back to article German Foreign Office kills desktop Linux, hugs Windows XP

Openistas beware! Politicos at the German Foreign Office are reportedly ditching Linux in favour of returning their desktop PCs to Windows XP-based systems. According to a report on netzpolitik.org, which was diligently spotted by The H, the German Foreign Office recently decided to dump their Linux-based machines. That move …

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Alert

"Massive User Criticism"

Or, much more likely: "Lots of people complained that it wasn't like their computer at home"

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Bronze badge

Otherwise known as

I can't get on der internet* - there's no blue 'e'.

*or das elektronischübahn or whatever.

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Coat

Custom Apps and Configs

Perhaps their Excel VB scripts, or their home-grown Access DBs didn't work in Calc and Base.

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Megaphone

"Massive User" criticism

There's always one big fat stupid slob making all the noise.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Massive User Criticism

It must be Linux has filters to stop users watching sado-masochistic porn then. Shagging a camel wearing Victoria Secret lingerie offers a better user experience than Windows XP.

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Anonymous Coward

'"Massive User" criticism'

Yeah, but usually he's the Linux user.

/joke

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Linux

No, no

If you're implying as a Linux user, I prefer my camels in Victoria Secret lingerie, you don't get the culture. Bareback with a Tux T-Shirt or nothing mate.

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Thumb Up

And rightly so

Windows is the world standard for the productive masses. Yes, it carries an operational premium but the benefits outweigh the gains of minor capital expenses associated with Linux. Productivity gains will always trump operational expense.

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Anonymous Coward

Except it isn't

The masses, in case you hadn't noticed, aren't largely very productive - they spend ages generating pointless pie charts in pointless spreadsheets to keep pointless managers pointlessly happy.

Working for long hours at a time is not necessarily the same as being productive for long hours at a time. The creative industry (everything from graphic design to movie production) largely uses Macs, servers are more often than not some variant of Unix.

Take me for instance, I'm on a Windows machine right now, at work ... and I'm writing a message on El Reg ... hardly productive ;)

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Exactly

I heard about it a couple of days ago on German radio. The FO will keep Linux for backoffice stuff (i.e., servers), but it was apparently impossible for all the years that they used Linux to train the normal users to use Linux-based desktops. Which actually paints a pretty damaging picture of the average FO staff's mental flexibility.

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Flame

What's German for

Backhander?

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Anonymous Coward

re: Backhander

Or incompetent IT support staff. But backhander is the first thing that springs to mind. Ruckgeben?

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Ein Titel wird benötigt und muss Buchstaben und/oder Zahlen beinhalten

"Schlag mit dem Handrücken" is the translation provided by dict.tu-chemnitz.de

But I guess it doesn't carry the meaning of the English word anymore, at least as I understand it...

Maybe "Schlag ins Gesicht" -> "slap in the face" would come close.

Greetings from a German Reg reader

Simon

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Stop

"Schlag"= "cream"

"Schlagobers" is "whipped cream on top", e.g. with coffee, waffles, icecream.

So cream/fat in the sense of richness/cash, for backhander/bakshish? The "slapping" (in the face) is the "whipping" (of cream).

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Happy

No

Schlagen is to hit or strike or beat. Schlagrahm is whipped cream as in beaten cream. So the suggestion translates loosely as slap with the back of the hand. I would suggest "das Schmiergeld", sort of oil or greasing money, money to ease the way.

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Paris Hilton

Slightly amusingly..

Slightly amusingly, in the Netherlands the (closely related) word is "slagroom". Can lead to confusion in some parts of Amsterdam. Allegedly.

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Gates Halo

Different kind of backhander.

"Schlag mit dem Handrücken" means backhander as in a slap to the face delivered with the back of the hand, as in many action-movie interrogation scenes.

The backhander referred to here would be a bribe, or "Schmiergeld" (lit. Grease-money)

Now. Why do you ask?

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Anonymous Coward

FYI

Bestechung

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"Massive User Criticism"

And they don't think that will happen when they attempt to move to Win 7 .Office 2010? Fools.

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Pint

Re: Massive User Criticism

>>And they don't think that will happen when they attempt to move to Win 7 .Office 2010? Fools.

It's difficult to see why that should happen. The Win 7 and Vista clients have done very well in Germany, while Linux remains marginalized:

http://gs.statcounter.com/#os-DE-monthly-201001-201101-bar

It's time for the geek to come out of denial and admit that Office 10 is on the short list of "best in breed" in office suites -

and that MS Offfice is simply one component of a very successful Office system, which includes Sharepoint, etc.

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@westlake WTF are you smoking?

