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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  2. <html newsdate="2017-03-01">
  3. <version>1</version>
  4. <head>
  5. <title>What happened in Munich</title>
  6. </head>
  7. <body>
  8. <h1>What happened in Munich</h1>
  9. <p>
  10. On 15 February 2017, the city council of Munich, Germany convened
  11. to discuss the future of their LiMux project. In its public
  12. session, the plenary voted to have the city administration develop
  13. a strategy to unify client-side IT architecture, building atop a
  14. yet-to-be-developed "Windows-Basis-Client". A translation of the
  15. complete decision is included further down.
  16. </p>
  17. <p>
  18. The opposing parties were overruled, but the decision was amended
  19. such that the strategy document must specify which
  20. LiMux-applications will no longer be needed, the extent in which
  21. prior investments must be written off, and a rough calculation of
  22. the overall costs of the desired unification.
  23. </p>
  24. <p>
  25. Since this decision was reached, the majority of media have
  26. reported that a final call was made to halt LiMux and switch back
  27. to Microsoft software. This is, however, not an accurate
  28. representation of the outcome of the city council meeting. We
  29. studied the available documentation and our impression is that the
  30. last word has not been spoken.
  31. </p>
  32. <p>
  33. We succeeded thus far in forcing the mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) to
  34. postpone the final decision, and this was possible through the
  35. unwavering pressure created by joint efforts between The Document
  36. Foundation, KDE, OSBA, and the FSFE together with all the
  37. individuals who wrote to city council members and took the issue
  38. to the media.
  39. </p>
  40. <p>
  41. Although the mandate is highly suggestive in that it suggests that
  42. the existing vendor-neutral approach is to be replaced with a
  43. proprietary solution, it leaves the door open; Or are you aware of
  44. a commonly-used software standard that ensures maximal
  45. compatibility in all directions?
  46. </p>
  47. <p>
  48. The new mandate buys us some time. And we will keep going.
  49. </p>
  50. <h2>Background information </h2>
  51. <p>
  52. What lead to this public hearing on 15 February? In 2014, Dieter
  53. Reiter was elected new mayor of Munich. He had referred to himself
  54. as "Microsoft fan" even before he took office. He prides himself
  55. with having played a major part in the decision to move the
  56. Microsoft Germany headquarters to downtown Munich. He started to
  57. question the LiMux strategy as soon as his term started, and asked
  58. Accenture, a Microsoft partner in the same building as Microsoft,
  59. to analyse Munich's IT infrastructure. The report can be found
  60. <a href="">here</a> (German). It's
  61. noteworthy that in their report, the analysts identify primarily
  62. organisational issues at the root of the problems troubling LiMux
  63. uptake, rather than technical challenges.
  64. </p>
  65. <p>
  66. The coalition of SPD and CSU filed a surprise motion with minimal
  67. lead time before the city council, with the goal to put LiMux to
  68. rest once and for all.
  69. </p>
  70. <h2>Our reaction</h2>
  71. <p>
  72. Given the importance of this matter, an ad-hoc coalition of The
  73. Document Foundation, KDE, OSBA, and the FSFE
  74. collected <a href="">questions
  75. about this motion</a> (German), as well as the processes that
  76. lead up to it. We reached out to all members of the city council
  77. prior to the public hearing. Additionally, we sent a <a href="">call for
  78. action</a> (German) to all our supporters in Germany and Austria, asking
  79. them to get in contact with politicians on this issue. The
  80. reaction was phenomenal. During the public hearing, politicians
  81. quoted some of our question, and said that they had never received
  82. as much input from the public before.
  83. </p>
  84. <p>
  85. Thank you everyone who made this happen!
  86. </p>
  87. <p>
  88. We also generated quite a bit of press coverage this way, not only
  89. in Germany, but also in other parts of the world. An incomplete
  90. list of press coverage can be found
  91. <a href="">here</a>. Please
  92. share with us any additional material you might know about.
  93. </p>
  94. <h2>Conclusion</h2>
  95. <p>
  96. LiMux suffered from organisational problems, including lack of
  97. clear structures and responsibilities, which the Accenture report
  98. also makes clear. These are independent from the software used on
  99. client machines, and switching operating systems will not solve
  100. them.
