New leadership challenges Mun…

New leadership challenges Munich's open source strategy

Published on: 16/07/2014

The newly elected mayor and deputy mayor of the German city of Munich are questioning the city's open source IT strategy, German IT news sites and daily newspapers are reporting.

First concrete doubts were expressed earlier this month by Munich's new mayor, Dieter Reiter (SPD), in an interview with 'Stadtbild' - the internal newsletter of the city administration. Referring to the mayor as a "fan" of the ubiquitous proprietary alternative, Stadtbild asked the mayor if the city will revert back. The mayor replied he was 'surprised' by the decision to move to open source. According to him, open source is running behind the proprietary IT vendor's solutions, adding that this is also a concern for the administration staff. "I want the best possible solutions for the city's workers, and I've already discussed this with those responsible for IT", he said.

The use of open source is also disputed by one of the new deputy mayors, Josef Schmid (CSU). On Tuesday, the German IT news site Heise quoted him as saying that the workstations running open source are missing numerous basic functionalities. The solutions are also incompatible with systems used outside the administration. He says it is unacceptable that it takes weeks to get his smart phone configured for use with the city's email. According to him, politicians, engineers and architects working for the city should be able to communicate with the rest of the world on a technically level playing field.

Lifecycle management

Schneider tells Heise that Munich's use of Ubuntu Linux-based workstations is 'not special'. The switch was completed last year and the city now has over 14,000 open source PCs in use, next to some 3000 PCs running the ubiquitous proprietary alternative. "Both types are professionally serviced and part of the lifecycle management." Schneider further tells Heise he is not aware of a list of complaints from its mayors, that the town hall has not issued instructions to change anything, and the project is not on the council's agenda.

Famous example

The city of Munich's use of open source is one of Europe's most famous examples involving public administrations. The city began its transition more than ten years ago. The switch has so far saved the city more than ten million euro, according to a case study published on 7 July by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux.


More information:

Linux Magazine news item (in German)
Heise news item (in German)
Abendzeitung news item (in German)
Pro-Linux news item (in German)
ZDnet news item (in French)
Techrepublic news item
Tux Journal blog post (in Italian)
Aguas menores blog post (in Spanish)
Ubuntu case study
OSOR case study