back to article German Foreign Office kills desktop Linux, hugs Windows XP

Openistas beware! Politicos at the German Foreign Office are reportedly ditching Linux in favour of returning their desktop PCs to Windows XP-based systems. According to a report on, which was diligently spotted by The H, the German Foreign Office recently decided to dump their Linux-based machines. That move …


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  1. Marky W

    "Massive User Criticism"

    Or, much more likely: "Lots of people complained that it wasn't like their computer at home"

    1. Francis Boyle

      Otherwise known as

      I can't get on der internet* - there's no blue 'e'.

      *or das elektronischübahn or whatever.

    2. Ammaross Danan

      Custom Apps and Configs

      Perhaps their Excel VB scripts, or their home-grown Access DBs didn't work in Calc and Base.

    3. Marvin the Martian

      "Massive User" criticism

      There's always one big fat stupid slob making all the noise.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        '"Massive User" criticism'

        Yeah, but usually he's the Linux user.


        1. Anonymous Coward

          No, no

          If you're implying as a Linux user, I prefer my camels in Victoria Secret lingerie, you don't get the culture. Bareback with a Tux T-Shirt or nothing mate.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Massive User Criticism

      It must be Linux has filters to stop users watching sado-masochistic porn then. Shagging a camel wearing Victoria Secret lingerie offers a better user experience than Windows XP.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      And rightly so

      Windows is the world standard for the productive masses. Yes, it carries an operational premium but the benefits outweigh the gains of minor capital expenses associated with Linux. Productivity gains will always trump operational expense.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Except it isn't

        The masses, in case you hadn't noticed, aren't largely very productive - they spend ages generating pointless pie charts in pointless spreadsheets to keep pointless managers pointlessly happy.

        Working for long hours at a time is not necessarily the same as being productive for long hours at a time. The creative industry (everything from graphic design to movie production) largely uses Macs, servers are more often than not some variant of Unix.

        Take me for instance, I'm on a Windows machine right now, at work ... and I'm writing a message on El Reg ... hardly productive ;)

    6. Thorsten


      I heard about it a couple of days ago on German radio. The FO will keep Linux for backoffice stuff (i.e., servers), but it was apparently impossible for all the years that they used Linux to train the normal users to use Linux-based desktops. Which actually paints a pretty damaging picture of the average FO staff's mental flexibility.

  2. Steen Hive

    What's German for


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Backhander

      Or incompetent IT support staff. But backhander is the first thing that springs to mind. Ruckgeben?

    2. r4co0n

      Ein Titel wird benötigt und muss Buchstaben und/oder Zahlen beinhalten

      "Schlag mit dem Handrücken" is the translation provided by

      But I guess it doesn't carry the meaning of the English word anymore, at least as I understand it...

      Maybe "Schlag ins Gesicht" -> "slap in the face" would come close.

      Greetings from a German Reg reader


      1. Marvin the Martian

        "Schlag"= "cream"

        "Schlagobers" is "whipped cream on top", e.g. with coffee, waffles, icecream.

        So cream/fat in the sense of richness/cash, for backhander/bakshish? The "slapping" (in the face) is the "whipping" (of cream).

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Schlagen is to hit or strike or beat. Schlagrahm is whipped cream as in beaten cream. So the suggestion translates loosely as slap with the back of the hand. I would suggest "das Schmiergeld", sort of oil or greasing money, money to ease the way.

          1. Conrad Longmore
            Paris Hilton

            Slightly amusingly..

            Slightly amusingly, in the Netherlands the (closely related) word is "slagroom". Can lead to confusion in some parts of Amsterdam. Allegedly.

      2. BorkedAgain
        Gates Halo

        Different kind of backhander.

        "Schlag mit dem Handrücken" means backhander as in a slap to the face delivered with the back of the hand, as in many action-movie interrogation scenes.

        The backhander referred to here would be a bribe, or "Schmiergeld" (lit. Grease-money)

        Now. Why do you ask?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward



  3. Magnus_Pym

    "Massive User Criticism"

    And they don't think that will happen when they attempt to move to Win 7 .Office 2010? Fools.

    1. westlake

      Re: Massive User Criticism

      >>And they don't think that will happen when they attempt to move to Win 7 .Office 2010? Fools.

      It's difficult to see why that should happen. The Win 7 and Vista clients have done very well in Germany, while Linux remains marginalized:

      It's time for the geek to come out of denial and admit that Office 10 is on the short list of "best in breed" in office suites -

      and that MS Offfice is simply one component of a very successful Office system, which includes Sharepoint, etc.

      1. thecakeis(not)alie

        @westlake WTF are you smoking?

        Office 2003 is still the best in breed Office suite. Office 2007/2010 are terrible awkward mutants roiling in indescribable agony after having been born malformed into a world where they never should have existed.

        POLY SHOULDN'T BE!!!

        Since Microsoft has decided long ago to say “fuck you, consumer” and essentially do whatever they want (as opposed to actually listening to their customer base,) I can advocate only Libre Office. It isn’t great (Office 2003 is the last “great” Office package,) but it beats the pants off that unholy shite with a ribbon bar.

        And down with WIndows 7's useless, unstable and poorly designed Windows Explorer too! Whoever came up with that needs to be locked in a room with nothing but Lynx for internet access for five years as punishment.

      2. FreeTard

        office 2010 - best of what?

        Seriously mate, have you ever used it?

      3. James Hughes 1

        Sharepoint? Good?

        Christ on a bike. We use Sharepoint at our big multinational company, and it is utterly appalling (it might be our implement ion of course). Slow, impossible to find what you want, with an incomprehensible UI. Everybody I work with tries to avoid it like the plague.

        No thanks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up


          sharepoint is an abortion even by MS standards


          share, whats the point

          We have it, as well. I cannot see the great advantage. Other than cost.

          Also, we have Lotus Notes. Not a lot of point discussing this.

          1. BorkedAgain

            Now, if they'd been using Google Apps...

            ...they'd have had exactly the same UI, regardless of whether they were accessing it from Apple, Linux, Windows or whatever. Isn't that interesting?

            Sharepoint, don't make me laugh...

            Got my coat already... ;)

    2. John Bailey

      Of course not..

      Any change from MS Office/Windows, no matter how trivial is an unacceptable and impractical imposition that reduces productivity and attracts massive training costs.

      A total redesign of the OS/application UI in Windows on the other hand is a chance to modernize the UI for an enhanced user experience.

      Phase 2 will be in about 3 years or less, when a massive hardware upgrade will be required across the board to get the system ready for Win 7.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No it won't...

      ...because users are already familiar with Windows and Office at home.

      1. Magnus_Pym


        a. They have Apple macs/iPads at home

        b. They use some kind of Linux at home

        c. They still use old version of Windows

        d. they (gasp) don't have a computer at home.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Massive criticism?

    Or massive MSFT payback to a couple VIPs?

    This whole affair stinks to high heaven, in particular when two independent evaluations didn't find the problems used now to justify going back to Redmond's OS.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    foget linux being better for a moment ...

    When was 'user criticism' EVER listened to before.

    IE6 must be the most user criticised software in companies today!

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: When was user criticism EVER listened to before

      When it supported a policy that they wanted to pursue anyway but couldn't justify on merit?

      1. Goat Jam


        When the "users" are the CEO and his gaggle of supporting lackeys.

        1. Dr. Mouse


          QUOTE: When the "users" are the CEO and his gaggle of supporting lackeys

          This is the most likely explanation. I hate to think "backhander" (although it was the first thing which came to mind) but the most likely causes are:

          * Higher-ups don't like Linux, miss being able to play games on their work machines or similar, or

          * Custom VB macros don't work in OO, and noone has the expertise (or time) to rewrite them

  6. Alastair 7

    No doubt everyone will accuse corruption

    ...while sticking their fingers in their ears and saying "la la la la la"...

    OpenOffice is *still* not as good as Office. The Linux desktop is more confusing than the Windows one. Whether that's because of user familiarity or not is irrelevant. If they want users to be able to use the FOSS products efficiently, they'll have to pay for expensive training. If the training is more expensive than buying a bulk XP license, they'll buy XP.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      OpenOffice is *still* not as good as Office, but... least it still has proper menus!

      As for the desktop being confusing - the leap from XP to 7 would be an awful lot more confusing than, say, XP to current KDE. I think 2001 called & wants its FUD back.

    2. Matthew Collier

      What "Linux Desktop" would that be then?

      I don't know which desktop they went with, but to make that comment, you must presumably know? Which one was it?

      I would say that perhaps Gnome might confuse a full dullards, as it is a *little* different, but KDE is pretty damn similar, so is XFCE, and LXDE, and of course, XPde is extremely similar (as it's designed to be).

      You can't away from the fact that OpenOffice isn't 100% compatible, but the latest version is very close, and I have met very few people who use more than the very most basic feature set.

    3. OSC


      Do you have any evidence that training for OOo is anymore expensive than anything else?

      "The Linux desktop is more confusing than the Windows one"

      Do you make it up as you go along or do you have any evidence?

      Just wondering because back in the day, relevantive did a study comparing Windows XP v openSUSE 8.2 (11.4 is soon to be released) for existing Windows (98?) users changing to a new system

      They found several sources of quickly resolved confusion for example, once people worked out not all wordprocessing software were called "Word" completing the task became equivalent. In some instances worse, in others better.

    4. The BigYin

      Alstair 7

      MS Office drives me scatty at times too.

      There are things I can do on a Linux desktop (Gnome, since you ask) that make my life much easier (multiple desktops, always on top, roll up...). The pain of going from XP->Win7 has been much greater for me than learning how to use Linux (Win7 still does my box in).

