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Linux Is Hitting the Mainsteam Headlines Again...and Again....and Again
Linux Is Hitting the Mainsteam Headlines Again...and Again....and Again

In further confirmation of the recent trend in mainstream journalism toward making Linux the stuff of headlines, USA TODAY has a long article today reporting how the paper obtained government and corporate documents that provide what it calls "a rare insider's look at Microsoft's efforts to keep from losing a key customer" -- the customer in question being none other than the German city of Munich.

When MSFT demanded $36.6 million to upgrade the city's 14,000 desktop PCs to the latest versions of Windows and Office, the good burghers of Munich not suprisingly began looking elsewhere...and even a rescue attempt by CEO Steve Ballmer wasn't enough to convince them that they should be spending that kind of money on proprietary software rather than on Linux, so SuSE and IBM won the day.

What USA TODAY reveals is the extent to which Ballmer, when he flew to Europe to meet with Munich's Mayor, Christian Ude, was prepared to go. Microsoft was prepared, it claims, "to let Munich go as long as six years, instead of the more normal three or four, without another expensive upgrade," and offered to let Munich buy Microsoft Word only for some PCs - effectively winning an "unbundling" concession when it is well known that this is usually impossible with Redmond's strict rules. Microsoft also offered millions of dollars worth of training and support services free.

It was Munich council member Christine Strobl, in particular, who championed the switch to Linux. "Microsoft's philosophy is to change our software every five years," Strobl told anybody who'd listen, adding: "With open-source, it is possible for us to make our own decision as to when to change our software."

"What the Berlin Wall was to politics," said SuSE CEO Richard Seibt, portentously, "Munich is to technology,".

"I believe we are now witnessing that dramatic break to freedom of choice," he continued.

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SYS-CON's Linux News Desk gathers stories, analysis, and information from around the Linux world and synthesizes them into an easy to digest format for IT/IS managers and other business decision-makers.

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