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back to article Munich's mayor claims €4m savings from Linux switch

Christian Ude, the mayor of Munich and occasional political cabaret artist, is trumpeting the cost savings made by switching from Windows to Linux, claiming his city has saved over €4m over the last year alone. Ude claims that Munich's IT department saved about a third of their total budget last year by dumping Windows and …

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hmm

Something tells me M$ profits margins on government contracts are about to fall worldwide. Between this and the way Vista ME(windows 8) looks like its headed some government negotiators are going to be getting some cherry deals.

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Re: hmm

Shut up, you don't know what you're talking about. Some marketing suit from MS recently forecast double-digit organic growth company wide. So there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: hmm

They made their entire IT department redundant then outsourced to low waged workers abroad, a small but simple saving, but then had to retrain who was left which had they left them with MS would not have been necessary.

Redundancy... Saving of €22 000 000

Cost of retraining... €17 000 000

Outsourcing costs...€7.50

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WTF?

Re: hmm

Belligerent shill ignorance aside Microsoft has never depended on the public sector for most of its profit so this is just an annoyance. A bigger worry would be why Ballmer is still employed. Maybe Win8 will finally take care of that.

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FAIL

Re: hmm

> forecast double-digit organic growth company wide

Also growth is not profit. Bing is the ultimate example of that.

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Boffin

Re: hmm

Poor Alex.

By the number of your downvotes I fear a few commentards need to look up satire/sarcasm/irony.

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Re: hmm

You are assuming that the mayor is telling the truth. And it is not necessarily the case that he is lying; he might simply be twisting the facts. I have read that the Linux switchover has been subjected to a great deal of criticism for its expense. Here is a link about Limux: http://limuxwatch.blogspot.com (which, sadly, has not been updated in a very long time.)

It would be interesting to hear from some of the mayor's critics about the program, and whether they feel that the program has either cost or saved money in the long run.

If, as one commenter suggests, the savings have come from replacing their whole IT department with outsourced off-shore low-wage workers, then the mayor's whole position is fraudulent.

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FAIL

Re: hmm

wow epic irony detect fail. It was pretty obvious. Oh well so many M$ shill whores (MCSE retards afraid of the command line for example) about you sometimes assume the worst.

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Mushroom

Turned turtle

Any idea how often government computers fold in the UK?

I'm pretty certain it is horrendous. Almost once in 3 or 4 time I go into the Job Centre, those crap stations are dying or dead. If simple things like those (admittedly ancient relics) are supine a lot of the time, I'll bet a few more were doing the same about the time Munich started coming to its senses.

What was the OS of choice it has replaced; it couldn't have been Vista could it?

If it was, everything is explained isn't it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: hmm @ other AC

No savings from license expense?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: hmm

Microsoft has _always_ depended on laymen believing that everything IT simply must be Microsoft. Anything that weakens that belief is very very dangerous to Microsoft. And there lies the significance of this article.

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Re: hmm

"You are assuming that the mayor is telling the truth. And it is not necessarily the case that he is lying; he might simply be twisting the facts".

Of course, had he been bragging about how successful his M$ purchases had turned out, you would presumably believe he was being perfectly truthful.

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Re: hmm

"...Microsoft has never depended on the public sector for most of its profit..."

Good, the sooner national and municipal governments around the world understand that, the sooner they can ditch Windows and save themselves vast sums of money while getting their work done quicker and cheaper - and, last but not least, providing software transparency to their citizens and taxpayers.

By the way, who *are* the suckers responsible for handing M$ untold hundreds of billions down the years? I have a bridge to sell them.

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Re: hmm

>>getting their work done quicker and cheaper

Please do explain why using Linux increases productivity for the average worker? I've never heard even Linux fans claim their software is easier to use than Windows software - they normally take the "it's a bit more complex but more powerful, I like the control over how it works" line. Which is not what a typical secretary wants at all.

So LibreOffice may be AS easy to use as MS, but I fail to see how it's going to make people more productive.

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Re: hmm

In hindsight (which as always is 20:20) it's quite clear what's happening here. Commercial products from companies such as Microsoft, Oracle etc do, in fact, start out as being superior alternatives. The commercial revenues allow more R&D and better and better products. Open source versions start behind the curve and take a while to catch up.

Then there arrives a point where a product is mature, and the R&D runs out of new features it can add because all features that are useful to 95% of users have already been added. MS Office reached this state probably around Office 2007, Open Office would have caught up with that around 2010* and from then on it's a no-brainer to get the free version instead of the paid one. The case is even stronger for Linux, that had all the catching up to do on the user interface and usability** side but also had the backing of superior security and the underpinnings of UNIX.

