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Red Hat Challenges Swiss Government Over Microsoft Monopoly

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the fighting-ignorance-with-lawsuits dept.

The Courts 245

An anonymous reader writes "'Linux vendor Red Hat, and 17 other vendors, have protested a Swiss government contract given to Microsoft without any public bidding. The move exposes a wider Microsoft monopoly that European governments accept, despite their lip service for open source, according to commentators. The Red Hat group has asked a Swiss federal court to overturn a three-year contract issued to Microsoft by the Swiss Federal Bureau for Building and Logistics, to provide Windows desktops and applications, with support and maintenance, for 14M Swiss francs (£8M; $15M) each year. The contract, for 'standardized workstations,' was issued with no public bidding process, Red Hat's legal team reports in a blog — because the Swiss agency asserted there was no sufficient alternative to Microsoft products.'"

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And the Swiss sue back! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087297)

For making an operating system that no scanners work with!!

Re:And the Swiss sue back! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087471)

Do you mean windows XP? I've always had more trouble getting my scanners to work with Windows than any other OS.

Re:And the Swiss sue back! (4, Interesting)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087479)

Actually, the sad part is there is probably truth in the parent.

Somebody in the procurement department either

(a) Has a report from someone in their IT Department that erroneously states that they need won't work with Linux, and therefore has to be excluded from the procurement process.

or

(b) Has a report from someone in their IT Department that correctly states that they need won't work with Linux, and therefore has to be excluded from the procurement process.

Unfortunately, that's not a Microsoft Monopoly, in either case. If its (a) then their IT staff suck, not Microsoft's fault, and not making Microsoft a monopoly. If its (b) then Linux sucks for their needs, which again is not Microsoft's fault and does not make Microsoft a monopoly.

Re:And the Swiss sue back! (0, Redundant)

Samalie (1016193) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087521)

I fail at typing thoughts today.... (a) and (b) should both read ...that [erroneously/correctly] states that what they need won't work... We now return you to your regularly scheduled linux vs microsoft rant :)

Re:And the Swiss sue back! (5, Insightful)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087713)

Actually, the sad part is there is probably truth in the parent. Somebody in the procurement department either (a) Has a report from someone in their IT Department that erroneously states that they need won't work with Linux, and therefore has to be excluded from the procurement process. or (b) Has a report from someone in their IT Department that correctly states that they need won't work with Linux, and therefore has to be excluded from the procurement process. Unfortunately, that's not a Microsoft Monopoly, in either case. If its (a) then their IT staff suck, not Microsoft's fault, and not making Microsoft a monopoly. If its (b) then Linux sucks for their needs, which again is not Microsoft's fault and does not make Microsoft a monopoly.

Which is why Switzerland is being sued, not Microsoft. The summary is actually somewhat erroneous here, because this has little to do with Microsoft or its monopoly, they just happen to be the bidder here.

Most government departments have mandatory open bidding processes for procurement of everything from software to roads. If they had, in violation of these rules, given a no-bid contract to Red Hat, Microsoft could've sued the Swiss government on the exact same grounds and forced them to use a competitive bidding process. If the same process occurred in roadbuilding, and they gave a no-bid to Contractor A when Contractor B also wanted a shot to bid, Contractor B can sue. So it's true that Microsoft isn't really in the wrong here, a Swiss government agency is.

That being said, however, as to your "a" and "b" scenarios, it really doesn't matter. The way the bidding process works is that they present a set of requirements as to what the product being procured must do. Anyone who is willing to fill those requirements (either by using what they've already got or developing something new to fill them) may bid. In your "b" scenario, they would have to know not only that "Red Hat's software is currently incapable of doing something we need", but also that "Red Hat is unwilling or unable to develop that functionality." Apparently, that's not the case, since it seems Red Hat certainly does want a stab at it.

Re:And the Swiss sue back! (5, Informative)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088475)

Exactly. Switzerland states that only MS will do, but how can you truly know what's available without a public bid?

