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LiMux was a project launched by the city of Munich in 2004 in order to migrate from Windows to a desktop infrastructure of its own, based on Linux. By 2012, the city had already migrated 12 600 of the total of 15 500 desktops, until in November 2017, the Munich City Council (Stadtrat) resolved to reverse the migration and return to Microsoft Windows-based software by 2020. In May 2020, it was reported that the newly elected politicians in Munich, while not going back to the original plan of migrating to LiMux wholesale, will prefer Free Software for future endeavours.
|Source model||Combination of open source and closed source|
|Latest release||6.0 / 2019|
|Kernel type||Monolithic (Linux)|
|KDE Plasma 5|
|License||Various free software licenses, plus proprietary|
|Official website||Project Site|
The project initially used OpenOffice.org, but announced on 15 October 2012 that it will switch to LibreOffice. The city reported that due to the project, it had gained freedom in software decisions, increased security and saved €11.7 million (US$16 million).
LiMux was the first Linux desktop distribution certified for industry use (ISO 9241) by the Technical Inspection Association (German: Technischer Überwachungsverein).[need quotation to verify] It was first based on Debian, but later changed to the most popular Debian derivative, Ubuntu. LiMux Client version 5.0 was released in November 2014, based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with KDE SC 4.12 as the desktop. The default office suite was LibreOffice 4.1. Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird were included in their Extended Support Release version.
In 2003 the impending end of Microsoft's support for Windows NT 4.0 led Munich City Council to commission a report on choices for a successor for use on its office computers. The report yielded two main alternatives, either migration to Windows XP or a move to a free and open source operating system based on Linux with an accompanying emphasis on web browsers as OS-neutral application clients.
A majority of Council members voted for the Linux-based solution, which was dubbed LiMux, referencing the M on Munich vehicle registrations and MUC, the code of International Air Transport Association (IATA) for Munich airport.
On 16 May 2007, the TÜV confirmed by a comprehensive certification process, the usability of the LiMux-based client as a user interface for interactive computer systems according to the ISO standard 9241-110.
The migration was interrupted in the summer of 2004, because the city wanted to investigate the legal implications of software patents. In late 2006, the actual migration began.
A tool called Wollmux was developed to extend OpenOffice capabilities in areas required by Munich Council, including managing consistent letterheads, form templates, saved blocks of standard text, document versioning and merging. Wollmux was released in May 2008.
In May 2009, 1800 workstations were converted to Linux, and 12,000 received OpenOffice. By October 2013, the city of Munich had migrated over 15,000 desktop PCs (of about 18,000 desktops) to Linux and OpenOffice.org. The usability project group interviewed users regularly to achieve a good fit to the needs.
In 2014, Munich deputy mayor, Josef Schmid, and mayor, Dieter Reiter, considered going back to Windows due to alleged productivity problems. However, Stefan Hauf, the spokesman of the Munich city council stated that the majority of issues stem from compatibility issues in OpenOffice, something which could be solved by switching to LibreOffice. Moreover, the head of municipal IT services, Karl-Heinz Schneider, stated that most things were fine, and they had managed saved some 10 million euros (more than 13 million dollars). He emphasized that the number of complaints and malfunctions hadn't exceeded the usual level for an organization of this size. Microsoft had announced in 2013 its willingness to move its German headquarters to Munich in 2016, which according to Reiter though, is unrelated to the criticism they've presented against the LiMux project.
In November 2017 Munich city council decided to revert to Windows by 2020 with all systems being replaced by Windows 10 counterparts. Some of the reasons cited were adoption and users being unhappy with the lack of software available for Linux. A report commissioned by Munich and undertaken by Accenture, found the most important issues were organizational.
In 2018, journalistic group Investigate Europe released a video documentary via German public television network ARD that claimed that the majority of city workers were satisfied with the operating system, with council members insinuating that the reversal was a personally motivated decision by lord mayor Dieter Reiter. Reiter denied that he had initiated the reversal in gratitude for Microsoft moving its German headquarters from Unterschleißheim back to Munich.[need quotation to verify]
In May 2020, the recently elected coalition administration, formed by Green party and the Social Democrats, decided that "Where it is technologically and financially possible", the city will emphasize use on open standards and free open-source licensed software.
The main goal was to achieve more independence from software distributors. The decision in 2003 had two components: to get free software running on most desktops, and to buy and develop web-based and platform independent (e.g. Java-based) business applications. A core goal was to reduce reliance of Microsoft-based software stacks and fund local developers to write replacement software.[need quotation to verify]
- 28 May 2003The city council of Munich votes to go ahead with planning.:
- 16 June 2004 — The city council votes 50-29 in favor of migrating and to start an open competitive bidding within months.
