Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
German city wants to ditch Microsoft for Linux (androidrookies.com)
298 points by darshansavla 34 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 233 comments

Iirc, the initiative in Munich was very impressive, with public servants being taught how to file bug reports and whatnot. This is great news imo. Less spending on proprietary software, more accountability, possibly job openings for consultants. Good job Germany! I wish more countries would follow.

Many countries are currently ditching Windows in favor of home grown distros due to distrust of Microsoft. Notable examples:

Currently transitioning:

- Astra Linux (Russia) https://www.zdnet.com/article/russian-military-moves-closer-...

- Kylin Linux? (China) https://www.techradar.com/news/china-to-ditch-all-windows-pc...

- South Korea https://www.zdnet.com/article/south-koreas-government-explor...

Already transitioned:

- Red Star OS (DPRK) https://www.pcworld.com/article/2862737/meet-red-star-os-the...

- Nova (Cuba) https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2017/07/nova-os-new-release-scre...

Definitely can't blame them for being distrustful. Seems like it would probably be easy enough for Microsoft to hide extra data in the telemetry that Windows 10 already sends home if the NSA or someone were to force them to, and history seems to inform us that US companies have little choice but to comply with such orders.

Large governments have access to Windows source code.


It's more about long-term strategy. China wants full control over their OS. They want features Microsoft would never add. They want support for their own hardware, etc.

Just curious, what "history" are you talking about? Do you have some reference links?

Mostly just referring to PRISM and the like. Also, over the years, we've seen a few instances where big companies have publicly fought National Security Letters or gag orders, so I think it's a safe guess that plenty of other stuff like that goes on behind the scenes without ever coming to the public's attention.

Interesting note on Red Star OS: They appear to have a watermarking system allowing them to track how files move between people.


Previous discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8856979

FWIW in each of these countries, except perhaps North Korea, Windows is still king. Kylin, Red Star, and Nova are all very long running projects at this point, and as far as I can tell none of them are a majority even of government desktops.

There is also Turkish government funded Pardus project [0] and has been going on since 2005. Numerous government institutions started to use it but still not enough to ditch Windows.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pardus_(operating_system)

I feel like Pardus project has lost some momentum. Maybe I feel like this because there was a lot of publicity and hype around Pardus project when I was growing up.

What interested me most is that Pardus project had its own packaged manager called PiSi, which was then adopted by Solus.

I bet Pardus project had their own reasons to adopt the apt system and rely on Debian volunteers for all packaging support. As the OS is largely maintained by a government institution, I'd imagine it doesn't have the large userbase as Debian does.

There are also some other cool projects made for Pardus, for example Zemberek, a spell checker for the Turkish language that uses natural language processing for Libreoffice and Openoffice: https://github.com/ahmetaa/zemberek-nlp

Those are mostly countries for which the strategic advantage of not being dependant on Windows far outweighs the other aspects.

Yeah, aware of those... But... I wouldn't really use most of the countries on your list to set an example for the rest of the world, if you know what I mean...

France's police uses Linux for 10 years now, a specific Ubuntu distro: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GendBuntu

Plenty of other countries have faced US aggression, or are in danger of such.

Hell, US citizens face aggression from the US.

It just means western lobbying doesn't have much of an effect there. Japan was going to use their TRON operating system in schools until Microsoft decided they didn't like that.


Please don't take HN threads on generic ideological tangents. They're tedious and predictable—people always say the same things, and it usually turns nasty.



Wh1zz 34 days ago [flagged]

See general state of development/corruption for all ex-soviet countries versus the rest of the developed world.

Wh1zz 34 days ago [flagged]

> See general state of development/corruption for all ex-soviet countries versus the rest of the developed world.

Also, rights and stuff

dastx 34 days ago [flagged]

You wouldn't call a president that by all means takes from the poor, and gives it to the rich, to himself, and to children as corrupt? How about many, many senators who are doing the exact same thing? How about a prime minister that does the same?

There is just as much corruption in the developed world as there is in ex-Soviet countries.

I feel like taking from the poor and giving to cronies is a thing that also happened under communism (and a good chunk of contemporary 'socialist' states, and to a less horrifying extent, gas and water socialisms like Western Europe). This is a generally predictable outcome of state-led socialism, as predicted long before actual implementation of state socialism, by early socialists like Benjamin Tucker and others like Bastiat in the mid 19th century.

I guess my point was that OP was implying capitalism has no or considerably less corruption, when in reality, this is not true.

I'm not sure an ideology necessarily creates corruption. I'm not advocating for communism or capitalism or anything else, but when the UK PM is okay to start a multibillion dollar novelty project (London's Garden Bridge) and give that contract to his buddies, or the US president can literally charge the US taxpayer over $100 million to golf at his own golf course in less than four years, you cannot claim to be the better person. Capitalism sucks. Communism sucks. Instead of bashing one and praising the other despite both of them being immensely flawed, isn't the solution.

Also why my original comment is flagged is beyond me.

coldtea 34 days ago [flagged]

Err, the ex-soviet countries are cut-throat capitalist, mostly the same way early western countries were (the "robber baron" era).

Not the best counter-example!

Are they? Russia, for example, is neo-feudalist, not capitalist.

Many western countries had similar strongmen. Some even had a bona fide royalty class, lording over common people, and then their sons, and grandsons lording in turn...

That aside, modern Russia has tons of capitalists... Crony capitalism is still capitalism, and there are tons of proper companies there besides. Not everything is owned by some government-friendly mafioso. But when a regime collapses, like USSR did and there's a power vacuum that's what usually evolves for a while...

> That aside, modern Russia has tons of capitalists

They are the least protected class, who live under constant threat of business extortion by corrupt government clerks. That's pretty much the opposite of "cut-throat capitalism".

>They are the least protected class, who live under constant threat of business extortion by corrupt government clerks.

Not exactly, they are the ones who are friendly with the corrupt government clerks. It's not like government trumps capitalism, it's more like capitalists own friends in high places...

So same as in most countries...

vetinari 34 days ago [flagged]

> See general state of development/corruption for all ex-soviet countries versus the rest of the developed world.

The delta in development between ex-USSR countries vs. the West has only increased since 1991 (the fall of USSR).

So whatever they do today means they are doing worse job than they were doing under communism.

You confuse cause and effect of the soviet block collapse.

From what I see, corruption in capitalist countries is rampant.

asjw 34 days ago [flagged]

Communism ≠ USSR

Corruption is not a specific trait of ex Soviet countries, I would argue that it is more rampant in capitalistic countries, where money can buy favourable regulations (see tobacco or oil industry as an example)

To be clear I'm Italian, I don't think life in Italy is worse than in many other western countries, I would say it's generally better, especially for the medium-low income segment of the population

PCI (the Italian communist party) obtadined regularly a third of the votes until it was disbanded in 1992

I don't think it ended up in horror or that it made Italy a place in ruins

Corruption was very popular here in those years, but the government have been anti communists for 50 years straight from the end of WW2 until 1998, when the first former communist, Massimo D'Alema, became prime minister.

He has also been a popular meme


No, and it is not like maoist China or Kmehr Rouge Cambodia.

But there is still a pattern here: despite all good intentions communism always end in horror as far as I know.

Honestly, it's not going great for "the greatest democracy of the world"

What I want to point out is that absolute systems (100% this or 100% that) don't work because masses of people are not 100% something

There's nothing inherently wrong in communism, it's a great idea, it's just not for everybody all the time, just like American hyper liberism is good for some and bad for many (redistribution skewed towards the richest, social injustice, expensive health care and all of that...)

the-dude 34 days ago [flagged]

How has the USSR ended up in horror? What about Cuba?

