Back-pedaling in Germany

“Back in 2007, the Foreign Office’s IT department regarded the use of open source software on servers and desktop systems as a success story. IT costs per workspace were reported to be lower than in any other government department, despite the demands imposed by running a high security, globally distributed IT infrastructure.”

“Now the Foreign Office is back-pedalling. The government’s response to the SPD’s question states that, although open source has demonstrated its worth, particularly on servers, the cost of adapting and extending it, for example in writing printer and scanner drivers, and of training, have proved greater than anticipated.”

How bizarre is that? I have never had to write a driver for GNU/Linux and I have used GNU/Linux on many hundreds of desktops in random systems. Only once did I meet a printer I could not drive and there was a work-around of using one machine as a print-server running that other OS. Certainly there is no way the training costs of GNU/Linux were significant. Munich still has not spent its training budget.

see H-Online

It seems M$’s salesmen still visit the converted. We should put up “KEEP OUT” signs.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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13 Responses to Back-pedaling in Germany

  1. oldman says:

    “I think what you need to keep in mind is that this is Robert Pogson’s Blog. You’re his guest. This is not a platform to push your agenda.”

    Robert Pogson has been able to use his IT skills to help bring a set of functional technology to educational environment where it was badly needed. I respect that, and actually made a few modest efforts to help him out with some technical issues that he had. I comment here on some of Robert Pogson’s posts that I have issues with for various reasons or because I feel that my comments might add something. I do not expect to convert him or anyone who reads this blog. I hope that he might take my comments into consideration as he writes.

    Sometimes I get a little too intense in making my comments. When I have stepped out of line, I have apologized and gone on from there.

    But in the end Mr. Chapman the only person whose business it is what I say is Robert Pogson. If he decides that I am out of line, he will say so and can ban me at any time that he wishes.

    On the other hand, if you wish to actually join in the discussion instead of attempting to belittle and muzzle me, feel free.

  2. Richard Chapman says:

    “I think that you need to keep in mind that the issue here is…”

    I think what you need to keep in mind is that this is Robert Pogson’s Blog. You’re his guest. This is not a platform to push your agenda.

  3. oldman says:

    “Did anyone complain about the endless stream of critical vulnerabilities in that other OS?”

    I doubt it. Remember Pog, that if the statement in the article reflects the situation at I believe it does. they were more focused on the functionality that they had lost.

    I think that you need to keep in mind that the issue here is not what you can do with Linux, but what these people could do with a set of applications that were at the time far less functional than they are now.

  4. Anyone that holds that M$ does not conspire with its partners to restrain trade is out to lunch. Reading the filings on US DOJ v M$ or Comes should disavow any reasonable person of such ideas.

  5. Richard Chapman says:

    “Must be a conspiracy”
    “tin foil hat”
    “Very pathetic”
    “what’s most horrible is that you teach”
    “tunnel vision”
    “propaganda-filled”
    “infect – young minds”
    “small mind”

    Must be trying to impress somebody. There doesn’t appear to be anything in that post that isn’t an insult. What poison.

  6. Ray says:

    “I have never had to write a driver for GNU/Linux and I have used GNU/Linux on many hundreds of desktops in random systems.”

    Lucky, I couldn’t find a complete driver for Linux 🙁

  7. Well, Anonymouse, what drivers would anyone need to write in this day to use GNU/Linux on the desktop? I have never heard of anyone having that kind of problem. We have networked printers mostly on LANs so the basic driver you need is Ethernet and that has been solid for a decade. Postscript and a bunch of other file formats work for many printers. Scanners are more of an issue but you don’t spend $xK writing a driver for a $100 scanner. In the last decade working in many schools on many devices I have only once met a device I could not use with GNU/Linux. So, what are these mysterious devices which needed costly drivers written? For desktop systems? Sheesh!

    I have worked for more than 40 years with a variety of computers systems from analogue to mainframe to PCs to controllers. If I have so little impact on minds, why troll my site? Ignore me! Please!