Re:And the Swiss sue back! (4, Insightful)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087927)

It's bad either way. Even if it is true that they have something that genuinely can only be made to work with Windows as of today (and they genuinely cannot meet said Windows requirement in any way other than having Windows on all desktops), they should still open the bidding process and allow Linux vendors to quote them a price that includes fixing the problem in Linux.

It might still work out cheaper than going with Windows, and if it doesn't, then they can still go with Windows, secure in the knowledge that there has been a fair and open bidding process to justify their decision.

As for the monopoly argument, I don't see a problem with the term. If the Swiss government is automatically granting business to Microsoft without allowing any competitors to bid, then the Swiss government is indeed effectively granting Microsoft a monopoly. The market in question is a fairly small one, and the existence of the monopoly is the fault of the Swiss government rather than of Microsoft, but it appears to exist nonetheless.

Re:And the Swiss sue back! (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088683)

The market in question is a fairly small one, and the existence of the monopoly is the fault of the Swiss government rather than of Microsoft, but it appears to exist nonetheless.

If Switzerland is anything like the US, I'd wager the market you're referring to (federal, state and local contracts) is a lot larger than you think. Maybe someone can cite some real numbers, but I'd guess it outstrips anything in the private sector.

Re:And the Swiss sue back! (4, Insightful)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088061)

For 10 million (or more) dollars, I'm pretty sure Red Hat could make whatever they need to work work. The biggest advantage Linux has is enterprise installations that are large enough to absorb programmer salaries into the budget, and thus can customize the entire installation for a one time cost.

Re:And the Swiss sue back! (5, Informative)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087501)

Just be aware that Switzerland is NOT an EU member, so only Swiss laws does apply.

Re:And the Swiss sue back! (1, Informative)

anss123 (985305) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087893)

Just be aware that Switzerland is NOT an EU member, so only Swiss laws does apply.

Don't be too sure of that; they are part of the Schengen [wikipedia.org] and have various other treaties with the EU.

Re:And the Swiss sue back! (2, Informative)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087689)

Responding to a troll perhaps, but I've never had a scanner that doesn't work with linux. Xsane is pretty solid.

Re:And the Swiss sue back! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087709)

The Swiss like their operating systems like their cheese -- Plenty of holes.

Re:And the Swiss sue back! (5, Informative)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088771)

The Swiss like their operating systems like their cheese -- Plenty of holes.

I know you're trying to be funny, but I'll put on my pedantic hat and remind everyone that Switzerland makes lots of cheeses, few of which contain holes.

What you're thinking of is that yellowish waxy product made in Wisconsin or California that vaguely resembles emmenthaler [wikipedia.org] . By contrast, appenzeller [wikipedia.org] and gruyere [wikipedia.org] , for example, are similarly popular, and have no holes.

So much for your holey theory. ;-)

That's odd (4, Informative)

Kludge (13653) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088283)

When I installed Linux my Canon scanner just worked.

When I installed Windows, it told me I needed to install a driver. What does that mean?

Re:That's odd (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28088415)

It appears to mean that "Linux doesn't support scanners" is the latest meme: I've seen it posted several times a day on Slashdot the past month or so. Someone further down this article has said the exact same thing. Not a single person making the claim has ever provided actual evidence, even when questioned, beyond "My scanner doesn't work". What scanner(s) do these people all own? Who knows...

Re:That's odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28088419)

It means that Windows didn't have the driver for your scanner... and Linux did. DUH! You see, the OS requires ways for it to talk to....

Yea, I know you were attempting sarcasm... but it isn't anything that hasn't been said above. I reckon having a low UID means you don't have to read to see if what you type is redundant.

Re:And the Swiss sue back! (2, Informative)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088825)

Bullshit. DO your homework. HP printers/scanners all work under Linux. I've not had a need to search for other drivers, but I'm sure there are more.

I play (1, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087301)

Star Wars monopoly usually - regular monopoly some times.

