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  Fun Fact About Those Linux PCs in Munich
Time: 15:24 EST/20:24 GMT | News Source: WinInformant | Posted By: Robert Stein

And speaking about Linux stories you don't hear much from the Linux-loving mainstream press, consider the following. Remember that story about the city of Munich choosing Linux to power 14,000 desktop computers? One aspect of this story that most people don't know about is that up to 80 percent of those Linux desktops will be equipped with VMWare, a virtual machine emulator, under which they will run Windows and Windows applications. That's right, folks: The majority of those "Linux desktops" will be used to run Windows. I'm not a big fan of Gartner, but they've issued a report, correctly titled, "Munich's Choice Doesn't Prove Linux OK for General Desktop Use," that raises some interesting issues. First, many of the Windows desktops they're migrated are very old Windows versions like Windows 3.1, making the switch to Linux less painful (it would be equally painful to switch to XP). Gartner says the cost of switching to Linux will cost 30 million Euros, or 3 million Euros more than it would cost to switch to XP, not including any steep discounts Microsoft would have no doubt provided. And finally, because most of the Linux machines will use VMWare to run Windows anyway, Linux is really being used as a hosting environment, and not as a replacement. In other words, this isn't exactly a good business case on which other companies can base a decision to migrate to Windows desktops. And, not coincidentally, that's why we're not reading about a lot of other high-profile Linux switchers.

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#1 By 135 ( at 7/18/2003 4:20:35 PM
VMWare was the worst thing to ever happen for Linux.

Ok, second worst was Wine.

It's the same problem OS/2 had with Windows compatibility. It's a crutch, it allows adoption but it doesn't force development towards native apps. Eventually the users realize just how much of a pain life is, and move back to straight Windows.

#2 By 7797 ( at 7/18/2003 4:43:15 PM
This doesn't sound quite right. It makes no sense whatsoever. I really doubt anyone would be THAT stupid. What would be the point? If they buy the license for windows anyways why wouldn't they just run it natively? If they have to pay for migrating to a new OS why would they double tax themselves for moving to linux AND buying the windows licenses? I dunno to me it just doesnt make sense no matter which way I look at it. I don't think Paul knows the full story. What could be the point of doing that?

This post was edited by tgnb on Friday, July 18, 2003 at 16:47.

#3 By 6859 ( at 7/18/2003 4:54:27 PM
Dudes, they're German, oft known for doing wacky stuff. This kinda makes sense in a German sort of way...

#4 By 7797 ( at 7/18/2003 4:58:13 PM
Cthulhu: No it does not make sense in a German kind of way.

#5 By 7797 ( at 7/18/2003 5:40:46 PM

"The point of choosing Linux (specifically, Suse) is that it helps the local economy. With all the media attention that the switch to Linux has gotten, Munich hopes that it will help Suse in the long-term, and thus boost the local economy."

Yes i understand that. But that wasn't my question.

"As for the point of running Windows apps in VMWare, they obviously feel that the Linux equivalents (or Windows layers for *nix like Wine, WineX, etc) can't do the job as well as the Windows apps running natively in Windows."

I understand that also, but my original questions still remain.

You see, once you put both those motivations together thats when the sense in it all begins to dissapear. Stimulate the economy.. sure. Pay double for doing so? I don't think so.
It would be easier to just pay microsoft their licensing fees and fund the local economy another way.

This post was edited by tgnb on Friday, July 18, 2003 at 17:42.

#6 By 20 ( at 7/18/2003 6:03:12 PM
#7: I could see how promoting a German company would be preferable to promoting a U.S. company, even if that company employed many Germans.

#7 By 9589 ( at 7/18/2003 6:15:45 PM
Linux loving mainstream press is right!

I checked Computerworld, CNET, Infoworld, Information Week, and ZNETs' web sites and not one of them carried this story, but chose to carry at least one of the several ad nasuem articles about the original story.

The original text of the Gartner story at, is even more revealing of this "project". It appears that the "project" is not scheduled to start until Q1, 2004? Then it is to run for two entire years??? It seams that Munich hasn't even completed planning for the migration.

