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GNU is Not Unix

Germany Withdraws Open Source Article 84

leine writes, "The statement written by a part of the German government to use Open Source Software (see this article) has been withdrawn from the public. The German magazine c't cites in an article the spokesman of the German ministry of the interior, that the paper has been withdrawn on an order from the ministry. (The article is in German, babelfish is your friend.) "
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Germany Withdraws Open Source Article

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just learn german. I'm sure you guys already know about 8 programming languages... what's one more spoken language?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    why the hell is it that some of you people feel the need to link everything to microsoft? paranoia's fun in small doses, but this is going too far.. go ahead, work your way back to the story about fully mapping the fruit fly genome, and post some kind of conspiracy theory linking it to microsoft!

    christ, some of you people have no lives whatsoever
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hallo again!
    You can find more informations on this page:

    lug.mfh-iserlohn.de [mfh-iserlohn.de]

    This means you can find links to the original document and reports about it on this page.

    bye... lugis
  • by Anonymous Coward

    For the German government, embracing the open-source movement at this moment in time would be tantamount to suicide. There are several resons why I think this is so, which I'll go through.

    Firstly, the cost of installing, configuring and running open-source software would be prohibitive. Yeah, sure it's free to buy, but let's face it, it's the TCO that counts in these matters. If they were to go with Linux they'd have to hire a load of sys admins to go with it, and they would cost far more in wages than the equivalent professionals, MSCEs. And how long would it take for them to get a system up and running? IMHO it would disrupt the normal business of government for far too long.

    And then there's the fact that for your average Joe who works for the government, Linux is far too complex to use. Despite all claims to the contrary Linux is still unwieldly and old-fashioned in its approach to the user interface, and staff training costs would again be enormous.

    And even apart from these issues, there's the image issue. Linux has recently been linked to all kinds of criminal activities in the public eye, especially the DVD pirating program DeCSS. If the German government were to embrace Linux it would seem like they were condoning the piracy of DVDs and the like. In the international community this would harm their reputation, something governments never enjoy.

    Anyway, that's why I think that this was all just a rumour started by some idealists in the government and then stopped by the more worldly members, rather than a definite policy.

  • For the German government, embracing the open-source movement at this moment in time would be tantamount to suicide.

    Whatever.

  • by unitron ( 5733 )
    Who took all my gruntles? : )
  • Government grinds to a standstill : )
  • by jjr ( 6873 )
    The German Goverment has to think about relationship with it current vendors.
    It was premature of releasing that document if they really wanted to go with an OSS
    (not only linux) solutions. They should have had a plan laid out before they said a
    word or just start replacing things slowly then tell the world. In this world everyone
    looks at what you and do and say it all has repercosion.

    http://theotherside.com/dvd/ [theotherside.com]
  • For some reason I fear government use of the word Ministry.

    I don't know. It might have something to do with a book I read back in '84.
  • ..the article taken down, 1984? and which ministry took it out? Yup, thats right minitrue!
  • Don't be dissappointed, I guess they have no chance to refer to the actual situation because the magazine should be already printed.
  • Microsoft has 95% of the market for buggy software. RedHat, Caldera & so on are bad enough as competition, but they're really in the "stable software" market, where Microsoft doesn't do much of their business.

    Now Celera has open-sourced the fruit fly genome, anyone can generate as many bugs as they want (although only a company with Microsoft's resources could create 65,000 of them). Expect Celera to be the target of a hostile takeover pretty soon.

    Score: -1. Not very funny.

  • > Just shows that you can't take stuff like that
    > off the net. The question is, however, how many
    > people will be able to find any of these mirrors

    That's what search engines are for... ;-)
  • Microsoft, et. al. flexed their muscles and told Germany to keep buying their high-priced crap.


    EOS [End-Of-Story]

  • Are you serious or trying to be funny?
  • I think the gouvernment wouldn't do it all at once, they'd probably wait until they need an new system anyway and so gradually increase the amount of Linux/whatever systems.

