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Microsoft

Munich Spurns Steve Ballmer's Software Rebates 736

Kurt Pfeifle writes "Steve Ballmer's recent trip to Munich to offer up to 90% rebates for the Microsoft Software Assurance and Licenses was in vain. The ruling party of Germans biggest city and self-proclaimed 'technology capital' now decided to migrate 14.000 workstations to Linux and an OSS office suite. A study comparing the alternatives had assigned 6218 (out of 10.000) points to Linux/OSS, while the MS Windows platform only scored 5293. Babelfish translation of the latest newsticker story."
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Munich Spurns Steve Ballmer's Software Rebates

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  • Good job. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:32PM (#6041758) Homepage Journal

    When any manufacturer offers incredibly deep discounts like this, it's only so they can get their hooks into you. "Give them the razors, sell them the blades."
    • Re:Good job. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GameMaster ( 148118 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:38PM (#6041804)
      Actually, the other possibility is that they are looking at the over-all PR picture and figure that the loss in profits is worth not getting the bad PR of having a whole nation convert over to OSS. In which case it could be looked at as a great deal from the Munich government's prospective because they could always make the switch to Linux later if MS starts trying to tie them down.

      I think it shows even more strongly the wisdom of the Munich government in their decision to take government software out of the hands of a proprietary company.
      • Re:Good job. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jason Earl ( 1894 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:03PM (#6041945) Homepage Journal

        Microsoft isn't worried about PR. They are worried about the thousands of German businesses that are going to be drawn inexorably towards Free Software. Lots of companies have to deal with the Munich city government, and the default formats for dealing with this organization just switched from MS Office to OpenOffice.org.

        The trickiest part about using Free Software is dealing with proprietary document formats. Read a review of any Office Suite for Linux and the first thing that the reviewer writes about is the ability to share documents with users of MS Office. When OpenOffice gets a negative review it is almost never because the tools are not sufficiently capable, but rather it is because the MS Office conversion filters aren't up to the task. Companies in Munich now can deal with their city government without resorting to these proprietary MS Office formats. In fact, the bureacrats are probably going to mandate the use of OpenOffice.org formats. They might not even do it on purpose, but you can bet that when the government employees have problems opening up a document that they will point the person towards the OpenOffice.org website. It probably won't be too long before a significant part of the Munich business community uses OpenOffice.org formats as their new lingua franca.

        What's worse, there is a good chance that many other German cities will follow suit. Microsoft could very easily find that one of the largest economies in the world is no longer interested in MS Office.

        • Re:Good job. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by saden1 ( 581102 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:42PM (#6042166)
          Microsoft is in a real catch-22. I mean what is stopping governments/companies from getting those deep discounts by threatening to switch to Linux? If they don't give discounts they may well lose contracts and the pool of people using open source software grows. If they do they aren't going to make as much money and they'll surely have to dip into that 45 billion dollars they are sitting on.

          M$ has been ripping people of for year. Now they'll be the ones getting extorted. Like the old saying goes whatever goes around comes around.
          • Re:Good job. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by twalk ( 551836 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:53PM (#6042223)
            What really puts them into a spot is their investors. They still think that MS is a growth stock. If they cut prices to compete with linux, they have a bunch of really pissed off investors, because their revenue won't be increasing as expected. If they raise prices to increase revenue to please the investors, then linux wins in the long run.
            • Re:Good job. (Score:3, Insightful)

              The thing is, they aren't a 'growth' stock, at all. In the two years ended 2001, MS showed a net of 21 Billion dollars US, however, they had over $22 Billion in salaries that were paid in (inflated) stock, and options. This 'payroll' was never declared against income, nor taxed, obviously. So...bottom line: They were losing money before the market crumbled.