I will give you Vietnam though.

> How has the USSR ended up in horror?

By their own mistakes again and again?

Same way as Maos China until they changed?

> I will give you Vietnam though.

How about this instead, I give you Cuba, that seems like a good example I think, at least I am not aware of any major henocides there and they have been attempted strangled for a number of years so not only their fault.

mamon 34 days ago [flagged]

> How has the USSR ended up in horror?

By killing roughly 20 millions of its own citizens? By forcibly deporting the whole nations from their homeland to a different part of the USSR? By forcing the surviving rest into poverty? By enslaving other countries for half of the century?

I'm always surprised how unaware people in the West are of all of that (unlike Nazi crimes which are well known).

You might think that Hitler was the most evil person of all the time, but Stalin really tried his best to outdo him (and succeeded, some would say).

EDIT: Actually no, I'm not surprised that Western countries forgot about Stalin's atrocities. It was a deliberate choice - in order to win World War II Churchil and Roosvelt needed Stalin as an ally, but they couln't admit to their societies, to their voters, that they made a pact with the devil, so they made sure that Soviet crimes are forgotten.

the-dude 34 days ago [flagged]

Compared to the US it doesn't sound too bad.

> By enslaving other countries for half of the century?

United States involvement in regime change in Latin America


United States foreign policy in the Middle East


Role of the United States in the Vietnam War


and many others.

is it so different?

I agreed with some of the interventions (Bosnian war 1992), I didn't with many others, as an Italian seeing the bombing in 1999 in Kosovo from the other side of the Adriatic sea was heartbreaking (you could actually see them at night, the sky became as bright as the day!).

Many of my friends at the time were balkans running away from the previous wars and coming to Italy.

I actively protested against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, against the bombing in Libya, against Guantanamo, against Abu Ghraib tortures, against their policy of using drones that killed a lot of civilians in middle east, testified by wikileaks documents.

You have to remember that they moved the war to our doors in Europe, we lived them, we still suffer the consequences and, more than us, many of our human brothers are still running from them.

Please, try to understand US imperialism is no better than anybody else's.

Also, my entire family was communist in Italy, they fought against the fascist regime in Italy, they went to jail for it, fortunately many of them survived, by sheer luck.

Please, before lecturing us about communism, at least try to learn the many faces of it in history.

Stalin is just the easy winning argument (he died in f*ing 1953, USSR lived almost 40 years after his death!) like pretending US is McCharty, Trump, the KKK and the institutional racism.

Also: US recruited many nazi generals after the war that gave away secrets in exchange for new identities, money and immunity, so, not really a surprise that there are nazis running the US right now

asjw 34 days ago [flagged]

What about Chile, Contras, the KKK ... ?

What about the Videla's coup d'état supported by US that lead to hundreds of thousands of desaparecidos?

One cannot simply point the finger and judge, without taking responsibility for their own wrongdoings

It is fully possible to say no to communism without supporting other bad stuff.

I live in a kind of liberal, almost secular democracy. It isn't too bad.

So you are taking responsibility for your country's wrongdoings?

I am from Rome, a place with quite the history, it's not that bad either.

Hironically the best Major that my city remembers (regardless of the political ideology) is Luigi Petroselli, elected in 1979, in office until the day of his death and a member of the Italian communist party since 1950, when he was 18...

Many here are American, and even when not, they are financially conservative startup / VC / make-it-rich kind of people...

I am anti communist for the things documented in, for example, The Black Book of Communism. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_black_book_of_communism

For context, I'm not a McCarthyite, nor a conservative.

It is perfecly fine to be anti-communist, the Churchill quote about communist and conservative is especially apt, but calling out to The Black Book of Communism just dimishes and cheapens your points. Even the co-authors disassociated themselves due to the way the main author framing of the issue - basically turning the book into a simplistic propaganda tool.

Some of us come from countries which have experienced communism first hand. Been there, done that, no thanks, keep me out of it next time. As a Polish(iirc, I could be wrong) saying goes, "Capitalism is a system on the edge of a tall cliff. Communism is one step ahead."

Are your general belief that people supporting Socialism today looks to the USSR as a role model?

Pffff... Beats me to be fair. I consider myself a centrist as far as ideology goes, slightly leaning towards the right. In eastern Europe, the left-wing supporters are largely the elderly. You are very unlikely to find young people supporting the idea, even less so among those who have had experience with it. The support for the left and socialism in these regions then is simply a reflection of what the USSR model was, whether it's blind and fanatical ideology, nostalgia or what is effectively brainwashing (the evil west spies killing babies and all the other conspiracy theories). Truth be told they are incredibly similar to Alex Jones and his views, the only difference I see is the packaging. Looking at the socialists in central and western Europe, as well as across the ocean, I have a hard time figuring out what it is they are aiming for or support. Which is not to say that I don't think that people like Trump or Bojo are not morons. They absolutely are and this is what actually worries me - superpowers that end up choosing between those two options. That terrifies me.

IDK his POV, but in mine, I believe most people supporting Socialism has no role model, in part because there hasn't been any Socalism that worked out, so they end up talking about this mythical socialist unicorn. Some of them believe that Venezuela and Cuba are just fine.

I'm talking about Spain.

In my opinion that's one view, coming from an extreme form of rulership that was established (especially in Poland) after what happened during WW2: nazi occupation, mass deportations, concentration camps etc. etc.

I come from the country with the largest communist party in the West and I believe it helped the people here to get more freedom and social justice that they would have achieved otherwise

Most of us have read history.

Little known fact: as a young teenager I was a fan of the idea of communism. Then I realized that every attempt at communism, except possibly the kibbutz movement in Israel, has ended in horrible famines, genocides and general horror.

So today say with everyone else:

Let's not try that experiment again. Even my ex-colleague who is an actual communist admitted that he had mixed feelings about it: "enthusiastic believers like me are typically the first to get killed" he said.

> Most of us have read history.

That's not the best argument, given that the Marxist school of history (as exemplified by Eric Hobsbawm, who was respected by historians on all sides) is quite popular among professional historians.

I don't understand how this is supposed to change anything?

Every experiment with communism so far has ended with famine an/or genocide.

I don't want to be part of another experiment and I don't want my friends to suffer it either.

> I don't understand how this is supposed to change anything?

Your argument was that those who are ignorant of history are in favor of Communism. This is cast into doubt by the fact that there are respected Marxist historians.

Alain Badiou has some good arguments for "trying" Communism given its history; in particular, he has the example of Fermat's Last Theorem, which for hundreds of years had many attempts at solutions, each of which ending in failure (sometimes disastrous), though many of which opened new areas of mathematics. He argues that previous attempts at creating Communist society likewise have given rise to key insights and questions, which we are in a more prepared position to answer - he names two in particular: the Paris Commune and the Shanghai Commune (two examples you may have forgotten about) which raise such questions.

Many people, communists or not, do not want to suffer under capitalism, and they don't want their friends to do so either.

Is there really a need for them to create their own distributions?

If you're an authoritarian government and want to compromise them to report on users, yes. Most more liberal countries could and should use standard distros.

Some listed countries are banned or blocked from major company services that might be default on a normal distro, such as Google or GitHub as well. So beyond just setting country-relevant defaults, using a standard distro may present problems for some countries.

I mean, it depends on what "their own distributions" entails. Adding customized branding or extra localizations or a different mix of preinstalled apps to a popular distro like Ubuntu/Debian or Fedora/CentOS or what have you seems perfectly reasonable.

