German Foreign Office Falls Back to Using Windows XP

The German Foreign Ministry has undone ten years of hard work and has decided to fall back to using Windows-XP against the current process of the migration to Linux. This comes as a double shock, first the migration away from Linux and second, the choice of the now-obsolete Windows XP.
The migration to Linux started in 2001 and by 2005, the Government has been using,

open source software such as Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice on its desktop systems. Mobile systems use a Debian GNU/Linux based Linux and office PCs are configured with a dual Windows / Linux boot.

Open-source was operational on German-government systems by 2007 and they reported obvious profits in using open-source over closed source. However, recently, the foreign ministry has seen some problems in running open-source and has decided to fall back to Windows XP saying,

the cost of adapting and extending it, for example in writing printer and scanner drivers, and of training, have proved greater than anticipated. The extent to which the potential savings trumpeted in 2007 have proved realisable has, according to the government, been limited though it declines to give any actual figures. Users have, it claims, also complained of missing functionality, a lack of usability and poor interoperability.

The government claims that the cost of migrating to Windows will be far less than the cost of managing an army of programmers to write drivers for all the hardware they have currently. This raises some serious questions on the hardware and the technical expertise that government employees have.

The reason for this migration seems to be twofold. First, the government employees seem exceptionally familiar with the Windows UI, specifically that of Windows XP and have resentments against using anything else. Secondly, the German government possibly uses some legacy hardware that has driver issues with Linux, but has full Windows support.

However, if even after a decade of migration, the government had to turn back, it proves that Linux is not ready for the common-man yet and is still, an operating system for power-users.



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Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.