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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  2. <html newsdate="2017-03-01">
  3. <head>
  4. <title>What happened in Munich</title>
  5. </head>
  6. <body>
  7. <h1>What happened in Munich</h1>
  8. <p newsteaser="yes">
  9. On 15 February 2017, the city council of Munich, Germany convened
  10. to discuss the future of their LiMux project. In its public
  11. session, the plenary voted to have the city administration develop
  12. a strategy to unify client-side IT architecture, building atop a
  13. yet-to-be-developed "Windows-Basis-Client". A translation of the
  14. complete decision is included further down.
  15. </p>
  16. <p>
  17. The opposing parties were overruled, but the decision was amended
  18. such that the strategy document must specify which
  19. LiMux-applications will no longer be needed, the extent in which
  20. prior investments must be written off, and a rough calculation of
  21. the overall costs of the desired unification.
  22. </p>
  23. <p>
  24. Since this decision was reached, the majority of media have
  25. reported that a final call was made to halt LiMux and switch back
  26. to Microsoft software. This is, however, not an accurate
  27. representation of the outcome of the city council meeting. We
  28. studied the available documentation and our impression is that the
  29. last word has not been spoken.
  30. </p>
  31. <p>
  32. We succeeded thus far in forcing the mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) to
  33. postpone the final decision, and this was possible through the
  34. unwavering pressure created by joint efforts between The Document
  35. Foundation, KDE, OSBA, and the FSFE together with all the
  36. individuals who wrote to city council members and took the issue
  37. to the media.
  38. </p>
  39. <p>
  40. Although the mandate is highly suggestive in that it suggests that
  41. the existing vendor-neutral approach is to be replaced with a
  42. proprietary solution, it leaves the door open; Or are you aware of
  43. a commonly-used software standard that ensures maximal
  44. compatibility in all directions?
  45. </p>
  46. <p>
  47. The new mandate buys us some time. And we will keep going.
  48. </p>
  49. <h2>Background information </h2>
  50. <p>
  51. What lead to this public hearing on 15 February? In 2014, Dieter
  52. Reiter was elected new mayor of Munich. He had referred to himself
  53. as "Microsoft fan" even before he took office. He prides himself
  54. with having played a major part in the decision to move the
  55. Microsoft Germany headquarters to downtown Munich. He started to
  56. question the LiMux strategy as soon as his term started, and asked
  57. Accenture, a Microsoft partner in the same building as Microsoft,
  58. to analyse Munich's IT infrastructure. The report can be found
  59. <a href="https://www.ris-muenchen.de/RII/RII/DOK/SITZUNGSVORLAGE/4277724.pdf">here</a> (German). It's
  60. noteworthy that in their report, the analysts identify primarily
  61. organisational issues at the root of the problems troubling LiMux
  62. uptake, rather than technical challenges.
  63. </p>
  64. <p>
  65. The coalition of SPD and CSU filed a surprise motion with minimal
  66. lead time before the city council, with the goal to put LiMux to
  67. rest once and for all.
  68. </p>
  69. <h2>Our reaction</h2>
  70. <p>
  71. Given the importance of this matter, an ad-hoc coalition of The
  72. Document Foundation, KDE, OSBA, and the FSFE
  73. collected <a href="https://blog.schiessle.org/2017/02/14/rolle-ruckwarts-in-munchen-diese-fragen-sollte-man-sich-stellen/">questions
  74. about this motion</a> (German), as well as the processes that
  75. lead up to it. We reached out to all members of the city council
  76. prior to the public hearing. Additionally, we sent a <a href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/Activities/LiMux/CallForAction">call for
  77. action</a> (German) to all our supporters in Germany and Austria, asking
  78. them to get in contact with politicians on this issue. The
  79. reaction was phenomenal. During the public hearing, politicians
  80. quoted some of our question, and said that they had never received
  81. as much input from the public before.
  82. </p>
  83. <p>
  84. Thank you everyone who made this happen!
  85. </p>
  86. <p>
  87. We also generated quite a bit of press coverage this way, not only
  88. in Germany, but also in other parts of the world. An incomplete
  89. list of press coverage can be found
  90. <a href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/Activities/LiMux">here</a>. Please
  91. share with us any additional material you might know about.
  92. </p>
  93. <h2>Conclusion</h2>
  94. <p>
  95. LiMux suffered from organisational problems, including lack of
  96. clear structures and responsibilities, which the Accenture report
  97. also makes clear. These are independent from the software used on
  98. client machines, and switching operating systems will not solve
  99. them.