  101. </p>
  102. <p>
  103. LiMux as such is still one of the best examples of how to create a
  104. vendor-neutral administration based on Free Software. The project
  105. was started 13 years ago when the city had to replace their no
  106. longer supported Windows NT4 workstations. Since then, they
  107. migrated 15.000 workplaces to vendor-neutral Free Software
  108. solutions, and Open-Standard-based file formats, supported by
  109. local IT companies. Overall this initiative displays not only a
  110. successful move to more independence, but also serves as role
  111. model of how to strengthen the local IT industry. By solving the
  112. organisational problems only, Munich could continue to successfully
  113. foster not only an independent administration but also a strong and
  114. healthy IT landscape.
  115. </p>
  116. <h2>Our goal</h2>
  117. <p>
  118. We understand that LiMux has not solved all problems, but we
  119. maintain that the root of the problems are of organisational
  120. nature, and thus must not be confounded with the technical
  121. choices.
  122. </p>
  123. <p>
  124. Public infrastructure must stay independent of singular commercial
  125. interests, that are known to stifle innovation. Free Software
  126. provides the unique opportunity to invest into common assets and
  127. benefit from everyone else's contributions, while staying in
  128. control of what gets deployed, and when. Local service providers
  129. operating in healthy competition boost the local economy and
  130. ensure best use of tax payers' money.
  131. </p>
  132. <p>
  133. We also note that the trend moves away from client-side operation
  134. to more centralised infrastructures, which
  135. operating-system-independent use across multiple devices and
  136. users' browsers of choice. It may turn out best for LiMux to
  137. adjust its focus, while the vendor-neutral strategy must prevail.
  138. </p>
  139. <h2>The modified motion, as passed on 15 February</h2>
  140. <p>
  141. The following conclusion was reached (overruling the opposition by
  142. Die Grünen - rosa liste, BAYERNPARTEI Stadtratsfraktion,
  143. Freiheitsrechte, Transparenz und Bürgerbeteiligung, ÖDP, DIE
  144. LINKE, LKR und BIA):
  145. </p>
  146. <p>
  147. The motion filed before the plenum by SPD and CSU shall have its
  148. section 6b (new) extended, as shown between the *** markers:
  149. </p>
  150. <p>
  151. "The administration shall without delay propose a strategy how to
  152. unify the city's client-side IT architecture by 2020-12-31,
  153. building on a yet-to-be-developed 'Windows-Basis-Client'. Baseline
  154. functionality (word processing, spreadsheets, presentation
  155. software, PDF reading, e-mail client and Web browser) needs to be
  156. provided by commonly-used, standard products, which must guarantee
  157. maximal compatibility with existing internal and external
  158. processes, as well as other software infrastructure (such as SAP).
  159. </p>
  160. <p>
  161. ***
  162. The strategy must be clear on which applications on LiMux-Basis
  163. will no longer be needed. The city council is to be informed on
  164. the extent that this requires write-offs of prior
  165. investments. Furthermore, a rough budget to illustrate the costs
  166. associated with the unification is to be presented. The city
  167. council will then make a final decision.
  168. ***
  169. </p>
  170. <p>
  171. Throughout the transition, the various departments are free to
  172. deploy the new, unified solution building on the
  173. 'Windows-Basis-Client', or continue using their existing,
  174. multi-tier (Window/LiMux) solution, depending on technical status.
  175. </p>
  176. <p>
  177. Strategic goal must remain that administrative tools shall be
  178. usable independently of the client-side operating system (e.g. web
  179. apps, virtualisation, remote desktop services)."
  180. </p>
  181. <p>
  182. The original decision is only available in German and can be found
  183. <a href="">here</a>,
  184. augmenting
  185. the <a href="">original
  186. motion</a>.
  187. </p>
  188. </body>
  189. <tags>
  190. <tag key="front-page"/>
  191. <tag key="limux">LiMux</tag>
  192. <tag key="policy">policy</tag>
  193. <tag key="limux">München</tag>
  194. <tag key="public-administration">ÖffentlicheVerwaltung</tag>
  195. </tags>
  196. <author id="schiessle"/>
  197. </html>