Summing Up Munich’s Migration To GNU/Linux

Munich has a pretty good write-up on the whole project. I find only a few minor errors:

  • While they claim success and detail the evolution of their detailed grand plan, they had to revise it more than once as they went along. That’s a failure, I think, of this set-piece kind of migration. They even write, “In most cases, projects like these cannot be planned in advance. The first steps have to be to count, identify and structure the existing IT landscapes. One of the most important benefits for the city of Munich was the reorganisation of the IT structure. For the first time, the admins would know exactly by whom, where, when and why a programme was running – not as a matter of control, but for organisational and quality assurance purposes.” My plan to migrate over the weekend and fix the breakage on Monday looks pretty good compared to fixing the whole project multiple times… Still they saved a lot of money but they could have saved more doing it my way.
  • Further, they switched from Debian to Ubuntu GNU/Linux, “the city decided to switch to Ubuntu Linux, a Debian derivative with scheduled, plannable updates. Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, promises to deliver a new version twice a year (April and October), and offers long-term support for special versions. Canonical promised five years of support for Ubuntu Linux 10.04, the version chosen by LiMux.
    Furthermore, Ubuntu comes with a more up-to-date software selection than the rather conservative Debian distribution.”
    That’s not even consistent with their plan to avoid breakage. Ubuntu/Canonical breaks a lot of things. On the one hand they choose a set-piece roll-out and on the other choose a distro with a cadence of breakage. That’s schizophrenic if you ask me.

Still, it all worked out in the end, “Munich’s switch to open source took a little more than ten years, and costed the city 18.7 million euro, the case study reports. The system is some 12 million euro cheaper than continuing with the proprietary alternative, although the case study stresses that costs were never the driving factor. The city now runs OpenOffice and LibreOffice on 15,000 desktop PCs and has introduced centralised IT services including project management, testing and deployment.
In the report, the IT department lists the results, including an extraordinarily high level of independence from vendors, independence in its operating system, the overall use of open standards as normal practice, a very high level of IT security and no shutdowns of any services or processes over a migration period of several years.”

They got what they wanted their way. That’s what matters. The most important fact of LiMux is that Munich figured out that it was possible to escape the slavery of M$. They were far more successful than they first imagined too. They found it cost less to do the job and less to train users. It certainly is a better system than they would have had fighting waves of malware and forced upgrades by M$.

See LiMux – the IT evolution – An open source success story like never before.

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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7 Responses to Summing Up Munich’s Migration To GNU/Linux

  1. Mats Hagglund says:

    We should never forget also some of the greatest crimes of Apply during the year of 2013.

    I recommend this one:

    This part is interesting:

    “Sucking Los Angeles Schools Dry to the Tune of $1 Billion

    Apple announced in June that it had signed a $30 million contract to supply iPads to all 650,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The largest public school system in the nation, LAUSD planned at the time to equip every student, teacher, and administrator with a device by 2015. The school board voted unanimously in favor of the project, which would ultimately cost the district $1 billion.

    Apple’s press release quoted board member Jaime Aquino as saying they chose the iPad because it was the cheapest tablet option, coming equipped with the Pearson Common Core System of Courses, Apple’s iWork, iLife, and iTunes software, and other educational software.

    The iPads themselves will cost $500 million at $678 per device, with the other $500 million allocated to expenses like installing wireless networks at each school. The program will be paid for with long-term construction bonds, and the district plans to use the devices to not only implement the Common Core curriculum, but also for upcoming state standardized tests.

    However, since the initial celebratory rollout at the start of the school year, the Los Angeles Times has run a series of articles detailing a range of problems with the program, including the questionable use of long-term construction bonds to pay for the project, and students unlocking the devices for other uses and leaving them at home. In the first month 71 iPads went missing, and by mid October the district had begun recalling them from some campuses.

    The LA Times also revealed that the $1 billion plan had hidden costs, like an additional $100 per device for software updates until the district reaches the $400 million purchase mark with Apple, and an additional $38 million, as yet approved, for the purchase of keyboards.

    Yet, despite the problems, and teacher, parent, and union dissent, the board approved the second phase of the project in November. LAUSD will spend $135 million more for the purchase of another 70,000 iPads, as well as MacBook laptops for all students and teachers at the district’s 7 high schools.

    Public dissent seems to have had some impact on the costly plan, as the school board voted in late December to reduce the number of iPads planned for the next rollout, saving the district $25 million. Further, a school board oversight committee has asked for more evidence justifying the necessity of iPads for state testing.