              Also, the fact that their net income was artificially inflated had the side effect of making them appear healthier where financing (bonds, short term co
          • Re:Good job. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by A Naughty Moose ( 672032 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:58PM (#6042257)
            Microsoft only has to offer these deep discounts to those companies that are serious. I mean do you think that a Fortune 500 company is going to say to Microsoft: "No thanks, we're going to switch all all desktop to Linux and OpenOffice", without actually devoting resources to looking into the feasability of such a project? The only way to get MS to give you discounts is to actually mean it. Go into a meeting with Steve, and say: We've done the research, OSS will cost us X to switch, and Y to support each year. After Z years, the OSS solution pays for itself, and after that, we're running a profit in the IT division. Now we really don't want to switch, the short term headaches will be a bitch, what deals are you going to make for us Mr. Ballmar? What if the company didn't do this research or actaully make a comitment to change if the response is: "Screw you, You'll take what we give and like it."? What is the company going to do? The point? You can't use OSS as leverage unless you actually plan on going through with it. Kudos for the German goverment for playing the hard ball game, but this only becomes meaningful once this is in operation.
            • Re:Good job. (Score:5, Interesting)

              by saden1 ( 581102 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @06:32PM (#6042444)
              I agree with you about having to mean it but I am confident that M$ would immediately jump and offer discounts if they ever heard company X say we'll do feasibility and cost study on Linux. M$ would offer discounts just not to have the study done. Now companies/governments have some leverage where as before they'd always tell you "Screw you, You'll take what we give and like it." Take the changes they made to their license policy a year or so ago. They made a killing at the expense of their customers/users. I don't think they can low ball people like that anymore. No wonder why they are supporting SCO.
            • Re:Good job. (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Malcontent ( 40834 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @12:04AM (#6044566)
              You don't have to go those lengths. Here is what you do. I mean this, this actually works.

              Install a PC in the office of the CIO that's running linux or freebsd. Set a screen that shows a penguin or something like that. Install openoffice, set up a handful of programs like mozilla, a jabber client, and make their icons prominent on the destop.

              Also install two or three linux servers in the server room. They don't have to be doing anything but it would be great idea to lable them "postgres server" and "Mail Server".

              When the time comes to negotiate the new contract the sales rep will notice the servers (they are trained to look for them) and ask about it. At this point the CIO (and not anybody else) says "We are doing some preliminary analysis about the suitablity of a linux desktop and some servers". when the sales drone asks how it's going just say "it's too early to tell but so far it looks pretty good, Hey let's go to the server room and let me show you that new exchange server we installed".

              Bingo!. After touring the server room your company will be offered a substantial discount on your software licenses. The bigger you are the bigger the discount.

              Paying retail for MS licenses is like paying the sticker price for a car. Only the most stupid idiot CIO will do such a moronic thing.
        • Re:Good job. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by zakezuke ( 229119 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:54PM (#6042227)
          They "could" actually release "microsoft office" for linux. That would be an idea!

          Seriously... while it is a comercial product, it is one that is actually *used* by a great many people. What better way from profiting from the free software movement then actually releasing comercial products for it. Rather then offering a discount of 90%... offer them a product they will buy.

          Assuming the price is the same... city saves money on operating system, but doesn't have to spend money on migrating documents.

          • Re:Good job. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by mav[LAG] ( 31387 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @07:02PM (#6042629)
            They "could" actually release "microsoft office" for linux. That would be an idea!

            No it won't and for a simple reason: more than anything else, Bill Gates likes to win. The money is incidental. Yes I am being entirely serious. Go and read Accidental Empires by Robert X Cringlely or Big Blues by Paul Carroll or any other detailed treatise of the early (and subsequent) days of the PC. The overriding impression of Gates is that he wants to win. It's a philosophy that permates the organisation from the top down. Why do you think Microsoft Account directors are being given millions in discounts and orders to "under NO circumstances lose to Linux"? Surely that money would be better spent in the medium term in other ways? But seen in the context of "winning the business at all costs" it makes perfect sense.
            Here's the telling quote and you can be really really sure that Gates has read it and knows it:
            "If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won" - Linus Torvalds. Source here [cnn.com]
            This is a lovely quote from Linus and I'm sure he knew exactly what he was saying by putting it in terms of the "win-lose" mentality of Microsoft.
            Office for Linux would be a huge loss of face. Can you imagine the /. headline (and the next one a day later :): Linus prophecy fulfilled as Gates loses face over Linux Office.
            The IT press would be all over it.
    • by rseuhs ( 322520 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:45PM (#6041839)
      Now that I have picked out all that links, I may as well post it:

      Munich will be the first city with over 1 Million inhabitants that is run by Linux

      Heise has the story [heise.de] (Babelfish may help you [altavista.com])

      Short facts are: The actual vote will occur on wednesday, but the SPD [spd-rathaus-muenchen.de] and Green party [gruene-mue...tadtrat.de] hold 43 out of 80 seats and have both committed to vote in favour of Linux to be used in the government of Munich, a city of about 2 million inhabitants.

      The main reason for the migration was "strategic-quality reasons" and to support competition in software, not cost, which was said to be about the same for Linux and Windows.

      About 14000 client computers are involved.

      The used distribution will be SuSE [suse.com], but IBM [ibm.com] is also involved. OpenOffice [openoffice.org] will be used as office suite.

      The earlier happenings are also quite exciting:

      • Study suggests that Linux is cheaper than Windows for Munich: - story [heise.de], Babelfish [altavista.com]
      • Microsoft CEO Ballmer interrupts his skiing trip to talk to Munich politians: story [heise.de], Babelfish [altavista.com]
      • Suddently a new study says that because Microsoft gave huge discounts, Windows is now better than Linux for Munich: story [heise.de], Yoda [altavista.com]
      • IBM also modifies their offer (see main story above)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:57PM (#6041900)
      Comment from one sysadmin when MS offered us free software...
    • by hillct ( 230132 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:59PM (#6041910) Homepage Journal
      Microsoft has actually learned a lot over the past decade; particularly in the area or recurring revenue streams.

      At this point a significant portion of the company revenues are derived from subscription services. Even if they waive all future upgrade license fees, they still have support contracts, MSDN and other subscriptions to services many large organizations will rerquire. It'll be vary interestingto see what Balmer is willing to offer to get this contract/deployment. There has got to be a point below which they will refuse to go. 'Under no circumstances, loose to linux' must have a limit. I just wonder where it actually is.

      --CTH
  • Is this a sign of things to come as more and more jurisdictions move to Open Source?
    • by rseuhs ( 322520 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:51PM (#6041862)
      Sure is. After all, most cities are quite similar - when all applications the Munich government uses have been ported to Linux, migrations of other German and European cities will become a lot easier and faster.

      Also, millions of people will communicate with their government using OpenOffice formats, which essentially means that OpenOffice will become the "must have" office suite while MS Office will be the redundant "why should I use that when I already have.." Office suite in these regions.

      This of course will make it easier for companies to migrate to OpenOffice and possibly Linux themselves.

      Ballmer interrupted his skiing trip for a reason. He knows how important such a migration is and that just one large-scale migration is needed to start the landslide.

  • by moonbender ( 547943 ) <moonbender AT gmail DOT com> on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:33PM (#6041762)
    ... Berlin is. Berlin has got a population of approximately 4 million, compared to Munich's approximate 1.5.
  • Math (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nexum ( 516661 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:35PM (#6041783)
    Anyone want to do the math on this one?

    If we assume Linux never existed, and therefore the 90% cut price offer never made, making Munich pay full whack for 14,000 copies of Windows, how much would this cost (on this scale - obviously i doubt they would pay the full ~$300 permachine?)

    Or put more directly... how much has this shaved off the MS bottom line for this financial quarter? If anyone knows what the purchase rate for both WINDOWS and OFFICE on this scale... please... let us know the math!

    -Nex
    • Re:Math (Score:3, Interesting)

      by djupedal ( 584558 )
      The math that's worth doing is not what this incident alone will or will not cost...it is the cost over many, many quarters when MS can't 'project' earnings from another fish on the hook.
    • Re:Math (Score:5, Funny)

      by Teckla ( 630646 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:00PM (#6041923)
      I think it's one human soul per Windows/Office seat, as well as your first born.