- 5 August 2004 — The project is temporarily halted, due to legal uncertainties concerning software patents.
- 28 April 2005 — Debian is selected as a platform.
- 6 September 2005 — The project scheduled an additional one-year pilot test.
- 22 September 2006 — "Soft" migration begins.
- November 2008 — 1200 out of 14,000 have migrated to the LiMux environment (9%; March 2008: 1000=7%), in addition 12000 workstations use OpenOffice.org 2 installed on Windows (March 2008: 6000) and 100% use Mozilla Firefox 1.5 and Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5 (March 2008: 90%). 18,000 of 21,000 macros, templates and forms are changed into Linux-enabled.[need quotation to verify]
- 29 May 2008 — WollMux-software is declared Open Source
- 31 December 2009 — The complete switch to OpenOffice.org enabling the Open Document Format as standard format is complete.
- June 2010 — "More than 3000" are LiMux-workplaces by now.
- In February 2011 — More than 5000 workplaces based on LiMux.
- In June 2011 —More than 6500 workplaces based on LiMux.
- 17 December 2011 — "9000" PCs are LiMux-workplaces. They are 500 workplaces ahead of their goal for 2011.
- 28 March 2012 — In response to a request from the CSU, the City reported that it has already saved about 4 million euros in licensing costs and reduced the number of support calls.
- March 2012: Monthly complaints dropped from 70 to a maximum of 46
- July 2012 — About 10,500 LiMux PC-workstations are operating.
- 23 November 2012 — Savings from LiMux environment over 10 million euros.
- January 2013 — 13,000 LiMux PC-workstations are operating.
- October 2013 — Over 15,000 LiMux PC-workstations (of about 18,000 workstations)
- December 2013 — Munich open-source switch was "completed successfully".
- August 2014 — Migration back to Windows under consideration.
- October 2014 — In response to inquiries by the Green Party, mayor Dieter Reiter revealed that a transition back to Microsoft Windows would cost millions of euros.
- August/September 2015 — Jan-Marek Glogowski of LiMux presents about the project status during the "Debian Success Stories" track of the Debian conference and at the LibreOffice conference.
- September 2016 - Microsoft moves its German headquarters to Munich
- February 2017 - Politicians discuss proposals to replace the Linux-based OS used across the council with a Windows 10-based client.
- October 2017 - Once seen as a stalwart supporter of open source, the city council said that running a Linux-based operating system on its PCs would not be cost efficient in the long run.
- November 2017 - The city council decided that LiMux will be replaced by a Windows-based infrastructure by the end of 2020. The costs for the migration are estimated to be around 90 million Euros.
- May 2020 - Newly elected politicians in Munich take a U-turn and implement a plan to go back to the original plan of migrating to LiMux.
LiMux client softwareEdit
LiMux Client 4.0 was released in August 2011, based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS with KDE desktop 3.5. It included OpenOffice.org 3.2.1, Mozilla Thunderbird and Mozilla Firefox and other free software products.
LiMux Client version 5.0 was released in November 2014, based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS with KDE SC 4.12 as the desktop. The default office suite was LibreOffice 4.1. Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird were included in their Extended Support Release versions.
LiMux Client Version 5.5 based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with KDE 4.14.3a, LibreOffice 18.104.22.168, and Firefox 24.8.1 (optional 45.5.1)
LiMux Client version 6.0 is based on Kubuntu 18, KDE 5.44, GIMP 2.10, LibreOffice 5.2.8, WollMux 18, Chrome 80 and Firefox 60 ESR and 68; Ocular is used as a PDF viewer instead of Adobe Reader (which will not be further developed for Linux) . Like the previous versions, it was not multi-session capable. First rollout was done in April 2019 and is estimated to be fully rolled out in 2020.
- "Switching to Linux saves Munich over €11 million". IT World. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
From 11,000 desktops at the time the cost study was prepared, the number of desktops running LiMux has now reached 12,600 and by the end of the year the city plans to have migrated 13,000 of the total of 15,500 desktops.
