Article from Issue 198/2017

Updates on technologies, trends, and tools

Dell Launches Five New Linux Systems

Dell seems to be the only major hardware vendor that continues to offer high-end Linux machines.

Barton George, Senior Architect in the office of CTO at Dell, wrote in a blog post, "Today I am excited to announce the next generation of our Ubuntu-based Precision mobile workstation line. Not only have we rev'd [revised] the current line-up but we have also added the Precision 5720 All-in-One."

The two new devices are the Dell Precision 3520 and Dell Precision 5520 mobile workstations. In addition to these two devices, three more Linux-powered devices that will be launched soon. The Dell Precision 7520 and Dell Precision 7720 mobile workstations will be available in March, and the Dell Precision 5720 all-in-one will be available in April.

All of these systems come with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS pre-loaded and feature seventh-generation Intel Core and Intel Xeon processors. Dell already sells a high-end Linux laptop: the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition.

Microsoft Takes Skype for Linux Out of Alpha

Microsoft breathed new life into the almost defunct Skype for Linux in 2016 when the company released the alpha version of the rewritten client. However, the Linux client was behind its Mac OS and Windows 10 counterparts. Microsoft has now released the Skype for Linux 5.0 beta version, which inches toward bridging the feature gap.

A news item on stated, "This update includes features that make it easier for you to use Skype for Linux for your everyday communications needs. We have been listening to you and added in some of your top requests."

Some of the new features of the beta include the ability to make phone calls to cellular phones and landlines using Skype Credits. Now users can also make one-to-one video calls from Linux to Mac OS, Windows, Android, and iOS and can view a shared screen from Windows and Mac OS clients.

Munich Plans to Ditch Linux and Go Back to Windows

The city of Munich is working on a plan to ditch LiMux, a customized Linux distribution, and go back to Microsoft products, including Windows.

The city of Munich has been using LiMux and other vendor-neutral technologies for more than a decade now. The move posed a serious challenge to Microsoft's dominance in the market. The success of LiMux would have encouraged other cities and regional governments to move away from Microsoft's proprietary technologies in favor of open source technologies.

Microsoft increased its lobbying efforts in Munich, which didn't see success under the previous administration. Microsoft's efforts started to pay off with the election of Microsoft-friendly Dieter Reiter as the mayor of the city, when the plans to ditch Linux and go back to Microsoft products returned to the table. In 2016, Microsoft opened a new headquarters in Munich to assist the new government in going back to the company's products.

Last year, the city of Munich conducted a study through a Microsoft partner, Accenture, which concluded that many departments are facing problems with Linux and open source technologies. In the month of February 2017, the city council came up with a plan to move to Windows by 2020.

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