      -Teckla
    • If we assume Linux never existed, MS would still have a similar problem--except with FreeBSD, OpenBSD, BeOS, or whatever.

      Also, the value lost to MS is much more than monetary. The fewer people running Windows, the more trouble they will have pushing people into their Palladium Censorship OS. ;-)

      If you want to understand more, listen to the song Do the Math by Mannequin Porn. Just substitute M$ where they say Juliet, and you'll have the solution!

  • List of Switchers? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vivIsel ( 450550 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:37PM (#6041796)
    Is there anyone out there who mantains a list of countries, cities, companies, &c who have made the move to Linux? If not...well, it would be useful for making Open Source pitches to prospective switch-ers in government, business, and the like. To be sure, Munich isn't alone, but how much company does the city have? I imagine something like one of those push-pin maps, sorted by distro, perhaps, and by the size of the switch (citywide, countrywide, corporate). Would be neat. Does it exist?
  • by tholti ( 544938 ) <openpub@@@web...de> on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:37PM (#6041797)
    Note that it is still a preliminary decision. But as you can read from the article if it comes to the final decision there probably will be 43 (SPD and Gruene party) to 33 (CDU and FDP) votes for Linux. :-)
  • by Krapangor ( 533950 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:38PM (#6041805) Homepage
    With OSS they can see the source and verify that it's frre of any backdoor. So they can protect their precious secrets about the Oktoberfest and what Bavarian beer is really made of.
  • Better translation (Score:5, Informative)

    by akruppa ( 300316 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:39PM (#6041806) Homepage
    I had the same story submitted, along with a cleaned up translation, but it was rejected.

    Anyways, here's the corrected translation, hope it helps.

    Alex

    Munich City Hall's SPD decides in favour of Linux

    In today's meeting, the SPD faction of the Munich City Hall spoke out in
    favour of using Linux on the PCs of the city's administration. Thus a
    preliminary decision has been made, spokesman Jürgen Bühl said. The Munich
    city administration migrates from Windows NT to Linux as the client
    operation system and to an office suite from the Open Source domain.

    The transition to Linux guarantees greater independence of suppliers and
    greater "flexibility in the design of the future IT landscape of the city
    administration". Additionally considerably lower cost are created.
    Considering the tense budget situation in the states [Bavaria] capital, this
    is an aspect that "supplements the strategic-qualitative advantages," says
    the note from Munich.

    Town councillor Christine Strobl, deputy leaders of the parliamentary group
    and SPD spokeswoman in the personal and administrative committee, states:
    "At the same time we provide for the further shaping of the technology
    location Munich. For development and support the city will purchase
    services. Thus we promote high-quality jobs in the region. In this context,
    the Technical University of Munich's support during the migration underlines
    the outstanding position of the science location Munich."

    The migration of the 14,000 PC systems and Notebooks with over 16.000 users
    is to take place "gently". In particular departments with extensive
    specialized applications are to be able to plan on a long-term basis. The
    final decision will be made by the city council in the plenary assembly on
    May, 28th. For over one year SPD has held 35 of the 80 seats , the CSU 30,
    the Greens 8 and the FDP 3. The other parties account for the remaining four
    seats.

    "We are fully conscious that our decision has a signal effect", says Strobl.
    "That's why we have investigated the matter intensively." The consulting
    firm Unilog initially rated the impoved offer from Microsoft as advantagous.
    But open questions had remained and finally a new offer of IBM was present.

    The new total evaluation of capital value and qualitative-strategic criteria
    led to a draw between both solutions, continues the town councillor. As the
    combination of Linux and an Open Source office suite
    "qualitative-strategically clearly comes out in front, the SPD parliamentary
    group decided for this option as the long-term direction".
  • by netcongestion ( 132647 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:39PM (#6041807)

    "How many shares shall I sell today?"
  • Not yet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rainer_d ( 115765 ) * on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:40PM (#6041812) Homepage
    This decision must still be finally confirmed by the city council, the original Heise Newsticker article does mention this, though.
    The ruling SPD-party does not have a majority in there, but it should not be a big problem to get enough votes from other parties.