      Well, perhaps if people insisted that school turn out IT literate students rather than drones who can click MS buttons there would be less of an issue. And you also ignore the cost of retraiing from XP and then re-training for Win7. XP skills are not (IME) directly applicable to Win7.

      And when it comes to expense, over what time period are you thinking of? And what ancillary costs (e.g. anti-virus)? How can a system that was rated (I paraphrase) "Pretty good with a few niggles" in 2009 suddenly become "A steaming pile of turds, please save use Mr. Ballmer"?

    5. Anonymous Coward

      Menu. Icons.

      How can one desktop be more confusing than another?

    6. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      @No doubt everyone will accuse corruption

      If they want users to be able to use ^h^h^h^h^h^h Win7 and Office 2010 efficiently, they'll have to pay for expensive training

      There I fixed it for you.

      (Just going through XP -> Win7 and Office 2003 -> 2010 refresh at the moment)

      Also you said:

      "If the training is more expensive than buying a bulk XP license, they'll buy XP."

      While I thought that the unwillingness of MS to sell licenses for XP was one of the reasons that people were moving to Linux.

    7. Anonymous Coward


      I run Linux as my main OS at home, I ran it for six months on my work machine despite company policy. I like Linux as my desktop.

      However, OO still doesn't beat MS Office. The menus on 2007 are a pain compared to 2003, but at least it has a full function suite. The spreadsheet and presentation tools just about work but suffer terribly from interoperability issues. I flogged at it over and over again, but MSOffice in Wine was probably the closest Linux comes to being usable in an MS world of business.

      It may be risking wrath but I also think Thunderbird could be more business friendly. There are few mail packages that mix mail, calendar and contacts as well ad Outlook, even if technically it is a bag of arse.

      Plus there is NO replacement for Visio (no Dia sucks, as do the other dozen packages designed for generating UML rather than generic diagramming and vector drawing).

      I am back to Win7 with 2007 since I changed my work PC last time and it is better. I would encourage the Germans to persist though, their patronage can really help us all.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: Agreed

        @Anonymous Coward - 22nd February 2011 20:48

        You said: "The spreadsheet and presentation tools just about work but suffer terribly from interoperability issues."

        Interoperability issues with regards to ODF documents are not the problem of OpenOffice or LibreOffice (or KOffice etc). The problem is solely to do with Microsoft. It is this company who has obfuscated their document formats, it is this company who has made a document standard that is so confusing that hardly anyone can follow it - even Microsoft themselves because Office 2010 DOES NOT FOLLOW THEIR OWN STANDARD. And finally, it is this company who have deliberately implemented an ODF format that they have broken to create problems.

        You said: "MSOffice in Wine was probably the closest Linux comes to being usable in an MS world of business."

        Ahhh, Your first paragraph was a lie then, eh? For your information it is not an MS world of business! If you look at it that way then I can see why you have problems. I use LibreOffice without problems. It helps our company our when we need to rescue corrupted MS formats. But MS Office is poor poor poor. OpenOffice, KOffice, LibreOffice work do not show the same problems that I have to deal with with our MS Office users.

    8. Anonymous Coward

      what is this Office shit?

      >> OpenOffice is *still* not as good as Office

      So fucking what? 90+ % of the people who use Office don't need to. They could get by with edlin

      and a 20 year old Amstrad. That platform wouldn't run a browser of course, so people wouldn't waste their working day surfing for smut and posting rants to El Reg. Result!

      None of these "productivity" tools are any good. In fact they make people less productive. Try finding every place in a Word or PPT file where a particular font or point size gets used and change it to something else. Or combining two or more of these documents into one file. Cut and paste my arse!

      Unfortunately the world and its dog are brainwashed into the mindset of reaching for this crap every time they have to use a computer. They get hopelessly lost when its not there and can't function without it. This Borg brainwashing starts in our schools. Kiddies are told "if you're compiling a list or table, put it in Excel. If you're writing an email, use MS-Turd and send it as an attachment."

      Mind you, it's a very bad day for Linux weenies if their biggest customer dumps it. For XP. WTF?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. doperative

          Linux quality of code is very poor?

          > OpenOffice *is* a steaming pile of dog turd, and none of the open-source apologists seem to realise or accept that a tool that is sufficient for writing to your granny is not necessarily sufficient for business .., Oliver Jones

          Hey troll, this document was produced in OpenOffice ..


          key concepts: dog turd, open-source apologist, steaming pile of crap, writing to your granny

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "Try finding every place in a Word or PPT file where a particular font or point size gets used and change it to something else."

        open styles window, right click on style, modify.

        You're not in IT are you?

        1. Anonymous Coward

          And nor are you in IT ... or you do precious little

          Clearly the author was not intending to change the whole document to one font. I too find it infuriating that one can not give a simple, global change meaning, wherever you find Helvetica change it to Gill Sans, for example. Instead, I have to find each Helvetica string, select it, select Font, find Gill Sans, select, and so on to the next Helvetica string, repeat .... Aaaaaaaaarghhhh!

          And by the way, OO and similar are good; but they really do have compatibility problems with MS products and, like it or not, most of the business world still uses MS Office. Even MS Office for OS X has some minor differences, e.g. in the handling of tables, though written by MS.

          Anyway, what is wrong with vi(1) and troff(1), with a little help from tbl(1) and pic(1)? Whole books, e.g. K & R C, the original Perl books were written in that (plus reams of documentation in some of my old workplaces).

          To the ageist creep mouthing off about being too old to change: you are so wrong. It's the yoof who are too inexperienced to learn outside the boundaries of what their teacher told them. Just look at any internet site in which such geniuses offer the fruits of their ignorance as "hints" and "tips".

        2. The Fuzzy Wotnot

          "You're not in IT are you?"

          Yes, but we have far more important things to do in our IT jobs than fecking about with program options!

          Real IT stuff like, I dunno, fixing servers, recovering databases, restoring deleted office documents fixing screwed up desktop PCs because people can't stop fiddling with obscure options when they should be doing their work?

        3. John Bailey


          "open styles window, right click on style, modify.

          You're not in IT are you?"

          Ok.. Did it.. Now I lost all my headings and the nice curly letter font that my title page was done in.. GET UP HERE AND FIX MY WORK OR I'LL GET YOU FIRED!! I have to go and give this presentation in twenty minutes, so it better be done by then.

          You don't directly support users do you?

          For your solution to work, the user will have to have properly used styles when creating the document. They don't always do that. Sorry.. But you fail at user support.

          Repeat after me.. "Would you like fries with that"..

          Open office has styles too. Work in exactly the same way. Are also totally useless if you don't use them.

        4. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

          @ac re:err

          OK. You do that, and you get a list of every style used, including the standard styles which have been slightly modified.

          I had to take an MS Word document a few years ago which had been hacked together from several different documents, and do some work on it. When looking at the styles, each time one of the source documents had been modified, or the template changed, and then parts cut out and pasted together, you got another variant of the same style. In the list of styles, I had about 60 listed, many of which, from their name, should have been the same style.

          It took me the best part of a week to trawl through the document, eliminating the minor variations, and consolidating the styles together. I got the number of used styles down to about a dozen.

          This is not necessarily a problem with Word, but in the fact that most people who use word processors that use styles don't actually know how to use styles properly (I admit that I didn't know before cleaning this mess up).

          In my view, this reinforces my view that ALL current word processors are too complex, and all most people need (even those writing quite complex documents) is something only a little more beefy than Wordpad.

          I admit that I am biased, as I was an n/troff and runoff user before I came across Word 2 on DOS 2.1. I didn't like Word then, and I have to say, I would prefer not to use it now.

        5. Adrian Midgley 1

          almost nobody _uses_ styles

          Instead they go to each instance in the document, and change each of them individually.

          Whether they are using Word or Writer or whatever the Apple on is.

          And guess what. THey think that all that activity demonstrates how good they are at IT, and therefore how much they should be controlling how it is done by others.

        6. Anonymous Coward

          Re: err

          I think he was referring to the users who use said products, not himself. Have you seen many end users work with styles? How many know how templates work?

          I have seen idiots:

          - open Outlook

          - recalculate the sums of tables with a calculator, first thing every morning

          - use SAP (same guy, obviously)

          - create a graph every week manually (never saw the "record button" in Excel)

          - not know how to do copy paste, she knew it existed, but ... could not get it to work

          - hit "Alt+Print Scr", open Word, paste it into there, print it out, scan the printout, and send me the resulting PDF ...

          - use Excel for workflow management

          I could go on forever ...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        29th thumbs up, and well-deserved.

        Cutting to the core. Most word processing could be done on a typewriter: the computer just saves us from that awful deletion-with-rubber routine (Well, ok, Tipex actually did that) and means we can be worse than average typists without wasting too much paper.

        Word for Windows is (in my ever so humble opinion ;)) just --- awful. It fights, every step of the way. Unfortunately, Microsoft cannot get it into their thick heads that people do not want the wp program they are using to *make any assumptions*, especially not make assumptions all the time (He changed this bit's format... better asume he means those bits too). My admiration for secretaries and typists that master this monster is huge, especially if they produce anything more complex than "Dear Sir...Yours Faithfully".

        It is considerably greater than my admiration for the clever stuff that I see accountants doing in Excel, which *is* designed to make it easy to look clever.

        Regrettably, what I've seen of word-processing in OO so far (I don't do much *work* these days) only makes it look sub-Word, which is sad. I'm sure, though, that it is perfectly capable of "Dear Sir...Yours faithfully".


      Democracy and operating systems...

      > OpenOffice is *still* not as good as Office. The Linux

      > desktop is more confusing than the Windows one.

      No it isn't. They are effectively the same. They use similar ideas in a similar way.

