The Migration of the city of Munich to GNU/Linux matters because it was
the flagship of European migrations. It was not a bunch of school labs
like Extremadura or a small operation like random individuals but a
whole large complex organization doing it in public. As it was Ballmer
himself tried to intercept the ship and FUDsters have kept firing at it
for years, but now it is almost complete.
One of the FUDs that was thrown at it was NetApplication’s
“recalculation” to reflect populations. That produced a huge drop in
GNU/Linux share, according to NetApplications. Another was that Munich
failed utterly because they took so long to prepare and test but they
were seriously locked-in and it did take time for a small crew to figure
it out. Their cost of migration was not much more than the cost of
normal operations if they had migrated to XP and if they had also
migrated to “7″ the cost would have been much more, so Munich is wildly
The migration was mainly not about cost but independence and Munich is
certainly much more independent of M$ and “partners” today. The team
involved in the migration was just 20 people which is good considering
how many different offices were involved. The biggest chore was
migrating gazillions of templates.
The chart above, derived from NetApplications’ data, shows GNU/Linux
back to where it started a few years ago in Munich showing that M$ and
Apple are still grinding away but this single migration held back the
machine for a couple of years. It mattered and growth of GNU/Linux in
Europe and elsewhere was affected by it.
In the process, it amazes me that the whole organization from
politicians to employees were involved and made it work. It is a lot
easier if just the low-level people do their thing. In schools where I
have made migrations, politicians were not involved. It was mostly
school principals or “Director of Education”, some local business
manager. People can sit in one small room and discuss details and the
overview and get on with it. Every layer of bureaucracy involved delays
and complicates a migration. Munich is strong evidence that GNU/Linux is
the right thing to do if so many diverse people could agree on it.
In the end, IT has grown so much since the Munich migration was
conceived that it may not matter at all by its size but it surely
matters because all the FUD that was overcome and because GNU/Linux
showed itself able to run a huge portion of the IT in the city.
Why Munich Matters to GNU/Linux
Published by Robert Pogson
March 3rd, 2012 in technology