Yes. Is not as easy you chose your location and language and done. I remember me having to download,install and configure stuff to get spellchecking working in Firefox and Open Office. Also 10 years back to connect to internet I had to use a PPP application, this was not included by default in Ubuntu but the localized spin included this, the spellcheckingt stuff and other stuff.

Also if your country does not need to follow the laws about the codecs you can include them and not have your users have to install them.

Why not?

If this is about trust, then it makes sense that you don't choose between trusting a corporation or a group of hobbyists, but take control and eliminate one layer of things to trust altogether. Bonus points, you get control too and don't have to fight upstream to pursue and care about your interests.

No. And it's a shame everyone does.

I've been wondering about this. Competition breeds innovation and all that, but in the end, aren't we ending up with a whole lot of repeated effort for little benefit?

I guess it's a whole lot easier to repeat the effort (Even if it seems wasteful) than getting multiple countries / governments / languages and funding situations organized around one project.

Probably just easier to do it on your own and if at some point one of the distributions is gaining some momentum maybe then others will adopt it and send patches upstream.

Keep in mind that the whole motivation of these is "we don't trust outside group X"; these governments have no reason to believe that OSS isn't compromised, and one of the easiest ways to know everything is to do a lot of the work yourself.

Sweet !

Not just jobs for consultants, this would be a shot in the arm for all opensource tech. Over time, we could have a greater adoption of open source databases, BI tools and whatnot. This could lead more support for open source, more monetisation opportunities.

IMO, this is a great start and if more public institutions were to follow in the same vein, would lead to a virtuous cycle.

Sadly the article appears to overlook that Munich is switching back to Windows:


See below. They now decided to switch back to Linux again!

Worth looking at the story in detail but Munich was migrating to Linux back in 2000s. They went back to Windows when the new mayor signed a deal with Microsoft to get their European headquarters there and change the software from Linux to Windows.

Anyways, I worked in collaboration with Munich at the time and I believe it was a great project governments should embrace open source. We already pay taxes to them, so we should own the software as well.

Only sad, that the City of Munich decided to ditch Linux for Microsoft again, shortly after Microsoft decided to move its Office to Munich... https://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Rueckkehr-zu-Microso...

That was a bad idea by Microsoft ,they cannot move office to every city threatening to do this now .

Hamburg will either get open source or a large ms office there if this goes the same way. Sooner or later MS will have to stop moving offices .

>public servants being taught how to file bug reports and whatnot.

Sounds a little ominous, did it not?

> with public servants being taught how to file bug reports and whatnot.

Uh oh.

I may very well be part of a minority, but after working with Windows for the last 20 or so years I got used to it's quirks. And yes, I actually like it. Windows 10 on a Dell Latitude or XPS is stable, fast and I can run everything under the sun. Office applications, very domain specific applications like the Adobe suite, uncountable useful utility software, cross platform tools like Gimp, Blender or Krita. And still there are many, many applications I absolutely love which run on Windows only.

The half-baken "Flat UI" trend in Windows or the telemetry does not really concern me. Really, it is no deal for me and my colleagues. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish? Oh come on. I'm far more concerned about Microsoft losing against other players. That's the world you should be afraid of.

The best thing about Windows though is Visual Studio. The general consensus is, that it's slow, clunky and hard to use. But actually, that tool is so utterly powerful, streamlined and deep, that every other development environment I every used is missing something of its glory.

And I also love Linux in some ways. I used all different kinds of distributions, either through dual-boot or through Virtualbox, but actually the only thing I really use it for is server-side web-development. And well, what can I say. I love the server side applications. But all those arcane commandline wizardry and the configuration madness still irks me now and then.

But well, to return on topic: It's clear that I mostly work with clients, which mainly use Windows. And there is a lot of software written for Windows environments which can probably never be replaced by other software running on Linux. The thing is, that the push of Microsoft to cross-platform .NET Core or even cross-platform UI (MAUI) opens up those applications to other environments. I'm not fully convinced, yet, but we'll see.

Sorry, for rambling. Just my thoughts.

As a counter point, I've been working with Linux for the last 20 or so years, and I've gotten quite used it its quirks. It would take a lot to get me to switch at this point - I vastly prefer using it to both Windows and OSX (I used a OSX machine for 4 years at my last job, and have used Windows off and on).

If Windows was free, and Linux cost $200, I'd still go with Linux.

I guess my point is that a lot of the reason so many people use Windows is because it's what they are used to, not because it's actually better.

I would pay more than the cost of an IDA license to use Linux at home :) I can't imagine not being able to cut videos on the cli with ffmpeg, reading the kernel source to understand my system, having ownership of my system in general... Haven't used Windows in a while, I've used a lot of macOS but I can't get over the recent thing about checking executable hashes against Apple servers. I get why they do it, and you can disable it and so on, but it makes it clear the end user is not expected to fully control and own their system.

I have friends who do macOS or iOS dev (I don't know many win devs), and it's strange to hear them complain that Apple "won't let them" do something (distribute unsigned binaries, etc). It's my computer, I would never let someone prevent me from using it!

I tried to switch back to Windows numerous times, each time I hated that I can't just spawn a terminal window and do things on CLI. It is not impossible, but it doesn't feel right for me. Maybe if I were more acquainted with .NET libraries and powershell, I could achieve similar proficiency.

I feel like I am being suffocated when I'm using windows for development. My current solution is to keep a windows laptop for browsing/light gaming/travel, keep a Linux desktop for programming.

But we probably feel this way because we know Linux and many things are incorporated in our muscle memory. If we spent nearly equal time on Windows, it could be hard to switch back.

You can run Linux on Windows, so you get the best of both worlds: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Subsystem_for_Linux

Last time I tried SBCL didn’t work. Emacs also acted funny under powershell’s terminal emulator. I guess it’s better now with WSL2.

> I can't imagine not being able to cut videos on the cli with ffmpeg,

You can still do that on Windows: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Subsystem_for_Linux

and when I want to `ffmpeg -c:v h264_nvenc`?

...yeah, I realize the hypocrisy of preaching about open software and using nvidia... but it's definitely not seamless

ffmpeg runs natively on Windows.


Yea, that's how I feel as well. I've been using Linux as my daily driver since 2012 (i.e. whenever I can[1]), and it's going to be hard to get me to switch.

A bit unrelated: In the beginning, I was on Ubuntu, and I almost got sick of it as the extremely ancient packages were driving me crazy. I had to have numerous PPAs just to get the latest versions of GCC, Clang, Inkscape, and various other tools. Even with all the PPAs it was a huge pain to always do extra work to get a version of some package that wasn't stale. Finally though, I discovered rolling distros, and made the switch to Arch, and never looked back. (The thought of using anything but rolling distros makes me shudder.)

Right now, I feel very comfortable and at home with KDE and Arch. KDE is simply just a very reasonable and well-thought-out desktop environment. Apart from that, I've been getting back into gaming (on Linux) thanks to Steam's Proton.

[1] At some jobs, the work computers were Macs. And before I started using Steam's Proton, I did have Windows on my desktop solely for gaming. Fortunately, I've never had a job that required me to use a Windows computer. At one job where I was provided Windows computer, I (along with my whole team) just installed Arch on it. Strangely, each person on my team was on a different lineage of Linux. One person was using a Redhat derivative, another person the Debian-derived Ubuntu, I was on Arch, someone else might have been on SuSE. (It was primarily a Java and JS/React web dev shop, so nothing was tying us to Windows.)

Well, it's hard to replace a tool which worked for you since many years. You learn all it's tricks and you can build up your workflows around that tool.