      People that aren't old and brand fixated have no problems moving between any modern OS.

      Just wait until those people get subject to ribbon.

    10. PatrickEB


      Having worked with lots of people who use Windows, EVERY version is confusing to them and every version requires training.

      Changing over to GNU/Linux is no more difficult than changing over to a new version of Windows.

      Any claims to the contrary are such absolute, baseless FUD.

      Please provide some evidence of your claims...I'm afraid I cannot find any reputable evidence that a properly implemented 'Nix desktop is somehow more difficult to use.

    11. El Zed

      Oh Rly?

      'OpenOffice is *still* not as good as Office'

      Which parts?, which version?. define a meaningful set of parameters/tests to measure this 'goodness'..

      I've no time for the current version of Office, though I hardly use it at the best of times I think I'm still using Office XP on one of my machines. Yes OO can be braindead at times, so what?, so can Office (especially the current incarnation). learn its vagaries, no different than what you have to do with Office.

      I should add here, for the record, I tend to use LyX for general wordprocessing/document preparation rather than OO/Office, even on Windows machines.

      I can remember the big global changeover from Wordperfect to Word as the de facto 'standard' (sic) WP package causing major problems all over the place (incidentally, can also remember the fact that most secretaries hated it, and the change was forced by 'the management' as they'd got it installed on their shiny new computers at home)

      '..The Linux desktop is more confusing than the Windows one..'

      aaand on that point alone, you fail, sir.

      Which desktop?, one of my Linux machines gets used regularly by a couple of children who normally use a windows box, they've never had any problems. One of them actually prefers using Xfce to Kde. If a 9 year old kiddie can use a Linux 'desktop' without any prompting, where exactly is the confusion?

      Seriously, I know Linux users who *were* XP users who installed Kubuntu on their own, and have used it since as their only OS. We're talking about a couple of non-IT people here doing this at home using a magazine coverdisk, not bloody Übergeeks..

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @El Zed from AC@20:48

        If I receive a PPT from a colleague on my MSO2007/Win7 machine it will work 99% of the time, it will show the right sequences, it will show the animations, it will show the objects in the right place and it will do it without grinding to a halt.

        If I do the same task in OO I have about a 10% chance of success. I consider the import and export filters of OO to be the biggest argument against adoption. The previous posters are correct more than 90% of the time if you start a document in OO it is as good as MSO, but if you receive a document from MSO then you are in a crap shoot.

        I don't know why people say the formatting in MSO is a nightmare, it can be when you cut and paste, but the same exists in many other applications. I always try and "Paste Special" or "Paste as Plain Text" when I am using any application because I know any formatting is just going to confuse the poor formatted/rich text input mechanism. However if you aren't pasting then either MSO or OO are as equally unlikely to have a brainfart and give you an unexpected/broken output.

        I agree Linux isn't the issue, my fiancee uses Linux on my laptop without much difficulty because she doesn't do much with it beyond browsing the web. OO is the challenge/issue (not so much a 'problem').

        1. Hayden Clark Silver badge

          Interoperability and round-tripping

          OOo doesn't work well when you are collaborating with a MSOffice user. You mail the document to and fro each editing it. The result is usually an uneditable, unprintable mess, as the two programs fight over the formatting controls.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @And nor are you in IT ... or you do precious little

            You're not doing it right, each time you change a font on the fly without having the good sense to create a font style for it word generates additional styles in the styles window. So if you didn't bother to make a Style-Hel-10pt word will generate one automatically and the same instructions apply.

            At times it can get a little confused and it can be mildly annoying but compared to open writer it's a genius. If I have to use something other than word I use abiword, as at least it's small and responsive, not great but usable.

            Correctly setting up your styles can help a lot and if you haven't set them up at the start it's quite easy to create them as required. The only thing that really bugs me is default double spacing of paragraphs but that's easily fixed by changing the style in the default template.

            And for proper type setting you could always use tex/latex

            People can argue that MS Office may not be worth the money, but you can't seriously argue that open office is a better product.

        2. Anonymous Coward

          NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!

          '....If I receive a PPT from a colleague on my MSO2007/Win7 machine it will work 99% of the time....'

          Right, now you have done it, you got me started!

          So you think the same application sending to the same application (from the same company) should only work 99% of the time???????

          I would say it should work 100% of the time but do you know what? IT BLOODY DOESN'T!!!!!

          Having loving prepared a PPT presentation some years ago on a networked system using Office 97 on Windows 2000, I tested and rehearsed it and it worked flawlessly.

          Marching confidently into the conference room I loaded it up on the projector's standalone laptop running Office 2003 on Windows XP under the watchful gaze of the MD

          And the presentation?? A COMPLETE AND UTTER MESS!

          There was text flying everywhere at seeming random times, transitions didn't happen on mouse clicks, videos took another mouse click to run, bloody allsorts, a complete shambles


          So don't talk to me about incompatibility!!!!!!!!!!!

          That was basically the last time I used any Microsoft product except when forced to (and yes, I'm a software developer)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Anything new is confusing to some people

        I bought a cutter for plastic conduit. Cuts accurately in about a second but could not convince others to stop spending 3 minutes with a back-saw. ("I've always done it this way." "That looks different.")

        Being forced to use the latest Office is a real bother. I do not how much time I have wasted searching for the right bloody icon and the right bloody tab (and trying to interpret it -- usually by hovering the mouse and waiting for the words to appear) rather than simply pull down a menu. This is just bad UI choices.

        At any rate, if people are addicted to MS Office, did they consider running something such as Crossover? At least some people saw a different world, even if only briefly.

    12. Homard

      Linux/OOO is just fine

      We have been using tabbed browsing and multiple desktops for over a decade with GNU/Linux. These are easily the most productive features.

      The dino$aur$ have only recently introduced tabbed browsing. Multiple desktops still a very long way away.

      Seems redmond has a way to go. So just how is what redmond offers an improvement ?

      It's just poo for retards !

      So I'll take your m$ orifice, and raise you OOO. You won't be able to afford to raise. Go do a grotty little pie chart and work the problem out. Make sure you order your data or it won't work, and won't tell you why. Enough said. Better ? NOT

    13. Loki 1

      Not as good as office?

      You may have a point, but Office is full of crap that 99% of its user base never needs to touch.

      The point may be, is open office (or Libre) good enough? And for 99% of users it is... if of course they can convince their customers/correspeondants to send their documents in an open format, as doc/docx files can suffer a formatting problem when converting.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "interoperability problems"

    "Waah waah, I can no longer connect my i<device> to my machine and sync music waah waah"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Work? What work?

      "Waah waah, I can no longer connect my i<device> to my machine and sync music waah waah"

      Err, instead of doing some proper work you mean


      1. ttuk


        quitre happily connect my ipod to my ubuntu machine and update my music from rhythmbox. Drag and drop tastic..

        1. J 3
          Jobs Horns


          Unless you have the newest iPod nano (I got one from my gf for Xmas), that is... Apple's fault, of course, and eventually the hackers will get the encryption sorted out and support will arrive. But until then I have to do crazy juggling to get my music from my Linux box where all resides to some machine where stupid iTunes can run. I suspect the situation is the same with the latest iPhone and Touch models.

          1. gerryg

            @J 3

            Unfortunately not. The HFS+ filesytem is not supported under linux and is unlikely ever to be because it doesn't use symbolic links. It requires knowledge of the client device only possible with a closed ecosystem.

            Ironically, if you configure one these things for use with MS Windows (requiring, er, MS Windows) then it can be used with linux thanks to the patent free implementation of vfat.

            1. Joe Montana


              Linux does support HFS+, and has done for quite some time...

              The only caveat is that if you use journaled HFS+ it will mount the filesystem read-only by default (you can force it, and doing so has worked fine for me but it does carry a warning about causing corruption)...

              Windows on the other hand, has no support for HFS+ whatsoever, MS don't like to implement anyone else's filesystems.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward


                Yes, yes, and when you use an iPod it uses non-journaled HFS+

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Crappy software? No! It must be a conspiracy!

    Most posters get it, but a few still insist that if Linux is reject it's a massive Microsoft conspiracy.

    Only a lunatic would prefer OpenOffice to Microsoft Office, and I am no Microsoft fan. It is buggy bloated and ugly in comparison - and that's saying a lot. Then there's the expensive support staff and poor interoperability.

    Free Software works great for infrastucture, not so much on the desktop. So how about fixing your software instead of blaming the users, or inventing conspiracy theories?

    1. Martin Owens


      Because Microsoft are well known for being one of the biggest bads out there in software land? Because FOSS is known to be multi-fold more efficient to write, better coded and more stable.

      There are only two reasons why a FreeDesktop deployment would fail; heavy outside influence or making really poor deployment choices. So either the folk in charge are stupid, or they are corrupt. Does it matter which one?

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


      We get crappy software from m$ too

      and adobe

      and whoever owns norton/mcaffee

      and <insert name of a software co that given you grief with their crummy software, that either wont install or do what its suppossed to without blowing up your computer>

      and apple

      Oh yes "Linux desktop too confusing" ... gawd help them when they move from winxp to win7

    3. The BigYin

      Free software... where it works. If it doesn't use something else.

      When the free software is working for you, why rip it out and buy something else instead?

      1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

        Whoa there!

        You can stop all those sensible ideas right now my old son!

        Are you new to Reg? We don't like you fancy people coming in here making sense and trying to get people to come up with good ideas like choosing the right tool for the job!

        People start making sense and who know's where it will end?! Eh?! Wrath of God, plagues of locusts will descend, cats sleeping with dogs, the whole nine yards!

    4. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      That's crap, let's copy its every detail.

      Damn right. OO stinks. By definition, it can only ever get to be as good as MS Office, which is like a new carmaker deciding to base their product R&D strategy on copying the Morris Marina.