Office 2003 is still the best in breed Office suite. Office 2007/2010 are terrible awkward mutants roiling in indescribable agony after having been born malformed into a world where they never should have existed.

POLY SHOULDN'T BE!!!

Since Microsoft has decided long ago to say “fuck you, consumer” and essentially do whatever they want (as opposed to actually listening to their customer base,) I can advocate only Libre Office. It isn’t great (Office 2003 is the last “great” Office package,) but it beats the pants off that unholy shite with a ribbon bar.

And down with WIndows 7's useless, unstable and poorly designed Windows Explorer too! Whoever came up with that needs to be locked in a room with nothing but Lynx for internet access for five years as punishment.

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office 2010 - best of what?

Seriously mate, have you ever used it?

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Sharepoint? Good?

Christ on a bike. We use Sharepoint at our big multinational company, and it is utterly appalling (it might be our implement ion of course). Slow, impossible to find what you want, with an incomprehensible UI. Everybody I work with tries to avoid it like the plague.

No thanks.

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Badgers

Of course not..

Any change from MS Office/Windows, no matter how trivial is an unacceptable and impractical imposition that reduces productivity and attracts massive training costs.

A total redesign of the OS/application UI in Windows on the other hand is a chance to modernize the UI for an enhanced user experience.

Phase 2 will be in about 3 years or less, when a massive hardware upgrade will be required across the board to get the system ready for Win 7.

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No it won't...

...because users are already familiar with Windows and Office at home.

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FAIL

Unless

a. They have Apple macs/iPads at home

b. They use some kind of Linux at home

c. They still use old version of Windows

d. they (gasp) don't have a computer at home.

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verily,

sharepoint is an abortion even by MS standards

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share, whats the point

We have it, as well. I cannot see the great advantage. Other than cost.

Also, we have Lotus Notes. Not a lot of point discussing this.

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Coat

Now, if they'd been using Google Apps...

...they'd have had exactly the same UI, regardless of whether they were accessing it from Apple, Linux, Windows or whatever. Isn't that interesting?

Sharepoint, don't make me laugh...

Got my coat already... ;)

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WTF?

Massive criticism?

Or massive MSFT payback to a couple VIPs?

This whole affair stinks to high heaven, in particular when two independent evaluations didn't find the problems used now to justify going back to Redmond's OS.

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foget linux being better for a moment ...

When was 'user criticism' EVER listened to before.

IE6 must be the most user criticised software in companies today!

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Gold badge

Re: When was user criticism EVER listened to before

When it supported a policy that they wanted to pursue anyway but couldn't justify on merit?

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Or

When the "users" are the CEO and his gaggle of supporting lackeys.

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Agree...

QUOTE: When the "users" are the CEO and his gaggle of supporting lackeys

This is the most likely explanation. I hate to think "backhander" (although it was the first thing which came to mind) but the most likely causes are:

* Higher-ups don't like Linux, miss being able to play games on their work machines or similar, or

* Custom VB macros don't work in OO, and noone has the expertise (or time) to rewrite them

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No doubt everyone will accuse corruption

...while sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "la la la la la"...

OpenOffice is *still* not as good as Office. The Linux desktop is more confusing than the Windows one. Whether that's because of user familiarity or not is irrelevant. If they want users to be able to use the FOSS products efficiently, they'll have to pay for expensive training. If the training is more expensive than buying a bulk XP license, they'll buy XP.

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Grenade

OpenOffice is *still* not as good as Office, but...

...at least it still has proper menus!

As for the desktop being confusing - the leap from XP to 7 would be an awful lot more confusing than, say, XP to current KDE. I think 2001 called & wants its FUD back.

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What "Linux Desktop" would that be then?

I don't know which desktop they went with, but to make that comment, you must presumably know? Which one was it?

I would say that perhaps Gnome might confuse a full dullards, as it is a *little* different, but KDE is pretty damn similar, so is XFCE, and LXDE, and of course, XPde is extremely similar (as it's designed to be).

You can't away from the fact that OpenOffice isn't 100% compatible, but the latest version is very close, and I have met very few people who use more than the very most basic feature set.

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OSC

If..

Do you have any evidence that training for OOo is anymore expensive than anything else?

"The Linux desktop is more confusing than the Windows one"

Do you make it up as you go along or do you have any evidence?

Just wondering because back in the day, relevantive did a study comparing Windows XP v openSUSE 8.2 (11.4 is soon to be released) for existing Windows (98?) users changing to a new system

http://www.relevantive.de/Linux-Usabilitystudy_e.html

They found several sources of quickly resolved confusion for example, once people worked out not all wordprocessing software were called "Word" completing the task became equivalent. In some instances worse, in others better.

