The city of Munich is currently considering a move away from Free Software back to Microsoft products. We consider this to be a mistake and urge the decision makers to reconsider.
For many years now the City of Munich has been using a mix of software by KDE, LibreOffice and Ubuntu, among others. Mayor Dieter Reiter (a self-proclaimed Microsoft-fan who helped Microsoft move offices to Munich) asked Accenture (a Microsoft partner) to produce a report about the situation of the City of Munich's IT infrastructure. That resulted in a 450-page document. This report is now being misused to push for a move away from Free Software. However the main issues listed in the report were identified to be organizational ones and not related to Free Software operating systems and applications.
The City of Munich is of course free to decide on their IT infrastructure. Nonetheless we believe the move away from Free Software would be a big mistake and feel compelled to speak up. Specifically the move away from Free Software will
- not actually fix the issues identified in the report by Accenture
- remove vendor-independence which was one of the core arguments for moving to Free Software in the first place
- incur estimated costs of €90 Million to be paid by tax-payer money. Another €15 Million are expected to be spent on replacing or upgrading hardware that cannot cope with the requirements of Windows 10 but runs fine with Linux.
The City of Munich has always been a poster child of Free Software in public administrations. It is a showcase of what can be done with Free Software in this setting. The step back by the City of Munich from Free Software would therefore not just be a blow for this particular deployment but also have more far-reaching effects into other similar deployments.
That said, we take this opportunity to invite all other administrations to leverage the work done by the City of Munich over the last years and are willing to help resolve remaining issues in the City of Munich related to our software.
President, KDE e.V.
Please also read the statement by The Document Foundation.