So, to recap: they bought a package, but hadn't yet developed a plan to implement the package. Huh? Then, it will take two full years to deliver 14,000 desktops? With a typical 220 day work year that is about 30 desktops migrated a day. Are they doing them by hand??? Sheeesh! What a SNAFU.

Stay tuned, this is only going to get more ridiculous. I can only conclude that they are implementing the "migration full employment act" because by the time they get done it will be time to start all over again. LOL

#8 By 7797 ( at 7/18/2003 6:30:04 PM

"One would think that keeping those employees employed would be just as helpful to the local economy wouldn't you?"

No, because I doubt they will close that office just because they didnt get the government contract.


"So, to recap: they bought a package, but hadn't yet developed a plan to implement the package. Huh?"

No thats not correct. They just recently made the decision. During the decision making process you can't make deployment plans. So after making the decision a few weeks ago they are now doing the deployment plan for the software they just decided on. Q1 2004 is only 2 quarters away from now, thats not too ridiculously long to plan for the deployment of a major upgrade/migration of this magnitude. I dont see how you say it would be another 2 years from now. If they finish the deployment plan in 2 quarters and then it takes another 2 to actually do it thats 1 year, not 2.

#9 By 11888 ( at 7/18/2003 9:10:55 PM
Could simply be a migration path plan too.

#10 By 3653 ( at 7/18/2003 9:18:28 PM
Excuse me if someone else has already posted this, but...

$35,000,000 to convert 14,000 desktops. That's $2500 each. That seems like an aweful lot of money to convert a single machine. Isn't linux supposed to be free? How long does it take to convert a desktop? Jeez. They could buy new Window machine (hardware and software) cheaper. My company does! We pay $2000 for a new desktop, including Windows. That includes a full Licensing 6 subscription.

#11 By 3653 ( at 7/18/2003 11:38:28 PM
xeniten - you present alot of "strategic" reasons... but you dont seem to believe them yourself... when you defend their buying LOCAL. That was the only "strategy" involved in this decision.

God, no wonder Germany's economy is in the toilet. Their economy makes the US economy look like we are in a boom.

This post was edited by mooresa56 on Friday, July 18, 2003 at 23:39.

#12 By 143 ( at 7/19/2003 2:43:40 AM
Let the market decide... This Linux marketing stunt is just that.
business is business

Don't let it become a Religious thing... it's not worth it

#13 By 12071 ( at 7/19/2003 4:15:58 AM
#13 They may as well have saved some money by continuing to use windows and running Linux under VMWare until all their applications had been ported. This way as the applications got ported they could 'disable' the windows version ensuring that the users had to use VMWare and therefore Linux to use that particular application. In this way the users could have been slowly moved onto Linux rather than have a sudden change and be told "oh yeah, you'll still be using Windows but through an emulator now".

#14 By 12071 ( at 7/19/2003 5:07:06 AM
#27 I didn't say to throw them away, I said to use them whilst they were in the process of porting their applications to Linux. In this way the users would be slowly moved onto Linux (i.e. they would have to start using it, learning it etc to be able ot use those applications that have been ported so far) rather than being thrown into a completely new environment where they will continue to use Windows but through an emulator! I guess they can still apply the same tactic though, by disabling the applications in Windows to make the users use the Linux version instead. In which case if they want to get all their users on Linux then they should limit the number of applications that can be run on Windows under VMWare to encourage them to use the Linux versions instead otherwise as soda mentioned the users will just be running everything they do now except through an emulator!

#15 By 13998 ( at 7/19/2003 7:18:51 AM
It's funny to read comments where the US economy is compared to German (or European) economy.

EU economy and the US economy are tightly connected and one cannot be any better when the other one is bad. The US is a big customer for the EU, and vice versa.

#16 By 10896 ( at 7/19/2003 8:32:15 AM
This whole Munich thing is just an example of German leftists supporting a German company, showing their Anti-American feelings and wasting the city taxpayers money.