Maybe I just had some bad luck regarding Linux. I started with Suse, switch to Gentoo, then Ubuntu and Fedora and others inbetween. I remember the fights I had to take to make 3D acceleration work, strange problems with hardware, things which could not be solved easily where you instead search for step-by-step tutorials on every corner of the internet, distributions which completely failed after certain updates...

You know, it's interesting and all. But in some way I got older and value my time more. So I always went back to the tool I know best, which is Windows. And I think, many many people had similar experiences I had.

This is it definitely my experience. Those of us who were stubborn to stick with Linux (or BSDs) learned it inside out. It is hard to switch habits after all those years. If all those sleepless nights trying to fix hardware problems were spent on learning the Winapi/NT kernel inside out, it could be hard to switch back.

What I found most interesting was that I saw a video of the creators of plan9 who were running it inside a Windows VM. At that time, I thought if those guys formerly working in the experimental OS division of Bell Labs are not bothering with Linux hardware support and simply using Windows, why shouldn't I. I forced myself to use Windows as a host and ran a Linux VM for development for 6 months or so, then I gave in again and formatted back to Linux.

The same stubbornness that led me use Linux for years also led me to switch to FreeBSD, because off-the-shelf Linuxes became so decent that no config was necessary. (I also jumped on the systemd hate train.) After switching computers and getting a modern one I couldn't use FreeBSD because of GPU support. Now it has support but I don't go back to FreeBSD. I got older and valued my time more. Debian is what I feel the most comfortable with and I shall use Debian for a while.

OTOH, I really also want to try NixOS and DragonFlyBSD as my daily drivers at least for a couple of months :).

Very interesting and kinda funny, that you ended up at Debian :) But I can understand that.

One thing that tells me is, that it is good to have multiple operating systems, open ones and proprietary ones. They can all learn from each other. And I long for the day where Windows will offer me an equal commandline experience like Linux and where Linux will give me a decent desktop environment, where "it just works". In some ways we're really close to that day. In many ways not so much.

The only thing which sometimes gets me is, when I think about all the time me and mankind in general did (and will) waste on learning the intricacies of operating systems. It's funny and sad at the same time :)

Just wanted to replay that I can relate to both of you guys very much.

I have been a tinkerer all my life. I've installed and played with pretty much any OS you can think of (From BeOS to Solaris to Linux. Even DragonFlyBSD - which I wish would take off as I like the community). I will always continue to play and check Distrowatch, but I have started to value time more and more as the years add up {sigh}.

So with that, my love child though is, and always will be, Microsoft OS's. Started with DOS as a 10 year old and each new one I've enjoyed better than the last with Win10 being the best yet. Although I do deep down wish it wasn't full of telemetry and such, I don't get caught up in the FUD. I disable most of it and with the rest I just hope Microsoft uses it well/privately and that I am helping to make Windows better.

I'm in the same boat, every time that I have to use Windows I'll get annoyed by how complicated even simple things are. Not to mention the endless amount of menus and setup wizards you have to click through to get anything done.

Thanks for sharing your opinion.

Unfortunately it's hard for me to read more into your argument or position after I read the opening line.

Microsoft has the software support it does due to the monopoly position it has enjoyed for 30 years- this is not an argument to continue that lest we crown Microsoft "lord of the operating systems" because people actually pay them attention;

Thousands upon thousands of hours of non-microsoft employed developers time goes into supporting Microsoft's bottom line, only microsoft benefits from that.

Also I get a very "I had to go through a punishing time so I would prefer everyone else to be punished in perpetuity" vibe from your comments; similar to adults spanking children because they were spanked themselves and "they turned out fine".

I think we can do better, all of us.

> Microsoft has the software support it does due to the monopoly position it has enjoyed for 30 years

Partially, but one must also give a huge amount of credit their efforts at maintaining binary compatibility of the userland for decades. This is something Linux Desktop fails at in spectacular fashion.

Yes and no. The Kernel ABI is stable. Userspace is somewhat of a mess, ABI-wise. But most source code is available, so in most cases, you just need to recompile software to have it run, since APIs are more stable than ABIs.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I wonder if, given proprietary (no source) software A, you couldn't recompile every open-source dependency of A from their sources around A's release time, and get it running. Sticking to open source software as much as you can tends to be a winning strategy in the long term.

The other day I linked the sdl12-compat project, that allows programs such as UT2004 to make use of modern Linux desktop features. Sure, the original sdl 1.2 might not feel at home on a modern Linux desktop (icculus'demonstration[1] showed it was not much better on mac). But as long as the foundations are open, they can be improved upon.

Windows tend to fare better with binary compatibility. But old software feels more and more alien on recent windows versions, and sometimes just stops working, and there's very little you can do about it then, in most cases :/


I will take Windows's "sometimes there's very little you can do about it" against Linux's "compile it and all its dependencies (probably versions of those dependencies from the same time period, and possibly even their dependencies) from source" any day.

Part of my point was: if these dependencies are still maintained, chances are their API remained stable, so you only have to compile it with the new headers in most cases. Sometimes, you indeed have to compile obscure dependencies.

This is a consequence of a userspace where most software is open source, and where distributions systematically recompile every package. As a side-effect, it is also generally more portable across architectures.

You don't want to do that. The first situation is not fixable, the second one is.

How very Linux Community of you to tell me what I want to do.

Linux software is usually distributed as source code, so I think the comparison does not suit very well. It's the package maintainers' duty to compatible, tested, secure binaries for you. But I imagine this sword cuts both ways. If you are a commercial app developer who wants to keep its source code to itself, maintaining binary packages for each distro and testing it could cost a significant amount.

You don't even need to resort to commercial apps. A lot of older and niche software simply isn't in the repo.

In Windows land you can download a binary and it will almost certainly run, and 10 years of updates later it will still almost certainly still run.

In Linux land you'll probably have to compile it yourself. And 10 years from now you will probably have to make changes to C files manually because APIs have been changed in your dependencies and then compile it.

You don't have to compile it yourself. You just do the same thing you would do with windows: keep old versions of the OS around and run them in a VM. (Running them in a container is also potentially an option which is not available on Windows) In some cases the old packages for library dependencies are still available too. For example see here for the packages from old debian versions: https://www.debian.org/distrib/archive

Recompiling is just another option you have in case nothing else works, and it's an option that you do not have on windows. If you really REALLY don't want to recompile then I would suggest you start mirroring some of those old distros/packages yourself so that you can guarantee they will remain available to you. It would probably be prudent to keep the source packages around as well just in case you need them.

Here's the thing about Windows: having to keep around an old version of the OS and run it in a VM is the exception. Often software that is 20 years old will not require this.

On Linux, that's often the rule for software that is 2 years old!

>Often software that is 20 years old will not require this.

A quick search around the net reveals this to be false, because Windows XP Mode doesn't work in windows 10. I haven't used windows in many years so you'll have to forgive me if there's something I'm missing here, but I see quite a few pages like this complaining about XP programs being broken or requiring a lot of fiddling to get working: https://www.dosgamers.com/windows-xp/windows-xp-games

It makes no sense to me that you have no problem with this, but at the same time you're complaining about having to type something like "docker run ubuntu:precise" to get an old version of a Linux userspace running inside a container. If this is too much work then you can pay Canonical or Red Hat or any of the other numerous Linux companies for a support contract for an LTS distro. This seems to be very similar to the situation in redmond where you now have to pay for an extended support contract if you realistically want to keep using Windows XP/7.

This is my point: sometimes 20 year old Windows software doesn't work. What you're seeing is evidence that it is the exception rather than the rule because people expect it to work because it usually does.