    Rainer

  • by crivens ( 112213 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:40PM (#6041814)
    90% discount?! Now THAT'S a monopoly! I don't see Steve Balmer rushing to offer me a 90% discount on any MS products. Then again I'm not a city so no wonder!
    • by bstadil ( 7110 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:52PM (#6041873) Homepage
      90% discount?!

      I am surprised that this was offered. Microsoft is not out of the legal woods in Europe and a discount of this magnitude can almost only be construed as an attempt to leverage a monopoly situation. There can be no other rational business reason for this discount.

      On an aside this is a huge blow for MS. The knowledge of the offered discount is probably worse than not getting the biz.

      • by rseuhs ( 322520 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:02PM (#6041939)
        I am surprised that this was offered. Microsoft is not out of the legal woods in Europe and a discount of this magnitude can almost only be construed as an attempt to leverage a monopoly situation. There can be no other rational business reason for this discount.

        The reason was that under no circumstances Microsoft wants any publicly visible large migration to happen. They would have paid Munich to run Windows if it wouldn't look too stupid!

        Hell, they DID pay a lot for the Bundestag to stay on Windows at least on clients. They invested over 5 million $ for a PR-campaign, which translates to 1000$ for each of the Bundestag's computers.

        Money is not the issue here.

        The issue is a big organization showing the world that Linux is viable on the client.

        The issue is that now a lot of applications are going to get ported to Linux and Linux will be an even better deal for other cities.

        The issue is that now millions of people are going to communicate with OpenOffice file formats with their government.

      • I just see it as Microsoft blatantly stating that their products are gossly overpriced.
    • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:00PM (#6041919)
      "Then again I'm not a city so no wonder!"

      Must... resist.... yo mama... joke....
    • 90% discount?! Now THAT'S a monopoly!

      The irony is that even after that discount they lost. Since Microsoft is starting to get some serious competition, I'm not sure how long it will be proper to accuse Microsoft of abusing its monopoly position.

    • by mindriot ( 96208 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @07:26PM (#6042762)

      Actually, This article [expatica.com] says:

      Microsoft has lowered its price offer by 15 per cent in order to prevent the city switching to Linux

      That would be a bit less then. So I still wonder where that 90% is coming from, and if that's a 90% discount on the complete price... more likely, some components were reduced by 90% so that the overall discount is closer to 15%.

  • Why did they turn down that? Seems like a good deal to me, Linux or no Linux in the equation.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      several reasons:

      to strengthen the 'technological capital' thing
      free is still cheaper than 90% off, which is important in the current german economy. also, most of the cost that does exist will stay inside munich, instead of giving a foreign company the money
      it creates 'real competition'
      it gives greater flexibility
      the change will create jobs for qualified people (which means more off them come to munich)
      not dependent on a single company
    • Linux is more efficient in administration, vendor-neutral (= competition) and KDE offers more features than the outdated Windows GUI.

      Once you are used to multiple desktops (no, that measly 4 add-on powertoys desktops don't count.), Unix-style copy-paste and much greater flexibility and configurability, you will never go back to Windows.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:42PM (#6041821)
    First LinuxTag issues SCO with a cease or desist order, and now this. Godspeed you! Germans.
  • Developers (Score:5, Funny)

    by birdman666 ( 144812 ) <ericreid@@@mac...com> on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:42PM (#6041823) Homepage
    I wonder if Mr. Ballmer learned how to say Developer in German before he went.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:42PM (#6041824)
    Deutchland Ousts Windows Alles

    Deutchland, Deutchland,
    Ousts Windows
    In comes Linux
    Good and free!

    Hear the howling
    And the gnashing
    From afar
    Redmond across the sea!

    Deutchland, Deutchland,
    Wise technologists
    And politicians
    who've listened to thee!!

  • by Realistic_Dragon ( 655151 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:43PM (#6041827) Homepage
    This is selling it below cost, which is dumping, which is illegal. The EU competition commission should take note of this (along with other infractions 1 through 97bn) and throw the book at them.

    If it's a lead plated copy of War and Peace, hurled at 1,000 m/sec, all the better.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Nonsense, economically, the cost of an additional windows copy is virtually zero. As this is the case for all software, the ability to offer 90% discounts doesn't qualify as dumping but as price discrimination [saintjoe.edu].
      Microsoft is - what is called - a natural monoploy [auburn.edu], a side effect of the software business.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      This is selling it below cost, which is dumping, which is illegal.

      It's not either. How does this shit get modded up? Is it because of the "throw the book at them" anti-Microsoft dig?

      There are circumstances under which selling goods below cost can be part of an anti-competitive practice, but the simple act of doing it is not illegal. Microsoft sells the Xbox below cost every day. Hell, the Gillette company sells their razors below cost in order to drive the sales of blades, which are immensely profitable
    • Well these are 90% rebates. So basicly Germany will have to fork over to Microsoft the Full Price of the product. Then Microsoft hold on to the cash for a couple months and invests it and makes more money. Then after some time they give them 90% they gave them back. So say in this period of time they make 10% interest on the cash. Then they are still making a profit. You are assuming that Microsoft will just hold the cash and not do anything with it, which is furthest from the truth.
    • I don't think it's "dumping". It's just a reality of selling copies of information. Microsoft, when faced with the prospect of collecting $0, will be happy to collect $x. Dumping laws are meant to prevent a well-funded company from driving out its competition through low prices, and then raising prices in the long term. It's not like OSS is going out of business. And geez, the OSS folk are giving away the software, so I don't think it's fair to fault MS for their low prices.

    • If we were talking about Xboxes or cars, then yes this would be dumping. But since linux is constantly being given away at below cost, I don't see how we linux zealots can really get grumpy about this.

      "You MS Bastards are selling your OS for $30 dollars, which is less than it cost for you to make! You're dumping."

      `What about linux?`

      "It costs $0 retail and cost gazillions to develop"

      So how is Linux not dumping?

  • by sstory ( 538486 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:43PM (#6041830) Homepage
    14 workstations running Linux is fine, but what's with the significant digits?
    • I know most of you know this already, but for those who don't the USA is one of just a few countries that use a point only to seperate whole numbers from decimal numbers, in many countries, including Germany if memory serves, you use the point as an American would a comma in a number, and a comma to seperate whole and decimal parts of a number.
  • by DailyGrind ( 456659 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:51PM (#6041864) Homepage
    Went to Germany got owned came back and started selling his MS shares....

  • Which office suite? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fished ( 574624 ) * <amphigory@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:51PM (#6041865)
    Does anyone know for sure which office suite they are using? I'm guessing OpenOffice (since in one place Babelfish calls it "Open Source Office". But it's never stated.
  • Heh! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FyRE666 ( 263011 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:58PM (#6041907) Homepage
    Well, anything that stops Balmer dancing about like a happy, sweaty monkey sounds good to me. I'm only surprised Windows scored so highly!

    As an aside, we use Star Office at work on about half the Windows machines, but the people using it do seem to be envious of the staff with MS Office installed. Problems with printing multi-page spreadsheets/images, problems opening files etc, and lack of speed seem the biggest problems.

    Although, since the sales/service people are still mostly using PIIs with 64-128MB of RAM, it's little wonder. I recently built OpenOffice on my Gentoo box to see how it compared, and it does seem a lot faster, even though my Gentoo machine has a slower CPU (Athlon 1.4ghz) than my office machine (2.4ghz P4 - although the office machine has a shit SiS onboard graphic chipset).