Re:I play (4, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087447)

OMG we should come with a version of Linux Monopoly! Instead of going to jail, you get fined for violating the GPL, and it instead of collecting $200 when passing Go, you can instead up the rev number of your sourceforge-hosted project up one notch.

Re:I play (1)

Randle_Revar (229304) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087533)

Brilliant!

Re:I play (2, Insightful)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087683)

So would the different distros be different properties? Cos I'm not sure how I feel about building a datacenter (hotel) on Mandrake avenue.

Re:I play (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087743)

So would the different distros be different properties?

Yeah. That sounds cool.

Except that the Linux Kernel itself replaces Boardwalk, because it's the most important piece of software in a Linux distro (that's what makes it Linux!).

I would totally play Monopoly: Microsoft Edition and Monopoly: Linux edition. :D

Re:I play (5, Funny)

Zordak (123132) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087975)

the Linux Kernel itself replaces Boardwalk, because it's the most important piece of software in a Linux distro

Somewhere in a basement beneath MIT, Richard Stallman just peed his pants in exasperated fury.

Re:I play (1)

Chees0rz (1194661) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088137)

Can someone explain this? I suspect the GP said something either very stupid, slightly incorrect, or against some group's dogma.

I am just curious!

Re:I play (0, Flamebait)

leamanc (961376) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088447)

See, Stallman started the Free Software Foundation (GNU) 25 years or so ago. He's been promising an operating system, GNU Hurd, for a long time. The lack of a viable kernel has been keeping Hurd on the backburner ever since. But once the Linux kernel was released into the wild, all the other GNU tools, apps and utilities finally had an operating system with which they could be used. So nobody gives a crap about Hurd anymore (although it's apparently a 1.0 is still coming someday), and use Linux instead. But, Stallman is very quick to point out that it should be called GNU/Linux since most of the OS is made up of GNU tools, except for the Linux kernel itself. So the GP was just poking fun at Stallman's continual taking credit for Linux's success because of all of "his" GNU tools included in every distro.

Re:I play (2, Insightful)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088559)

Richard Stallman aggressively recommends that everyone use the term GNU/Linux instead of Linux.

Park Place becomes glibc (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088379)

As I understand it, glibc is what puts the GNU in GNU/Linux. (It's probably not Bash or Coreutils because those are part of MSYS on Windows.) So to appease Mr. Stallman, we could put glibc on the space formerly known as Park Place.

Re:I play (1)

zacronos (937891) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088693)

I would think it should replace one of the utilities, though I'm not sure what the other would be.

Re:I play (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088509)

So would the different distros be different properties? Cos I'm not sure how I feel about building a datacenter (hotel) on Mandrake avenue.

Don't worry. It'll be in the purple properties.

Just kidding. Calm down, Mandrakers!

Re:I play (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087699)

I know I'll play Linux/PC themed monopoly.

Ah, quit your whining soory pusses !! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087309)

It's over, go home already !!

Swiss (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087317)

Switzerland is not part of the EU, where did the sue them? at the Swiss court?

Re:Swiss (4, Informative)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087439)

Nowhere did the summary say EU.
European != EU.

Re:Swiss (4, Informative)

carlzum (832868) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087553)

Yes...

The Red Hat group has asked a Swiss federal court to overturn a three-year contract issued to Microsoft by the Swiss Federal Bureau for Building and Logistics, to provide Windows desktops and applications, with support and maintenance, for 14 million Swiss Franc (£8 million) each year.

Switzerland... EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087337)

What has a "wider Microsoft monopoly that European governments accept" got todo with the Swiss? they aint part of the EU

Re:Switzerland... EU (1, Redundant)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087431)

Nowhere did the summary say EU.
European != EU

Re:Switzerland... EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087587)

It's "couldn't care less" ...

Re:Switzerland... EU (1)

HappySmileMan (1088123) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087721)

I'm aware, but recently I've seen a bunch of people say stuff like " I could care less about X", it may just be a failed attempt at sarcasm, or maybe they're idiots, either way it annoys me.

Re:Switzerland... EU (2, Informative)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087897)

Because that is the unfortunate reality in most of Europe, not only in EU countries.