MS is far from dying, though, worst that will happen for it is that it will go from close to 95-99% market share to somewhere around 85-90%

*I have used OpenOffice ca 2010 and it still had a couple of features that weren't as usable or user-friendly as MS Office but by and large it was fit for purpose as a suite for heavy daily use in an office environment.

** for people without Computer Science degrees

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Headmaster

Re: Please do explain why using Linux increases productivity for the average worker?

Personally I would say that it saves on down time and maintenance.

Ensuring computers are virus and spyware free, defragged and operational is (in my personal experience) 5 times more effort than with open source based software. Which is probably due to good file systems, lack of viruses targeted at the platform and centralised software updates (not just MS updates).

I would not say people could type faster with LibreOffice, but I would expect the computer its running on to be up and running more often which directly affects employee productivity.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: hmm

I worked for IBM, where the stock image on laptops is Windows XP (or more recently WIndows 7). I overheard conversations from non-engineering staff complaining that it took them 20 minutes to boot their computer and get into Notes - that is a LOT of potential productivity improvements.

Linux was available to people who requested it.

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Re: hmm

"Please do explain why using Linux increases productivity for the average worker?"

I've got this one!

First up, it doesn't crash nearly as often. Boom, recovered hours of manpower right there.

Secondly, it has many many more features built in that don't require additional components or faffing around when you realise the attachment you were e-mailed needs an office service pack to be opened. Archiving is a great example. Windows will open practically nothing, and Mac about the same - Ark on the other hand will open pretty much anything you can throw at it, and it's integrated so the user doesn't even need to know what it is. PDF reading is another - Windows needs Adobe Reader, which I think we can all agree is magnificent bloatware. Every Linux distro I've used has an integrated reader, so again, no training or product knowledge required by the end user - just click the bloody thing.

Lastly (and these are just quickly off the top of my head) the file managers in anything that isn't Linux are atrocious. I thought Explorer was as basic as it could get, and then I used Finder. These things are terrible, and considering how core they are to the average office user's experience, it's pretty unforgivable. Something like, say, Dolphin, is brimming with useful and easily accessed functionality that helps me out on a daily basis.

Those are just the ones that sprung to mind. Others might be "having a network manager that isn't the most confusing labyrinth piece of shit ever designed by man", or "it's just way way way faster", but I'll leave those for other commenters.

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Flame

Re: hmm

"Then there arrives a point where a product is mature, and the R&D runs out of new features it can add because all features that are useful to 95% of users have already been added. MS Office reached this state probably around Office 2007, Open Office would have caught up with that around 2010* and from then on it's a no-brainer to get the free version instead of the paid one."

Completely agree. Very annoying, however, to be "upgraded" to Office 2010 at work (due to that old bugaboo, incompatible file formats), and to discover that the R&D team at Microsoft, while looking hard for something to justify their continued existence, has decided it would be a Good Idea to completely change the UI. This does not make my life easier, and does not endear the R&D team to me. They are now First Against the Wall When the Revolution Comes.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: hmm

Not sure about the productivity savings for regular workers either other than the same experience as IBM mentioned (at another big shop) - by the end of it our XP machines ran like turtles in a tar pit. Even with Win 7 all the management software makes my i5 run like an i3 having a really bad day.

That said, besides license savings, I don't think the cost of license tracking/compliance should be underestimated either - not to mention the pain/expense of rationing expensive software. I read a quote the other day from IDG that for every $1 in Microsoft licensing the average company "generates" (their words, not mine) $8 in IT expense. Not saying that's right, but there absolutely is a lot of Microsoft expense beyond licensing to be considered.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: hmm

First of all I admit I am not the "average worker", but back in 1995 I was doing a job that required doing some simple processing (contrast enhancement, cropping, file format conversion) on a few hundred digital images, as well as writing two sets of descriptions for each of them.

I had started doing it on a Windows machine using the tools available on it (including some third-party photo processing software, can't remember which), and the process was taking me about 20 minutes per image--multiplying that by the number of images, I think around 300, resulted in a pretty obvious missing of the short deadline that I had.

So I looked at this Olivetti branded PC which someone had given up on after being unable to run Win95 on it, and I had slapped some early (IIRC) RedHat version on. I discovered it came with some reasonably powerful-looking image processing software (the GIMP) which had Schema-based scripting capabilities. Luckily, I knew LISP already so at the end of 30 minutes I had a GIMP script that could be run from the command line and do the image processing, taking less than two minutes per image, during which time I was free to work on writing up the accompanying descriptions on that same computer. Then I did some very simple Bash scripting to QC the results (easy to miss a file or description amongst so many of them) and package it all together, and it was all delivered to my client with days to spare on my deadline.

