

With the non Linux supporting hardware.

oiaohm's picture

If you look at most of the non Linux supporting hardware most of it is the stuff the next time you change windows turns into bricks.

So is very unfair to say this hardware support problem is Linux alone.

This case was done the wrong way. Change everything at once you staff will kill you.

the tool, the TOOL

John H.'s picture

Some people need certain tools they've taken years to master, they can work fast in, (graphics, video editors, multi-track audio, etc), and probably have many dollars worth of plug-ins for them. They won't use linux. The other folks just don't want to learn anything different.

Open hardware?

CommentWriter's picture

Diagnosing is easier than curing.

At this point, everybody who has cared to look knows that proprietary hardware and ill-will from many manufacturers is one of the major hold-backs for Linux.

I don't hear (or see) much about "free/open hardware". I know the initiative is out there. However, even Googling for it does not produce that much information.

Well, maybe those who have the ability to propose hardware standards should go ahead and propose them. I know that manufacturing is difficult and costly, but, hey!, can't we start with something like the Android smartphones (do you hear me, Google?) and go on from there?

Remember the history of the PC. It was an "open design", and everybody started manufacturing it, and it was the success it is today. Maybe it is time to go that way again.

Could open hardware be the cure we'd all (not the corporations) would like to see?


CommentWriter's picture

"The forums and discussion threads on various sites are bubbling with comments hinting that Microsoft may have stepped in with huge financial incentives to switch."

Random ramblings of a realistic idealist:

Globalization = global corruption.

Technical problems apart (they do exist), the single biggest cause of insuccess for Linux is bribery and corporate-sponsored corruption. Period. Microsoft, Microvell, and their ilk being the major corruptors. Those companies are a cancer in society.

I fervently hope for a day when the people will kill corporations the way they are today. Most of them are just harmful peddlers of fabricated necessities, and mankind doesn't need them.

The few that do something useful should, still, be carefully watched by popular committees, not big governments. Small is beautiful. It is easier to watch the watchers that way.

Windows instead of Linux in German Government

Mauricio Tristao's picture

I do think that the great handicap in Linux nowadays is the several amount
of kinds of the operational system, versions and apps. If we could concentrate all these individual efforts channelling the results, certainly Linux would surpass the MS system.

And I think too that if all piracy in MS OS around the world be eradicated the differences in the amount of users of both systems would be quite smaller then it's
said to be.

Contravention is about 40 % in many parts of the globe.

Thank You.


bobgus's picture

Kill Corporations - an interesting concept... Here in the USA, corporations have almost the status of people - witness the Supreme Court decision to allow corporations to give as much as they like to election campaigns - on the basis of free speech. A really corrosive concept.

Bob Gustafson

Not a surprise.

David Lane's picture

Migrating to Linux, especially from what was once a Windows environment is not an easy task. Period. Honestly, no company, the size of a Government can run on only one platform. The days of the homogeneous, once size fits all solution are long behind us. You can strive to move large chunks of your environment one way or the other, but eventually, someone will want something else - for business or political reasons - and you have to accommodate them.

Look around the US Federal Government and, in clear violation of a number of rules, you will find iPhones, iPads, and e-readers. You will find Windows desktops, Linux desktops, UNIX desktops and Macs. The level of interoperability will be dependant on how much money the agency has and how savvy their users really are.

A successful move will require hardware support, interoperability and training and user adoption, just like Michael said, but it will also require strong support by upper management. In a political environment that support can evaporate overnight and usually does, for any number of reasons, not all nefarious and below board.

It is unfortunate that the German Government did not make it happen, but it is not really a surprise. In fact, I would be surprised if any large organization could make the switch, and stick with it.

David Lane, KG4GIY is a member of Linux Journal's Editorial Advisory Panel and the Control Op for Linux Journal's Virtual Ham Shack

"In fact, I would be

CommentWriter's picture

"In fact, I would be surprised if any large organization could make the switch, and stick with it."