    I doubt the management would like all the PCs building OO from source for 3 days though ;-)
  • by gazbo ( 517111 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @04:59PM (#6041915)
    6218 (out of 10.000) points to Linux/OSS, while the MS Windows platform only scored 5293

    Under the Munich government's scoring system, one would generally expect scores around 6000, based on the extremely popular Novell system they had running for many years before they decided to "upgrade" to Windows after being given the hard-sell by MS. To score 6218 shows that Linux is well ahead of the curve; I believe that when they looked at a Solaris installation a couple of years ago, that managed slightly lower at about 6100 (I forget the exact number, but it was somewhere around that).

    The most interesting figure is Windows at 5293. AFAIK, that is the lowest score they've ever given out. Certainly the lowest one I've seen that they published.

    Go Linux!

  • Hey just a second (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Battle_Ratt ( 524562 )
    Didn't this guy just sell [slashdot.org] 10% of his stock in the company. Bet he knew it was going to break this way weeks ago. Insider trading anyone?
  • Ballmer's pitches fail... Ballmer sells shares....

    I'd give it a 74....catchy ditty, but I doubt Steve likes to dance to it. Let's see how it does in next week's rankings.
  • I hope they actually did a pilot program with say 100 users to make sure this was a good decision. Remember, there are a lot of applications that simply do not run on Linux. They are probably not doing this to be anti-Microsoft, but simply to save money. Most of their users probably just use standard office applications, so standardizing on one platform that is open source probably gives them substantial savings.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In other news...

    "Today Bill Gates announced that Germany has been added to a group of 'rogue nations' that constitute an axis of evil. When Mr. Gates decided to test the full power of his newly built Microsoft Deathstar 2003 on the rogue nation, the machine had an internal segfault which caused a massive nuclear reaction which destroyed the Redmond Washington based companies R&D labs. Mr Gates declined to comment, but a spokesman has told us that Microsoft is still committed to developing world dominat
  • by TerryAtWork ( 598364 ) <research@aceretail.com> on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:12PM (#6041994)
    as the beginning of the end for MS...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:14PM (#6042000)
    ...Microsoft is removing Munich from its next version of Flight Simulator.
  • by Hellasboy ( 120979 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:23PM (#6042045)
    just some thoughts on the situation...
    first, it's been said before that by going w/ Linux it will help the German economy more than by going with windows.
    second, 90% is a great rebate discount. But what happens 5 years down the road when MS decides to not support the piece of software that they have already sold and instead tells the people of Munich that they have to buy new versions of the software at full price?
    Third, this is a good way to bring Linux to people's homes. Didn't the x86 processor (and subsequent MS OS) become popular due to the fact that it was all over the workplace and people wanted to use it at home? not exactly like that but i hope you get my thought.

    and just so people don't think i'm some Linux zealot, i use winxp and beos. i've tried several distributions of Linux and don't like it... yet. As more people use it, it will definitely get much better for home use.
  • Image of Microsoft (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Luzumsuz Lazim ( 603227 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:30PM (#6042080)
    It's a pitty for Microsoft that it damaged its image so bad by using its monopoly power and producing so buggy software in the past. In recent years, it was only a bunch of people around me at MIT, and many (not all) slashdot people who didn't aprove what Microsoft was doing. Now, it became a common knowledge that even our secretary realized how Microsoft agresively marketed its products, and how bad they were.

    It's pitty, because it finally improved (not perfected though) its operating system that can be considered stable now. But, its too late for most of the people I know. I can tell that ALL science related machines (PCs) we have today use Linux instead of Windows both here in our department and in the part of the Los Alamos National lab. I know, and I'm proud that I was one of the few who started using it, and probably had some effect on this move.

    On the other hand Linux is not suitable for everything. I need a decent/mature interface and a machine which requires little maintanence at home, at which point I picked MacOS X instead of Microsoft because of the past experience. Which works pretty well for what it's supposed to do and more... So, again Microsoft lost one more individual as a customer. That's the primary term for Microsoft, instead of the user.