Switzerland not in EU (5, Informative)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087357)

For anybody interested how this interacts with all the pro linux movements from the EU recently, well its completely orthogonal Switzerland is not a member of the EU.

Btw i believe the issue here is the lack of bidding process not that the contract went to Microsoft, like if all the contracts for costly wars in the midle east were given to a particular company without offering them up to any of the competition, good thing shit like that doesn't happen...oooh!

Re:Switzerland not in EU (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087475)

I'm just surprised that Governments so readily lets themselves be at the mercy of a foreign corporation. At the least, they could mandate open formats for when the propietary solution is better but giving them a later option to move to something else.

IIRC, Chinese government smartly maintains it's own linux distro.

Switzerland is a federationm Direct Democracy (4, Informative)

omb (759389) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087627)

Like the USA, Switzerland is a federation, much smaller, but beautifully formed. The Kantons (18?) are the main source of power, not the federal government. And Direct Democracy means that the equivalent of Presedential signing is a referendum on legislation AFTER is is passed by the Bundesrat. Actually the referendum is negative, ie it vetos what the pols passed.

This is _why_ Switzerland is not in the EU, last time the pols tried it was thrown out by a 87% majority and that was the second asking so it wont come back for 30 years. Switzerland is in EFTA and has a bilateral treaty with the EU and is implementing the Shengen accord. Less strict frontier controls. If a question is decided at referendum it can normally be asked once again, but if voted down it is rude, and pointless to bring it back so pols cant saw, or piggy back the way they can in the US.

Many parts of Switzerland do use open source, The City of Zurich (Stadt Zürich) uses it extensively, as does Academia. Kanton Zürich provides tax preparation software free for Linux, Mac & M$Win.

Re:Switzerland not in EU (2, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087725)

Way to go. Drag in a populist /. rara argument to support your bias. Are you privy to the requirements of th Swiss govt? Do you have any evidence or logic for that matter to prove your opinion?

Re:Switzerland not in EU (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087907)

Prove which part:
switzerland isnt part of the EU [wikipedia.org]
The issue being the bidding process should be made clearer in the headline otherwise it sounds like Red Hat are just bad losers.
Certain companies [wikipedia.org] getting no-bid contracts [wikipedia.org] in for iraq war reconstruction [wikipedia.org]

DO you jump to accuse anybody who agrees reasonable concepts (having a fair bidding process for government contracts) of having populist bias?

Re:Switzerland not in EU (1)

iris-n (1276146) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087791)

IMHO completely orthogonal is plain exaggeration. Switzerland has some treaties with the EU, such as the Shengen and Dublin ones.

I think they are just linearly independent, not orthogonal.

Re:Switzerland not in EU (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087955)

Especially since pro Linux movements in Europe are, also, largery a grassroots thing, so their members don't really care that much whether or not that particular group of pro Linux buddies / neighbouars reside in a country that's part of the EU or not...

Oh noes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087361)

Cry me a river, Redhat!

Fscking whiners.

Re:Oh noes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087381)

Shut up and suck!

Re:Oh noes (0, Offtopic)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087537)

Oh the irony. Would you like some cheese with that whine coward?

but..? (1)

ScubaS (600042) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087363)

They probably don't need to go through a bidding process because they assume that open source is "free". So any descision to purchase Windows goes without a formal bidding process.

Re:but..? (2, Interesting)

prelelat (201821) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088371)

I would believe that if the cost of support wasn't thrown into the mix. Windows, Linux, and OSX all offer support services for their software. Part of what the summery was stating was the cost of that support. Red Hat offers such a service for a fee which any one doing the research into the bidding process for the OS's should know. This is why Red Hat is and should be upset they are being taken out of the running before they can even start. This is how they make their money off of their OS.