    And I've seen the average Joe not being able to use Windows like he could, either. And other Joes just doing fine with Unix/CDE. It's a matter of configuration of the admin.
  • Ungh!

    Shmsh!

    Brain explodes.

    I'll assume for a second that you're not just a troll and actually hold something like the above opinion.

    But try as I might, I cannot understand how you find RMS and Hitler similar. The only match I find is unwillingness to compromise. And that only goes for RMS pesonally, not those of us who support him.

    You're not just a troll, you're a muddle headed troll.

  • This will be a good thing! c't already anounced to put an article on it in their next issue(I think - monday?). And others will follow. But not to forget: the German government is already sponsoring open source projects like the GNU Privacy Guard [gnupg.de].
  • Read too many Asterix comics lately?

    Hari.
  • Germany and France used to be the same country at first.

    Umm... When? The earliest country-like organisation I know of had Gaul where France is and what's now Germany occupied by the Norse, and before that it was just tribal with only linguistic connections that seem to still favor a separation between the two regions.

  • WTF are you on about? There was a nation called Gaul inhabited by Celts at about the time of the Roman Empire. Either you're just unfunny or plain wrong, I really can't tell which.

  • So basically, their paper on open source is itself the complete opposite thereof?

    "We have a paper on free public open source but it's ours and you can't have it!"
    ----
    Don't underestimate the power of peanut brittle
  • What I'm talking about is the kingdom of "Karl der Grosse" (or "Charlemange" in French).
  • Errm, right. So getting people to learn new software is going to be a walk in the park is it?

    What prevents you from giving a Linux app the exact same user interface than the Windows version, hm?

    Whether you want to admit it or not there will always be costs when changing over to a new system,

    Again, no-one said they had to switch everything over to Linux immediately. They'd probably do it during a standard, scheduled upgrade: use Linux instead of Windows 2000 when replacing Windows 95.

    And as for "easier" and "cheaper" administration, aren't Linux sys admins supposed to spend a lot of time getting new fixes, kernel updates and other enhancements to prevent security leaks? I mean I'm not a sys admin, but I'm sure plenty of them here could back me up on that. A Linux system, especially a large one, doesn't entirely run itself, which is why we have sys admins in the first place.

    Perfectly true. But a Windows System doesn't run itself either, and Linux admins have time to concern themselves with security because they don't have to run around all the time because some stupid user misconfigured their machine or deleted important files.

    Did you know you're supposed to read a post before replying? I never said I believed anything of the sort, I just said that was the image being presented by certain parts of the media, and which people tend to believe if they don't know all the facts.

    I adressed that aspect right afterwards where I said that Linux does not have a big enough media presence in the first place.

  • Just look through the history of Germany, and what do you see but facism and failed attempts to conquer France.

    Fascism is a very new concept, so of course your statement, can't help to be anything but bullship, but among other things that you will see in German history, is that Germany and France used to be the same country at first.

    Besides, the relationship between Germany and France is, at the moment, really good, so please spread your stupid propaganda (that reeks more of fascism than anything Germany has done recently) elsewhere.

  • well, if i were microsoft i`d be at least slightly offended about the $cientologist/disk-defragger thing.
  • The German government is a people's government, though one that retains a stronger grip than most governments. Sounds odd, I know, but people that live there know what I mean. Their recommendation was probably pulled from the public eye to avoid upsetting any potential commercial software sources (though this is speculation) that they may use as well as/instead of open source software sources. As the saying goes, you don't bite the hand that feeds you, and the last thing a gov't needs is their software providers being disgruntled.
  • Very well, maybe my sense of humour isn't very
    popular, and that's okay, I can live with it,
    but HOLY FUCK PEOPLE, it was a FUCKING JOKE!

