Skip to main content
The New Reformation Starts in Munich

Microsoft has lost Munich. In a major public-sector reverse for the company in Germany, the government of the city will be replacing the Windows Operating System on fourteen thousand of its civil-servants computers with ‘Open Source’ Linux supplied by IBM.

Munich is the first German large city to reject Windows in favour of Linux. In December, the smaller southern German city of Schwäbisch Hall became the first to deploy Linux as an alternative business platform. So concerned were Microsoft by the signs of this modern reformation, that Chief Executive Officer, Steve Ballmer, met with the city’s Mayor Christian Ude,to argue that a cheaper Microsoft bid, estimated at $32 million, offered a more cost effective solution than could be achieved through rejecting Windows in favour of a new partnership with IBM and German Linux-developer SuSe.

In Germany, federal, state and local governments as well as other public agencies have been studying the benefits of Open Source Linux as they attempt to reduce their dependence on a single vendor, Microsoft, where IT costs are involved. Ironically, while the German government is seeking to reduce its dependence on Microsoft, other governments in Europe, such as the Municipality of Rome, appear to be doing quite the opposite and so the German decision may say more about worries over competition rather than concerns over technology.

In the end however, the German taxpayer may end-up as the loser from this grand experiment with Open Source computing. German cities are cash-strapped and this decision to go with IBM and Linux will, at least in the short-term, cost the city’s finances more, not only as a consequence of accepting the more expensive of the two bids but in terms of re-training the workforce, which one source estimates at a further €10 million.


Popular posts from this blog

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.

In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …

The Nature of Nurture?

Recently, I found myself in a fascinating four-way Twitter exchange, with Professor Adam Rutherford and two other science-minded friends The subject, frequently regarded as a delicate one, genetics and whether there could exist an unknown but contributory genetic factor(s) or influences in determining what we broadly understand or misunderstand as human intelligence.

I won’t discuss this subject in any great detail here, being completely unqualified to do so, but I’ll point you at the document we were discussing, and Rutherford’s excellent new book, ‘A Brief History of Everyone.”

What had sparked my own interest was the story of my own grandfather, Edmond Greville; unless you are an expert on the history of French cinema, you are unlikely to have ever hear of him but he still enjoys an almost cult-like following for his work, half a century after his death.

I've been enjoying the series "Genius" on National Geographic about the life of Albert Einstein. The four of us ha…
The Mandate of Heaven

eGov Monitor Version

“Parliament”, said my distinguished friend “has always leaked like a sieve”.

I’m researching the thorny issue of ‘Confidence in Public Sector Computing’ and we were discussing the dangers presented by the Internet. In his opinion, information security is an oxymoron, which has no place being discussed in a Parliament built upon the uninterrupted flow of information of every kind, from the politically sensitive to the most salacious and mundane.

With the threat of war hanging over us, I asked if MPs should be more aware of the risks that surround this new communications medium? More importantly, shouldn’t the same policies and precautions that any business might use to protect itself and its staff, be available to MPs?

What concerns me is that my well-respected friend mostly considers security in terms of guns, gates and guards. He now uses the Internet almost as much as he uses the telephone and the Fax machine and yet the growing collective t…