In the Linux world, the community is pretty actively hostile to people simply wanting to run software not in the repo let alone originally compiled 20 years ago.

I don't see any evidence to support the assertion that this is the exception rather than the rule. My searching has only shown evidence to the contrary, that various fiddling and workarounds need to be done to get old apps working properly in Windows 10. Even moreso if you want to use some of the newer features they're promoting, like tablet mode or high-DPI. Legacy apps just don't magically work in those situations. Here is another source for this directly from MS, where various workarounds are suggested: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3025083. Again I am not a windows user and I'm just going off of web searches so if you have some other evidence then please tell me. I just simply do not believe that MS has some kind of magical solution for perfect backwards compatibility. Supporting that stuff continues to take up engineering time and they will also gladly charge you an arm and a leg if you insist on needing it.

>In the Linux world, the community is pretty actively hostile to people simply wanting to run software not in the repo

This is wrong. Supporting software that is not in the repo has been the primary reason for adoption of containers, and also other similar things like flatpak and snap. The only difference with these is that the upstream distro cannot possibly support them because it goes outside their scope, so you have to get support from somewhere else.

> I may very well be part of a minority, but after working with Windows for the last 20 or so years I got used to it's quirks.

Granted your self-statement about being in a minority: I’ve used Windows for as long as you have and I say the quirks of Windows is what made me ditch it for Linux.

For a long time I was a naive Window Hero. Then I got smart.

I’ve been done with Windows for over 10 years now. I’m full Linux at home [I include Virtual Machine here].

I tolerate Mac//Apple OS at work. I try very hard to do the same for Windows at work. All of this is if I simply just must as required by Big Boss Say So.

I've moved from Macos to Ubuntu and love it (and not really that scary as I thought, everything worked. For those that are interested: Lenova X1 Carbon).

I really _want_ to like Windows 10. I like the direction it's moving with WSL2/VSCode remote connections, but man am I scared by all the zero-day exploits and all the windows 10 releases that screw up machines. I can't take it seriously.

I am hopeful that MSFT can do something with Windows 10X containers that get rid of these security risks.

How did you make Lenovo X1 Carbon fingerprint sensor work on Ubuntu?

I mostly agree. Windows gives me less of an ass ache from a desktop perspective. At this point it mostly just works and does so a lot better than any Linux desktop I’ve used in the last 20 years or so. On the server side I’d rather be burned alive and will use Linux for everything.

If Linux sorted the desktop issues out or windows sorted the server issues out it’d change the market.

Regarding Visual Studio, have you used JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA? For many things, it's consistently years ahead of Visual Studio.

Well, if I had to program in Java I'd probably use IntelliJ :) Love everything coming from JetBrains. I'm a huge fan of Resharper. PyCharm and GoLand are top-notch.

> But all those arcane commandline wizardry and the configuration madness still irks me now and then

I'll take this over the seemingly endless layers of GUI based configuration screens that Windows servers use. A text based configuration file is much easier to understand, and well, configure, imo.

I don’t think anyone wants to maintain windows servers. I have probably 5 or so computers at home, counting various NAS’es and raspberries and such. Most are Linux. All that have a screen however, are windows. A server I have to configure. It’s doing some kind of job.

My desktop I just want to plug hardware into and see it work, and run proprietary binaries without ever configuring anything.

It's better now that Windows has gone all-in on Powershell.

Now, I said "better" but still not "good" as the powershell APIs for many critical windows features are a nightmarish trashfire of multiple buggy overlapping implementations of the same thing, but they exist. It is now very possible to admin a Windows box from the console. And as much as Powershell is a bad programming language, it's a very powerful and expressive one that bridges the gap between shell scripting and full-fledged programming.

> A text based configuration file is much easier to understand, and well, configure, imo.

Too bad there are dozens of different incompatible text-based formats for everything... oh and that they completely lack discoverability.

And version control.

Again? I love Germany, but I honestly can't tell whether this is an old news brought back to life, or whether it's a new story at a glance. Deja vu anyone?

Ahh... I thought this was the first ever instance.

So Munich goes open source -> Hamburg gets inspired

and BAM - 14 years later it follows suit.

Munich went full Windows again after a new mayor got elected who went straight to criticizing LiMux (Munich's Linux distro) and pushed to adopt Windows within his first weeks. A few months after the decision had been made, Microsoft relocated their German headquarters from Hamburg to Munich.

Projected costs for the switch back: 86.5 million Euro within the first six years.

A study by the city revealed that LiMux saved the city 10 million Euro over its lifetime.

I believe the root issue here is that Germany has more than one city.

This is exactly why Germany will never achieve widespread adoption. All the citizens wish to go and form their own cities, reinventing the wheel and duplicating effort. They should abandon all their smaller cities and focus their resources on a single city.

Yes, we should end fragmentation and force all citizens to live in the one true city, which is Munich.

What's the problem with duplicating effort?

I read your parent as making fun of the often-used argument against the plethora of Linux distributions.

It's true that entering the Linux world is a bit like entering a shoe shop: why can't they just make two versions, home and professional? ;)

but they do.

the 'problem' is that there are a dozen shoe factories, sorry, linux distributors, each with their own idea of what is home and professional.

we also need summer and winter variants, and outdoor and indoor.

i'd like the summer outdoor casual all natural materials pair please.

I should have specified that they only come in one size at that other shop :)

It was a quite memorable thing in the "this will be the year of linux on the desktop" days, so it's interesting to see similar headlines again today

Both times were Munich though.

6 years ago there was an election and the conservative party and the mayor went to Windows (after Microsoft moved German headquarters from a suburb to the city) This year we had a new election now Green party leads the city council and they want to go back to Linux.

Now Hamburg, where the Green party also won big, wants to change as well. Hamburg is even more significant since Hamburg not only is Germany's second largest city (Berlin first, Munich third) but also a state, which means it has more tasks than a "pure" municipal administration like Munich, while Munich administration sees pride in being "largest municipal administration" in Germany.

to give an example of where that difference between hamburg and munich could come into play:

munic can not decide to put linux into its schools, because as a decision that would have to happen at the state level, that is bavaria.

but hamburg can. so if the hamburg transition is successful, that may translate into more Free Software in schools, which will be a model for the other german states.

It's more nuanced. Munich has municipal schools and at least on administration side it can do what they want there. However curriculum is made on state level, thus if the curriculum depends on Microsoft software (explicit about Excel etc.?) They would have to comply. Also some state funding budgets, i.e. for getting a few machines, might be bound to "default configurations" thus for going Linux the city might have to pay out of its own budget ...

This thread is about Hamburg.

and now Microsoft has to move its german HQ again ...

Windows, Office and Win Server (AD) make a combo that is quite difficult to replace.

But if these cities are smart, they would pool their resources together to fund common tools. All the bits and pieces are already here. What is needed is a solid package that can be deployed and maintained easily, with user friendly GUI.

... throw universities and schools into the pool also and you might finally get something which 'just works'.

Difficult question: how do you make people in power agree on a solution? Not even universities managed so far to standardize their IT infra.

Germany is a country where one city orders would new trains which would eventually crash into the next city's platform due to different platform dimensions [0]...

[0] https://rp-online.de/nrw/staedte/duesseldorf/duesseldorfer-r...

Difficult question: how do you make people in power agree on a solution? Not even universities managed so far to standardize their IT infra.

Most universities probably already standardized on Microsoft's ecosystem of product and solutions.

Question is: why change for something open source?

Answer: licenses for MS are costing a fortune and privacy considerations.

What is the big deal about AD? A directory of your employees? What's so important about that? (I don't work in corporate IT I genuinely don't know.)