I don't know if there is foul play here because some of the applications and hardware that work under windows don't exist or don't work as well under other operating systems. I still think they should have had an open bidding process and if Red Hat(or other linux distros and OS's) couldn't meet their needs with the price as well as the software then Microsoft would be free to take it. It shouldn't be a problem if it's just a formality, but it wasn't even setup like that, which is why I see Red Hat as being justified in being upset with the bidding process.

Pretty Standard Practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087451)

Practices like selecting some unique feature of the MS software that is not duplicated by FOSS software, like the BSOD) or a proprietary protocol or format,and making that a requirement of the contract has been a standard practice of writing contract specs since, well, forever. It allows only one provider to "qualify".

The only cure is shining the cold light of day on the practice and public exposure of the practice.

Kudos Red Hat!

Re:Pretty Standard Practice (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087617)

Practices like selecting some unique feature of the MS software that is not duplicated by FOSS software, like the BSOD) or a proprietary protocol or format,and making that a requirement of the contract has been a standard practice of writing contract specs since, well, forever. It allows only one provider to "qualify".

Even simpler, just add "provider's name exactly matches Microsoft" as a requirement.

Re:Pretty Standard Practice (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088595)

Practices like selecting some unique feature of the MS software [...]

"Must be able to run $WINDOWS_ONLY_APPLICATION in a vendor-support configuration."

Maybe the Swiss just know what they want? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087517)

The article doesn't mention the reasoning behind the decision to grant MS the contract, other than

"the Swiss agency asserted there was no sufficient alternative to Microsoft products."

In all fairness, this is pretty much true. If they already have a Windows-based infrastructure in place that works well for them, use MS Office, Outloook, etc, for all their needs, it makes sense they'd go directly to MS rather than go through a public bidding process when they want to upgrade.
Even if they had opened this for public bidding, could someone like RH claim that they could provide a solution that'd be 100%-compatible with the existing MS environment at a lower cost? I seriously doubt this would be the case.

Eheh (1, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087691)

By your logic, if the goverment only had Ford motorcars then GM cars ain't an alternative since their operation is geared for Ford.

Doesn't fly my friend.

Re:Eheh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087745)

Cars != an IT infrastructure. ...now go troll some other m$ hater forums.

Re:Eheh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087761)

You should leave the analogies for someone else, because the one you just made is pretty bad. Not even in the 'apples and oranges' realm.

Read the parent, then read your reply, then think about it for longer than one second, and you will see why what you said is just seer idiocy.

Re:Eheh (2, Insightful)

atfrase (879806) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087803)

By your logic, if the goverment only had Ford motorcars then GM cars ain't an alternative since their operation is geared for Ford.

Doesn't fly my friend.

There are plenty of accurate analogies to explain this situation. Resorting instead to such a foolish and misleading one just makes all open source advocates look disingenuous and dishonest, when those are exactly (some of) the traits of Microsoft that we condemn.

Re:Eheh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087819)

sorry, but your analogy sucks. Compatibility with legacy software is far more important than old cars in preserving the efficiency of an organization using both.

Re:Eheh (3, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088031)

By your logic, if the goverment only had Ford motorcars then GM cars ain't an alternative since their operation is geared for Ford.

Doesn't fly my friend.

Well, that's because your analogy is crap.

A better might be if they only had diesel cars, and had their own filling stations that only had tanks/pumps for diesel, and someone wants to sell them gasoline or compressed natural gas cars. But that doesn't really work since in that case it's the cars (what's being replaced) that are the "important" part, whereas really it's probably what isn't being replaced (the applications) that's the important part.

Re:Eheh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28088033)

I'm calling the patriotic nigras next time you're in SL

Re:Maybe the Swiss just know what they want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087727)

Nope.
A government can not go directly to any provider.
They are required to go through a public bidding process if they are going after a new ... project.
It does not matter who would have won the bidding. It HAD to be done.
And do not pretend to know what the bidding would have been about. What the requirements would have been, etc...
It never took place.

Re:Maybe the Swiss just know what they want? (4, Informative)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087731)

... could someone like RH claim that they could provide a solution that'd be 100%-compatible with the existing MS environment at a lower cost? I seriously doubt this would be the case.

