Microsoft fights Bundestag Linux switch

Microsoft Corp. is striking back at a growing movement seeking to switch computers in the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of Parliament, over to the open-source Linux operating system.

Kurt Sibold, chairman of the board of the software giant's German subsidiary Microsoft GmbH, accused the initiators of a pro-Linux petition of smearing the reputation of his company.

"What you are achieving by supporting this campaign is public discrimination, accusing our products and services of being undemocratic and an obstacle to democracy," he wrote in an open letter to signatories of the online petition, known as www.bundestux.de.

The petition campaign was launched last week with 12 initial signatories, among them several members of parliament and open-source fans, including commercial Linux distributor Red Hat Inc.'s Managing Director for Central and Eastern Europe, Dieter Hoffmann. Within two days, more than 11,000 other supporters added their names, according to a statement from the petition committee.

The petition asks the Bundestag to take a stand against "monopoly positions," pointing out that Microsoft's operating system, Web browser, and e-mail programs hold a market share of over 90 percent in Germany. It also appeals to government bodies to implement open-source software for "democratic" reasons.

"The democratic component is not simply in the increased security and flexibility of the software, but is more the expression of a broad democratic understanding that encompasses economic and technological developments. Based on these considerations it is plainly the duty of a democratic state to choose free software," the document reads in part.

That was too much for Sibold, who wrote, "But what does a decision for or against an operating system have to do with 'democratic rules of the game'? Open source software is ... not per se a guarantee for free-market competition, just as a decision to use my company's products is not at present, nor was it in the past, an 'undemocratic' decision."

A parliamentary committee is due to decide by the end of this month whether to renew Microsoft licenses for the Bundestag's some 5,000 PCs, or to switch to Linux.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Rick Perera

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?