back to article Munich council finds €49.3m for Windows 10 embrace

The city of Munich will spend €49.3m (£43.9m/ $58.4m) going all-in on Windows after local politicos agreed to call time on the failing 15-year open source project. The city council voted 50 to 25 to migrate all of its remaining Linux computer systems to Windows 10 in 2020 as part of a €89m IT overhaul, Social Democrat …

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They'll be back.

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Anonymous Coward

So a bargain compared to the ~ €100 million they spend on migration to and integration with open source...

And no they won't be back. Close to no one is migrating to Linux on the desktop.

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Boffin

"They'll be back."

Nah, a number of careers will depend on 'making this work', so it will work. On paper at least. They'll probably allow some special cases to stay with Linux, just like they retained Windows over all those years.

As far as I know my German politics, this is an issue of people yelling we need to update our IT infrastructure / hardware /... and the people in charge deciding that this is the perfect moment to get a bottom-up review. Deciding on a fundamental change then suddenly unlocks all that money that, otherwise, would not have been available. Everybody wins (a new computer).

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Anonymous Coward

Sad but true, we've considered it many times and there simply isn't the linux clients there for applications we have to use as part of national work. We'd potentially get away with VMs but then we've got licensing costs for that anyway..

Staff training is less of an issue though so the gap is slowly closing especially as more applications have web front ends.

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Shush, you didn't here it from me....

And no they won't be back. Close to no one is migrating to Linux on the desktop.

Except when they have to move to whatever follows on from ChromeOS/android (of course, it probably won't be Linux at the core by then).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shush, you didn't here it from me....

"Except when they have to move to whatever follows on from ChromeOS/android (of course,"

Why on earth would they move to a cut down OS that has less functionality and worse security even than Linux?!

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Re: Shush, you didn't here it from me....

> ...less functionality and worse security even than Linux?

Hmmm, and what are they doing now? Come on, we're all thinking it...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shush, you didn't here it from me....

"Hmmm, and what are they doing now? "

Mostly using Linux. So windows 10 will be an improvement.

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Re: "They'll be back."

"They'll probably allow some special cases to stay with Linux, just like they retained Windows over all those years."

No, the reason they had 'special cases' on Windows (which actually continued to be about 20% of their whole estate) was because the software they required simply does not exist on Linux. They had no choice but to stick with Windows for about 6 thousand machines, and so adopting Linux for the rest of the estate ended up just forcing them to have 2 different sets of support staff - including the far, far pricier Linux ones.

That's the inconvenient truth that always seems to elude those predicting the imminent arrival of the YOLOTD; the ecosystem is just not there for enterprise desktop use. In an endless number of cases, the industry standard software doesn't exist for Linux and the Open Source alternatives offered are either incompatible with the proprietary formats being used by the rest of the industry, or else not remotely competitive. Inkscape can't hold a candle to Photoshop. Blender is nothing to 3DSMax. Even the relatively complete LibreOffice isn't really a full replacement for MS Office, even if just because of 30 years of VBS macros that suddenly become incompatible.

In the end, Munich isn't changing back because Linux sucks, but because software availability for Linux does. There's no user demand for Linux because there's no programs for it, and there's no programs for it because there's no user demand for Linux. It's the same situation that has killed Windows Phone.

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Big Brother

Re: "They'll be back."

"the software they required simply does not exist on Linux"

Herein lies the CENTER ISSUE.

Question: "What software"

1. can the "windows only" applications be re-written for *LESS* *MONEY* than completely revamping everyone with Win-10-nic boxen?

2. just how CRITICAL is "that particular application" anyway? In other words, can the same job be done with SOMETHING ELSE?

The silence on these two details probably answers my questions...

It's a fair bet that some enterprising IT guy could sit down and write a cloudy data entry or data analysis application that runs in a web browser to do whatever "that thing" does, and NOT require "Win-10-nic for everybody", for less money, in *LESS* *TIME*, and then THEY would "own it" and could even sell it to other agencies...