Strong words. Strong idea.

I can only hope that that surprise does occur.

You and me both

David Lane's picture

But after 20 years in IT (and more listening and watching my father's travels through IT and telecoms), the trend is more away from homogeneous and towards heterogeneous. For a number of obvious reasons.

David Lane, KG4GIY is a member of Linux Journal's Editorial Advisory Panel and the Control Op for Linux Journal's Virtual Ham Shack

Oligopoly, monoculture and other ideas

CommentWriter's picture

I wish I could do more for FOSS...

If the trend towards "heterogeneity" does not mean simply "a bunch of corporations", there is still hope for freedom. Otherwise, it is just the same bad guys dividing up the spoils amongst them.

"Good heterogeneity" breeds actual competition, which is, well, good. Of course, a concerted effort towards the common good is still better, as the FOSS community often demonstrates. From very little, FOSS creates so much!

It is up to the population to make sure no single corporation - or cartel - has all the power. And that the power be with us, the users and workers and the ones who really create actual wealth.

This isn't the first

nixternal's picture

Plenty of other government organizations have switched, and even done so recently. Last I heard is that France has recently switched as well, and I know many states and the US federal government have switched. Remember the White House touting open source and Drupal? Well, they switched back not even a month after their little open source pimping.

The problem isn't with open source or Linux, the problem is Microsoft is beating the hell out of us in marketing and selling. There is a page on Microsoft's website that shows advertisements for stuff exactly like this. They have one on how the state of Illinois switched back to Microsoft and they even attacked Linux and open source in the ad.

Problem is, there is a geek in the organization that gets them to switch over certain things to Linux or open source, it gets pimped on various websites, everyone is happy. Well, here comes Microsoft with a checkbook and a dream that makes the powers-to-be drool, and they override any decision the geek made. Happens almost daily.

government acceptance of linux

bavaneche's picture

The truth is -- Linux as a kernel is very solid and very stable. The even bigger truth is that the GUI's i.e., KDE, GNOME, MINT, LXDE, X-Windows,etc...are unstable as hell.
The truth is -- Drivers made for Linux are unstable as hell.
The truth is -- Linux developers world wide can't get along to form enough corporation power to put out a MAC like quality product.
The truth is -- No one needs 20 million programs that half ass work.
The truth is -- Linux programs and GUI's are second rate at best.
The truth is -- Linux as a package is nothing more than a toy for those wannabe nerds that will sit there and argue over crap that serves no purpose in Linux.
The truth is -- the real HYPE about Linux is just that,,,HYPE just to gather around and argue about all the broken things in Linux GUI's and programs and then blame it all on Microsoft.
The truth is -- Linux people scare off any would be users with their idiot attitudes.
The truth is -- once a Linux geek learns how to do 30 things with the CLI in Linux -- they get all narcissistic as if they have now discovered a new dumb.
The truth is -- Linux is for poor people who can't afford great working programs on top of Microsoft's OS's because it too is too costly for them.
The truth is -- Linux users and nerds need to belong to something -- so why not's something special...NOT!!!
The truth is -- when corporations see what Apple has done with BSD UNIX which is basically the same as Linux -- and see how stable and great Mac runs -- and how much data is NOT lost on the Mac systems and then see how many times a Linux server crashes and loses crap loads of data -- Linux shows that the problems are not Linux and its GUI's per se but, indeed the geeks, nerds and other type Linux developers who can't get their crap together to make a solid system that can be relied how many mouths get tough at all my statements...POINT MADE!!!
That's why no corporation in its right mind would waste so many resources on a 2nd rate computer system when they can go ahead and get what works and has the support there when they need it -- even if it does costs lots of money...duh.

Please see my reply above

CommentWriter's picture

@ Bavaneche:

Please see my reply to your other post, above.

Your behaviour makes me feel sorry for you. If you are trying to troll here you are doing a mediocre job. A good troll can, in addition to just being annoying, show some intelligence, wit and knowledge. You seem to be just full of spite, maybe because you are incapable of understanding "nerdspeak". You seem to be filled with a tremendous, overwhelming inferiority complex, and need to pretend to associate yourself with what you perceive as a "cooler" gang. You seem to have the exact problem you are accusing others of having.

In short: grow up, develop a personality of your own, educate yourself. Then, and only then, come to play with the ones you really wish would accept you.

I don't recognize your opservation of Linux

ertro's picture

Using Linux since 1998, not nerding with Linux. I use Linux and FOSS all the way, from servers to workstations.

Your comparisons with Apple is bad, a dedicated hardware an software company should make things working. And they have Microsoft software!!

I am Danish and understand a bit German. There is some Linux project which fails in EU.

As I see it:

First problem is you started from a Microsoft installation and will change some of it, to a Linux desktop and Open Office. But you keep the MS structure on the server site. It is possible, but you have to do some pull ups getting it to work.

The second problem were that they haven't the users with them.

The third problem in the German Foreign Office, as I see it, they have some printers and scanners which have driver problem. I don't know what kind. But it must be some special.

The fourth problem I believe they have a lot of scripts, widgets made to MS Office. That is the same as in Munich and Vienna.

The fifth is that the every time they underestimates the users' habits. My example was that I should educate some ladies, going from a Textronic dedicated word processing to Word Perfect - it ain't easy. Years after I should hear what they could do with their Textronic.

The French Police chance from Microsoft to Ubuntu, is happening very slow, they will first finish in 2015. Many places in South America they springs Microsoft over and there is no problems.

In my opinion it has nothing to do with Linux, but too fast implementing and integration with propriety software.

I live in one of the most Microsoft infected counties, education of IT people is to Microsoft infrastructure. Good *nix people are not easy to find. Germany is not so infected as we Danes, but MS has still a high utilization.

Corporate morality

bobgus's picture

Illinois needs the money. They will accept it from even Microsoft.

See 'Inside Job' ( - this year's Academy Award winner for Best Documentary. A lesson in corporate morality.

Among other interesting stories, 'Inside Job' shows how Economics professors get paid big bucks ($125,000 to one Harvard professor) to white wash companies and countries. This, even as the target companies and countries (Iceland) tip over into oblivion.

Bob Gustafson

Terrible movie

HandyGandy's picture

Sorry but that movie was just dreadful. It did what Hollywood always does, decided on a perspective ( it's all the fault of the evil bankers and Wall street types ) and pushed it. Of course it won an Oscar, even though "Waiting for Superman" was better.

You could tell early on it would be inaccurate when they had Barney "I tell you Fannie Mae is in good shape" Frank, George Soros ( who made billions off the financial crisis ) and Eliot Spitzer ( at least he had the honesty to say he wasn't the one to throw stones at the use of prostitutes on Wall Street ). All of who who got to say bankers were evil but were never asked any hard questions themselves.

They minimized the role of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac ( when Fannie Mae virtually invented CDOs and was one of the biggest proponents ). They totally ignored all the people getting mortgages with virtually 0% down
from predatory lenders and mortgage brokers. They ignored the people who
got second mortgages reducing their equity to virtually 0%. They ignored the Tony Robbins style house flippers. They ignored all the people willing to walk away from their house and their mortgage.

Yes the banker types made the crisis worse, compounding the risk, but they didn't create the crisis. If tons of people has never defaulted on their mortgages, there would never have been a crisis. Don't forget that when people wanted all that extra cash to make mortgages, it was created by the system now being criticized

As for Microsoft, there are some who claim that it is going down the same path as Enron. I don't know if that is true, but Microsoft keeps paying to have people use Windows, they took a bath on Zune, Vista, XBox, MSN and netbooks. They paid Nokia to use WP7. They can only keep spending their cash for so long before they run out.