Linux-on-the-desktop Pioneer Switching back to Windows

This post recently caught my attention;

“Linux-on-the-desktop pioneer Munich now considering a switch back to Windows”

This is very interesting because it relates to the current growth in Chromebooks and the new Chinese OS that is in development. It tells us how hard it is to move away from Windows.

Let’s look at why Munich decided to go back to Windows;

Schmid describes two major problems. The first is the issue of compatibility; users in the rest of Germany that use other (Microsoft) software have had trouble with the files generated by Munich’s open source applications. The second is price, with Schmid saying that the city now has the impression that “Linux is very expensive” due to custom programming. Schmid also appears to be an Outlook fan, bemoaning the loss of a single application to crosslink mail, contacts, and appointments.

Regarding the compatibility issue, Munich reportedly used LibreOffice on Ubuntu. At least in the open-source world, this is regarded a quite a good cross-platform solution. Munich’s decision suggests that it wasn’t good enough for a large scale deployment.

The question is, does the same apply to Chromebooks as well? I think it might.

Regarding the second issue, it warns us that “free” is not always the cheapest option. It is not always obvious what will cause costs to go up, but we must be aware that it is always a large possibility. I wrote about one example in this blog (“Japan’s Largest University Switching to Microsoft Office 365 from Google Apps (Docs)”).

It would be nice if I could get more information on this.

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