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City of Munich Completes Its Migration to Be Free From Microsoft

Bill Malchisky  November 20 2013 07:13:50 AM
Way back in 2003, with a joint bid from IBM and SuSE, The City of Munich announced it was leaving Microsoft for Linux on the desktop, servers, and applications. Although that discomposed many in the Microsoft camp, the Linux community was abuzz. This announcement gained a lot of traction and was in my estimation, part of the impetus for the Linux Desktop Foundation. I used the Munich case study in my first Linux Redbook back in late 2004 -- but it did not get past the editors so was omitted from both books. In 2003, Microsoft was quite perturbed that a high-profile migration could damage its reputation, and despite Bill Gates stating four years earlier, that the only competition Linux posed to Microsoft was from the education and hobbyist communities -- that appeared to be quite short-sighted as Munich was neither. In 2005, Munich announced delays, and in 2006, started the migration process with a bit of insight into the technical and legal challenges they faced since 2003 -- including application migration (something we in the Notes/Domino world know quite well).

Today, The City of Munich announced that it completed the migration. I had lost track of the story the past few years and asked of myself, "How did it go?" In not seeing any updates online over the years, I thought that it was a bit strange and perhaps that it got scrapped with a changing government administration and cost pressures for the complexity therein. With today's report in the UK's Tech Republic, it is confirmed that not only did Munich complete the long project but that despite it being quite complex, they were determined to see it through to completion.

What the article included beyond the timeline and history, is the challenges they faced. Yes, their extensive heterogeneous environment with 22 IT departments, a significant quantity of varying desktop machines with each with different patch levels, software versions, and configurations caused delays of course. But this is also revealing in how the world of Microsoft's design can cripple organizations --- whether public or private sector --- into staying with what they have. Microsoft software has excelled in my opinion, with forcing the hand of their customers to stay with Microsoft because it would be too expensive to leave and cheaper to just keep going down the rabbit hole of one vendor control.

In the Domino world, we always enjoyed the upgrade experience from one version to another as it was basically trivial -- avoiding the rip and replace approach of Exchange which also mandated upgrading a firm's Active Directory, server OS on all affected servers, SQL Server in later Exchange releases, and then all other coupled products if utilized, before upgrading Exchange. This type of control is why Munich left Microsoft -- not for the money, although nice.

In the end, Munich wanted to control their own destiny. They withstood a significant amount of Microsoft fuelled propaganda against them --- including HP publishing a white paper funded by Microsoft {English Translation} --- and naysayers lauding how they would never save any money by leaving. That shows grit in my estimation and deserves respect. Clearly, Microsoft had nothing left in its arsenal as of January 2013, Microsoft refused to release a report challenging the €11 (US$14.3M) that Munich reported it saved. Now, only if other organizations and governments would look to this model and use it as a template to save them money, while empowering them to own their infrastructure completely: both the underground water rights and land building rights, not just the latter as it was for Munich when they ran Microsoft.

Enjoy the story (here). It is an informative piece.


“There’s free software and then there’s open source… there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.”Bill Gates, April 2008
Comments

1Richard Moy  11/20/13 12:08:21 PM  City of Munich Completes Its Migration to Be Free From Microsoft

Gald to hear that as I am upgrading my laptop to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

2Bill Malchisky  11/20/13 1:16:33 PM  City of Munich Completes Its Migration to Be Free From Microsoft

Great to hear. Good luck. If you have any questions, let me know. Remember, as I mentioned in class at MWLUG - take time to partition for longer use and adjust block sizes to fit your data (e.g. 4MB+ for a virtual machine only file system).

3Richard Moy  11/21/13 10:59:38 PM  City of Munich Completes Its Migration to Be Free From Microsoft

Went smoothly with no problems. IBM Notes 9.01 installed without a hitch. Unfortunately, still need a Windows Partition to run Domino Admin and Designer.

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