    Compatition is good. Now, they improved their products significantly (we must be fair!), and they're trying to reduce their cost, at least, the initial cost. That's also an improvement. Let's be naive and wish that it's not a trick to tie the costomers to rip them later. Actually, that's exactly the pshycological behaviour of most people when the Microsoft is involved. We do NOT trust them anymore...

    I do not wish that Microsoft disappears forever, but just wish that it can understand what they did wrong in the past, and try to repair the damage they did. However, it does not seem what is happening here.

  • by nniillss ( 577580 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:35PM (#6042117)
    In the Heise article, the rebate offered by Ballmer is not specified. In fact, the details of the offer seem to be secret. The 90% number seems to originate from earlier discussions (not linked to Munich) about an internal Microsoft order not to lose to Linux at any cost.
  • by small_dick ( 127697 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @05:36PM (#6042128)
    A breath of freedom in a world owned by Microsoft.

    If this goes through I'm going on vacation to Munich later this summer...maybe rent a nice bike (BMW F650?) and bask in the freedom. Sounds like fun.

    Great job, Munich. I know OpenOffice has it's share of problems (it really isn't all that compatible with Word documents), and there will be some hiccups, but just seeing a government stand up for freedom is a breathtaking thing in these sad times.
  • by Martin Marvinski ( 581860 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @06:00PM (#6042269)
    Before the war, there was an article on how the US was spying on countries to see how they would vote on the war resolution in the UN.

    http://www.observer.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12239,905 936,00.html

    Because of this Germany may also be moving away from software that may have potential secret backdoors written in for the NSA. No matter how much you get in rebates, it will never give a government the peace of mind of having compiled and inspected the code yourself.

  • by Gldm ( 600518 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @06:57PM (#6042603)
    When the winning software basicly scores 6/10 and beats out a competitor scoring 5/10, what does this say about the suitability of current software for what users want to use it for?

    Yes I know it's fun to watch linux vs windows and cheer from the sidelines etc, but how about this bigger picture?

    Maybe it's just me but software seems to be doing less and less of what we as users want and more and more of what marketing departments want. Useless features, obsolete features that are never pruned, tons of time and money spent dealing with ways to push advertising or find more ways to milk the consumer... Whatever happened to looking for ways to make doing everyday tasks easier and faster? Open source projects don't seem to be entirely immune to it either. I see lots of development in trying to keep feature parity or adding new things to invent new buzzwords for, but I haven't seen anything moving towards ease of using for some time now. All apps are now using "skinable" interfaces that make using them inconsistent with each other. Some apps have such complex configurations they're harder to learn to use than the average OS. I think that's a problem.

    So what were the almost 4000 points that weren't awarded based on?
  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @07:03PM (#6042632) Journal
    "Attacking France and making them do all the typing," garnered 7012 points, until someone pointed out the German constitution forbids it.
  • by Nice2Cats ( 557310 ) on Monday May 26, 2003 @07:26PM (#6042763)
    For those of you who need the Fish to read German, let it be noted that this story is spreading fast in the German media, having been quickly picked up by none other than Der Spiegel [spiegel.de], Germany's counterpart to Time and Newsweek rolled into one. If nothing else, this is a big publicity win for Tux.

  • by ites ( 600337 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2003 @03:41AM (#6045569) Journal
    Read between the lines. The only reason that Munich went with Linux/OSS is because IBM is backing it. If Microsoft were offering a 90% discount to try to keep their hooks in place, how much do you think IBM was offering to install _their_ hooks instead?

    It is a little naive to assume that a city government (or any large group) would switch to Linux simply because it is "better" or "cheaper". There is only one rule to understand politics and business: follow the money. In this case, and I believe it's the same in many "switches" to Linux, we are seeing Linux/OSS used as a trojan horse by interests that just happen to be competing with Microsoft.

    Personally I admire IBM for having seen in 1999 that Linux aand OSS was their best weapon against their biggest enemy, namely Microsoft. Remember, this is the company that thought OS/2 would beat Windows... It has taken them four years, but now it is starting to pay off.

    Expect IBM to downsize their Linux/OSS sales pitch once they have the formula working.

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