That kind of convinced me to move all my infrastructure to Linux and I have never looked back since. I know this is just a personal anecdote, but there you go.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: hmm

I don't think I can agree with your first point, as to my limited knowledge recent Windows OSes appear to be pretty stable. I do fully concur with all your other points, however.

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Happy

Re: hmm

I have found my Linux applications easier to use than their Windows counterparts.

you heard it here first...

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Re: hmm

this was a response to a request by the opposition, so probably well scrutinized by media and political parties as well as lobbyists.

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Re: hmm

Less casual gaming during work hours :)

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Joke

Rubbish!

They simply employed penguins! Tin of sardines a day, job done!

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Re: hmm

The biggest time saver is that its designed to be configured by someone who pretty much knows what they are doing.

the number of windows desktops I fixed because a user randomly pressed keys and clicked on things....

with linux, you can preinstall a configuration that does not even include the admin packages if you want.

And update the whole lot automagically when required.

I did that on a windows setup once. but it was terribly hard work - and the automatic updates were impossible really.

Better still with invisible e NFS auto-mounting of the office server, the default places for documents are simply 'on the server' as is the users desktop configuration and menus..

Loss of a particular PC or laptop is simply a non issue - there is nothing really on it.

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Re: hmm

Are those official numbers your quoting or statistical analysis.

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Linux

Re: hmm

"Which is not what a typical secretary wants at all." -- We are usually not referring to Office packages when we say those things JDX. OpenOffice is just as horrific as $MS office.

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I know how they made a saving

I know how they made a saving of this scale; Simply replaced the reboot mentality support staff with those that look at the problem so it does not happen again. Time saved from reboots==4m hours productivity.

This and there are no card games as standard on alot of nix distro's.

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Nattily dressed?

As in Natty Narwhal? Looks more like a walrus to me.

Joking aside, this is pretty good news. If you ask me, Holland mindlessly hands over way too much money to a certain redmondian firm whose name shall not be mentioned.

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Anonymous Coward

No dissing the well-dressed walrus, eh.

Far from the only money leak the Dutch government cannot seem to plug.

Though this project is clearly FOSS-focused, it is not what makes it tick. It's the mapping of needs, packing of tools, careful adaption, and firm grip on process that's the real but easily overlooked kicker. That you get nice savings in licences is useful, but really not that important.

And yeah, I suspect that realisation is what drove the apparent change of heart on FOSS a certain company had not too long ago. They realised the software wasn't god, or at least could be relegated to demigod status for tactical or strategic reasons. Which is pretty amazing for a company of their stature. Whether it'll stick... time will tell. But it does mean FOSS advocates need to realise it as well. The upside, of course, is that open interop gives FOSS a natural advantage provided the movement can capitalise on it. Question is, can they organise themselves to rise to that challenge? If not, well, a certain unnamed company is certainly going to do their utmost to take that cake.

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If by a "certain company" you mean Microsoft...

...then I'm afraid they haven't changed at all. If anything their attitude to FOSS has become more schizophrenic of late, but they do still seem determined to destroy it.

And they're still failing hard at that.

Still, shows you the truth behind Microsoft's bleating about TCO. "Get The Facts", indeed. And damn, they've taken the whole "Get The Facts" sub-site down. Well that could have been handy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: If by a "certain company" you mean Microsoft...

Downvoted for mis-using "schizophrenic".

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Re: If by a "certain company" you mean Microsoft...

"Schizophrenia (/ˌskɪtsɵˈfrɛniə/ or /ˌskɪtsɵˈfriːniə/) is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by poor emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social or occupational dysfunction."

No, I think I got that dot on. I mean, they might have multiple personality disorder as well, but that wasn't what I was implying. What I was, and am implying is that the corporate entity known as Microsoft is getting ever more batshit fucking insane.

Hopefully it'll be their downfall.

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Joke

Re: No dissing the well-dressed walrus, eh.

"Far from the only money leak the Dutch government cannot seem to plug."

Get someone to stick their finger in the dyke... (that's what she said)

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Re: If by a "certain company" you mean Microsoft...

"Hopefully it'll be their downfall."

Why do people have this attitude? It makes no sense. Competition is good for everyone. You don't have to like Microsoft or use any of their products, but their presence in the world is of net benefit. Not just in technology, but even down to all the jobs they provide to thousands of people...

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Re: If by a "certain company" you mean Microsoft...

Better late than never I guess...

Thing is, I wouldn't dislike Microsoft quite so much if they were just another company. If they didn't have the Windows monopoly any more then they might be bastards, but they would be bastards I can walk away from and buy elsewhere.

Even better is the various attempts to keep it that way, bending an already abused patent system to some truly absurd extremes because they can, and nobody appears to be doing anything about it.