AD allows admins to apply policy (settings) to every machine in the organization at once. And to make sure the users don't change them. The policies cover pretty much everything, and can be applied as strictly or loosely as you want. There really isn't an equivalent for Linux. You can set up Linux equivalents for bits and pieces of it, but the all in one solution that you can just drop down on the network and hand over control to some 20 something fresh faced recruit straight out of college who has not been an admin is not there. This is a huge use case for AD.

Well, I'm pretty sure there are some lesser known solutions out there. I've just learned about `guix deploy` for instance, which could make such a thing doable, and might be even easier to maintain in the long run. No pretty GUIs for now, though, and it configuring a setup seems to require at least a good understanding of guix/scheme.

Give it a bit more adoption, though, with more examples, snippets and tools, and that specific solution could do wonders. This is often a problem in the Open-Source world: little manpower, so works progresses slowly.

I'm pretty sure there are more (or less) obscure solutions.

https://guix.gnu.org/manual/devel/en/html_node/Invoking-guix... https://guix.gnu.org/blog/2019/towards-guix-for-devops/

This is an example of a tool that solves only a slice of the problem and requires a wizard to operate it.

Plus, it doesn't seem well suited to changing configuration on already deployed machines. If corporate comes and tells you all users must have their machines configured to automatically lock the screen after 5 minutes idle and enable some password requirements this tool would struggle.

I'm not really sure why the tool would struggle, it seems like it was made for that use-case: running the command will ssh into each of the listed existing machines, perform some basic sanity checks, upload the new configuration (and packages in case of a system update), and finally atomically update the symlink, thus applying the new policy.

I'll grant you that it seems to require a wizard to operate, or at least write a tutorial and investigate that use-case, but so does most software: I would be clueless in a AD environment, and it would take me a few hours to catch up on some basic concepts.

Now, it hasn't been designed with your specific example in mind (it could have been), so some wizard would most likely need to expose these knobs (lockscreen timeout, password policy)as easily accessible config items.

AD for settings is a very poor replacement for what puppet or ansible enable on Unixoids.

Also, AD is becoming less comprehensive on windows, later versions of many MS packages require powershell and textual config additionally or solely. Not to speak of third-party software where AD group policy support was always spotty at best.

Yes, easy clicky setup is possible with AD, but your software options are severely limited, not even exchange is point&click-only nowadays

AD for settings is a very poor replacement for what puppet or ansible enable on Unixoids.

That's true, but Puppet and Ansible aren't meant for end user device management. They're primarily for deploying/running services. AD is the opposite, it's strong in end user scenarios and weak for running services.

AD isn't just a directory. It's basically a central database that's connected to lots of useful corporate IT management tools that come out of the box with Windows:

1. Remote management of company IT assets including individual users' computers.

2. Single source of truth for single sign-on.

3. Access control and remote configuration for network servers/resources.

If you dig further, there's even more stuff that connects into AD. For example, you can use it to set up and deploy internal certificate authorities for intranet apps.

If you're using Azure AD, you can extend single sign-on into non-Microsoft web apps. It includes an implementation of zero-trust networking.

The fact that it comes out of the box and is widely used is crucial, it means that as an IT professional you have less hassle with purchasing/configuring/deploying management software, and when you move between companies you already know the tools.

I think it's a good thing that governments are considering switching to Linux, but AD/AAD is a legitimately sticky product for IT management.

It's the lifeblood of enterprise IT. The AD manages everything that is concerned with authentication and authorization, not only of actual employees but often also of service accounts (servers).

If it's not managed through the AD, it's often not allowed to exist. It's also (legitimate or not) often the reason to go for a microsoft tool or (azure) service, because it 'integrates more easily' with the access management stuff that is in place.

AD is a directory of EVERYTHING. From users to groups, departments, divisions, printers, to remote access, device management, email, file shares... Many third party apps use it for either or both of authN and authR. You can use it to federate identities. It is vast in its scope and its reign is without equal.

It is an industry standard but you're at risk of over stating things there. There's plenty of other federated directory services available that support LDAP and SAML, eg https://ldap.com/directory-servers/

What Microsoft Active Directory buys you is easy integration with other Microsoft products like Windows; which is also a de facto standard in most organisations. However go anywhere that is a UNIX, Linux or Apple shop and Active Directory quickly becomes the wrong tool.

These things all seem less and less important, though?

Don't most modern companies have web services for their internal apps? I don't have AD - I have an SSO web login for a variety of web sites and SAS products.

Who uses a printer these days?

File shares? That's Dropbox or Google Drive now.

Email? In your browser.

I don't like Microsoft much either and even I can still see your comments aren't fair

> These things all seem less and less important, though? Don't most modern companies have web services for their internal apps?

Actually it's more important than ever. All these cloud services means when staff leave there's more risk of an account accidentally being left open. Federated access resolves this problem.

> I don't have AD - I have an SSO web login for a variety of web sites and SAS products.

That "SSO web login" might still be Active Directory (it might not, but in many organisations it is).

> File shares? That's Dropbox or Google Drive now.

Or Microsoft OneDrive -- which would be authenticated against AD.

> Email? In your browser.

I'm a big fan of local mail clients but Microsoft have supported web mail longer than most people might realise. Quite a few years long than Google Mail. Longer even than Yahoo! Mail. OWA (Outlook Web Access) was first shipped in Microsoft Exchange 5 released sometime in mid to late 90s on Windows NT4. Sure, OWA was pretty basic but did a good enough job.

Microsoft also bought Hotmail back in '97

These days Microsoft have a pretty extensive suite of web-based office applications from Word and Excel through to Outlook. You might have heard of Office 365? Well that can also authenticate against Active Directory.

With AD Domain services, you get a centralized resources administration, with stuff like group policies, easy way to share stuff like printers and files access. Single sign-on for all your users.

When IT administer thousands of Windows PC on domain, thats the kind of stuff they appreciate as it make their lives easier.

Did a little bit of IT before dev, AD handles management of all the resources on the network. Authentication, backups, policies, Exchange for your email server is plugged into AD.

Can you explain the difference with openldap ? I have never used AD, and I am satisfied by openldap, I mean once I understood how to configure it...

> I mean once I understood how to configure it...

AD is a misnomer. It's not simply a directory. It not only does what OpenLDAP does but also what Kerberos does.

Openldap is aweful to configure by the way. The documentation is terrible, sometimes lacking important piece of information. I remember TLS being a pain to setup. Actually I think everything having to do with authentication (PAM, OpenLDAP, Kerberos, nss) on Linux is a pain to setup.

By comparison, AD is fairly nice.

OpenLDAP is just a lego piece of an actual equivalent, you would need a schema and a ton of configuration to use it as a user and authz directory. A better equivalent to AD would be FreeIPA, which is 389ds (LDAP server, similar to OpenLDAP) plus Kerberos plus OS integration and admin tools. However, the config and install part that AD has would still be separate in something like puppet.

AD can be very roughly described as LDAP with a better interface, a consistent implementation and some proprietary extensions. You don’t need to fight with incompatible clients and have a decent UI. For the rest it is conceptually quite similar.

Schema versions in AD are problematic. Not every Windows Server version works with every Windows Client version. You always need to consult the support matrix, and for additional software like exchange that uses AD schema extensions, it gets even more complicated. So yes, if you are not strictly standardized to a single generation of Microsoft products, you do need to fight incompatible clients and servers

You can join any Windows 2k+ client to any version of Windows Server from 2000 onward, with the exception of Windows 10 to Windows 2000 Server, due to Win2k relying on SMBv1 for stuff. If you activate SMBv1 on Windows 10 it will join fine. Schema extensions are a different story, but I'm almost certain that nothing in that department has changed since Windows Server 2012. If you are doing a new Exchange install now and can't buy some upgrade licenses (or get an EA with Microsoft), you probably should be on Office 365 anyway.