Microsoft can't truthfully claim this, either. They certainly can't claim a lower cost than MS, but they can't even claim 100% compatibility, either.
That doesn't stop them from making the claim, though...

Re:Maybe the Swiss just know what they want? (4, Informative)

init100 (915886) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087757)

it makes sense they'd go directly to MS rather than go through a public bidding process when they want to upgrade.

Many countries have laws that require a public bidding process when any governmental organization procures some good or service. You can't just ignore that when planning to make a large procurement, because that means that tax funds could be spent on a suboptimal solution.

Of course, that may happen anyway, but a public bidding process lowers that risk somewhat.

Re:Maybe the Swiss just know what they want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087847)

Even if they had opened this for public bidding, could someone like RH claim that they could provide a solution that'd be 100%-compatible with the existing MS environment at a lower cost? I seriously doubt this would be the case.

What if they couldn't? What if they could show considerable savings in 20% or 40% or 60% or 80% of the project - with MS getting the rest? It's a $15m contract. There's plenty of room in something that size to make serious inroads. Hence there should have been public bidding.

And maybe the Swiss do know what the want -- after all they've provided a legal system that lets RH challenge the decision. They don't presume goverment departments are beyond questioning.

Re:Maybe the Swiss just know what they want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087885)

I hope that happens! I *LOVE* interop issues! It's the lifeblood of my consulting business.

Re:Maybe the Swiss just know what they want? (1)

pleasenopuffin (1265518) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088227)

I couldn't agree with you more. You can't blame microsoft for providing a product that people feel comfortable and familiar with using. Why switch when everything is dandy. IMHO, for the common user, Linux is no replacement. Think of the costs associated with familiarizing the staff with Linux. You can't expect people to just switch and learn on his or her own. Personally, I have been attempting to switch on my own, and I just don't see it happening. I'll stick to my mac mini with 10.5 and win7.

The culprit is the finance minister (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087549)

The modern Swiss system is the epitome of capitalism. It has been raised to new hights by the long time finance minister Hans-Rudolf MÃrz who happens to be the President for this year http://www.admin.ch/br/index.html?lang=en

dd

Re:The culprit is the finance minister (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087705)

(contd. sorry for the hickup)

Mr MÃrz was a bank manager and his policy could be summerized to "once the coorporates do well, the wealth will trickle down to the people (Obama)". With that he gave a free hand to the Swiss banks and they brought the system close to a grounding. Amazingly the people here failed to realize this and after the initial battering he seems to hold on.

Reportedly Mr MÃrz personally interfered when the government tried to move towards Open Souce three years ago and nullyfied the whole thing http://www.inside-it.ch/frontend/insideit?&site=ii&_d=_article&news.id=8470 (German)

Sorry Steve (1)

hoytak (1148181) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087577)

Despite all the memos, it is still not the Year of Linux in the Dumpster.

Re:Sorry Steve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087773)

Just broken chairs...

Have we learned nothing from the RIAA? (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087609)

Don't sue your potential customers. It's not a good way to improve your public relations.

Re:Have we learned nothing from the RIAA? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087681)

This would be more analogous to suing someone who torrents under the excuse that nobody in town sells CDs any more - when it turns out the last CD shop closed because the same person was smashing the storefront windows and assaulting people trying to enter the store.

Re:Have we learned nothing from the RIAA? (1)

legirons (809082) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087739)

Don't sue your potential customers.

According to the article, there is not 'potential customer' here, just a 'STFU' from your friendly competitor who has a monopoly in the OS market who used that to force a monopoly in the word-processor market.

if they're forcing the population of switzerland to pay to support your competitor's business ideas, why would you not sue them to challenge that?

Re:Have we learned nothing from the RIAA? (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087943)

Don't sue your potential customers. It's not a good way to improve your public relations.

Red Hat is an American company, right? If this suit goes through Swizz is perhaps more likely to pick a European Linux distro, thus America will lose trade and American jobs are lost. Go Red Hat!

Re:Have we learned nothing from the RIAA? (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088185)

Jealous much?

Re:Have we learned nothing from the RIAA? (1)

anss123 (985305) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088329)

Jealous much?

Hey, I'm not the one suing here! :-)

Make it work with Active Directory first, then sue (5, Interesting)

melted (227442) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087655)

Seriously, I've been running Linux as my primary OS for a while now, and my work laptop is joined to Active Directory at work through Likewise Open. Even so, the integration is rudimentary at best, and every piece of software has its own little tweaks and settings. Single sign-on is a PAIN on Linux. Group policies don't exist. Peripheral compatibility is spotty, particularly with scanners. Multi-factor auth is a pain in the ass. Remote desktop (VNC) is really slow compared to RDP which makes VPN-from-home scenario painful.

Those are a few MUST HAVE things that work in Windows out of the box. RedHat should hire a few more engineers and get them cracking on those, before spending a ton of money on lawyers.

I do think that they could have supplied quite a bit on the server side, though. File serving, web serving, document sharing, DB - those things don't need Windows anymore.

Re:Make it work with Active Directory first, then (2, Insightful)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087707)

[snip] Group policies don't exist. [snip some more]

Linux does things differently. Different != inferior.

Re:Make it work with Active Directory first, then (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087827)

[snip] Group policies don't exist. [snip some more]

Linux does things differently. Different != inferior.

Please direct me to the documentation for the standard group policy mechanism in Red Hat.

Re:Make it work with Active Directory first, then (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087871)

Sometimes different is inferior. Group policies is something you can't live without after you have learned to use it properly. Those administrators that haven't tried it cannot even imagine the power of it. I am sure that some open source project to duplicate (oh no, duplication again!) this feature must be in development somehow at this moment.

Re:Make it work with Active Directory first, then (1)

gander666 (723553) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087845)

Ding, we have a winner. I tried with Linux. It works, after a fashion, but you get really tired of constantly working around glitches and gotchas.

I tried with a MacBook Pro. Better, but not really seamless, and then suddenly one day it stopped connecting with our Citrix server and it became an untenable solution (I did for a time use VMWare Fusion, with XP and the Windows citrix client, until I got my Dell rebuilt. That mega sucked...)

Until there is a drop in replacement for AD, and exchange with all its messaging glory, this is going to be the case.

Geoff

Microsoft Works Tirelessly (4, Insightful)

omb (759389) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088105)

Microsoft Works Tirelessly to make sure you have little glitches, by breaking every Open Standards it can get its grubby hands on, if you want examples look no further than the Kerberos extensions which they tried to NDA until MIT's lawyers pointed out that the extension was a derivative of copyright work and the laughable Excel ODF formula screw up.

They dont want to interoperate but will be forced to do so.

Re:Make it work with Active Directory first, then (2, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087887)

I see you are looking for excuses, not for solutions...

Re:Make it work with Active Directory first, then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28087983)

Remote desktop (VNC) is really slow compared to RDP which makes VPN-from-home scenario painful.

If only Linux used some sort of "Project X" style graphics server which could effortlessly transmit the GUI to a remote location.

Re:Make it work with Active Directory first, then (2, Insightful)

melted (227442) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088291)

Have you actually TRIED using X Window, even over broadband? I have. There are several drawbacks to it:
1. It is VERY slow, slower than VNC. It runs like a snail compared to RDP.
2. If you get disconnected, for whatever reason, your apps die and you lose data. In year 2009 this is UNACCEPTABLE.
3. Did I mention it is VERY slow?

Re:Make it work with Active Directory first, then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28088561)

Have you actually TRIED using X Window, even over broadband?

Yup.

1. It is VERY slow, slower than VNC.

Never had that problem. If you are seeing this, try tunneling over SSH and using compression.

2. If you get disconnected, for whatever reason, your apps die and you lose data. In year 2009 this is UNACCEPTABLE.

Quite right, I absolutely agree it is totally unacceptable. Which is why X developers invented xmove many years ago.