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FAIL

Alstair 7

MS Office drives me scatty at times too.

There are things I can do on a Linux desktop (Gnome, since you ask) that make my life much easier (multiple desktops, always on top, roll up...). The pain of going from XP->Win7 has been much greater for me than learning how to use Linux (Win7 still does my box in).

Well, perhaps if people insisted that school turn out IT literate students rather than drones who can click MS buttons there would be less of an issue. And you also ignore the cost of retraiing from XP and then re-training for Win7. XP skills are not (IME) directly applicable to Win7.

And when it comes to expense, over what time period are you thinking of? And what ancillary costs (e.g. anti-virus)? How can a system that was rated (I paraphrase) "Pretty good with a few niggles" in 2009 suddenly become "A steaming pile of turds, please save use Mr. Ballmer"?

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FAIL

Menu. Icons.

How can one desktop be more confusing than another?

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@No doubt everyone will accuse corruption

If they want users to be able to use ^h^h^h^h^h^h Win7 and Office 2010 efficiently, they'll have to pay for expensive training

There I fixed it for you.

(Just going through XP -> Win7 and Office 2003 -> 2010 refresh at the moment)

Also you said:

"If the training is more expensive than buying a bulk XP license, they'll buy XP."

While I thought that the unwillingness of MS to sell licenses for XP was one of the reasons that people were moving to Linux.

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Badgers

Agreed

I run Linux as my main OS at home, I ran it for six months on my work machine despite company policy. I like Linux as my desktop.

However, OO still doesn't beat MS Office. The menus on 2007 are a pain compared to 2003, but at least it has a full function suite. The spreadsheet and presentation tools just about work but suffer terribly from interoperability issues. I flogged at it over and over again, but MSOffice in Wine was probably the closest Linux comes to being usable in an MS world of business.

It may be risking wrath but I also think Thunderbird could be more business friendly. There are few mail packages that mix mail, calendar and contacts as well ad Outlook, even if technically it is a bag of arse.

Plus there is NO replacement for Visio (no Dia sucks, as do the other dozen packages designed for generating UML rather than generic diagramming and vector drawing).

I am back to Win7 with 2007 since I changed my work PC last time and it is better. I would encourage the Germans to persist though, their patronage can really help us all.

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Flame

what is this Office shit?

>> OpenOffice is *still* not as good as Office

So fucking what? 90+ % of the people who use Office don't need to. They could get by with edlin

and a 20 year old Amstrad. That platform wouldn't run a browser of course, so people wouldn't waste their working day surfing for smut and posting rants to El Reg. Result!

None of these "productivity" tools are any good. In fact they make people less productive. Try finding every place in a Word or PPT file where a particular font or point size gets used and change it to something else. Or combining two or more of these documents into one file. Cut and paste my arse!

Unfortunately the world and its dog are brainwashed into the mindset of reaching for this crap every time they have to use a computer. They get hopelessly lost when its not there and can't function without it. This Borg brainwashing starts in our schools. Kiddies are told "if you're compiling a list or table, put it in Excel. If you're writing an email, use MS-Turd and send it as an attachment."

Mind you, it's a very bad day for Linux weenies if their biggest customer dumps it. For XP. WTF?

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Linux

Democracy and operating systems...

> OpenOffice is *still* not as good as Office. The Linux

> desktop is more confusing than the Windows one.

No it isn't. They are effectively the same. They use similar ideas in a similar way.

People that aren't old and brand fixated have no problems moving between any modern OS.

Just wait until those people get subject to ribbon.

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Hmmmmmmmmm...nope!

Having worked with lots of people who use Windows, EVERY version is confusing to them and every version requires training.

Changing over to GNU/Linux is no more difficult than changing over to a new version of Windows.

Any claims to the contrary are such absolute, baseless FUD.

Please provide some evidence of your claims...I'm afraid I cannot find any reputable evidence that a properly implemented 'Nix desktop is somehow more difficult to use.

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Oh Rly?

'OpenOffice is *still* not as good as Office'

Which parts?, which version?. define a meaningful set of parameters/tests to measure this 'goodness'..

I've no time for the current version of Office, though I hardly use it at the best of times I think I'm still using Office XP on one of my machines. Yes OO can be braindead at times, so what?, so can Office (especially the current incarnation). learn its vagaries, no different than what you have to do with Office.

I should add here, for the record, I tend to use LyX for general wordprocessing/document preparation rather than OO/Office, even on Windows machines.