      The linux desktops make the same mistake. Windows sucks, so what do they do? Copy it meticulously. Again, the best they can ever do is match Windows. Talk about a dispiriting goal...

      It's sad to say this, but even now, after five years of being technically up to the job, Linux is still not suitable for use by general office workers. But, there are now enough Linux power-users for them to sustain themselves, and like MacOS, that suits the congregation quite well, thanks. I don't believe the Linux evangelists really want to see it on every work desk, because that would be the end of the adventure playground, where anything can be changed without having to support the existing userbase.

      Linux is in essence the hobby of a large number of very talented engineers. Nobody wants their hobby to come with deadlines and customer support issues. The distros helped, but also hindered adoption: helped, by gathering and promoting a working setup, but hindered by fragmenting the product (I go between Fedora and RH regularly, and it's frankly annoying - especially when my third machine runs BSD-based MacOS X).

      1. doperative

        Linux not suitable for general office workers?

        > Linux is still not suitable for use by general office workers, Kristian Walsh

        What are you on about, what do most general office workers do. Check email and type Office type documents, something that's been available on Linux for years. I've sat down Windows users in front of a Linux desktoop - and they don't know the difference.

        > Linux is in essence the hobby of a large number of very talented engineers ..

        So long troll ...

    5. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Crappy software?

      "It is buggy bloated and ugly in comparison - and that's saying a lot. Then there's the expensive support staff and poor interoperability."

      It is a bit ambiguous in your post, but I assume that this is referring to MS Office?


      Comes on twice as many DVDs as the whole of Linux, Open Office, Gimp and thousands of other things put together.


      Do mean that ribbon that you can't get rid of unless you buy extra software from someone else that gives back the menus that everyone learnt on their training last year?

      poor interoperability:

      The software that you need to upgrade to open the new files that the one person with a new version has saved, but then cannot open the files saved from the old version?

      Or perhaps the one with a macro and programming interface, but that doesn't run the macros and programs written in the one you just upgraded from?

      1. Bob H


        OO needs to be upgraded as regularly as MSO in my experience, granted it is free but still. Also there is a (free) plug-in for previous versions of MSOffice that allows you to open/edit the new document formats generated in 2007. The copy of 2003 Professional we use at work is on one CD, although I will confess that 2007 professional with everything and multilingual packs is 1.8GB. Bloated, just a maybe there.

        2007 has some odd attitudes about macros now, but recently I was teaching one of our Finance interns about the wonders of VBA and despite a rocky start, after years of not needing it, I got back into the swing of it and it was the same as before.

    6. peter 5 Silver badge

      "Only a lunatic would prefer OpenOffice to Microsoft Office"


      And I am that lunatic. (But it's on a Windows XP desktop.)

    7. Naich

      Buggy eh?

      I'm no fan of Open Office, and I use both it and MS Office, but when it comes to crashes, I find OO to be more stable. This is using Excel/OO Spreadsheet. In terms of usability, Excel is slightly better but the word processors are equally bad - probably because OO assumed that people wanted a Word clone.

    8. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Only a lunatic would prefer OpenOffice to Microsoft Office

      Umm, that would be Office 2003 or earlier you're thinking of. Since 2007, the comparison has been the other way around.

      Oh hang on, that's a "personal preference", not a diagnostic test of sanity. Forgive me.

    9. Anonymous Coward


      >Most posters get it, but a few still insist that if Linux is reject it's a massive Microsoft conspiracy.

      I think you didn't read the article.

      >Only a lunatic would prefer OpenOffice to Microsoft Office

      So what?

      >Then there's the expensive support staff and poor interoperability.

      Again, article.

      For a summary of what is wrong with your post, see icon.

    10. Atonnis


      Don't forget that any office environment is far more than the desktops.

      The interoperability claims could be the result of not being able to get working clients for firewall access, SSL, communication links with server-based software (that isn't the OS), and more.

      The reality of the array of Linux GUI's available is messy, hard to plan for upgrades, and requires a *relatively* massive amount of admin time to update each process. Support for Linux is out there, but it tends to be elitist and condescending, and rather than 'run this command' or 'click here, here and here' it tends to be 'write this script but change the parameters and then run it using these parameters but you'll need to change these three other scripts...etc..etc'.

      I'll get a good 30 thumbs-downs for this comment by the fanbois, but the perception by many, many admins and users is that it looks good on the outside, but it's a PITA under the surface.

      1. Goat Jam


        What is a "working client for firewall access"? Oh, you mean those godawful things that get installed on Windows machines that mean they cannot connect to the internet (or anything else) unless the "client" which is installed on the laptop can connect to the "firewall server" on the corporate network. I've always wondered what on earth is the point of giving people portable computers if you are going cripple them so they can't be used unless tethered to a single network. Surely desktops would be more suitable if that is the level of network nazism you are intending to deploy. If you can't move your PC from your desk what is the point of having an expensive notebook?

        "The reality of the array of Linux GUI's available is messy"

        Firstly, that is not entirely true. Sure, there are choices available (which is something that seems to provoke an exorbidant amount of fear in Wintards) but the truth is that there are only a handful of major ones that most shops would consider for rolling out enmasse. Besides, surely the role of IT folks is to weigh up the pro's and cons of all the options, decide on a shortlist, do some testing, decide on which one to go with, run some trials and then deploy?

        Once you have chosen a single desktop to standardise your network on then how does the existence of other desktops adversely affect you? Corporate IT shops have more trouble with making different versions of Windows play nicely together on their LANs than you will ever get even if you did for some reason decide to deploy disparate desktops. Have you tried mixing XP, Win7 and roaming profiles I wonder?

        "hard to plan for upgrades, and requires a *relatively* massive amount of admin time to update each process"

        I have no idea what you are talking about here and the rest of your post is equally worthless.

        Let me tell you what happened to me last night. Win 7 decides that updates need to be installed, despite me explicitly configuring it to not check for updates. OK, whatever. Of course the we can't install updates while the computer is running (something that Linux can easily do) so it tells me I have to restart, so I do.

        Queue 12 minutes of watching the "Installing updates, don't power off your machine" screen. Finally, the PC reboots. Queue another 10 minutes watching "Configuring updates, don't power off your machine".

        When I finally get access to the desktop (25 minutes later) quelle surprise! There are other updates that need a restart too! Yay! What a completely SHIT job these guys have done designing this PoS OS.

        When I update my ubuntu box, the entire process happens in the background (after I give it permission to do the update of course). It rarely needs to restart, generally only if the kernel is updated. Even then it will ask you whether you want to restart now and if you say no, it goes away and doesn't ask you again.

        Windows OTOH, nags you EVERY TEN MINUTES until you relent.

        To cap my latest experience with Windows some bird who wants to chat with me simply must use MSN/Live?Messenger or whatever the fuck they are calling it today. I showed her how to do it in gmail but she can't remember how to do it five minutes later (not promising I know). Anyway, I relent and decide to install "Windows Live Messenger" from MS website. After unselecting the 7 other totally unrelated craptastic social networking "features" that it wanted me to install it eventually finished downloading and installing. What did it want to do then? It wanted to FUCKING RESTART THE COMPUTER!


        What sort of retard writes an OS that requires a restart after installing a dinky* chat program?

        By contrast, setting up Empathy on Ubuntu took about 15 seconds.

        Anyway, I digress. However, I would suggest that the amount of thumbs down that you anticipate getting has more to do with the utter lack of supporting evidence that you provide with your ignorant dissertation on the difficulties administering linux machines than it does from knee jerk responses from "fanboys".

        * Where "dinky" equals bloated social networking mess that is constantly prompting you to enter all manner of personal details like the poor copy of Facestab that it is. I "want" a chat program you arseholes, not a fucking privacy leeching nightmare.

        1. MrPatrick

          @Goat Jam

          Frankly mate, you sound like you don't know how to use a computer. Obviously this isn't the case but your points are all over the shop. I'm afraid I don't have time to go over each point individually so lets take one example:

          "...experience with Windows [...] must use MSN/Live Messenger [...] I relent and decide to install "Windows Live Messenger" from MS website."

          I Agree, MS's Live Messenger package is a bloated nightmare and the installer is ridiculous.

          You then go on to say "...Empathy on Ubuntu took about 15 seconds..."

          So - on one hand you make no active decision to attempt to think about the potential for alternatives, picking the one that you've heard of and downloading that (a la the typical end user), on the other hand you are suggesting that you actively have made a decision about the flavor of Linux you use, and have a specific favourite IM client on that platform.

          If you had applied your Linux mind to the Windows problem you would have spent 15 seconds installing MirandaIM or Pidgin and not had to reboot.

          Surely the argument *for* Linux is that there is a wealth of software that if you apply a minor amount of thought and intelligence to looking for you can locate, well the same works for Windows too.

          Your argument is a failure, you apply one semi-rational reasoning process to the Linux side of the argument and then act like a fucking retard when you use the other system.

          And then you have the audacity to get all shouty at someone who had posted a reasonable argument.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Choices Choices...


            You are missing the point.

            One OS gave him a choice of software and took a short time to enable the functionality in his system

            The other gave him no choice and took a very long time with considerable unwanted user interaction to enable the functionality and also install other intrusive 'unwantedware'.

            In both cases he went to the default place for installation of software for that system.

            Where would he have installed MirandaIM or Pidgin from? Would they have been tested with his system and signed by the design authority? I dont think so.

        2. Youngdog

          Have you tried mixing XP, Win7 and roaming profiles I wonder?

          Yep - trick is to stick \%OS%\ in the profile path somewhere and redirect the 'My Documents' using AD to another place altogether - easy-peasy!