    Sheesh... fucking stupid americans.
  • Actually, Facism was only a blip in German history - no more than 15 years at the most in a history lasting thousands of years. As for "failing" to defeat France, the Germans kicked French butts all over Europe for the better part of a century. The Germans didn't want France in the 19th century, and only American/British intervention kept Germany from annexing France completely in the 20th century. The French haven't won a war since Napoleon. In fact, the U.S. had to bail France out of every war they've faught in the 20th century - WWI, WWII, and Vietnam.
  • I ought to make a more detailed response, but I'll limit it to generalities:

    The first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, ruled over an Empire which consisted (loosely speaking) of what we would consider both France and Germany today. Charlemagne was crowned Emperor in 800 AD.

    Upon the death of Charlemagne his kingdom was divided amongst his three sons. One got France, one got Germany, and one got the stuff in the middle. (Guess who got ganged up on.)

    The three were occasionally reunited, reseparated, etc., but the pattern persisted. Eventually things settled down to the way they are now: separate France and Germany.

    (People who actually know this stuff: I *said* it was limited to generalities.)
    ---------------------------------- ---------------------------------
  • >>the U.S. had to bail France out of every war they've faught in the 20th century

    >I don't remember Yankees fighting in Egypt or in Algeria...

    Well, we fooled around with the Suez Crisis, and fought the Vichy French in Algeria during WWII. Does that count? :-)
    --------------------------------------------- ----------------------
  • Our techie mind is heavily damaged by learning programming languages. I've been here in US for about 6 months and my English is still leaking. I've learnt java and xml here, but I still speak the same broken English I picked up from man pages and HowTOs.

    Anyway, a girl I know speaks 5 (spoken) languages fluently, but could not operate the digital timer and temperature controller of a gas cooktop.

    Still, I admire that girl.

  • And WTF are you compiling Linux with?
  • > the U.S. had to bail France out of every war they've faught in the 20th century

    I don't remember Yankees fighting in Egypt or in Algeria...

  • Back to Clovis death, if I'm not mistaken, the Kingdom of the Frank was divided in three parts.

    This thread begin to go severly off-topic, I think we better stop now.

  • > Just look through the history of Germany...

    As a french guy I think I can say the AC who write this is a perfect troll, and a flamebait also. Or maybe just a braindead.

    Removing a pro-Open Source article from public access don't mean a fascist attempt to destroy Linux.

    (And, off topic but to answer the Anonymous Troll, "brave France" lose the war, elect for president an old puppet which happily collaborate with nazis; and would not have been freed without the help of her "allies who abandonned Her".)

  • Take a look at
    http://translator.go.com/cb/trans_entry?input_type =url&lp=ge_en&url=http://members.surflin e2000.net/linux/Innenm-Brief.html
    for the translated article . Cheers, johann
  • Hey!
    Here you can find the document of the German KBSt:
    KBSt-Letter [surfline2000.net]

    Its German ... but it is there!
    Lugis
  • It is all a bit different then you think. Whenever a government organisation wants to buy something they have to check if the services or goods do not exceed 200,000 Euro.

    Yes, I shouldn't have talked about 3000 licenses.

    The important part here is that one of the things you are not allowed to specify what product you want. Only what it is intended to do.

    That was the real point I was trying to make. Said article talks about linux and it's viability for office applications, file and printserver, about cost, service options and states that linux+(corel office/applixware etc.) are completely able to replace a windows desktop machine.
    Following the rules I know about (and the things you mentioned), which are posed on gov'orgs for acquiring services and goods, the presence of ms-ware at every desktop today is very dubious if not against the law.
    OTOH someone has to evaluate software and I think the omnipresence of windows is based on the fact that nobody "official" stated: "Most of the things you can do with windows are possible in linux too - for free". So you could pose deaf and dumb and just lookout for WinXX.
    But the situation changes with this official report.

    By the way, the same questions occurs in case of star office for windows.


  • http://translator.go.com/cb/trans_entry?input_ty pe=url&lp=ge_en&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heise .de%2Fnewsticker%2Fdata%2Fodi-23.03.00-000%2F
  • Could you require an open source product, i.e. project must be released under a GPL compatible licenss? Just say you want a product which will prevent people from ever locking you into one vendor, i.e. BSD would not work because someone might sell your orginisation custom modifications which were not open source in the future.

    Regardless, it would be nice for them to set up a requirment for an "open source bid," i.e. we must access the cost of hiring a university or open source group to write the software that we need (if it dose not exist). The gov. could spend a little bit of money funding the open source bidding process too.
  • Hey, people, you might not like a joke, you might not even understand a joke, but a joke is a joke is a joke; everything funny is in some way a little flamebait, and I don't see that this posting exceeds the limits of a /. joke. This is definitely not the usual kind of flamebait, and furthermore I don't see any explicit bad intentions here.

    Regards,

    January

  • Here's a couple of mirrors:

    http://members.tripod.de/cnstat/brief/brief2-2000. html
    http://user.cs.tu-berlin.de/~mbhb/kbst_brief/brief 2-2000.html
    http://www.netzgeschmack.de/brief/
    http://www.Informatik.Uni-Oldenburg.DE/~prefec2/br ief2-2000.html
    http://www.ba-horb.de/~stju/index.html
    http://athene.owl.de/~hauke/linux/brief2-2000.html

    Just shows that you can't take stuff like that off the net. The question is, however, how many people will be able to find any of these mirrors?

  • but let's face it, it's the TCO that counts in these matters.

    ... which, to be frank, isn't any LESS for that software maker with the window flag. Of course, look at the big gaping hole in my facts :o)

    they would cost far more in wages than the equivalent professionals, MSCEs.

    an MCSE that actually knows what they're doing with the products they're charged with supporting is arguably as expensive.

    how long would it take for them to get a system up and running?

    *shrug* a couple hours, if you do it by hand? Things can most certainly be automated.

    staff training costs would again be enormous.

    "staff training costs" are enormous, no matter how you cut it. Training is most certainly not free or costs less than Linux training... it just happens that MS training exists, and Linux training generally does not.

    there's the image issue

    Here's an image issue for you: Since there's a program called l0phtcrack out there, which only happens to work on NT/LANMAN hashes, and works pretty dang well, NT could possibly be used for "criminal activity." Also, the decss code was originally developed on a windows box. All that's needed to assess this is a bit of intelligence. Too bad your average Joe can't be bothered to use his brain.

    --

  • by platypus ( 18156 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @04:03AM (#1176643) Homepage
    Yes really. I don't want to say that pulling this article means they now want to offer more information or things like that.
    But from a publicity point of view this should be interesting. Before nobody but some interested groups would have seen this information.
    Now this has a touch of conspiracy and suddenly is interesting for many more people. The discussion forum at heise is exploding, the ct will report about that study next week - now the article or followers will be somewhat more - uhm - entertaining for non-techis.
    Other newspapers will follow, even perhaps nontechnical. The ministry will get a lot of heat, people are discussing if there's a connection to some deals concerning free software from ms for schools.
    Every newspaper can point out that free software is for free, they will not bother to discuss the TOC-issue so no chance for the ms-fud. They just will say "This costs xxx DM, open source cost 0 DM and you pay this with your tax."
    Germans are very suspicious against government deals in the moment anyway, so this could hit a nerve.
  • by Bananenrepublik ( 49759 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @03:50AM (#1176644)
    the official reason is that this paper was intended for internal use and evaluation of the ministry, even though they published it the same way as all other KBSt letters, and the others are still available online. Go figure.
  • by -brazil- ( 111867 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @03:50AM (#1176645) Homepage
    ...not much. What happened was that an analysis in favor of open source software was redrawn from public display. A decision of any kind had not even been made yet. Though I can't imagine a reason either, except for not wanting to publically offend M$.
  • by -brazil- ( 111867 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @04:31AM (#1176646) Homepage
    Firstly, the cost of installing, configuring and running open-source software would be prohibitive. Yeah, sure it's free to buy, but let's face it, it's the TCO that counts in these matters. If they were to go with Linux they'd have to hire a load of sys admins to go with it, and they would cost far more in wages than the equivalent professionals, MSCEs.

    "equivalent"? snigger...

    Anyway, it's not a black and white issue. No-one would force them to use Linux for everything, immediately. The smart thing would be to start out with the servers and proceed slowly.

    And then there's the fact that for your average Joe who works for the government, Linux is far too complex to use. Despite all claims to the contrary Linux is still unwieldly and old-fashioned in its approach to the user interface, and staff training costs would again be enormous.

    Bullshit. Linux has ease of use like the best of them. Except when administering a machine. But especially in a government environment, the normal user wouldn't have to do that. In fact, the administarion would be much easier and cheaper with Linux because you can make it impossible for Joe Average to fuck up his installation. And you can have remote administration, which is a huge factor.

    There's also the security issue. Governments love security and have been known to spend insane amounts of money on it.

    And even apart from these issues, there's the image issue. Linux has recently been linked to all kinds of criminal activities in the public eye, especially the DVD pirating program DeCSS. If the German government were to embrace Linux it would seem like they were condoning the piracy of DVDs and the like. In the international community this would harm their reputation, something governments never enjoy.

    Now this is total bullshit, if I ever saw any. As has been explained a 100 times before, DeCSS is not a "pirating program", and anyone with half a brain understands that whatever some people do with an OS, it doesn't make the OS bad.

    Linux may have an reputation for being difficult to use among computer users, but I have yet to see it have a "criminal" image in the "public eye". In fact, it doesn't have an image at all to most people, who don't even know it exists.

  • by rde ( 17364 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @03:46AM (#1176647)
    The paper was only intended for the internal use and for the public, did not say Kiel.
    Worrying should not be doing, because obviously just decision internal was, knickers should not be twisted until elucidation forthcomes.
    Open source still may be option that is by the government preferred.
  • by platypus ( 18156 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @04:20AM (#1176648) Homepage
    Uhm, the study was from "Koordinierungs- und Beratungsstelle der Bundesregierung für Informationstechnik in der Bundesverwaltung", that is kind of a central authority for IT knowledge of the german government ("Authority of coordination and consulting for IT in the german administration").
    If someone decides to buy 3000 lincenses of windows 2000, it could happen that he has to justify his decision against the "Bundesrechnungshof" (central authority of accounting in the administration) which are very strict. He now officially has information about a competing product which at least is cheaper and evaluated positive by an official authority.
    This report could even get companies like Suse ground to sue the government if they are not asked for a bid.
  • by Raindeer ( 104129 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @06:31AM (#1176649) Homepage Journal
    It is all a bit different then you think. Whenever a government organisation wants to buy something they have to check if the services or goods do not exceed 200,000 Euro. If it does, they are obliged to start a European Procurement Procedure. This Procedure is such that by formally announcing the intent to buy something in the publication paper of the EU you ask people to bid for the contract. It is an entire procedure that I could explain to you. (I wrote a 80 page report on it) The important part here is that one of the things you are not allowed to specify what product you want. Only what it is intended to do. This all became clear in the UNIX-case, where a government agency specified they wanted several UNIX-licenses. The judge ruled that they could not specify that. They should say that it had to be UNIX or similar.

    In short this means that no government agency in Europe can just buy Windows 2000. The procedure has to be open to everybody supplying an Operating System, that is capable of doing the things which are specified. If Suse is going after the contract for an operating system then they have to be given an equal and fair chance against Win2000. (you ofcourse do understand that when government agencies really want a certain product they will change the specs in favor of the product they want. But this sometimes fails)
  • by dgb2n ( 85206 ) <dgb2n.comcast@net> on Friday March 24, 2000 @04:39AM (#1176650)
    I am a native english speaker and have lived in Germany for more than 8 years. My German is exceedingly good so let me take another crack at it.
    -------begin translation--------

    The cowardly Ministry for Internal Affairs draws back the Open Source paper

    Obviously, the internal analysis which was released to the public was the work of some "Linux Crazed" programmer. The document, in which the experts of the ministerium stress the advantages of the free software as to it's security and possibilities of savings, was withdrawn immediately by higher ups who have consistently received payments from an unnamed west coast based U.S. software company.

    The letter entitled "Open Source Software in the German national administration" was made available on the Internet last week by the so-called "Coordination and Advice Office for Information Technics at the German Administration" (KBSt, the letter was KBSt 2/2000). KBSt was obviously not recieving sufficient payments or the payments themselves were late in arriving for the month of February.

    The text was withdrawn from the KBSt server after heise online reported about this letter, then it reappeared during this week again, but now it has finally disappeared. Answering a question from c't, Roger Kiel, the speaker of the Ministery, stated that the programmer who masqueraded as an official spokesman for the Ministry of Interior has been sacked. The supervisors of the programmer have also been sacked. The pointy headed boss of the supervisors has returned to Redmond for reprogramming.

    Right now the letter is still on the list of KBSt letters, but the link itself points to an IIS server which is almost always down for maintenance.

    Among the experts in the field, the idea of usage of Open-Source-Software as a possible alternative to commercial Software is widely approved. Daniel Riek, the member of the head-commitee of the Linux group "LiVe", said he regrets the decision of the Ministery and sincerely wishes that the Ministry could "shake the shackles of commercial corruption". This radical Linux advocate has been promoting the usage of OSS for a long time, and would gladly see a public discussion on this subject. "Those ministry of interior guys are a bunch of brainwashed cowards. Sure, they don't want Open source software. They're too stupid to know how to configure it without some sort of wizards", said Riek.

    More informations about the details of this study [= KBSt letter] can be found in c't 7/2000 (which appears on Monday).

    -----eof translation-----

    Finally, Ive set the record straight. The original poster was obviously not a native German speaker.

    r/

    Dave
  • by jw3 ( 99683 ) on Friday March 24, 2000 @04:04AM (#1176651) Homepage
    I'm not an eglish native speaker, and not a german native speaker, but I do speak both languages quite fluently. So - let's try:

    -------begin translation--------

    The Ministry for Internal Affairs draws back the Open Source paper

    Obviously, an internal analysis about the use of free Software in the German administration was not appraised by some higher officials. The document, in which the experts of the ministerium stress the advantages of the free software as to it's security and possibilities of savings, was withdrawn from the Internet on the command "from people up there".

    The letter entitled "Open Source Software in the German national administration" was made available on the Internet last week by the so-called "Coordination and Advice Office for Information Technics at the German Administration" (KBSt, the letter was KBSt 2/2000). KBSt is subordinated to the German Ministry of Intenal Affairs; the letters are supposed to give other administration offices a view and expertise about the developments and experiences in the field of computational techniques.

    The text was withdrawn from the KBSt server after heise online reported about this letter, then it reappeared during this week again, but now it has finally disappeared. Answering a question from c't, Roger Kiel, the speaker of the Ministery, confirmed that the letter was removed due to a direction of the Ministery. The letter is supposed to be only for internal use and not for the public, said Kiel. Checking whether Open-Source-Software is fit for the use in the Ministery is - so Kiel - not finished yet.

    Right now the letter is still on the list of KBSt letters, but the link is pointing nowhere, whereas all other KBSt letters since 1997 are still available.

    Among the experts in the field, the idea of usage of Open-Source-Software as a possible alternative to commercial Software is widely approved. Daniel Riek, the member of the head-commitee of the Linux group "LiVe", said he regrets the decision of the Ministery. This Linux group has been promoting the usage of OSS for a long time, and would gladly see a public discussion on this subject. "The KBSt letter calls price- and security advantages as core arguments, which, so our analysis, support the usage of OSS", said Riek.

    More informations about the details of this study [= KBSt letter] can be found in c't 7/2000 (which appears on Monday).

    -----eof translation-----

    Regards,

    January

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.

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