But then, the sexual favors and behind-the-back payola "won't happen" so they'll never do THAT, right?

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"They'll be back."

Perhaps, but even if they do it won't be for a very long time.

The problem isn't with Linux as an OS, its an extremely competent, reliable and secure OS as evidenced by it running probably the majority of backend systems and web servers on the internet these days. The problem is the desktop applications, or lack thereof. What linux equivalents do exist are usually good, but there is a HUGE number of specific task applications that are Windows (and occasionally Mac) only and if they need any of these then using Linux will probably be hard.

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100 MIO.?

The cost of the LiMux rollout was 11 Mio, not 100. And contrary to what the article states, LiMux was not failing either. The problems Munich has are homemade and have nothing to do with Linux. And Windows will not fix them of course. The decision to move away from Linux was not a factual but a political one.

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Mushroom

Re: "They'll be back."

Pardon me while I pee my pants laughing...

1. can the "windows only" applications be re-written for *LESS* *MONEY* than completely revamping everyone with Win-10-nic boxen?

How long have you got, and how long would you like Munich to stand still while you do this? And will you give the kind of support Microsoft/Adobe does when it really does go wrong, or will you give the classic Open Source answer to a request for support: "Submit a patch" or "you can compile it yourself"?

2. just how CRITICAL is "that particular application" anyway? In other words, can the same job be done with SOMETHING ELSE?

Critical enough *not* to wait around for 1. or have to risk getting a Bavarian (nevermind just German) user who just wants/needs to do their job having to deal with abrasive Open Source 'support' flows.

Downvote me all you like, but given that I have worked in corporate technical support for both the private and public sector, and I've had plenty of exposure to what the Open Source community thinks is good support in some cases (hint: it is distinctly lacking in support), yeah, be my guest.

Here's an addendum though: Not *all* Open Source software is like that, or has a community like that, or treats its users like that, but this is why Red Hat and others make a killing on support contracts... :-)

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Meh

Re: "They'll be back."

> It's a fair bet that some enterprising IT guy could sit down and write a cloudy data entry or data analysis application that runs in a web browser

Well, good luck to create an AutoCAD clone "that runs in a web browser" and is compatible with the real thing, works as fast as the real thing, and all people trained to the real thing can seamlessly switch to without productivity loss...

"Some enterprising guy" might con people to pay him for some quick & dirty browser app allowing to stage a halfway convincing demo, but it will never be suited for real work. Even if done seriously, it takes years and versions to make a stable and reliable full-fat professional program, and no commercial entity can afford to play guinea pig.

Disclaimer: This was typed on a Linux box. I like Linux, but the bitter truth is that you just can't find the serious professional programs you're bound to use in most professions. It's true there are sometimes equivalents, usually with lesser functionality, and, the goal of a company being productivity, they don't cut it.

I'd love to switch 100% to Linux, especially since I won't touch Win10 with a 10 foot pole, but there is no chance of this happening.

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Re: "They'll be back."

"Inkscape can't hold a candle to Photoshop."

It never will be able too....

Inkscape is a vector editor. Photoshop is a bitmap editor.

They are not the same thing.

I presume you are getting confused with either The Gimp (bitmaps) and/or Illustator (vectors)

In my experience using all four for clients logos I had few issues moving off Adobe.

Yes Illustrator and Photoshop have lots more tricks. But, like word processors and spreadsheets, average users probably only use a few percent of the capability. An awful lot of expensive code doing nothing most of the time.

The single biggest issue was dealing with the everchanging file formats in Illustrator (yes a designer could send say a eps or pdf but those aren't defaults and they just use whatever came first assuming the rest of the planet does likewise....)

Same issues with say Word docs.

So it's not about the applications per se, but the data portability.

Whilst software companies continue to impose their own document 'standards' and encourage users to use them it is hard to build a succesful competitor.

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Re: Shush, you didn't here it from me....