    With programs such as these Apple’s iPad has cornered the education market. There are 10 million iPads in schools around the world today, accounting for nearly all of educational tablets shipped during the first half of 2013. LA Times reporter Steve Lopez pointed out in April, prior to the finalization of the deal spearheaded by LAUSD schools superintendent John Deasy, that “people with ties to tech companies were among the major donors to a political action committee that supports Deasy-friendly school board candidates,” including a $250,000 donation from “the parent corporation of a company that sells tablet computers designed for schools,” and a $200,000 gift from “a group headed by the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs.” Politically oriented donations such as these seem to be paying off for Apple, which according to a November study by IDG has seen its tablet shipments increase by nearly 50 percent since 2012. “

  2. Mats Hagglund wrote, “Teachers and IT-support persons have praised how those old tired Windows machines get some new life with Linux.”

    Amen. The best is to use the old machines as thin clients of one or more newer PCs or servers. GNU/Linux is very flexible. Whatever hardware you have you can get the best result. By having lots of RAM on the terminal server, all the users get to use cached files instead of seeking all over a ~40gB hard drive. The server will have 500gB and SCSI drives which transfer so much faster. Now you can use SSDs, too. They were too expensive when I was a teacher.

    When I was a computer teacher, I used to look around the lab and see waste. 500 MB RAM on each of 24 PCs, is 12 gB that could cache everything on the server… 40gB storage on each PC that could be 1TB on the server. 3gHz of CPU on each PC, 72 gHz wasted when 24 gHz would more than do the job if they weren’t running that other OS. Imagine a multi-core 64-bit CPU on the server… It’s just a better way to run IT in schools, offices, anywhere with a cluster of PCs. At one school, students using XP in the lab had 2 minute boots to reach a usable desktop. On the thin client machines, it was 30s to boot and 5s to login. That’s 1.7 X 24 student-minutes wasted at every class. Of course, that other OS had to reboot every class or the machines’ OS would freeze up. Proper thin clients are fanless ARM and it costs little to leave them idle all day. The server can turn them off at the end of the day and on just before class.

  3. Mats Hagglund says:

    Here are some comments from teachers and IT-professionals about Opinsys:

    Timo Suanto, IT -pedagogical expert, City of Espoo:

    “Opinsys service is remarkably more convenient than our former suppliers, which adds value for teaching.”

    Riitta Rekiranta, headmaster, city of Kauniainen:

    “We got ourselves more computers and a system, that supports learning and teaching.”

    Kalevi Rissanen, director of education, Muurame:

    “The deployment has gone smoothly. The co-operation with Opinsys has worked really well in general.”

    Antti Turunen, IT -support, City of Kemi:

    “Some have been really suprised by how fast the (reused) computers can work. It’s like working with brand new hardware.”

  4. Mats Hagglund says:

    Sorry. I should have wrote: “how schools have saved some money”. Because most of them didn’t have to buy any new computers at all. They put Linux on those old machines and teachers were amazed how those machines were just brand new fast machines.

    Support persons have also wondered how there work is now much easier than during pathetic Windows era.

  5. Mats Hagglund says:

    15 000 clients of Munich using Linux. Not bad. But not bad that in Finland over 45 000 elementary school students and teachers in 150 schools are using just one Linux system called Opinsys (Ubuntu). 4 years ago there were 25 000 using the same system. Average annual growth about 16%. There are total ~ 600 000 elementary school students and teachers in Finland. 7-8% of them are now using that Linux system. Teachers and IT-support persons have praised how those old tired Windows machines get some new life with Linux. They mentioned how much faster there system is now and how schools have spend some money. My old school seems to be one of those adopting Linux.

  6. Of the NSA, Keiser report said, “This has done more damage to the financial markets in the united States than Osama bin Laden or whoever did 9/11 could have done.”

    Yep. Not only are citizens alarmed, but businesses large and small foreign and domestic. Once again, USA is its own worst enemy.

  7. dougman says:

    “When the Munich mayor was at a conference in California, giving a speech about LiMux, Bill Gates was there as well. Ude, who is well-known as a humorist, loves to tell what happened next. Gates asked Ude if he would accept a lift to the airport in Gates’s limousine. Wanting to save time, Ude agreed and off they went. Once in the car, however, the mayor discovered that the Microsoft CEO wanted to use the 20-minute ride to talk him out of LiMux.

    Gates asked: “Mr. Ude, why are you doing this?”.
    Ude replied: “To gain freedom.”
    Gates: “Freedom from what?”
    Ude: “Freedom from you, Mr. Gates.”

    According to Ude the rest of the ride passed in silence.”

    I see this accelerating:

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