          Though the smart money is to keep the folder redirection and then just bin roaming profiles...

          1. Youngdog

            DAMM! That's %OSVer% obviously...

            ...just shows how long I've lived without roaming profiles!

      2. JEDIDIAH

        We can only judge what was actually said.

        > The interoperability claims could be the result

        > of not being able to get working clients for...

        Which is all well and good but it was not cited by the Lemming in question.

        Sure, there are valid excuses for some arbitrary sort of business needing to stick with Windows (and not being able to use MacOS either). However, no such reasons were cited. No, the sort of nonsense that was cited sounded like nonsense from a 90s usenet troll post.

        For some jobs I could cite software you never even heard of as a reason for being stuck with Windows.

        That's the different between this Zealot and that Lemming.

      3. doperative

        Linux is a PITA under the surface?

        > The reality of the array of Linux GUI's available is messy, hard to plan for upgrades, and requires a *relatively* massive amount of admin time to update each process .. the perception by many, many admins and users is that it looks good on the outside, but it's a PITA under the surface, Atonnis

        Total nonsence, you get a browser, email client and office suite, admin time is minimal as it most ever don't ever need 'upgrading' ...


    11. wayward4now

      re: Crappy software? No! It must be a conspiracy!

      We've come along way since StarOffice. I use nothing but OpenOffice and have for years. It performs well enough, which is about all I can say for MSOffice. If MSOffice were to truly use the Open Documents scheme, then I'd say one is as good as the other. It all boils down to the skills of the user to make either work. Ric

    12. sola
      Thumb Down

      Oh yeah, MS Office is soooo goood

      I always say this when Word 97 shits itself and freeze when editing a large, complicated document.

      Word97 is still the standard at my company: a huge insurance comp.

      This never happens with OpenOffice 3.2 I use in parallel.

      An other thing: Most of the people I know find the Ribbon in the new Office is the perfect blocker of real, efficient work.

      So yes, OpenOffice is so crappy and MS Office is so good.

      Either this, or your post is plain-old bullshit.

      1. MrPatrick


        "Word97 is still the standard at my company: a huge insurance comp.

        This never happens with OpenOffice 3.2 I use in parallel."

        Well - you aren't exactly comparing like for like are you.

        I remember using OpenOffice Version 1 (And StarOffice before that too). It was fucking shit. Office 2010 is loads better.

        Doesn't sound like a fair argument does it.

      2. JDC
        Thumb Down

        Office 97 vs. Open Office 3.2?

        Hardly a fair comparison: one was released in 1996 and the other early this year.

  9. Stuart 25

    China will be happy anyway.

    Well at least Chinese government hackers will find it much easier to access the German foreign ministry files under Windows XP so that has to be a plus point.

    We can probably expect to see any German cables on Wikileaks soon if they are going to try to secure XP against disgruntled users.

  10. nichomach

    If it were anyone other than Microsoft...

    ...people MIGHT consider the possibility that a bunch of consultants came in with a brief to report on how wonderfully the FOSS rollout mandated by the people paying for the report was going, and came to the conclusion that it was wonderful, while throwing a sop to the poor bloody users stuck with it by noting that there were still "a few interoperability issues". Meanwhile the PBUs are screaming that the "few issues" are a lot more than that and they finally got someone to pay attention to them, returning them to stuff that actually worked?

  11. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Questions raised, but answers?

    "Questions have been raised in Germany's Bundestag parliament about the sudden switch back to Windows XP"

    What is needed are answers to the questions. While MS political moves cannot be ruled out, neither can issues of incompetent support and training, etc.

    If we are to learn anything and not have FUD and tin hats galore, we need to know just what the key issues were and why they moved back to XP solve them. Then we need to know quite how the move to Windows 7 & Office 2010+ is going to help, and the sots of that.

    Still, this article comes after several on El Reg about novel Windows-only malware, so maybe Tux is not so bad after all.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      Yes, we do need to see the full picture to judge what really transpired.

      No-one has commented on the fact that if OpenOffice was the problem (and I do prefer [the older versions of] Ms Office to OpenOffice), why don't they just run it under Wine?

      Various version work perfectly under Wine and have done for a very long time. They were practically he first major packages to be supported. Job done. Break the Windows dependency and use the Office package you prefer.

      Than again, Office may not have been the problem that they perceived.

      1. Goat Jam
        Gates Horns

        "why don't they just run [office] under Wine"

        Because that would be "illegal".

        The MS Office* EULA explicitly states that you cannot install it on non MS operating systems.

        * Windows version obviously

        1. Denarius
          Thumb Down

          why dont they ?

          @Goat jam. Because the Bundstag (whatever) and other national governments have not hauled M$ into court for restraint of trade over their insistence on Windows OS use only for Office. Aside from that, IMHO, Office has gone downhill since Office 97. Harder to use, more resources to run and it insists on correcting, altering and fiddling with my text despite resetting autocorrect to do nothing. I have reverted to cygwin and vi to get some inital versions of documentation done quickly.

          I note that MS were nearly giving away copies of Office 10. That alone indicates something.

        2. david 12 Silver badge

          MS Office EULA

          >"The MS Office* EULA explicitly states that you cannot install it on non MS operating systems"

          You should try to remember where you heard that, so that you know not to believe them next time.

          You can check actual MS Office End User Licence Agreements at


          1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

            @david 12 re MS Office EULA

            Interesting. I went there, and was prompted to download a .EXE file that contained a PDF and and XPS file.

            WTF? An EXE file!!! What's wrong with a straight-forward download of the PDF? This is MS obfuscation at it's worst.

            Indeed, on the page for reading the license terms there is the following

            "Supported Operating Systems:Windows 2000;Windows Server 2003;Windows Vista;Windows XP"


            As I am using a Linux system at an enlightened organization at the moment, a .EXE file is of little use without some form of MS tie in. Sort of undermines your comment a bit.

        3. GatesFanbois
          Gates Halo

          That would be illegal?

          No installing Office under WINE would not be "illegal". It would be against the T&Cs but that does not make it illegal. Unless there is a law enacted in Germany to prohibit installing Office under WINE it is not illegal. M$ could not report you to the police for it and have a criminal case prosecuted. I'm not even sure what they could do in a civil prosecution. Agreeing to an EULA and then breaking does NOT mean you are breaking the law.

        4. pepper


          How much legal weight does the EULA carry in Europe? And could microsoft enforce this? Does anyone know if such a thing ever happend?

      2. rhdunn

        A Better Option

        Or how about communicating the usability issues they are having with the OpenOffice (and/or LibraOffice/Document Foundation now) and working with the community. How about talking to the kernel/distro developers about the issues they are having.

        If they are not reporting the issues, they cannot be fixed.

        It's like buying a commercial program that comes with support and not making use of that support then saying the software is useless and going back to the old program.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    New machines too?

    Will their existing desktops have enough RAM / CPU to meet the minimum requirements of Win7 / Office 2011 .

    I assume they'll be more than up to running Linux or XP - if they aren't then maybe that's an explanation of why the users are unhappy...

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Linux is perfect for work environments.

    How could an end user, at the job, possibly have a gripe with Linux?

    I don't see any differences between my Windows, Mac or Linux systems while on Facebook.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The trouble is

    That we find it hard to believe that Microsoft would take a market like this by sheer superiority of its product.

    On second thoughts... not hard... impossible.

  15. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    I guess that makes me a 'lunatic' then (whatever one of those is). I DO prefer OO above MS office - LibreOffice is even nicer.

  16. Paratrooping Parrot

    It could be

    I have a feeling that it is because they can't get the "free game" they found on the Internet to work on the Linux machines. Quite often when they complain about a desktop system, it's because they can't do stuff they do at home. Also I have a feeling that they are annoyed they cannot put gigabytes of dodgy stuff on the C drive under Linux.

    I had to endure Word 2007 while at university and I HATED it. Went to use LaTeX as it was the only other alternative that I could use there.

  17. wol.e


    Our Foreign Office uses computers now? Oh, the humanity!

  18. Peter X

    Smells a bit funny!

    I can kind of see why users might complain about OpenOffice over MS Office, but the former should still be workable. But everything else really shouldn't be an issue. According to the slashdot coverage of this story, printer and scanner drivers were cited as a problem.... apparently they were having to write their own? That sounds to me like either they've got a bunch of unusual legacy hardware -- in which case that'll likely not work in Windows 7 either, or they've bought new kit that doesn't play nicely with Linux -- in which case that's a procurement problem surely?!

    If they'd already made the switch to Linux, I really can't see how they'll save switching back to Windows, *except* if they're being given sweeteners, which will obviously mean that long term it'll cost more.

    1. oliver Stieber

      I agree

      there's a bit of kit that I do have some issues with with Linux, and a 'few' minor issues that get quite quickly ironed out.. but hey I keep my release rolling and only have a few desktops to iron out... if I could employee a few staff to do it for me, I'd have the whole world running Linux by now.

      If Germany is anything like the UK it's a procurement problem, in that they employed idiots to do the consultancy and implementation of the Linux migration.

      It's the classic, well if we give them something without bugs in it, they won't come back and buy more sales strategy.

  19. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    User Critisism

    ...means they could not download their torrents or iTunes, nor chat with friends on IM.


  20. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    re: "standardised software products"

    That's a good one.

    Open Source fan here, I'll readily admit that OO / Libre Office are not the greatest. but they do not impede interoperability by design, so they are IMO superior.