There's issues with Windows Server, sure, but AD and its relatives aren't one of them.

IIRC, the initial Munich Linux Project ("Limux") from 2004 I think was somewhat of a failure. They spent millions migrating dozens of different Windows applications, but found that certain offices (e.g. the land registry) kept using Windows applications for obscure hard-to-replace services and databases, leading to friction.

Later they rolled back then entire migration just to re-announce a new Linux migration more recently, see https://www.zdnet.com/article/linux-not-windows-why-munich-i...

It failed in huge part due to Microsoft's dirty tactics:


that's not really a fair characterization because it was only a failure in reaching the goal of 100% conversion.

i don't know if that even was the goal because realistically that is hard to achieve.

all in all it was quite a success for a transition at that scale.

the rollback was entirety politically motivated, and would have happened even if the transition was 100%.

likewise the new announcement is a political change.

From 2009:


My favorite quote:

"Moving from XP to Ubuntu, however, proved very easy. The two biggest differences are the icons and the games. Games are not our priority." -- Lt. Col. Guimard

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LiMux#Timeline has the timeline of back and forth between Microsoft and Linux

September 2016 - Microsoft moves its German headquarters to Munich[36]

February 2017 - Politicians discuss proposals to replace the Linux-based OS used across the council with a Windows 10-based client.[37]

October 2017 - Once seen as a stalwart supporter of open source, the city council last week said that running a Linux-based operating system on its PCs would not be cost efficient in the long run.[38]

November 2017 - The city council decided that LiMux will be replaced by a Windows-based infrastructure by the end of 2020. The costs for the migration are estimated to be around 90 million Euros.[39]

May 2020 - Newly elected politicians in Munich take a U-turn and implement a plan to go back to the original plan of migrating to LiMux.[40]

And that's pretty much the reason anything is not fixed/properly built in government software or anything really, every 4 years scrap everything and start from scratch is not sustainable

I guess the sad thing is that it really is sustainable, since taxpayers won't stop paying taxes.

The two parties forming the government of Hamburg made an agreement. Its here: https://www.spd-hamburg.de/fileadmin-hamburg/user_upload/Koa... The relevant section is on page 161. Most relevant is: - base new software project on open protocols - "Design award procedures in such a way that we maintain and expand a broad mix of manufacturers and suppliers - for this purpose, award procedures are designed in such a way that all cooperation and business models (e.g. provider communities of startups, open source offers and license models) be treated equally." - "In the new parliamentary term, the Hamburg citizenship has decided to introduce a cloud-based system - Phoenix - based on the model of Schleswig-Holstein via Dataport for all members of the parliament and employees."

Dataport is a sort of state owned software company for Hamburg and some other northern states. This appears to be the product: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zpl0Xds1NMU

I couldn't find any open repos on the dataport website. Maybe I haven't looked hard enough. But that doesn't look like the big Open Source revolution to me.

Much more important: Schools are moving to Office 365 in a rush in face of Covid-19. There are data protection concerns but a crisis can shift priorities so it seems.

Not just schools, what scares me is that healthcare is moving to the cloud.

I know from an insider that one of the largest areas of Sweden, at least one, has been moving to office365. While conscious people inside the very same organisation have been trying to prevent the move of data into the hands of a foreign company.

And at the same time large telcos with a lot of government clients have also moved to office365 but with warnings to their employees that they should avoid storing certain client files in this cloud solution until the legal situation is resolved. WTF

So basically these consultancy companies have a legal requirement not to store client data in a foreign cloud if that client is part of the Swedish government. But at the same time healthcare is moving to the cloud.

I wish I knew more about the legal situation, all I can give you are the observations and musings of a geek.

Here in NL its very lucrative, healthcare software and consulting. All they care about is externalising responsibility. As long as they can blame another party, their ass is covered and therefore their work done.

It's soul crushing.

Lots of cloud services have in-country presence, so that they actually guarantee the local (in-country) storage of data. It is similar to how IBM offers/used to offer managed services -- they have the hardware and the software, it may be on prem or in a local data center, and they manage the application offering for you.

In-country presence of american companies has been proven to be nonviable because american courts can order data to be handed over from the foreign daughters to american agencies https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/CLOUD_Act

Worse, Google Classrooms for most of the kids I know.

Right now we need an opensource teleconferencing system much more than an opensource OS.

Edit: I think people recommending jitsi below misunderstood my comment

Try Jitsi: https://jitsi.org/

What did they not get about your comment ?

Maybe BigBueButton, then?


My university is using BBB for its only lectures, and it has been great so far (~2 months). I think it also is a self hosted solution, which is great.

So Jitsi?

You mean like Jitsi?

Each few years I see such post. Ditching one or another user facing OS in relatively large and non-homogenous environment ends up as consultant feast without significant impact. Problem is that that there are almost zero alternatives to MS in client computing as platform, what works relatively out of box. I dont speak about one piece, like Desktop os, but all togehther. Ofc you can try glue together, but its jaegernautic task. Most likely you will fail badly, because developing vertically integrated ecosystem of IT products is hard. Even MS does on each 2nd iteration well. All talks about cost savings are always non-sense, when you are serious customer even MS starts hearing you. Ofc if you are all in oficey stuff, then of course your bargaining power is almost zero. But if you try to use open standards and web based systems, then you have got some leverage. Same is true about multicloud, it should be used when bargaining with your cloud provider and you say: you know we can leave in next 2(actually 200) months

And even countries like Russia have got problems ditching MS. Their encryption software works much better on win, then linux

Does Desktop OS matter anymore? So much is running in "browsers" now, even the SpaceX astronaut controls were Electron.

The cloud provider is where it's at. AWS, Azure, GCloud ... and nothing from Europe.

Hetzner Cloud is in Germany.

Hetzner is pretty cool, but its a far cry from the vast amount of services offered by the big 3.

It's pretty cool. I pay about 2.5 EUR a month for a nice cloud server. Indeed you can replace most cloud services with selfhosted, OSS options those days (for example there's nextcloud and seafile for file storage).

I feel like what you're really asking is "Does personal computing matter anymore?".

OVH / Scaleway?

Yes, it does. I don't want to have city documents in some cloud.

Why not? Seems unreasonable to expect that every city can manage their own secure data store...

Because very likely that would be another US company again. The whole point is to become less reliant on US companies.

There are German cloud providers (DT, 1&1, Hetzner, Exoscale are the best known)

my small city wastes money on much less useful stuff... like fireworks and such

That is not a strict priority list. It is not unheard of to burn some money on celebrations and decorations, while cutting budgets in the essentials.

The appropriate question to ask is: at which size can you afford a competent security team in-house for what you would pay for a secure cloud offering. I would actually love to know the answer to that question.

They need to get their priorities straight when spending tax money.

"The Cloud" is just someone else's computer, or datacenter in this case. So if they would not be storing it in the cloud where would they store it? That would be either a datacenter from a big party that manages multiple municipalities as well as other government/for profit organisations IT. Most often this will be the lowest bidder for a public tender. I don't know if they would be any better or worse than the big cloud vendors. The only alternative is (shudder) a "datacenter" managed by the municipality itself. For big cities that might work. For smaller ones it's a recipe for disaster.

I'd much prefer it to having cities hacked with Ryuk again and again and again...


