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A crash landing for Linux?

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Nine years after the Canton of Solothurn decided to migrate its computers to Linux, the Swiss authority has made a radical U-turn: All its desktops will run Windows 7. Has Linux failed?

The Linux migration project in the Swiss Canton of Solothurn was ill-fated from the start, those who followed the reports concerning the project over the past few years couldn't avoid the impression that it was nothing but a series of failures, faults and unfortunate events. Particularly, Swiss media like the Solothurner Zeitung and the Berner Zeitung re-ignited discussions with crotchety headlines such as "Auf Irrflug weg vom Fenster" (Erratic flight to avoid windows) and "Wieder Ärger mit dem Pinguin" (More trouble with the Penguin).

Implementation delays, immature software, disgruntled employees whose displeasure allegedly culminated in the creation of a home page dedicated to venting their gripes and who were so busy grappling with Linux that they no longer managed to do their jobs – all of this smacked of tax payers' money being pumped into an inherently doomed project. Failure has now become a reality, but pointing the finger at Linux alone would be as short-sighted as it is convenient. A look behind the scenes reveals that many factors contributed to the project's demise.

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