Munich school network to be migrated to Windows XP
Around 28,000 computers in Munich's educational facilities are being upgraded to more recent Microsoft software. In an interview with The H's associates at heise Online a spokesperson for the Munich education department's IT section said "We are currently rolling out Windows XP". According to the spokesperson the upgrade from older Windows operating systems was started at vocational schools, and many primary schools are currently also on the agenda depending on their location. The migration to XP and the relevant office applications is reportedly scheduled to be completed by the end of the school year, in summer 2011.
The spokesperson said that, at the same time, individual computers will be upgraded to Windows 7 if this is required to run specific applications. The latest generation of Windows is expected to be deployed across Munich's entire educational network by mid-2012. Due to Microsoft's extensive discounts for software packages used in education, licence fees will be "insignificant", said the council spokesperson. A larger financial commitment is apparently required for the electronic deployment of the applications on desktop computers. However, the spokesperson said that these costs are also incurred when migrating to free software.
In 2003, the Munich city council's decision to migrate the municipality's computers to Linux excluded the city's educational network. Talking to heise Online, Peter Hofmann, the leader of the LiMux project for migrating the Bavarian capital's administration to Linux, explained the then slightly controversial decision: "It was clear that the educational sector has very different requirements from those existing in businesses and at the chambers of commerce." There, he said, people are time and again calling for "standard software". However, open source programs are reportedly planned to be used in the educational sector wherever possible. Teachers and students can, for instance, use OpenOffice or similar freely available office software packages.
The education department's spokesperson also explained that around "700 proprietary products", of which only a small proportion are said to work under Linux, are currently used in the educational network. Future employers and customers want to see their processes mirrored in class, which means that a large number of specialised techniques would have needed to be migrated in the case of a switch to free software. The only other option would have been to use emulators, which would also have been quite involved, said the spokesperson. However, he added that the Bavarian capital's schools do use open source solutions "wherever it makes sense".
The Linux project for the rest of the municipality's computers has also suffered delays, for example, due to interoperability problems. After the completion of various pilot projects in individual units, about a year ago more than 3,000 computers were running under free software. At the end of January, Munich city council announced that the municipality's 5,000th PC work station was migrated to Linux in the city's fire department in late 2010. This means that ten of the 22 council departments have now been fully migrated to open source software. The remaining 7,000 computers are reportedly planned to be migrated to the LiMux client by 2013. Munich IT mayor Christine Strobl (SPD) said that the client, version 3.0 of which has since been released, has made it necessary to switch distributions from Debian Etch to Ubuntu 8.04 in order to better match the council departments' requirements.
(Stefan Krempl / ehe)