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Microsoft chief dines in a Linux city

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Speaking at a private dinner with select captains of German industry on Wednesday, Steven Ballmer, chief executive of Microsoft, may have felt a small sense of triumph in his company's battle against open source software.

A year ago, the Munich city government became a poster child for the open source movement by signing on to a high profile switchover from Microsoft products to the free Linux operating system.

The city's move to Linux, however, has been delayed and troubled, a situation that seems to vindicate views expressed by Ballmer about the drawbacks to open source software.

But the city official implementing the Linux project - who was not invited to the event - disagreed strongly with much of what Ballmer said.

During the dinner, organized by Hubert Burda Media and attended by chief executive officers from Adidas, BMW and the energy giant EnBW, Ballmer was asked whether open source projects and other collaborative working structures now being pioneered on the Internet would make current corporate structures irrelevant.

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