  100. </p>
  101. <p>
  102. LiMux as such is still one of the best examples of how to create a
  103. vendor-neutral administration based on Free Software. The project
  104. was started 13 years ago when the city had to replace their no
  105. longer supported Windows NT4 workstations. Since then, they
  106. migrated 15.000 workplaces to vendor-neutral Free Software
  107. solutions, and Open-Standard-based file formats, supported by
  108. local IT companies. Overall this initiative displays not only a
  109. successful move to more independence, but also serves as role
  110. model of how to strengthen the local IT industry. By solving the
  111. organisational problems only, Munich could continue to successfully
  112. foster not only an independent administration but also a strong and
  113. healthy IT landscape.
  114. </p>
  115. <h2>Our goal</h2>
  116. <p>
  117. We understand that LiMux has not solved all problems, but we
  118. maintain that the root of the problems are of organisational
  119. nature, and thus must not be confounded with the technical
  120. choices.
  121. </p>
  122. <p>
  123. Public infrastructure must stay independent of singular commercial
  124. interests, that are known to stifle innovation. Free Software
  125. provides the unique opportunity to invest into common assets and
  126. benefit from everyone else's contributions, while staying in
  127. control of what gets deployed, and when. Local service providers
  128. operating in healthy competition boost the local economy and
  129. ensure best use of tax payers' money.
  130. </p>
  131. <p>
  132. We also note that the trend moves away from client-side operation
  133. to more centralised infrastructures, which
  134. operating-system-independent use across multiple devices and
  135. users' browsers of choice. It may turn out best for LiMux to
  136. adjust its focus, while the vendor-neutral strategy must prevail.
  137. </p>
  138. <h2>The modified motion, as passed on 15 February</h2>
  139. <p>
  140. The following conclusion was reached (overruling the opposition by
  141. Die Grünen - rosa liste, BAYERNPARTEI Stadtratsfraktion,
  142. Freiheitsrechte, Transparenz und Bürgerbeteiligung, ÖDP, DIE
  143. LINKE, LKR und BIA):
  144. </p>
  145. <p>
  146. The motion filed before the plenum by SPD and CSU shall have its
  147. section 6b (new) extended, as shown between the *** markers:
  148. </p>
  149. <p>
  150. "The administration shall without delay propose a strategy how to
  151. unify the city's client-side IT architecture by 2020-12-31,
  152. building on a yet-to-be-developed 'Windows-Basis-Client'. Baseline
  153. functionality (word processing, spreadsheets, presentation
  154. software, PDF reading, e-mail client and Web browser) needs to be
  155. provided by commonly-used, standard products, which must guarantee
  156. maximal compatibility with existing internal and external
  157. processes, as well as other software infrastructure (such as SAP).
  158. </p>
  159. <p>
  160. ***
  161. The strategy must be clear on which applications on LiMux-Basis
  162. will no longer be needed. The city council is to be informed on
  163. the extent that this requires write-offs of prior
  164. investments. Furthermore, a rough budget to illustrate the costs
  165. associated with the unification is to be presented. The city
  166. council will then make a final decision.
  167. ***
  168. </p>
  169. <p>
  170. Throughout the transition, the various departments are free to
  171. deploy the new, unified solution building on the
  172. 'Windows-Basis-Client', or continue using their existing,
  173. multi-tier (Window/LiMux) solution, depending on technical status.
  174. </p>
  175. <p>
  176. Strategic goal must remain that administrative tools shall be
  177. usable independently of the client-side operating system (e.g. web
  178. apps, virtualisation, remote desktop services)."
  179. </p>
  180. <p>
  181. The original decision is only available in German and can be found
  182. <a href="https://www.ris-muenchen.de/RII/RII/DOK/TOP/4372059.pdf">here</a>,
  183. augmenting
  184. the <a href="https://www.ris-muenchen.de/RII/RII/DOK/SITZUNGSVORLAGE/4367152.pdf">original
  185. motion</a>.
  186. </p>
  187. </body>
  188. <tags>
  189. <tag>front-page</tag>
  190. <tag content="LiMux">LiMux</tag>
  191. <tag content="policy">policy</tag>
  192. <tag content="München">Munich</tag>
  193. <tag content="ÖffentlicheVerwaltung">PublicAdministration</tag>
  194. </tags>
  195. <author id="schiessle"/>
  196. </html>