Munich stalls Linux migration

Munich stalls Linux migration

Summary: The biggest-ever switch from Windows to Linux has been shelved while legal issues are sorted out

The city of Munich's 14,000-desktop switch from Windows to Linux has been put on ice while legal issues are settled.

The move has been temporarily suspended over fears incoming EU legislation could cause the city a huge patent headache. Munich's pro-Linux, Green Party alderman Jens Muehlhaus has spotted 50 potential patent problems. Until they've been sorted, the migration is on hold.

The planned call for bids on the 'LiMux project' -- due for next week -- has been stopped as Muelhaus feared that in the result of a patent clash, the city could be forced to pay for extra licensing fees or even shut down its IT systems.

According to the Open Source Risk Management Association, Linux may even infringe 283 patents. A recently unearthed memo from HP revealed that "basically Microsoft is going to use the legal system to shut down open-source software".

The city of Munch, however, is standing by its decision to switch and maintains the hold-up is temporary. Before embarking on the migration, Munich carried out a year-long feasibility study with help from Novell-parented SuSE and IBM.

The deal was seen as so significant that the proposed changeover even got Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer to cut short his holidays to try to persuade the mayor of Munich in person.

Munich has taken the lead in public sector Windows-to-Linux switches and was followed by Norway's second city, Bergen, last month. Vienna has also been eyeing up a switch but has recently decided to offer a choice of either open source or Windows to half its users from next year, with a review to follow in 2006.

Topics: Apps, Software Development

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • 'a choice of either open source or Windows to half its users ...

    an administrators dream, not
  • Its annoying to see such business and admin type of issues pausing Munich's Linux migration as these have nothing to do with Linux yet will probably help deter others from following suit and saving communities a lot of money which could be better spent on local hospitals rather than giving another few million to Bill Gates, does he really need any more money?