  21. Sartorius

    Wonder how much they're paying ...

    for just over 3 years of support

    Mine's the one with the copy of Suse in it.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    This is a good thing, really

    It will be so much easier for US and UK intel agencies to hack into German Foreign Office systems now -- not to mention open a plethora of attack vectors by bad guys deploying the latest worms, trojans, and bots for Windows. Of course German government officials will seek to suppress, deny or minimize future evidence of increased compromises of their systems, just as the the US DOD did when their inherently insecure MS Exchange mail system got hacked by Chinese script kiddies.

  23. Martin Usher


    Windows 7 I could understand. XP's definitely a bit dated; SP3 is a memory and resource hog, the thing's prone to viruses -- unless you really, really have to use some specialized software that only runs on XP then you are better off using Linux.

    >Only a lunatic would prefer OpenOffice to Microsoft Office

    I don't really notice the difference except that MSOffice had problems with larger spreadsheets -- I don't know about the latest versions ($$$$) but it used to only have 16 bit cell addressing which made it useless for analyzing large data sets.

    (As for interoperability, the only thing Microsoft interoperates with is itself. Even then its not particularly consistent.)

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: XP?

      "Windows 7 I could understand. XP's definitely a bit dated; SP3 is a memory and resource hog"

      Seriously? Have you ever tried comparing them on the same hardware?

      If you can give 7 the couple of gigs of RAM and the SSD that it needs, you'll be fine. If you are a government department that doesn't have the budget to buy a brand new machine for every user, you'll find that XP is about half the disc and memory footprint and twice as fast for most tasks.

      Now, it is unfair to criticise OS designers for taking advantage of Moore's Law and recent mainstream Linux distros are no better, but please don't lose sight of the fact that the best OS for your existing hardware is usually one that was written when your hardware was built.

      Perhaps that's the problem. They put a 2010 "kitchen sink" distro on a 2005 machine and it sucked. It is quite believable that XP would be better than that. (Of course, you wouldn't *then* want to migrate from XP to Win7, but that's another insanity altogether.)

  24. Anonymous Coward

    For all we know....

    they'll probably ditch the planned Win7 upgrade until they can't get anyone to support it anymore.

    I think alot of people here who post here championing Linux has the best thing since sliced bread and that everyone should move from Windows to Linux don't live in the real world where people have no clue on how the computer works and just want the computer to work. I'd say the best analogy would be sitting down to drive Car Y and finding it completely different to operate after having drove Car X for years.

    I've lost count on how many people I've downgraded from Vista (and some Windows 7) to XP because they didn't like how it worked or found too many features different from what they know. The bad part is that really at this point in time, there's no benefit for the average Joe to learn something new as what they are used to using is still supported and software is still being designed to work with it. Office 2007 to 2003 downgrades is even more common but then again, I just work for a little computer company in a town with less than 60,000 people in it.

    On a personal note, I'm loving all the Linux fanbois getting butthurt over this article. (See icon)


      The 80s is calling.

      > I think alot of people here who post here

      > championing Linux has the best thing since

      > sliced bread and that everyone should move

      > from Windows to Linux don't live in the real

      > world where people

      ...where people mostly interact with their web browser anymore.

      This is not exactly rocket science or sci-fi matte paintings we're talking about here.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Oh well, will keep admin busy......

    Dealing with zillion malware hits a day, bet the Chinese are rubbing their hands as they will be able to read the German FO's memos even before the ambassadors do.

  26. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother


    ... the "warlike situation" in Afghanistan looks better in XP.

  27. andresinmp
    Paris Hilton

    what about crossover linux?

    sorry, and what was wrong with crossover linux? surely cheaper buy office licence and buy crossover licence for only the computers that need it than have everybody change?

    or virtual machines?

    I agree that format issues between openoffice and office. I agree outlook seems to be an excellent tool. But surely not everybody uses it at such a high level? And not everybody needs to ensure proper format?

    As said above, they had to go back to xp I guess the computers where old and w7 wouldn't even fit? what then buy new PCs for everyone when support for xp stops(2014?)

  28. J 3


    Yeah, "user complaints" indeed... So, I guess the best way to get this sorted would be to (say) get a system where the user can go and formally complain. Describe exactly what they tried to do, why, and what happened. Which program? Did it crash? Couldn't find the way to do it? Functionality absent? What? And a training person could come over to see the problem themselves. How many of these "user complaints" would simply disappear, then? Because, you know, a complain like "I don't know where to find minesweeper in this computer" or "iTunes does not want to install" would not really be something the users would want aired out, would it? Or maybe the complains ARE legitimate for whatever many reasons. And anywhere in between.

    But of course no one is really interested in getting that data, so silly me for suggesting something like that...

  29. mraak

    I work with 40 Linux users

    They all hate it.

    1. Gilbert Wham


      Keep changing their desktop from KDE to Gnome & back at least once a week. And try to swap out any productivity software at least as often. Keep 'em on their toes, the fuckers.

    2. Goat Jam

      To be fair

      exactly the same thing could be said for Windows users.

      FACT: Most people hate computers. Period.

    3. James Hughes 1

      @They all hate it

      I'd be interested to know WHY they hate it - sounds like you are in a position to know.

  30. Lars Silver badge
    Gates Horns

    Not surprised

    That some of the user felt frustrated because it was different from Windows.

    Surprised. however, that those who take the decisions suddenly care about that in stead of looking at facts and the economics.

    No doubt money has changed pockets here.

    The German "Inland Revenue" should have a look at this.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Sensible decision

    As a user of Linux and Windows at home and as an admin of a 100+ user worlwide OS-X user base, I think they have made the right choice. Keep the Penguin in the lab where it belongs.

    I am wary of Linux in the workplace, so many times I have been fed excuses about how great a linux system will be 'once it is perfected'. Some of my freetard admins seem to think it is worth six weeks plumbing around on a good salary to achieve what a newbie could produce on a normal machine in half a day!

    I love Linux but 'a man's gotta know his limitations'

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sensible decision

      As a user of Linux and Windows at home and as an admin of a 100+ user worldwide OS-X user base, I think they have made the right choice. Keep Windows in the lab where it belongs.

      I am wary of Windows in the workplace, so many times I have been fed excuses about how great a windows system will be 'once it is perfected'. Some of my MSCE admins seem to think it is worth six weeks plumbing around on a good salary to achieve what a newbie could produce on a normal machine in half a day!

      I love Windows but 'a man's gotta know his limitations'

    2. Anonymous Coward

      If it takes you six weeks

      You might not be qualified to look after such a large network.

      By the way: google supercomputer and linux. You might find that it has long since escaped from that lab of yours.

      About google... You know what a "browser," is, right?

      One has to ask.

  32. Lars Silver badge

    This issue is real.

    That is, if you, as the person with the power to decide, and if bye any chance, you know what and why you are doing it, the do it.

    The problem is that you do not exist, because making decisions about something new puts you in a position where you do not know if you are supported or not.

    Thus, you do not exist, and that is much more comfortable for everybody.

  33. GrantB

    IT department fail

    Surely it has to be on a case by case basis.

    The fact is that OO is not as good as Office 2007 or later, but how many people does that affect in the organisation?. In a lot of organisations I have looked at, there is a big percentage of employees that have very light office suite requirements; they use Outlook as a simple mail client only, occasionally Word for knocking together a memo or letter.. and Excel and Powerpoint are mainly just viewers (with PP used to open the odd email of funny pictures in my experience). These people could be and should be (given the tax payers in Germany are paying) running cheap secure Linux boxen + OpenOffice and accessing Windows apps via RDP/Citrix on a case by case basis.

    People who really have a need to Windows based apps like Office 2007/2010, should have notebooks running Win 7. Allow them to have RDP sessions to the standard linux config if need be.

    I assume like a lot of modern offices, the IT department also support special cases like Mac users, tablet users etc who need access to corporate data, so rather than forcing everybody to use Linux (which will always cause some unhappiness for people who need special Windows only software) or forcing uniform XP/Office, then perhaps they just need a better CIO and IT department who can cope with a providing the right tools for the right people?

    To get more freedom and bargining power for the future, the organisation also needs to move to platform agnostic Web apps/cloud based apps over time; in theory MS are all for this now as well. If your standard business processes can be carried out via a standards based Web UI, then these political debates go away, and the IT department can buy whatever is stable/cheap.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WinWHAT ?

    Time you geeks started looking at this from the end user point of view, and the industry point of view, not from your own narrow little point of view.

    "Interoperability" issues most likely start centered on Outlook+Exchange combination versus the messaging/collaboration client of choice in the Linux deployment with Exchange. Every user would touch that element of desktop. Calendar delegation, shared folders - mundane to techies, but the sorts of things every stressed EA needs to work NOW, based on even unreasonable time pressure from their execs. Those execs are paid to do a job, their workflow habits are in part based on what Outlook+Exchange *combination* is capable of. Asking people to do different is like driving a RHD car on the RHS of the road: you can do it, but it is more difficult especially under pressure. Ultimately that RHD car isn't actually cheaper to own. It's a hobbyist's dream ... and a workplace's limitation.

    Before any of you say "why not replace Exchange with <insert messaging server de jour here>" have a think about what *could* be involved with that for a government *department*. Shared cross departmental services, multiple non-overlapping outsourcing deals, unique departmental security considerations. Major major business issues not just about ripping out one piece of technology for another. This is business reengineering. It isn't going to happen on the same cycle as a desktop refresh.

    Next on the list in terms of how many would bump into how much... yeah probably Sharepoint, the first time they need to collaborate with someone outside their department (say another agency which has not contemplated going down the different path). Then the %^&* proliferating Access Databases. Then Visio. Then complex Excel Macros. This is simply not in their control. When one agency shares with another methods, data & analysis for chasing some crook or an active potential security threat, no one can depend on an IT guy to mess with macros to make it all hang together. Collaboration happens on a time line, it isn't a tech problem to be solved FFS get that through your heads. It's a capability that has to be *operational*.