> city documents

You realize that AWS/AZURE ect. all have GOVERNMENT contracts right? They have special infrastructure and portals just for government customers.

> They have special infrastructure and portals just for government customers.

The special infrastructure is for users subject to certain federal government data rules, which isn't coextensive with “government customers”. Most government use of cloud services from the big public cloud vendors is exactly the public commercial offering. Most government data is, both legally and practically, less protected than HIPAA PHI, which both government and non-government customers use commercial cloud offerings for.

Yes it matters. No, the cloud provider is not where it's at. No, the SpaceX Astronaut controls aren't electron.

SkoleLinux needs an honourable mention.


> The Skolelinux project was started on July 2, 2001. Twenty-five computer programmers and translators agreed to improve the use of software in education. They disliked that the next generation of computer users were not able to have access to source code, arguing that children who are interested should be able to learn from expert programmers to create their own software.

> A total of 214 schools using Skolelinux are currently listed on the DebianEdu Wiki. This case study[1] of implementing Skolelinux at a school in Greece is typical of user experiences.

[1] https://schoolforge.net/education-case-study/skolelinux-thin...

Vee vill succeed 'coz vee häff https://www.dataport.de/who-we-are/


edit: Especially https://www.dataport.de/was-wir-bewegen/portfolio/projekt-ph...

disclaimer: No affiliation apart from being resident of said town. https://www.hamburg.com/residents/about/11853222/government/

Although isn't the OS kind of an afterthought now that everything is moving into web applications? I mean, what does it matter what desktopOS you're using if all your software is Office360 or Google Apps?

Munich migrated already once to Linux and then had to go back to Windows[1]

They are probably doing to put pressure on Microsoft license fees..

[1] https://www.golem.de/news/von-microsoft-zu-linux-und-zurueck...

I think that the greatest barrier to the adoption of OSS in administrative circles are pivot tables. Once there's a strong open-sourced alternative in this matter, or administrative folks learn to use databases, then the transition will be much easier - we are almost there because many services are web-centric and platform-agnostic already.

One of the major reasons organisations go with Microsoft is the support they provide, although user's familiarity certainly plays another role as well

How does that work out in situations where Linux is adapted? Do they pickup a distro which provides support?

It's much easier to do now that pretty much everything has moved to the web.

It's actually impressive that Microsoft has been able to pivot to such an extent that this news doesn't sound the death knell.

Makes you wonder if Microsoft had conducted them selves better with Windows 10, then they might not have been looking at doing this. Windows 10 has been a total mess.


erm any IT professional that has had to deploy windows 10 using MDT or SCCM? The never ending new versions of Windows 10 that need to be deployed. Windows 10 should have been the LTSC version right out of the gate. None of that chaffy Microsoft Store they are back peddling on. And all the other issues that have came along since the OS release.

most anyone with first hand experience of windows 10?

absolutely everyone who has used any of the alternatives for more than a few days.

"and better local control over the code powering the whole thing"

I am finding it hard to think the city would have engineers releasing their own Kernel.

Not sure why the downvites, but do cities really want to invest in software engineers with enough background to analyze software patches, compile and deploy them vs regular IT technicians who can do the same job at fraction of the effort/salary and be replaced far more easily ?

I am genuinely curious why would someone think that's an advantage. Please give some explanation atleast after the downvote.

That could just mean having control away from "Critical bug in Windows, install these patches right now!" to "Critical bug found on the kernel, here's the diff patch that you can analyze so you can be sure it won't break other things."...

Software is culture, and when you move users from a middle-manager and bureaucracy-centric platform like Windows to a problem-solving power-tools platform like a Linux, it's going to change the culture of the organization. For the better I think, but the people this disadvantages will dig in hard.

You're right, Linux is a problem-solving power-tool. X11 breaks, you now have a problem to solve. Your hardware will only work with a proprietary driver that breaks on every kernel update--that's another problem to solve. What it means to use Linux is to become really good at solving problems.

Since I've been downvoted, I will clarify. MSFT discourages competence in users and is a workflow manufacturer for assembly lines. Its user interfaces are designed to inculcate learned helplessness in their users. That company will be remembered as the prime architect of an intellectual dark age. Its business model is parasitic, its products are managerialism made real, and it mainly facilitates business anti-patterns that bring suffering to millions of people whose jobs depend on navigating them.

Most of the time I spent solving problems on my linux was creating personalized solutions that I could not enjoy if I was using windows

Ha ha. I am pretty sure middle-manager and bureaucracy-centric software will run on Linux as well. Both SalesForce and SAP have Linux support.

I can't believe that Microsoft is still charging for Windows licenses... convoluted licensing is in fact is one of the primary reasons that I've moved away from Microsoft products and services.

For individual users who don't mind a small watermark on the screen ,the inability to change their desktop background, or the inability to join the windows insider program, it effectively is free. Granted, this doesn't apply to orgs.

But yeah I don't see why they still charge for Home Edition licences. Surely the focus should be on keeping people using Windows. It probably makes sense in the short term to charge but more and more people are either moving away from Windows or using unlicensed installs.

> Surely the focus should be on keeping people using Windows

My impression from years of working with Windows 10 is that large parts of Microsoft actually would prefer that people stop using Windows. Windows is a personal computer operating system, which means that the user is in control of it, and the modern tech world abhors that notion. Case in point: they spent years trying to force updates with no user input.

Because they can ;)

Linux is a nightmare to maintain as an IT department for end users, especially with hardware incompatibility problems and software availability. This is clearly an unsubstantiated article based in speculation.

Want data behind that statement. From what I've seen it is the other way around.

Though I do not have significant data myself.

I did a transition for a company back around 2003. Total cost of transition was a net saving already in the first year. Including training, my work, minor new hardware, etc. A couple of their guys learned the systems maintenance enough to take over my work, so I made myself redundant. Just like it should be.

Meanwhile in Munch...

"German city of Munich, famous for rejecting Windows in favour of using Linux on its PCs, will return to Windows after the move won the backing of the full council."

Source: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/end-of-an-open-source-e...

Ha, great to hear. I always assumed they went back to windows as part of some deal as around the same time Microsoft opened a big HQ in Munich.

According to Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LiMux the politicians decided last month to go back to Linux.

Apparently Ballmer visited Munich a lot trying to persuade the politicians to stay/switch back to Windows, even moving Microsoft's German HQ to the city.

I think the timeline entry in Wikipedia is misleading. If you look at the referenced ZDNet article, it has this:

"We're very happy that they're taking on the points in the 'Public Money, Public Code' campaign we started two and a half years ago," Alex Sander, EU public policy manager at the Berlin-based Free Software Foundation Europe, tells ZDNet. But it's also important to note that this is just a statement in a coalition agreement outlining future plans, he says.

"Nothing will change from one day to the next, and we wouldn't expect it to," Sander continued, noting that the city would also be waiting for ongoing software contracts to expire. "But the next time there is a new contract, we believe it should involve free software."

Any such step-by-step transition can be expected to take years. But it is also possible that Munich will be able to move faster than most because they are not starting from zero, Sander noted.

This is super telling and Ballmer understands the impact of this relatively small decision and its ripple effect it will have for other municipalities.

From a long term perspective, my bet is on Linux.

The title of this post is all wrong. Microsoft != Windows. Microsoft is so much more. I also like Windows 10, they've done a good job, no more blue screens. Windows Subsystem on Linux is the best thing Windows has done in years and how not to love the new Terminal app. So go Windows! I also love the fact that I can still run an unmodified Windows app that I wrote back in 1996. Try doing that on any other platform!

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact