Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Munich To Reverse Decision On Linux?

The Register is reporting that Munich, the city that adopted Linux for its municipal operations, is considering returning to Windows.

The reasons are not entirely clear but El Reg seems to believe that it is the lack of an integrated personal information manager à la Microsoft Outlook. If this is, indeed, the reason, it seems more likely that this is an implementation issue rather than a shortcoming in any given Linux distro: Thunderbird gives me integrated email, contacts, and calendar (albeit by installing plugins) & I can even sync with my Google Calendar (so that those nice people at the NSA can see what I'm up to!). Thunderbird is not the only option when it comes to PIM on Linux.

I think it would be a shame if this ten-year project were abandoned on a political whim. Whilst I've no beef with Microsoft, politicians have a duty to be parsimonious with tax payers' monies & paying huge sums to private corporations when there are free alternatives is outrageously extravagant.

As an illustration of the sort of money that Microsoft can earn from bulk licensing, consider Cardiff Councils response to a freedom of information request: in 2011, the Council acknowledged having nearly eleven thousand MS Office licences at a cost (to the taxpayer) of £2,158,696. If one extrapolates this cost over the 27 county councils in the UK, that's a staggering £58,284,792 & there are another 400 principal authorities in the UK! Given that the implementation costs of OpenOffice would be broadly similar to MS Office (& hence, irrelevant to our calculations), abandoning only Office in only the county councils would save every man, woman, & child in the UK, £1!

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