"Except when they have to move to whatever follows on from ChromeOS/android (of course,"

Why on earth would they move to a cut down OS that has less functionality and worse security even than Linux?!

Why are they moving to a cut-down OS with worse security than Linux now?

Because, reasons....

Increased use of cloud (hey, not data on laptops left on buses, just concerns that admins leave barn doors open on the other end), it's trendy and cheap, all the users already use a version on their phones....It's not as if security is a prime concern now*

It's a future possibility....

* Reminds me of Mr Don & Mr George,

'Q: You're not worried about security then?'

A: 'I'm not worried about security now.'

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Anonymous Coward

"Close to no one is migrating to Linux on the desktop."

Maybe not Linux, but there are plenty of companies who do not use Windows. It seems eminently possible to use Linux... just ensure that all of your apps are web apps, which they should be anyway. It is really more embarrassing that everyone doesn't use all web based apps in 2017 than it is impossible to use Linux.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shush, you didn't here it from me....

Agree. This seems like a bad move in 2017. If Linux worked in 2007, it has only gotten much easier today. It seems like they could have split the difference. Instead of moving off on Linux and back to 1995, use ChromeOS and Mac with G Suite... or Dropbox, Zoom. Don't modernize to the past.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Shush, you didn't here it from me....

"Why on earth would they move to a cut down OS that has less functionality and worse security even than Linux?!"

You clearly know nothing about ChromeOS. It has obviously superior security to Windows, TPS with dual boots, basically malware immune. Not even close.

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Anonymous Coward

"The problem is the desktop applications, or lack thereof."

I'm sure that is what they think the problem is... but really most everything is available via a browser these days. Yes, not IDEs, CAD, etc. There are exceptions... but they are exceptions. The vast majority of users can get everything they need via a browser.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "They'll be back."

"Well, good luck to create an AutoCAD clone"

People always bring up AutoCAD. What percentage of end users use AutoCAD? .01%? There should be really powerful desktops for a select set of apps. IDEs are another example. For the 90% though, ChromeOS and web based apps not only work... they work better than having a bunch of thick clients that need to be updated.

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Re: "They'll be back."

Some horse manure arguments here.

I also write from a Linux machine. I haven't booted back to Windows in two years now, but I occasionally uses a Virtual box to run some nice small, simple, handy win apps, like Easy GPS or SeaClear II.

All such apps are things that were written by 1 person in a very short time (many of them me, Visual Studio, and apps created with it, work great on Virtual box). They would be a piece of cake.

At the other end of the spectrum...

Civil servants in Munich use Autocad and Photoshop? Really? In 27 years of civil service, I have never seen either used in governmental service. Munich has architects, engineers, and graphics artists?

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But then how do you explain that in France the Gendarmerie has been using desktop Linux for decades, is happy with that, and will certainly not change back to a proprietary O.S.

My guess: politics.

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Re: "They'll be back."

Why not run a citrix metaframe (XenApp) for all those windows only app. it will give you extended sercurity, better administration, license management etc. I've tested PS on an hopeless old eecpc (2010 something) although in 1000x800 2GB running ubuntu 12.04 with xendesktop to xenappserver with nvidia grid. It runs like hell. small resolution but very fast, runs circles around any framebuffer cpu emulated model. All rendering and program is running on the server, the client only displays the framebuffer like it was video. The server had an expensive nvidia Tesla card (K80 =~ $3100 for 24GB), it can easily handle 10-20 PS power users. I also so a demostration on a dualscreen 4K zoomin in and out of a 12GB image, but that was probably a pretty decent client.

In a large organization having power apps organized like this, will save both money and administration.

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Re: "They'll be back."

I'll help out with your questions Bob.

1. can the "windows only" applications be re-written for *LESS* *MONEY* than completely revamping everyone with Win-10-nic boxen?

Your suggesting that they ask all of their vendors to learn how to port their app to Linux, implement it, and then pay for ongoing custom support arrangements as the sole customer? And then repeat this for all vendors? The polite answer is "no", the probable one is to laugh you out of the room.

