A couple of years ago the Linux community was filled with joy as the German Foreign Office dumped Windows in favor of Linux but this week news reached us that the agency is back-pedalling because the cost of adopting Linux is greater than anticipated. The Foreign Office reports it's switching back to Windows because users complained of missing functionality, a lack of usability and poor interoperability of Linux desktop PCs.
Now the Foreign Office is back-pedalling. The government's response to the SPD's question states that, although open source has demonstrated its worth, particularly on servers, the cost of adapting and extending it, for example in writing printer and scanner drivers, and of training, have proved greater than anticipated. The extent to which the potential savings trumpeted in 2007 have proved realisable has, according to the government, been limited – though it declines to give any actual figures. Users have, it claims, also complained of missing functionality, a lack of usability and poor interoperability.
The Foreign Office launched a modernisation process in 2010, one component of which was the pursuit of a new IT strategy moving away from open source software and towards "standardised proprietary client solutions" as used in other ministries. Specifically, this means a return to Windows XP, to be upgraded at some point to Windows 7, Office 2010 and Outlook. According to the government, this will not give rise to any immediate costs, indeed, they expect introduction of these "standardised software products" to produce "efficiency gains". Open source software will continue to be used on servers.