About ten years ago the Linux community considered it a major victory that the city of Munich, Germany decided to switch from Windows to Linux to save the tax payer euros. Unfortunately, it now seems that the move may have had more to do with taking an ideological stance rather than saving money.
Geek.com writes employees weren't thrilled with the switch to Linux and that lots of issues arose with finding Linux-compatible software that met Munich's needs, while also remaining compatible with other municipalities.
The city has hired an independent reviewer to re-examine the city systems and recommend a new path. Second Mayor Josef Schmid says switching back to Windows is definitely an option if the study reveals that it would save money. Sabine Nallinger, who ran for mayor for the Greens, noted that data exchange was especially problematic and didn't work properly. Schmid claims that Linux is very expensive due to the need for custom programming.
As Munich struggles to sort out their software mess, a new independent reviewer will re-examine the city’s systems and recommend a new path. Mayor Josef Schmid says switching back to Windows is definitely an option and wonders whether the initial change had more to do with taking an ideological stance than it did with saving taxpayer Euros.
Some suspect politics is behind the scheme, in 2012 a report commissioned by the city boasted that the migration had actually saved 11.6 million euros. Microsoft disputed the claims with a study of its own in early 2013 that reportedly showed that Munich's Linux project had a cost of over 60 million euros, versus the 17 million euros that the company said a Windows XP and Office based solution would have cost.
However, switching back to Windows entirely may not be an option either.
ZD Net reports Munich uses 300 “specialised administrative software packages” to perform its official duties. The site speculates a switch back to Windows would likely entail running Windows inside a virtual machine:
And getting rid of all proprietary software isn’t realistically an option. That 2008 EC report noted that Munich uses 300 “specialised administrative software packages” to perform its official duties. Although the goal was to replace those proprietary applications with platform-independent alternatives, the reality is that most would probably end up running in Windows inside a virtual machine, which of course requires paying Microsoft a license fee.
Coincidentally, Microsoft is moving its German headquarters to Munich in 2016.