2. just how CRITICAL is "that particular application" anyway? In other words, can the same job be done with SOMETHING ELSE?

Maybe the should just change the business of government to suit the software they have?

Your questions suggest the usual fantastical thinking by many in OSS where the software is the end rather than the means to it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 100 MIO.?

"The cost of the LiMux rollout was 11 Mio,

According to Munich Council IT dept. the desktop migration alone cost €17 million and they have spent a further €82 million on trying get their stack to work with Linux. And that doesn't include the costs of running a zoo, lost productivity, etc.

"And Windows will not fix them of course"

But it will. They already know that Windows works. And it would only have cost €10 million to stick with Microsoft in the first place.

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Re: 100 MIO.?

>> The decision to move away from Linux was not a factual but a political one.

The decision to move to Linux was the political decision - saying "fuck you" to a large US corporation and being in control of their destiny. A noble goal, but a massive risk given that no other complex IT org has managed to pull this off. They gambled with tax payers money, and it didn't pay off. Now its time to cut losses and get back to business

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Anonymous Coward

"but there are plenty of companies who do not use Windows."

For very small values of "plenty".

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Anonymous Coward

"But then how do you explain that in France the Gendarmerie has been using desktop Linux for decades"

Because all they use it for is as a web browsing kiosk.

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Re: "They'll be back."

People always bring up AutoCAD. What percentage of end users use AutoCAD?

A major function of local governments is building permits - almost all of these are based on digital plans these days. It's also possibly the dept that brings in the most revenue in the entire gov't and one where compatibility with the outside world is extremely important.

So, probably quite a few end-users use AutoCAD or AutoCAD compatible systems, most of which only run on Windows. Let's not even discuss GIS....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "They'll be back."

"That's the inconvenient truth that always seems to elude those predicting the imminent arrival of the YOLOTD; the ecosystem is just not there for enterprise desktop use"

That's bullshit. Unless you start from defining "enterprise desktop" as Office 2016.

"... software availability for Linux does."

... and the examples are far from custom applications city is mostly using, so not even relevant.

"Office has more features" is kind of moot when no-one is ever using all of the features it has. Or even needs them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 100 MIO.?

"The decision to move away from Linux was not a factual but a political one."

Not even that ... some puppet got paid with "campaign money" to do it. No real reason at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "They'll be back."

"And will you give the kind of support Microsoft/Adobe does when it really does go wrong, "

None. Nothing whatsoever.

At least you can hire a consult to fix your problem by yourself with open source and that will happen in days, not weeks.

"and I've had plenty of exposure to what the Open Source community thinks is good support in some cases (hint: it is distinctly lacking in support), yeah, be my guest."

Hint: Pay for support and you'll get 24/7 online support. And if that's not enough, contact developers directly and offer money to them, directly.

You will get any fixable bug fixed immediately. Too hard, eh? Or doesn't fit into 'that's how we operate here' -policy?

MS/Adobe/Oracle ponders about your whining few weeks "to confirm it" and then decide it's not worth fixing until next version or at all. While you pay for support contract, of course.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "They'll be back."

"Well, good luck to create an AutoCAD clone "that runs in a web browser"

Running in web browser might be hard but it's not the only major CAD software in the market and the other ones run also on bigger computers than just a PC.

Also, it's more or less outdated as 3d modeling is the way to do things now and Autocad is quite bad at it. Just like others having 2d history.

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Anonymous Coward

"Maybe not Linux, but there are plenty of companies who do not use Windows. It seems eminently possible to use Linux... just ensure that all of your apps are web apps, which they should be anyway."

Why an earth would you that? When (and not if) the network is down you can't do anything.

Basically central computer and stupid terminals, revision 2.

For some cases it is a good idea but for some other cases it isn't.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "They'll be back."

"Your suggesting that they ask all of their vendors to learn how to port their app to Linux, implement it, and then pay for ongoing custom support arrangements as the sole customer? "

When you are using custom software you hire people who already know their job, not someone who needs to learn everything at your expense.

Even suggesting you do something like that would cause one being laughed out from meeting. But somehow you just did that to prove that Windows is always better.

Right.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 100 MIO.?

"But it will. They already know that Windows works."

False. They don't know anything about Windows 10 and none of the software written for 7 will work on it without porting.

"And it would only have cost €10 million to stick with Microsoft in the first place."

Yea, right. You forgot the 100 in the front. The MS licences alone will be more than 10M, per year. Without any migration.

"According to Munich Council IT dept. the desktop migration alone cost €17 million"

Based on what? "x hours per person * amount of persons * estimated cost per hour" -mathematics again?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 100 MIO.?

"other complex IT org has managed to pull this off. "

Because the MS-droids in management hasn't allowed competent ones even try,

My company had about 50 people and only 2 were using windows as their primary platform, no problems with licences or not getting the work done.

Sometimes the support guys (me) had to search for suitable software but usually something adequate was found. But MS licences alone would have cost more than couple of support guys, so overall saving.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "They'll be back."

"A major function of local governments is building permits - almost all of these are based on digital plans these days"

Yes, and none of them use AutoCad but proper, much bigger, mapping software for it, not some mapping add-on on AutoCad.

So not even relevant here.

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Linux

Re: Shush, you didn't here it from me....

> Why on earth would they move to a cut down OS that has less functionality and worse security even than Linux?!

The same reason anyone ever bothered with WinDOS... "everyone uses it".

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Linux

That other OS

The elephant in the room here of course is Apple. If they can't migrate off of Windows because they have a crazy number of Windows only applications, then that equally prevents them from running MacOS. Not only that but it sounds like this would be true for the entire country of Germany and not just Munich.

Sounds like an awful lot of power to hand over to a foreign company.

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Devil

Re: "They'll be back."

So you're saying that every piddly little contractor and tradesman and individual that wants to make major renovations or build something needs AutoCAD. That sounds derangely beaurocratic even for Germany.

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Trollface

Re: "They'll be back."

People always bring up AutoCAD.

Didn't you know that not only Western Commerce, but the entire existence of the FREE WORLDTM is at stake unless each and every person in the office down to the youngest grandkid of the tea lady has a full fat version of ALL Adobe product, full Office, full AutoCad, every high-end game known to man (except the ones that don't do Windows).

That's why these people get so excited. Our very existence depends on these people having these things to do their jobs!

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Re: Shush, you didn't here it from me....

chromeOS is more secure then windows and linuxPC (if something managed to break into it you can just reset the thing and log back in no fuss)

only issue with them is they need internet all the time or they are mostly useless (never found the offline support to ever work even thought the extensions say it should work offline) want to get my chromebook back to see if this seamless connection thing works with my chromebook and pixel phone

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Re: "They'll be back."

@John Crisp;

Yeah, see, that's the answer Open Source people always give. And it's not good enough.

See, 'average users probably only use a few percent of the capability' is probably true, but we're not talking about average users. By definition, if we're talking about application usage in a professional environment, we're talking about high-end professionals. Your mum may not be able to tell the difference between Inkscape and Illustrator, but an architect being paid £45 an hour can. That's why we pay him £45 an hour, because he knows how all those extra functions work and he's been using the commercial version for the last 15 years.

And this is ALWAYS the answer OS types come out with 'it's almost as good, and it's free!'. Doesn't matter. There were plenty of commercial competitors who were 'almost as good' over the last thirty years. They're all gone now too. What's good enough for amateurs is not good enough for professionals, who will expect the best quality tools capable of doing the highest-end stuff.

So no, it's not 'just' a data portability matter (which is another convenient excuse for the OS community to use, since it means it's not their fault for making second-rate software, but the competitor's fault for using proprietary file formats). It's a program quality matter, and OS is simply not able to compete for the most part, even before we look at things like support.