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- Heath, Nick (8 November 2017). "Linux pioneer Munich supports Windows 10 rollout from 2020 in key vote". TechRepublic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
- Schaer, Cathrin (14 May 2020). "Linux not Windows: Why Munich is shifting back from Microsoft to open source – again". ZDNet. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- "Libre Office für München". Münchner IT-Blog. 15 October 2012. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
- "Linux: City of Munich ditches Microsoft moves to Linux and open source". GiraffeDog IT support services. 23 December 2013. Archived from the original on 3 August 2020. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
- "TÜV zertifiziert Münchens LiMUX-Client" (in German). linux-magazin.de. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 16 November 2010.
- "Linux in the City of Munich (AKA LiMux) -- DebConf15 talk by Jan-Marek Glogowski". 15 August 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
- Joey-Elijah Sneddon (22 August 2014). "Munich Council: LiMux Demise Has Been Greatly Exaggerated".
Hauf also confirms that council staff have, and do, complain about LiMux, but that the majority of issues stem from compatibility issues in OpenOffice, something a potential switch to LibreOffice could solve.
- Peter Bright (18 August 2014). "Linux-on-the-desktop pioneer Munich now considering a switch back to Windows".
- "Das Microsoft-Dilemma" (in German). ARD Mediathek. 8 April 2018. Archived from the original on 10 April 2018.
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Until spring 2004, a detailed concept of implementation and migration will be developed. Based on the results of this evaluation, the city council will decide how the migration to Linux will take place.
- "Limux – the IT-Evolution". IDABC. Archived from the original on 16 December 2007.
- Encz, Philipp; Bass, Dina. "Microsoft Loses Munich Contract for 14,000 PCs to Linux Program". Bloomberg. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014.
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- Florian Schießl; deputy project manager (22 April 2008). "Zwei Jahre freie Software in München" (PDF).[permanent dead link](in German)
- "Munich's WollMux will be free software". 29 May 2008.
- Florian Schießl; Communications manager free software; open standards (30 December 2009). "LiMux review 2009". Archived from the original on 10 January 2010.
- "Projekt LiMux: Die IT-Evolution geht weiter". 30 June 2010.
- Kirsten Böge (17 December 2011). "München hat den 9.000. PC-Arbeitsplatz auf den LiMux Client migriert". Archived from the original on 13 January 2012.
- Reed, Michael (2 January 2012). "Munich Linux Migration Project LiMux Reports Success". Linux Journal. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
- Jörg Thoma (28 March 2012). "München spart mit Limux Geld und hat weniger Störungen".
- Loek Essers (2 April 2012). "Munich mayor says switch to Linux is much cheaper and has reduced complaints".
The maximum number of complaints was 70 per month before the beginning of the switch to LiMux. After the number of LiMux workplaces increased from 1,500 to 9,500, the maximum number of complaints per month dropped to 46. This leaves Ude to conclude that the decline in complaints was due to the migration to LiMux.
- Jutta Kreyss, IT Architect, LiMux (Munich, Germany) (10 June 2012). "LiMux - the IT-Evolution, Status of Migration" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 September 2014.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Anika Kehrer (23 November 2012). "Linux brings over €10 million savings for Munich". Archived from the original on 7 December 2013.
- Presse- und Informationsamt der Landeshauptstadt München (22 January 2013). "Rathaus Umschau - HP-Studie untersucht im Auftrag von Microsoft LiMux-Umstellung" (PDF).[permanent dead link]
- Loek Essers (13 December 2013). "Munich open-source switch 'completed successfully'". Archived from the original on 13 October 2014.
- Nick Heath (15 October 2014). "Munich sheds light on the cost of dropping Linux and returning to Windows".
The mayor of Munich has revealed the cost of reversing its move to Linux from Windows will run into millions of euros in hardware alone.
- "Debian Success Stories".
- "LibreOffice conference 2015, schedule, Sept. 24th. Thursday".
- "Microsoft Germany moves into a new headquarters". Retrieved 20 September 2016.
- Heath, Nick (10 February 2017). "Linux pioneer Munich poised to ditch open source and return to Windows". Tech Republic. Retrieved 12 February 2017 – via http://www.techrepublic.com/.
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- "Linux pioneer confirms switch to Windows 10".
- Schaer, Cathrin (14 May 2020). "Linux not Windows: Why Munich is shifting back from Microsoft to open source – again". ZDNet. Retrieved 24 May 2020. https://www.zdnet.com/article/linux-not-windows-why-munich-is-shifting-back-from-microsoft-to-open-source-again/
- "Version 4.0 des LiMux-Clients ist fertig" (in German). 18 August 2011.
- Declaration of Independence: The LiMux Project in Munich
- GOsa - Administrative LDAP back-end used in the project