The return to proprietary desktop PCs would cost the city of Munich millions, estimates Dieter Reiter, Mayor of Munich. The city administration would have to replace all PCs - costing over 3.5 million euro. Munich would also have to purchase new licences for proprietary software, the price of which cannot directly be estimated. Reverting to a proprietary system would also mean depreciating 14 million euro of work to switch the city administration to free software.
Earlier this month, Mayor Reiter responded to twelve questions from the city council, asking him to substantiate his earlier disparaging comments on the city’s use of free and open source software. Over the summer, these remarks and others by the mayor and deputy mayor Josef Schmid were widely reported by national and international IT press and general media.
The move to Linux and other open source solutions has helped the city save some 11 million euro over the past years, Reiter writes. He points to a 2012 report by the city’s IT department. Their cost comparison includes savings on proprietary licences for operating system and office productivity tools and on PC hardware.
The mayor writes that he wants a committee to create specifications for an external auditor. The audit should find out if the the city’s IT is efficient, whether it covers the needs of the city administration, and how economical the city’s IT is. He explains that a 2013 employee survey resulted in about 1000 remarks regarding the city’s IT, including operating system, hardware, business applications, IT support and teleworking. “Which of these remarks are related to open source, is not yet clear.”
The response includes a comparison of IT security issues between the ubiquitous proprietary operating system and Linux. The answer is written by IT department, that concludes that both systems have risks, and both have advantages - and that such an IT security debate leaves lots of room for interpretation.
The final question is answered by Munich’s second deputy mayor, Christine Strobl. She says that, after careful consideration, she continues to stand behind the city’s 2004 decision to replace its proprietary PC operating system by open source alternatives.
Reiter’s response to the city council was again widely reported in national and international IT press. The Free Software Foundation Europe last week published a statement, urging the city council to include vendor independence and interoperability in the audit, being “central reasons for Munich to switch to free software in the first place”.
Response from Munich’s Mayor to questions by city council members (in German, PDF)
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