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Thumb Up

Re: "They'll be back."

> handy win apps, like Easy GPS or SeaClear II

https://opencpn.org/OpenCPN/info/about.html

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Re: "They'll be back."

See, 'average users probably only use a few percent of the capability' is probably true, but we're not talking about average users. By definition, if we're talking about application usage in a professional environment, we're talking about high-end professionals. Your mum may not be able to tell the difference between Inkscape and Illustrator, but an architect being paid £45 an hour can. That's why we pay him £45 an hour, because he knows how all those extra functions work and he's been using the commercial version for the last 15 years.

That might explain a few things. About a year ago we had a strong earthquake around these parts. Many modern "up to code" and in some cases less than 10 years old buildings did not survive the quake. Stuff built more than 30 years ago came through fine (at least as far as I know) including the house I'm in now.

Perhaps the reason why all these buildings fell down was the architects were using illustrator or inkscape, instead of using the appropriate tools for the job?

However, that's beside the point. People who advocate the use of OS stuff tend to advocate that if it you have functions in a certain program you need, then you use a program that provides those functions. The current Photoshop may have them while Gimp may never do.

I do know of a few "high end professionals" who get a fair bit more than your meagre £45 who do use products like Gimp - because they have a level of reliability that the Adobe stuff now lacks (ie they can go on the road for a few weeks and know that their stuff will still work without a net connection, for a start).

That aside, the argument you're arguing against is generally talking about those at the home or general office level of use. Most workers won't touch on half the stuff Wordpad provides, let alone Office etc. Most are doing basic stuff that requires few of the features of word processing software, and many would be better suited by more basic stuff. Even El Reg had a few articles on how Charlie Stross, Alastair Reynolds (brit Sci Fi writers IIRC) and someone else were ditching MS Word (and in one of the articles how the author only used a basic text editor) because it made their lives much easier and made the job of writing novels much simpler and faster.

So the argument still has merit, people who only need basic tools only need basic tools. The far fewer people who need high-end tools get high-end tools.

Does your secretary/PA need a full copy of Adobe's stuff? Unlikely, but even if your's does most don't.

Care to try your argument again without claiming bread-and-butter knives need to be manufactured from "surgical steel", with a blade honed down to a sharpness that can reliably cut through skin, flesh, muscle etc, and must be sterilised before use because that's what surgeon's need in their "knives"? (That is the same level of argument you just used). General users are, in many definitions, using the software in a professional environment after all. Try arguing from the position of the software of what one of the MS shills used to refer to as "Olaf Officedrohne"1 and the software they use, rather than resorting to "everyone must use this because a few high-end users do".

1 Oh I do sometimes miss Eadon! :) (only sometimes, when the other fella isn't on form...:) )

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Re: "They'll be back."

"forcing them to have 2 different sets of support staff - including the far, far pricier Linux ones."

Funny. Our desktop linux support load is trivial compared to the handholding windows users need - and windows only accounts for 20% of the estate.

When we moved from linux based email to Outlook (orders from on high and a few handshakes on golf courses), the support load for mail increased so much that several extra staff are now needed - and of course when things break they get fixed at MS speed, not by an admin who can kick the system quickly - the only problem with the old system was that manglement had refused to allow it to be upgraded, so 8 year old hardware was straining under the load thrown at it.

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Re: 100 MIO.?

"The decision to move away from Linux was not a factual but a political one."

Hence the fact that the COUNCIL voted to make this change, rather than the city MANAGEMENT - who are the ones competent to make the decisions.

If you go back and read up on this you'll find that MS (with EU headquarters in Munich) have been putting a good deal of political pressure into ousting Linux for several years and have cut a fairly spectacular sweetheart deal to ensure it happens.

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"My guess: politics."

And publicity. The Gendermarie didn't bowl into using desktop linux amongst a blaze of publicity, in the city where MS has its european headquarters.

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