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Moving from Microsoft to Linux
  1. Despite the potential financial benefits of moving from Microsoft to Linux, the main goal of the process for Munich was to become independent. If the city were doing the migration only to save money, there would always be skeptics to claim that staying with Windows would have been cheaper, but the goal of gaining freedom was more important. Migration let the city became independent from the MS software. It would not be tied to upgrades and would not have to change the software because MS was stopping its support, moreover, the city would not become trapped in the MS ecosystem. Instead, migrating allowed the council to become independent from any one single vendor and enabled to make use of a significant variety of free software. Instead of being tied to the MS system, the council chose Linux to be in charge of its own IT structure, which was previously dictated by Microsoft.
  2. As the migration took a long time, the council would have to buy more updates from MS additionally to the primary shift to the new Windows version. The total sum for the continuous upgrading with MS might have resulted in a higher price than that of the migration. Another financial benefit of migration was that the council can now use older PCs longer, which would not have been possible in case of upgrading to the newest MS systems. Additionally, some expenses would have been needed both in the case of migration and remaining with MS. Regardless of the system, training for the staff to use the new software would be necessary; personnel would be required to oversee both the migration and upgrading the MS system. As to long term savings, in case of remaining with Microsoft, the council would have continuously been forced to buy the upgrades, while, in the case of migration, the council can decide when and what upgrades it requires. Such fact combined with the extended lifespan of PCs will enable the council gain long term financial benefits.
  3. A team of 25 people develop and provide final support to the LiMux client, while a bigger number of people handle everyday administration of the city’s computers. The city does not have a support contract, but handles issues with the help of various free support communities. Such a way of support lets the council to better fit the software it uses to its needs. In this way, the council has the ability to change the way things are put into the system. The people who develop LiMux provide the last level of support. Standard support contract would not have been able to solve certain arising issues the council faced because they were the only ones who had that certain problem. Instead, for example, in the case of problems with Open Office, the council paid the company to solve the issue.
  4. The Open Source nature of the software that Munich chose to use helped them get better support as they solved their issues through various free software communities. It created a more flexible and quite effective support system for the council and enabled to fit the software more to the needs of the users. As a result, in the case when a particular problem arises only in the city’s system, it does not have to live with it as would be the case with a support contract; instead the problem is solved directly by the company that produced the software in question. To be as effective, support contracts should address all individual issues of its customers paying attention not only to the software itself but also to the peculiarities of the customer system.
  5. Open Source means that a certain product is under a free license, and anyone can freely access its code, blueprint, design, etc. Open Source would enable Lanie’s father to legally achieve his goal: if there were an Open Source blueprint of a printer, he could use it and reproduce printers in whatever quantities he wanted. Furthermore, if there were Open Source designs of other products, with the help of the printers Lanie’s father made, people could reproduce goods for their use without doing anything against the law. Open Source would relieve people from being constant consumers and income sources for manufacturers; instead they would be able to make the things they need without breaking laws and being pursued by the police.


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