80% running VMware and Linux supporters say the desktop is ready for enterprises. What a joke.

#17 By 12071 ( at 7/19/2003 11:46:07 AM
#31 Let's say you're right and that the only reason they choose Linux over Windows was to support a German company - why shouldn't they? Why should they support an overseas company, whether that be an American company or an Indian one or any other? If they want to support their own countries companies then good on them, it doesn't necessarily mean that they hate American companies. If they are wasting tax payers money by doing so then I'm sure that it's not the only program in all of Germany which is "wasting" tax payers money.

#18 By 135 ( at 7/19/2003 1:48:26 PM
tgnb - "It makes no sense whatsoever."

Linux advocacy is not supposed to make sense.

#19 By 7797 ( at 7/19/2003 5:06:34 PM

"tgnb - "It makes no sense whatsoever."
Linux advocacy is not supposed to make sense."

Thanks for trolling today!

#20 By 3653 ( at 7/19/2003 5:14:47 PM
and tgnb... thanks for proving soda's point. Dont walk away defeated, please fight back. Its very amusing to watch.

#21 By 12071 ( at 7/19/2003 10:35:39 PM
#34 I didn't say this was a "huge" win for Linux, 14,000 desktops is hardly a significant number. It's better than nothing but it's hardly significant. And the fact that they are continuing to use Windows through VMWare makes it even less significant. I just don't like billmac's comments where he assumes that just because they picked their own country's company that they must be anti-American. Let's all label everyone as being anti-American... hell, maybe just because they picked Linux they're terrorists!

"Munich ended up choosing the more expensive, less technically adequate solution"
Whilst they did choose the more expensive solution, they might disagree with the less technically adequate reason - after all I'm sure they have their own reasons for choosing to switch to Linux (whatever those reasons may be).

"That's got to be the absolute weakest justification I've ever heard."
I wasn't trying to justify it, I was simply stating that whinging that this is a waste of tax payers money is relatively pointless since tax payers money is wasted in many ways, especially if they waste it in ways similar to the way they do here!

#35 The same reason that they have for wanting to switch to Linux in the first place even though it initially cost them more to do so? I don't know what their reasons for switching are so I can't answer that, seems slightly silly based on what they are doing now, maybe they just want to get to a point where they don't have to rely on proprietary software, who knows what the real reasons are apart from them. I thought it was silly when China announced they were working on their own cpu because they wanted to be free from the west, but they too have their reasons for doing so.

This post was edited by chris_kabuki on Saturday, July 19, 2003 at 22:39.

#22 By 12071 ( at 7/19/2003 11:13:05 PM
#43 "What I did claim was that the media is making this into a win for Linux"
The media make a big deal of a lot of things, that's what they do.

"Second of all, when you put quotes around something, you might want to be sure that someone actually said what you're quoting."

I wasn't quoting the word huge, I was trying to emphasise it.

"Strategic other words, "Choose the local guy!""
I don't doubt that in the least, but maybe the Munich council viewed Linux as being the technically superior solution in the long run, based on their strategy. Who knows, everyone has their own opinions on which is technically superior, which is strategically superior etc etc.

"If you say so."
I do.

#23 By 12071 ( at 7/19/2003 11:35:30 PM
#45 I swear you just love to argue for the sake of arguing.

"Yes, and everyone knows that it is common practice in written English to put quotes around something when you want to to emphasize it."
Yes and everyone knows that whilst writing comments and opinions on an internet forum you should always write in correct, proper English! What are you, the English police? Next time I'll put the word in bold to make sure that you understand that I'm emphasising it, because if I put it in capitals as you suggested then you might interpret that as me yelling the word out!

"Which still doesn't change the way your sentence reads"
And I've explained what I meant by it, you're the only one still going on about it because of the way you interpreted it.

#24 By 135 ( at 7/20/2003 12:49:19 PM
God I am just so sick of the lies people use to justify Linux.

Be honest with yourself people!

#25 By 16451 ( at 7/20/2003 1:50:39 PM
Right, lies, lies, and more lies <sigh>

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