Pesaro is a town of about 100 thousands people on the northern adriatic coast of Italy. Its Public Administration has been facing lots of critics from Free/Open Source software supporters because, in the last five years, it changed twice the same, important part of its ICT infrastructure. Both those changes bring consequences and open issues, both for the critics and for Pesaro, that have had little or no coverage at all so far, especially outside Italy (1). Before talking about them, however, it is necessary to summarize what happened.
ONE OF THE CITY COUNCILLORS behind the alleged "Bring Back Windows" letter to Munich City officials has told The INQUIRER that she has no desire to see the city migrate back to Microsoft.
Munich spurned Windows for its own version of Linux, known as Limux, and recent reports suggested it is once again getting high-level calls to trash the experiment and get back to the old days.
The story, which has been circulating for the past week or so, is based on a memo sent by two councillors from the city which appeared to request consideration of a return to Windows.
Indeed, Microsoft's marketing team published a press release recently saying Office 365 is about 80% cheaper compared to the open source office suite, OpenOffice - with the figures stemming from reports in Italy and the City Council of Pesaro. The Redmond giant claims that to roll out Open Office, Pesaro incurred a one off cost of about €300,000 and had lots of problems with document formatting.
But equally how would you convince a public sector organisation to migrate to your cloud services instead of using 'expensive' open source software?
The obvious way would be to present a case study from a similar organisation together with a well written report commissioned to an "independent" consultancy firm. At this point your future customer has all the data and justifications required to sign on the dotted line.
And some journalists are now presenting this case as fact of Microsoft Office 365 being 80% more economical than open source alternatives.
I would argue that this is an isolated case and the PR efforts by big technology vendors, like many other methods, are being used to trick private and public organisations into signing contracts based on data or claims that may be not completely true.
The latest LibreOffice 5.0 is out for some time and it looks like the feature parity with Microsoft Office 2013 is now a lot better. The official wiki from The Document Foundation that shows off the differences and similarities between the two office suites has been updated, and it paints a pretty accurate picture of the progress that's being made.
The vice speaker of Russia’s State Duma, Nikolai Levichev, has written to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev asking for the Russian government to ban the use of Windows 10 amongst Russian civil servants. Levichev is concerned that Microsoft may allow US agencies to access data collected from Russian officials.
Two influential politicians in a German city that ditched Microsoft in favour of Linux are agitating for a switch back to Windows.
The councillors from Munich's conservative CSU party have called the custom version of Ubuntu installed on their laptops "cumbersome to use" and "of very limited use".
The letter from the two senior members of the city's IT committee asks mayor Dieter Reiter to consider removing the Linux-based OS and to install Windows with Microsoft Office.
The strangest, and largely overlooked news, coming out of the tech sector this week is Dell's Microsoft betrayal. This isn't the first time that the PC maker strayed. Linux joined the product stable long ago, and last year an educational Chromebook debuted. But this newer and larger model, which will be available September 17, raises question: WTF?
Dell's core PC market is business—small, large, and everything between. Windows, and that smattering of Linux, is core, and longstanding loyalty to Microsoft's application stack. But the Chromebook 13 announcement, as positioned by the OEM and Google, is all about the competing cloud app stack. Interestingly, selling prices rival Windows laptops, which is another head scratcher: $399 to $899, depending on configuration.