Munich suspends transfer to Linux

4th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

4 August 2004, MUNICH - In a boost to the fortunes of Microsoft Windows, the city of Munich has suspended its migration to the computer operating system Linux, citing the financial and legal risks posed by a planned new system of software patents. The decision by the city to let its Windows licences run out and switch 14,000 bureaucrats' personal computers to the open-source operating system had attracted worldwide attention. Supporters said Linux was free, so the only cost would be for software engineers

4 August 2004

MUNICH - In a boost to the fortunes of Microsoft Windows, the city of Munich has suspended its migration to the computer operating system Linux, citing the financial and legal risks posed by a planned new system of software patents.

The decision by the city to let its Windows licences run out and switch 14,000 bureaucrats' personal computers to the open-source operating system had attracted worldwide attention.

Supporters said Linux was free, so the only cost would be for software engineers to write additional modules to cope with the city's administrative tasks. Tenders were to have been called at the end of last month for the "LiMux Base Client".

Wilhelm Hoegner, the municipality's senior computing official, confirmed Wednesday this could "not begin for the time being".

City politicians said legal and accounting experts were analysing whether the city might face royalty claims under controversial new European rules approved in May this year that will make it possible to patent software.

In Vienna, Austria, municipal officials said a similar conversion to Linux would continue.

Councillors in the Austrian capital are pressing for half that city's 16,000 desktop computers to be converted to Linux, but the move is not mandatory. City departments are required to give Linux fair consideration against Windows when making a choice.

The European Commission proposed a directive in May governing patenting of computer-implemented inventions.

Supporters say the prospect of royalties will encourage invention. Opponents contend that software containing millions of lines of code could accidentally breach thousands of patents, making software writing uneconomic.

DPA

Subject: German news

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