    It's not about the technology. The technology is fine, as far as it can go, OO is good for me and I am luck I don't need Visio, my workplace doesn't use Exchange. I wish it could go further, but amazinge we still have critical apps that depend on IE/Windows and no schedule to fix, because they work as is and licenses are in place :(

    A whole-of-government commitment for both desktop AND server is the only one that is going to generate shareable patterns for deployment and the business-requirements-driven level of interoperability with legacy systems: what capability, for how long, and with what risk mitigation ? Which (probably smaller) national government is going to take the risk to develop such IP for the greater good of Europe (true independence from MSFT tax) ? To be the guinea pig. Which consulting and/or IT services companies have this goal in their interests ? Probably none. Why do they care whose tech they implement or manage ? The mercenaries of IT industry don't need another weapon to master. So why would they kick in in kind when the IP will be available to all competitors ? Early access to the new IP ? Doesn't mean they will have resources to do the job everywhere at the same time, it just makes for a wages explosion while competitors skill up (poach from the same pool of people for a while).

    Gee I wonder why it won't ever happen successfully ? Stick to public school student desktops (eg Spain?) they have less set-in-stone dependencies on the back end services, do home desktops which can work with any number of cloudy emerging back end services. Work really long term from there ... if you want. You must bide your time like the rodent pre-mammals of the Jurassic. Someone like Apple can afford to pick and choose where and when they fight for 'the business desktop' (and they can also afford to BUY any extra pieces for their own niche walled garden of Desktop Value). And yet they mostly choose not to, going for a 'flanking' strategy via iTunes, pod, phone and pad to be 'a permanent beachhead on' rather than 'compete head on for domination with'. Alternatively you could see Oracle buy Citrix to complete their own walled garden from Desktop to Tape :) Wouldn't that just be snowball earth pleasant to live with.

  35. David 141


    My six year old daughter has had no trouble using Ubuntu, without any instruction at all (she had previously used various versions of Windows).

    Just saying.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Your daughter ...

      is probably: intelligent and willing to learn. Many users of computer systems know how to press buttons of certain colours in certain places. If anything changes they don't know what to do.

      I have had users freak out because some of the icons on their desktop were moved - they were only happy when they were put back.

      A big problem is that all of us reading this list are interested in computers and have some insight into how to make them do things. Many users just are not interested, that is a real problem. Training might help, but there is often little of that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Oh really?

      Does she have complex spreadsheets with VBA macros to maitain and work with under time pressure?

      Does she have documents with tables of contents and complex formatting to produce?

      Does she have to manage a calendar and track her appointments?

      Does she have cellphone she needs to sync with her office diary and messaging system?

      Get real.

      1. SleepyJohn

        Probably not, but wait till she is 16

        By which time she will be way ahead of my 12 year old (brought up on Linux) who can already sit in front of any computer running any operating system using any word processor, browser, font designer etc and just use it - because she was not taught to mindlessly "press the red button when the bleeper goes three times".

        That is the crux of the problem, isn't it? "Where is the blue E that gets the internet?" says my mother-in-law if I move the IE icon a couple of inches across her screen. If I replaced my daughter's Linux Mint Debian with Slackware's KDE she might make some vague comment about the colours, but it wouldn't slow her down for a minute.

        All these problems will go away if children are simply taught that you access the internet with a web browser, not with a 'blue E'; and write letters with a word processor, not with 'Word'. When they grow up they will then be able to decide what program or O/S will best suit for what job.

        Coping with what you describe will likely be less taxing for them than making a decent cup of tea.

  36. Pelican Express

    Could that be just the desktop color?

    Germany has full of people with Linux skills. I can't believe the technical problem could not be solved. One little thing I have noticed with users who say no to everything. They are hypnotized by the only thing they learnt the first time. In this case, the XP Luna blue theme.

    I would be interested by the following experience. Install XP back but change the visual theme to something else other than the original XP. I wonder if the feedbacks would be the same than when they were trying the Linux desktop.

  37. penguin slapper
    Gates Horns

    Setup vs Change Over

    Linux is perfectly functional for a new setup - for an existing setup changing over to Linux is a nightmare - this is entirely down to Microsoft's practice of making Office file formats hideously complex and hard to use.

    This situation in Germany is exactly why Microsoft make their file formats so damed ugly and unco-operative.

  38. D. M
    Gates Horns


    Some lusers bitch about cannot play games and install iTunes while they should do some work?

    The real reason: kickback from some sales people.

  39. oliver Stieber

    hmm... I must know some brainy people....

    none-one I know has ever had any problems with Linux when I've set it up (which is pretty much straight out the box) for over 10 years if not more.

    Does this mean that my minimum wage, unemployed, single mum friends are smarter than the people that run the government.....

    here in lies the problem!

  40. Christian Berger

    Department is under controll of the FDP

    The FDP are the corruption party, so it's likely to have something to do with corruption.

    Until now, the foreign office had the lowest cost per workstation, despite of having high demands like encryption.

    I don't think anybody in German (except for Windows fanboys) believe it's a rational decision.

  41. Christian Berger

    One of the excuses

    BTW, one of the excuses was that their printers won't work with Linux.....

    1. Anonymous Coward

      the only one?

      I know civil servants come in for some criticism but surely at least one of them has had to print something out since Ubuntu was installed?

      And HP are fairly big in Germany, fairly big in office printers and HP write native linux drivers for their printers.

      As I am sure other companies do too.

  42. Anteaus

    Wait till they 'upgrade'

    The problem they're really gonna hit is when they try to 'upgrade' to Win7, because that's when they'll find the real compatibility snags arising. IME, Linux and XP computers on the same LAN can coexist reasonably well, but Win7 and XP computers don't get-on well together for numerous reasons. This is especially so in a domain environment.

    This means that the 'upgrade' to Win7 preferably needs to be done in one fell swoop to avoid these issues, perhaps over a weekend. But, imagine the costs involved in doing so, not to mention the downtime if any snag is hit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Costs not an issue

      Productivity gains and lower opex will justify costs.

  43. Richard Large


    Linux was not fit for purpose. Deal with it.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't the real problem..

    Isn't the real problem the fact that they're choosing an 11 year old OS that's no longer supported over an up to date operating system?

  45. Kevin Johnston

    User problems?

    Just a wild thought here, could the problems have been inspired by that wonderful 'European Computer Driving License'? You know, the one that requires you to understand how MS Office 2003 works AND NOTHING ELSE.

    It's all the rage in schools so our kids are being brought up to only know how to use MS Office (unless of course like me you fit Libre Office to their home PCs, works fine and helps them understand that there is moe than one way of doing things).

  46. Paul 77

    A shame, but...

    There are some things I *need* Windows for (bespoke database software + timesheet software). So, at work, the primary OS is Linux Mint, with Virtual Box allowing me to run Windows XP and Windows 7 when I need to.

    As with many organisations(I imagine) many of the forms I have to fill in are now Word or Excel documents, and I've filled all these in with OpenOffice. Not a problem.

    But not all workers are going to want the relative hassle of operating virtualisation software to run a few nasty Windows apps, so I can see that it might just be easier to revert to XP :-(

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A genuine question

    As someone who has tried a couple of flavours of Linux but who is a long-term Windows user I've never found one that was intuitive enough to really give it a fair go. I remember (admittedly some years ago) finding I needed to use a command prompt to change the screen resolution for example...

    So, genuinely, what distro and apps should I pick if I want to ditch Windows yet not have a steep learning curve? What's the best one? Half the trouble seems to be infighting within Linux factions...

    'Different' is ok, as long as it's logical. After all, I've even now got used to the Office 2010 ribbon.

    Can the Linux fans persuade me to give it another go, or will they just hit the downvote button for daring to admit I don't know enough about the OS?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Open Mind :-)

      Try Linux Mint

      It has all the mp3, video codecs etc and a menu structure similar enough to MS Windows to get you started easily

    2. doperative

      What Linux distro

      > So, genuinely, what distro and apps should I pick .. Can the Linux fans persuade me to give it another go, or will they just hit the downvote button for daring to admit I don't know enough about the OS?

      Give Ubuntu a go, it's the most polished desktop distro out there in my opinion. The apps come as standard with the distro, browsing, email, office, media player. You can get it on CD off the back of any Linux Mag. There is one app that doesn't come as standard, that's an Anti-Virus app.

    3. Chemist

      Re : A genuine question

      OpenSUSE and KDE

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I do find if funny that there are a load of comments from techies that "it couldn't be possibly be that hard to move to Linux from Window sbecause the desktop is just a desktop. You know just menus and icons and stuff", immediately followed by a rant that "they don't like Word 2007 and are sticking with 2003", presumably because of the ribbon bar which is you know - just "menus and stuff".

    Well done for proving the point chaps ... own goal?


      Your argument isn't what you think it is.

      > and are sticking with 2003", presumably because of the

      > ribbon bar which is you know - just "menus and stuff".

      Except the ribbon isn't just "menus and stuff".

      It's an intentional dramatic departure from what people are used to.

      It's like WindowMaker or the way Macs deal with Menus.

  49. Aggellos

    linuts, mactards and windows lickers

    big deal somebody or some group chooses an OS or estate enviroment not to your paraniod where is the fire again, yep thats right in your mind.

    I mean imagine choosing the best model for a particular situation. I.T madness i tell you

  50. James 132

    Hmm, something else going on here.

    The devil is in the details. Bit confused by the XP -> 7 strategy, unless it is monetary (possible that there is still a license held by that dept. and migration this way is cheaper) because it is not technically necessary at all.

    Interoperability is true, in terms of other departments. Microsoft's penetration of the workplace is very extensive but one can't help but feel the problems that have been encountered were not worked on with that much enthusiasm.