Now I could take a Microsoftian approach here about the employees of Microsoft and say "tough shit, you backed the wrong horse", and I really want to, but I won't. I just want Microsoft's role as the troll under the bridge to be negated, and for Microsoft to stop blowing other people's bridges up!

Especially them free open source ones. MS really does seem to be a bit pathological there.

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Go

Cool!!

But even though I hate the format and company, there still no open source equivalent to Adobe Acrobat for PDF manipulation. I know there are many ways to easily create PDFs under Linux but I've not found anything able to create/edit comments, watermark pages, downsample certain images, split/merge/move pages about, edit font subsetting, make mark-ups and edit text.

LibreOffice is very close though, Writer is fit for purpose, Calc needs some stability/speed improvements for graphs/pivot tables, Impress needs a presenter view like Powerpoint. And it badly needs some sort of auto-update like Firefox, it's annoying downloading the whole shebang each time. Though that's less of a worry for corporate deployments.

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Linux

Open Source document manipulation

@batfastad: "there still no open source equivalent to Adobe Acrobat for PDF manipulation"

LyX – The Document Processor - http://www.lyx.org/

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acroread is bad

TeX and friends (Emacs,LyX, vim whatever) , TeXinfo and org-mode is awesome (all export to latex, pdf and more)

Otherwise everything can be ghostscripted thorough cups-pdf-print

For the created PDFs without source one can use flpsed and pdftk

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There are a lot of jobs where you just boot and run a single application all day. Not even LibreOffice is used much.

Government is unlikely to be a massive profit centre due to deep discounts, but it is extremely embarrassing that a whole organisation can get along without MS and it puts a lot of pressure on MS' sales teams elsewhere when the "we might go linux" card is played.

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Anonymous Coward

The recently-release version 3.5 of LibreOffice has an auto-update feature.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: acroread is bad

@Eulampios - your suggestions tell me that you've never worked in business, have you?

You simply can't give packages as complex as Emacs, vim, TeX to a call centre operative who need to occasionally edit a document.

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Re: Open Source document manipulation

Emacs? Vim? Lyx? Tex?

You can tell that the Reg Readership on the whole is somewhat insulated from the rest of the world. 99% of the planet would look at that lot and go "fuck this, where's MS Office?"

Libreoffice on the other hand, they could probably cope with.

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Yes "acroread" is bad but it's not "acroread" I'm talking about. It's Acrobat Pro. For PDF manipulation.

Can the tools suggested here take an existing PDF document and add alternating watermarks to the pages. Then downsample all images in the document to 90dpi that are between 130dpi and 200dpi. By using just 2 entries in a menu?

I hate PDFs (really hate) as much as the next guy but unfortunately they are everywhere in bizness. And you know Adobe keep all the good stuff to themselves thus making an open source equivalent of Acrobat incredibly difficult, if not impossible.

Linux has almost eerything else covered for general biz use. Desktops/shells have been mature enough for a long time now. Biznesss use of browser-based/intranet applications is on the up. But it's only in the last 12 months that the open source office suites have evolved to a position where most work can be reliably performed using them. And there needs to be a graphical application to do the above with PDFs. And CMYK support in GIMP.

And that's the problem. Businesses can't justify a switch unless 100% of their current workflows can be accomplished under Linux as easily/quickly as they can currently. In my experience 90% isn't good enough, even when there is a cost saving.

Almost there though!

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PDF manipulation

PDF X-Change works well for me under XP. It's reported to also run under WINE, and that's on my list of experiments to try. I haven't found anything as good which is native Linux, though.

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RE: Can the tools suggested here take an existing PDF ...

I can understand how companies get them selves in enough mess where this is needed, but surely this is fundamentally a workflow problem. In my mind a PDF is an output format, updating/editing/tweaking should be case of modifying the source document(s)/data and/or some generation options.

Don't get me started on PDF forms, especially those the HRMC make me fill in.

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Stop

OS means a different mindset

If you just take your MS-ecosystem worklflows and approaches and expect them to work on Linux or BSD one-to-one, you will almost certainly be disappointed.

If you want to reap the benefits of Open Source, you have to learn doing things a bit differently. Learn TeX, learn subversion, learn about the command line, learn about graphviz and similar tools. That's a considerable investment, but it will pay off one the long run. It will pay off in greatly improved productivity, improved data security (think SVN versus SourceSafe), less dependency on braindead external decisions and general less IT-related hassle. It just does not look as polished and blinking as the MS and Adobe crap. It will not fascinate the dumb people who judge something by the looks. But it will definitely make you more productive on the long run. The saved software costs are actually of minor importance.

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