Case Study 5 — Munich Switches to Linux

Case Study 5 — Munich Switches to Linux
•    French National Police Switch 37,000 Desktop PCs to Linux
•    Brazil adopts open-source software
•    Open Technology within DoD, Intel Systems

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In 2002, the city of Munich, Germany realized that its 16,000 Microsoft Windows NT desktops were due for an upgrade. Instead of switching to Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003, they made the decision to switch to an Open Source solution instead. Note that in late 2014 a number of news outlets announced that Munich was going to be switching back to Windows. This turns out to have been a political play from the deputy mayor — Munich has no current plans to switch back.Read the article from TechRepublic outlining the decade long conversion process from Microsoft to Linux and answer the following questions:

1.    There were financial benefits to using Free Software, but Munich has said that those were not the most important ones. In other words, there were benefits not related to cost. What was more important? Explain.
2.    The initial cost to switch over to Linux was actually higher that what Microsoft was asking to upgrade to XP and Office in 2003. Considering the actual conversion to Linux took nearly ten years, why might sticking with Microsoft have ended up costing more? What does that say for the long term, that is to say, will Munich’s savings increase over time?
3.    Most businesses insist on support contracts for their hardware and software problem solving. How is Munich handling its own support needs?
4.    In what way has the Open Source nature of the software Munich is using allowed them to get better support than a support contract would have? What would have to change to allow a support contract to provide the same sort of service?
5.    Read PrintCrime by Cory Doctorow. How would Open Source enable what Lanie’s father is trying to do?

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