[Vision2020] How Munich rejected Steve Ballmer and kicked Microsoft out of the city

Kenneth Marcy kmmos1 at frontier.com
Thu Nov 21 08:47:00 PST 2013

How Munich rejected Steve Ballmer and kicked Microsoft out of the city

Breaking up with Microsoft is hard to do. Just ask Peter Hofmann, the 
man leading the City of Munich's project to ditch Windows and Office in 
favour of open source alternatives.

Munich says the move to open source has saved it more than EUR10m, a 
claim contested by Microsoft 
yet Hofmann says the point of making the switch was never about money, 
but about freedom.

"If you are only doing a migration because you think it saves you money 
there's always somebody who tells you afterwards that you didn't 
calculate it properly," he said.

"That was the experience of a lot of open source-based projects that 
have failed," Hofmann noted. They were only cost-driven and when the 
organisation got more money or somebody else said 'The costs are wrong' 
then the main reason for doing it had broken away. That was never the 
main goal within the City of Munich. Our main goal was to become 

<[Much more article, with Munich photographs, on the web page]> 
*http://tinyurl.com/loehwz6 *

Now that the migration to LiMux is complete, Munich plans to continue 
developing LiMux (the next version is due out in summer 2014) and 
continue to incorporate changes made to the Ubuntu LTS release it's 
based upon. The authority will also continue to identify opportunities 
to migrate other apps to run on the LiMux client so it can further 
reduce its Microsoft footprint.

Now that Munich is on a path to freeing itself from proprietary ties, 
Hofmann says he sees no compelling reason for the authority to ever go 
back."We saw from the start that if you're only relying on one  
contributor to supply your operating system, your office system and your 
infrastructure, you're stuck with it. You have to do what your 
contributor tells you to. If they say 'There's no longer support for 
your office version', you have to buy and implement a new one. You're no 
longer able to make those kinds of decisions by yourself."

He is hopeful that Munich will show other large organisations that it is 
possible to make the jump to free software and, while it is a difficult 
and time-consuming process, making it happen doesn't mean shutting down 
your IT.

"It's the best thing you can do. I've been asked 'How come you say 
you're up and running when Microsoft says you're already dead'," he said.

Hofmann's response: "It is possible to do an open source migration and 
still have the citizens not left alone. We're far from being dead."

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