I can remember the big global changeover from Wordperfect to Word as the de facto 'standard' (sic) WP package causing major problems all over the place (incidentally, can also remember the fact that most secretaries hated it, and the change was forced by 'the management' as they'd got it installed on their shiny new computers at home)

'..The Linux desktop is more confusing than the Windows one..'

aaand on that point alone, you fail, sir.

Which desktop?, one of my Linux machines gets used regularly by a couple of children who normally use a windows box, they've never had any problems. One of them actually prefers using Xfce to Kde. If a 9 year old kiddie can use a Linux 'desktop' without any prompting, where exactly is the confusion?

Seriously, I know Linux users who *were* XP users who installed Kubuntu on their own, and have used it since as their only OS. We're talking about a couple of non-IT people here doing this at home using a magazine coverdisk, not bloody Übergeeks..

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He's right, you know.

OpenOffice *is* a steaming pile of dog turd, and none of the open-source apologists seem to realise or accept that a tool that is sufficient for writing to your granny is not necessarily sufficient for business. I'm so glad it's not just me that recognises this - and in fact, the German Foreign Office seems to think the same way.

I'm a reluctant user of Office 2010 and Windows 7 at work - I think both suck. At home, I still use XP 64-bit edition and Office 2003 - the whole shebang, no less - and I spend a lot less time fighting with the software. I also gave up using Cygwin after a full install results in more and more error messages on a clean system, and starting a new console from the X server icon results in a misconfigured shell (whatever you can say about open source, you can very safely say that the average quality of code is generally very poor.) I paid up for fully-licenced versions of SecureCRT, SecureFX and Exceed - since connecting to other UNIX systems was all I used Cygwin for, anyway - and I just got on with my life. Just because I work in IT doesn't mean I want to spend my life fixing other people's products, or dealing with their inadequacies.

Educating kids at school is not the issue, either: My first spreadsheet was SuperCalc 5 - based on MS-DOS (remember that?) - I wrote quite a complicated series of macros for that when I did an industrial placement (and subsequently 6 weeks of paid summer holiday work) at British Rail in 1993. I know many operating systems inside-out (including several variants of Linux, UNIX, AmigaOS and RISCOS) - and it's simply not the case that it is "MS or bust" for lack of knowledge of another way. I've used everything from edlin to vi, through 1stWord+, CygnusEd, WordStar, AmiPro and FinalWriter - and I STILL think OpenOffice is a steaming pile of crap.

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Anonymous Coward

re: Agreed

@Anonymous Coward - 22nd February 2011 20:48

You said: "The spreadsheet and presentation tools just about work but suffer terribly from interoperability issues."

Interoperability issues with regards to ODF documents are not the problem of OpenOffice or LibreOffice (or KOffice etc). The problem is solely to do with Microsoft. It is this company who has obfuscated their document formats, it is this company who has made a document standard that is so confusing that hardly anyone can follow it - even Microsoft themselves because Office 2010 DOES NOT FOLLOW THEIR OWN STANDARD. And finally, it is this company who have deliberately implemented an ODF format that they have broken to create problems.

You said: "MSOffice in Wine was probably the closest Linux comes to being usable in an MS world of business."

Ahhh, Your first paragraph was a lie then, eh? For your information it is not an MS world of business! If you look at it that way then I can see why you have problems. I use LibreOffice without problems. It helps our company our when we need to rescue corrupted MS formats. But MS Office is poor poor poor. OpenOffice, KOffice, LibreOffice work do not show the same problems that I have to deal with with our MS Office users.

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Anonymous Coward

err

"Try finding every place in a Word or PPT file where a particular font or point size gets used and change it to something else."

open styles window, right click on style, modify.

You're not in IT are you?

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Heart

@El Zed from AC@20:48

If I receive a PPT from a colleague on my MSO2007/Win7 machine it will work 99% of the time, it will show the right sequences, it will show the animations, it will show the objects in the right place and it will do it without grinding to a halt.

If I do the same task in OO I have about a 10% chance of success. I consider the import and export filters of OO to be the biggest argument against adoption. The previous posters are correct more than 90% of the time if you start a document in OO it is as good as MSO, but if you receive a document from MSO then you are in a crap shoot.

I don't know why people say the formatting in MSO is a nightmare, it can be when you cut and paste, but the same exists in many other applications. I always try and "Paste Special" or "Paste as Plain Text" when I am using any application because I know any formatting is just going to confuse the poor formatted/rich text input mechanism. However if you aren't pasting then either MSO or OO are as equally unlikely to have a brainfart and give you an unexpected/broken output.

I agree Linux isn't the issue, my fiancee uses Linux on my laptop without much difficulty because she doesn't do much with it beyond browsing the web. OO is the challenge/issue (not so much a 'problem').

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