  8. TFA:“The extent to which the potential savings trumpeted in 2007 have proved realisable has, according to the government, been limited – though it declines to give any actual figures. Users have, it claims, also complained of missing functionality, a lack of usability and poor interoperability.”

    So, no numbers to describe the margins and they used this stuff for 4 years even though people found it wanting. No mention of what could not interoperate or what functionality was missing. Does that make any sense? I have not seen any task that GNU/Linux could not accomplish and it interoperates with itself very nicely. If they were only using GNU/Linux, what interoperability problems did they have? GNU/Linux tends to follow open standards. How can it not interoperate in that case?

    Did anyone complain about the endless stream of critical vulnerabilities in that other OS?

    see http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/microsoft-confirms-windows-browser-protocol-zero-day/8219?tag=nl.e589

  9. Anonymouse says:

    “Folks were happy with the system. How did they become unhappy with it? This is a top-down decision of some kind.”

    Right. Must be a conspiracy. Are you wearing your tin foil hat?

    “I have never had to write a driver for GNU/Linux and I have used GNU/Linux on many hundreds of desktops in random systems.”

    Very pathetic example of inductive reasoning.

    I think what’s most horrible is that you teach. Your tunnel vision and propaganda-filled opinions-presented-as-fact create distortions that are going to affect – or rather infect – young minds.

    I suppose the only consolation is that you are far enough up North that you are not having too serious of an impact on the populace at large.

    What a small mind you have Robert.

  10. Richard Chapman says:

    “Interoperability” is a Microsoft code word, meaning “Doesn’t work with Microsoft or isn’t Microsoft”.

    This is a case of strong-arming. Influence is being peddled and the users will suffer because of it.

  11. oldman says:

    “Folks were happy with the system. How did they become unhappy with it?”

    But that’s not what the article said, again:

    “Users have, it claims, also complained of missing functionality, a lack of usability and poor interoperability.”

    Assuming that this was correct, there were obviously enough people whose work was disrupted

    “This is a top-down decision of some kind.”

    Of course this was a top down decision Pog, it would have to be. But based on my own experience I would not be surprised if it was driven by internal feedback from those who were less than happy using the systems and were probably wre both quite vocal about their unhappiness and probably were able to quantify their lost productivity in ways that management could no longer ignore.

    Remember the old saying Pog:

    “Culture eats Strategy for breakfast”

  12. Folks were happy with the system. How did they become unhappy with it? This is a top-down decision of some kind.

  13. oldman says:

    Actually, Pog, if you read the article carefully, the following sentence should give you a clue as to why this happened.

    “Users have, it claims, also complained of missing functionality, a lack of usability and poor interoperability.”

    This is precisely the kind of outcome that one gets when one thinks that one scan simply present a fait accompli to the staff that have to actually work in the new environment, If this is done without doing any research into exactly how members of that staff are using their computers to get work done. The results would be predictable. Lost productivity as those members of the staff who had built up a collection of macros/templates for getting work done were faced with having lost time as they scrambled to “reinvent the wheel” in the new environment. Lost productivity as those less sophisticated in their use of software had to learn the new environment and cope with document translation issues. Imagine the fun of a finance person would have as the carefully vetted excel spreadsheets that he/she used to make financial decisions now had to be “tinkered with” and vetted all over again. Am I surprised that there were complaints – nope. And I will also bet that at least some the people complaining were also quite capable of demonstrating how any savings going to FOSS were more than offset in the cost of their time in having to re-acquire expertise (when it WAS re-acquirable) with their spanking brand new FOSS tools….

    When you add in the state of FOSS desktop applications circa 2007, its not surprising that the management, back pedaled – they were probably tired of all the complaints and were most likely being made VERY aware of exactly how much lost productivity there was.

    What is also not surprising is that the server side of the equation remained on Linux with FOSS. Here at least the support and function was most likely good enough to get the job done.

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