    As for the comments about Linux desktops being relatively harder, c'mon folks - this isn't 1999. All the contemporary mainstream distros are very easy-going and straightforward nowadays.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Halo

      Not true, even 2011

      Every year I try the latest Ubuntu on my multi monitor rig and Ubuntu fails to match Windows' ability to detect my setup correctly and optmize the OS for it. Perseverance is not the answer. People just want something that has a 20+ year evolution and enterprise pedigree where productivity is most important.

      1. James Hughes 1

        I have the same problem

        But with Windows XP - hopelessly crap when undocking and redocking my laptop from my multi monitor setup. Takes ages, and usually gets the screen the wrong way round, or buggers up the resolution, requiring me to go in to settings and sort it out.

        Not saying Linux is any better as haven't tried it with multi monitors, just saying Windows XP sucks.

      2. doperative

        enterprise pedigree software?

        > People just want something that has a 20+ year evolution and enterprise pedigree where productivity is most important, Bugs R Us

        Windows Phone 7 update brick Samsung handsets ..

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    I work for a Linux company

    And many employees install Windows on their computers to be productive! Some even buy their own laptops to get around company policy. Yes, it's only of the main Linux companies, not some derivative.

    1. James Hughes 1

      And again

      Please explain WHY they need to install Windows to be productive, because that would be an interesting and relevant FACT, something that is sorely missing from most posts here.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: Please explain WHY

        FUDbots don't do explanation.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I work for a Linux company


  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no doubt...

    "back to Windows XP due to "massive user criticism" about "unsolved interoperability problems"."

    ...due to lack of employee training; perchance?

  53. Danny 5


    It's fairly easy to see why this happened. Linux doesn't require a lot of technical knowledge to use, but an end user who gets upset if his document is gone (after he moved it himself), isn't going to like linux. it looks different and that's scary for users. users don't want change, they want everything to work the way they're used to, why do you think Microsoft only makes changes to windows that don't really show on the outside? look at windows 95, now look at windows 7. they're miles apart from each other, but the things users did in windows 95 are still done exactly the same in windows 7, people just don't want things to change.

    1. Hans 1


      It all started with Vista ... they saw they had made a big mistake, but it was apparently too late.

      I had a hard time using Windows 7 the first time ... couldn't find anything in the start menu, my shortcuts didn't work anymore: appwiz.cpl, for example. I did figure out that I could search for apps, cool. After lots of other shit, I fell into the date bug, where windows 7 thinks all dates are USian (regardless of regional settings), when the date I entered was civilized, as in dd/mm/yyyy. Anyway ... the app in question works fine on XP, Vista etc ... I do not need a shiny desktop, I just need a thing that works.

      Windows 7? designed for my dustbin.

  54. Fading

    Productive civil servants?

    So the German foreign office believes the additional costs incurred by the retrograde step of installing XP and MS office will be offset by "increased productivity" from civil servants? Seriously? Increased productivity from civil servants?

    Anyone else see the obvious contradiction?

  55. RMartin

    Schism at the heart

    This whole thread, not to mention articles like this:

    illustrate all too well why businesses will never take OSS seriously on the desktop. There is just no certainty with any of it. Proponents of OSS, in contrast to commercial software houses, come across as unstable individuals all too ready to fly off the handle with each other for personal reasons, generating schism after schism until the whole thing resembles Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. At least with MS and Apple there is a sense of stability and planned progression, and the importance of this should not be underestimated.

    1. Chemist

      businesses will never take OSS seriously

      Having worked for one of the world's largest pharmaceuticals companies for 38 years I can tell you that OSS was taken very seriously from Linux servers to large Linux compute farms to the 3D desktop workstations that computational chemists used. Even though some of the desktop software we used was some of the most expensive I've ever heard of the use of Linux and Xeons gave the stability and power to run molecular dynamics or protein modeling flat out for days at a stretch without expensive proprietary Unix/hardware. This wasn't just now this was 6-8 years ago

  56. zb

    Porche, Merc or BMW

    I wonder which shiny new car is sitting in the drive of whoever took this decision.

  57. spegru

    A bit of (perhaps) inevitable confusion happening here

    between Linux desktops and OpenOffice - which of course also runs on Windows and Mac

    Of cours MS is never going to do MS office for Linux but that would be one thing thay could consider for Windows 8 versions that also do ARM etc.....

    But I digress

    I just installed LibreOffice on my Mint10 (Ubuntu 10.10 based) desktop - alongside Openoffice

    I was immediately struck by the hugely increased responsiveness and (this is key) lack of correct Font sizing problems that have often buggered up PPT imports in the past.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not good enough

    XP to Linux, then, eventually, disillusioned, back to XP. That’s what millions of home users have done over the last 5 years, including me. Why should it be a surprise when organizations do the same? Linux just isn’t as good as the competition, there doesn’t have to be a better reason than that.

    1. Aggellos

      duck quickly, and tin hat and flak jacket time

      shh batcow your going to uspet the linut gimps on here and they will hunt you down like the heretic they will see you as.

      I wonder how many of the halfwits on here do more than a helpdesk function at work or work in no related I.T jobs,and god i am bored someone please flame me to keep me awake or post a reply which does not reek of pre pubencent fanboism in a black and white rubber suit.

      1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

        too late

        you've already upset us linux gimps and when we get hold of you, well..... that would be telling

        Actually I'm of the opinion "best tool for the job" which means linux for surfing/emailing/doing some programming and windows for playing games.

        But I also have to work in a place where the users are idiots and applying the kiss princple is king. t so long as the guys have a simple straight forward program for communicating with the robots, they dont care if its windows , linux, or bsd.

        PS the boss got me a windows 7 powered laptop...... and I now understand why the germans would pick Xp when going back to windows

    2. James Hughes 1

      Depends on your needs

      For me, Linux is certainly good enough (and for my pensioner father who also uses it). I'm not saying its good enough for the Germans, or indeed, everybody, just that for many people it certainly is good enough, and in many cases is by far the preferred choice.

      It just depends on what you want to do. In my case (at home), I want browsing, email, music, photo storage and editing, media streaming, Android development, and sometimes Office style functionality. Ubuntu + loads of free apps including LibreOffice works fine for me, and the machine doesn't suffer from viruses to boot. The machine is medium spec, and manages pretty well. I don't do many games though, but the ones I do play are available on Linux, so no problems.

      It's just horses for courses.

  59. Charles Smith

    Go for Thin

    I run a small publishing house. We get some really nasty problems when receiving document files from MS Office/Word users. The grievous software has a nasty habit of embedding hidden formatting and fonts in the documents. No amount of playing around in MS Word will remove them. Putting it politely the MS Word software should be described as "quite good". Open Office 3.3 works just fine.

    If the German Foreign Office is changing operating systems it would seem to be the ideal time to go for PC Desktop virtualisation and just put thin client boxes (perhaps repurposing some of the old PC's) on the desk top. That way "Hans" could be given MS Office or Open Office, but he (she) would be deprived of the ability to play with the settings or to install their own software. It reduces support effort and resource consumption.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Nope, not a mistake

    It's called a 'bribe'.

  61. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Win7 *designed* to be completly different

    Hence needing massive (profitable) retraining.

  62. Jean-Luc
    Black Helicopters

    An apocryphal story comes to mind...

    This was in the context of a "Securite Sociale" customer (i.e. health care) implementation in France in the late 80s/early 90s.

    #1 - Bull (a semi-nationalized French, and crappy, IMHO, hardware vendor) is chosen to provide the hardware.

    #2 - The consulting team does all the work on Bull.

    #3 - Late in the project cycle, the consulting team is appraised that the HW vendor is now Olivetti (an equally crappy Italian vendor). Bull boxes are wheeled out, Olivettis wheeled in.


    #4 - The project manager consultant is shown the new car of the customer's project sponsor in the parking lot. A brand new high end Fiat, still bearing Italian license plates. Nuff said.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ive never heard so much anti MS crap in all my life, but whats the point hay, why bother even considering that perhaps just maybe the workers would rather work with an OS they are used to working with. But no, heavens forbid that anyone stands up and raises their hand and says no, i think ill stick with Windows thanks, whats linux anyway, then to top it off any individual who even offers the mearest hint of actually liking something coming from Microsoft gets downvoted and slated.

    Now yes, i know your going to burn me for this but frankly i dont give a shit, grow up people, its one thing having an opinion on something but its another to try and force that opinion on other people and downvoting people purely because they post something pro MS is just childish

    oh and before you down vote me as well you will note ive not offered an opinion in favour of Linux or windows, i think both are very good at different markets.

    So to the article, for what ever reasons they have changed there minds then that is their call, good luck to them, quite why they choose XP is anyones guess if they were considering 7 in the future but that is also their choice

  64. mikebartnz

    @Darren Tuffs

    Quote"i think ill stick with Windows thanks, whats linux anyway,"

    Quote"oh and before you down vote me as well you will note ive not offered an opinion in favour of Linux or windows,"

    Yes you have.

    It would be truly interesting to know what the issues were. Someone said printing was one in which case the whole thing hasn't been handled properly

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      read it again

      i didnt say "i as in me" read it in context and it was a possible statement from a member of staff within that govenment, i havent stated anything that i prefere but i hve stated that all the anti MS BS getting very boring

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What would be interesting.. to see the public accounts of this particular body to ensure there hasn't been any financial funny busines going on; because if there was, the Germans don't take too kindly to that sort of thing.

  66. Kermudjin


    So, one criticism was interoperability and this could be addressed with software updates. But rather than do this, they want to "update" all their computers to a totally new OS with an eye towards then "updating" them to the next generation of Windows!? Nonsense.

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