3. Did I mention it is VERY slow?

Yes you did. The flag you want is -z9 and you might want to do some tests to find out why your bandwidth or latency clearly sucks so badly.

Re:Make it work with Active Directory first, then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28088647)

NX [nomachine.com] is a fair bit better than RDP/Citrix.

Yes, but if you were on the University network ... (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088835)

All things are corrected by using the proper network. As long as you confine yourself to the University Ethernet wired network you will not have these difficulties.

What? Oh, you aren't living and working at a University? Well, that's part of the problem. Much of this was designed and developed for use in a rather rarified atmosphere and trying to use it outside of that can be a real challenge. Ofen requiring the source code and a compiler. Sometimes debugger as well.

Yes, I have a production Linux server that is critical to my business. But I am familiar with the limitations.

Which linux distro? (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088513)

You said you are running Linux on your laptop, and it doesn't quite work with some other stuff that I am guessing is microsoft specific? ( I am not a business software user at all so therefore I don't follow these things much at all) Then you suggest redhat should work to make it better, etc by throwing some devs at it (which costs them cash obviously) instead of spending cash on lawyers. Fair enough, that makes sense and is logical! So, here is the obvious question, I am wondering if you are then running a paid-for redhat distribution on that work laptop or not, so that you and your company are helping to pay to make linux better so it interoperates better in the work environment, or just running joe's random distro you downloaded for free, or what.

One department blues . . . (2, Informative)

siloko (1133863) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087729)

Well it is only one department, at least one other department [zdnet.com] has a different approach. The Swiss Department of Public Instruction, which has the motto "Long Live Free Software" and is responsible for IT policy in Swiss schools, has encouraged Linux boots in the interests of leveling the playing field for students unable to afford new computers with the latest Microsoft software, a policy in place since late 2008.

Re:One department blues . . . (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088737)

The Swiss Department of Public Instruction, which has the motto "Long Live Free Software" and is responsible for IT policy in Swiss schools, has encouraged Linux boots in the interests of leveling the playing field for students unable to afford new computers with the latest Microsoft software, a policy in place since late 2008.

Do you realise you're talking about Switzerland, a country with one of the highest average incomes and standards of living in the world ? The price difference here between a PC without Windows, and a PC with Windows, would barely buy you a couple of Big Mac Meals, if that.

Building department (3, Interesting)

Shag (3737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087909)

The word "building" in there makes me wonder whether this department might actually have some kind of legitimate need for CAD software or such, which tends to be under-represented on Linux (and Mac, for that matter).

Re:Building department (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28088081)

There's no good reason why another vendor could not bid support for Microsoft products. I'd be hard pressed to believe that networks/systems supported by Redhat have zero Windows workstations in them.

Shop around, at Microsoft we won't be undersold! (4, Interesting)

carlzum (832868) | more than 4 years ago | (#28087935)

There's no use debating how much the agency would save with an MS-alternative. Influential organizations like large corporations, universities, and government agencies will always get substantial discounts on Windows and Office license agreements. MS knows these entities have enormous leverage over their vendors' and customers' software choices. IE-only web sites, VBA applications, and Word forms make alternative software less attractive or even impossible to use.

I work for a large corporation that produces a lot of documents and applications our customers and vendors need to work with. MS worked out the pricing so that any other OS or office suite was a much greater capital expense on the balance sheet. They were even nice enough to provide free professional services to help us develop "solutions" that invariably locked customers and vendors into MS products.

Re:Shop around, at Microsoft we won't be undersold (2, Insightful)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 4 years ago | (#28088597)

... so, they're doing what any reasonable company would do?

Adjust their final price, offer incentives, and taylor the product they're delivering in order to win the customer's business.

If the customer got what they wanted, and saved a bundle in the process, and did so legally, beating out what any other competitor offered... how is that a bad thing?

Fro5t pisjt (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28088337)

of programming and distrac7ion counterpart, start a holy war

There isn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28088603)

Yeah, Linux on the desktop is really going to make life easier for them.

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