Linux in the news: Munich

As mentioned in my article, "Is Linux at the Gates of the Factory?" (CE, May 2004, p. 32-36), "Government agencies at various levels have embraced it [Linux use], particularly in Europe."


As mentioned in my article, " Is Linux at the Gates of the Factory ?" ( CE , May 2004, p. 32-36), "Government agencies at various levels have embraced it [ Linux use], particularly in Europe." One of the latest major affirmations of this trend was the mid-June "final" announcement that the city of Munich, Germany, opted to switch to Linux operating system (OS) and software over Microsoft Windows for its network of 14,000 desktop PCs.

While pros and cons of Linux on the factory floor are still playing out—see above article—things appear much clearer in the desktop and office worlds. Changeover for the Munich project, reportedly valued at some $42 million in startup costs alone, was slated to begin July 1. Conversion of the main software applications is to be tackled later in this year. Analysts indicate that actual cost of the switch may be higher due to free services coming from IBM and Novell, which provide Linux products and services.

Among benefits of Linux operating system are open-source code, scalable architecture, a large community of contributing developers, and "free" access to source code over the Internet.

For its part, Microsoft minimized this and other recent defections to Linux in Europe, in terms of cultural issues and a desire to reduce reliance on U.S.-based technology. According to a Microsoft spokesperson, a more reasonable decision-making approach is to pinpoint actual costs to run Linux and open source systems.

For more "open" and "free" discussions from Control Engineering , read:

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering,

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