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FSFE Newsletter - March 2017


The Chronicles of LiMux

In February, the news about LiMux shook the world. LiMux, a project run by the city of Munich and completed in 2013, constitutes one of the finest examples of vendor-neutral administration based on Free Software; during its execution phase, 15,000 personal computers and laptops used by public administrations were migrated to Free Software.

In a surprise move, a coalition of parties filed a motion with minimal lead time before the city council, asking for the abolishment of the project and the return into proprietary solutions.

The response by the community was immediate and formidable. FSFE's Deputy Coordinator for Germany, Björn Schießle, describes what followed. An ad-hoc coalition was formed by the FSFE, the Document Foundation, KDE and OSBA, collecting questions around the motion and its related processes. Members of the city council were contacted prior to the public hearing and FSFE supporters in Germany and Austria were invited to engage, contacting politicians on the issue. Media coverage in multiple languages was additionally created.

During the public hearing, participating parties quoted some of our questions, and admitted they had never before received so much input from the public. The result of the hearing was a modified motion passed on February 15, calling the administration to propose a strategy for the unification of the city's client-side IT architecture by the end of 2020, building on a yet-to-be-developed proprietary client and guaranteeing maximal compatibility with the existing solutions.

The FSFE does not claim LiMux has solved all the problems. However, we do claim these problems are mostly of organisational nature, and as such must be disconnected from the technical side. Public infrastructure must remain independent of single software vendors, and invest into common assets, which are provided by Free Software.

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Thanks to all volunteers, supporters and donors who make our work possible.

your editors Olga Gkotsopoulou and Jonas Öberg FSFE

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