Linux-plans Munich threatened by EU software patents

By EDRi · August 4, 2004

The plans from the city council of Munich, Germany, to migrate all civil
servants to open source Linux software, are endangered by the proposed new
EU software patents directive. The Greens in Munich have filed 2 motions
on 30 July 2004 demanding more research into how the directive affects the
project. A cursory search revealed that the Linux ‘base client’, which the
city of Munich plans to install on the desktop computers of approximately
14,000 employees, is in conflict with more than 50 European software
patents. The planned advertisement at the end of July for the client was
immediately cancelled until more research is done.

According to a newsitem on linuxelectrons, the Green alderman who filed
the motions is a fan of open source, and “expresses concern over the
future ability of open source software to meet the needs of the city
administration if software patents massively hinder its development. (…)
A week earlier, the chief information officer of Munich, Wilhelm Hoegner,
said it is “indispensable” to check on the consequences of the software
patent directive to open source software. Any such oversight would be a
‘catastrophe for Munich’s Linux migration project, and for open source in

After long debates between the European parliament, the Council and
representatives from national governments on 18 May 2004 a so-called
Council Common Position was adopted on the patentability of
computer-implemented inventions. This common position will be presented to
the European Parliament for second reading in September or October 2004.
Many national parliaments tried to make their governments step back from
their positive decision (in Denmark, Poland and Germany), but only the
Dutch parliament took the unprecedented step of making the Minister of
Economic Affairs change the Dutch yes vote into an abstention. However,
the total amount of votes was not enough to change the common position.
(see EDRI-gram 2.14)

Linuxelectrons ‘EU Software Patents Jeopardise Munich’s Linux Migration’

Muenchen legt Linux-Projekt wegen der Softwarepatente auf Eis (04.08.2004)

EDRI-gram 2.14 ‘Dutch parliament blocks patent vote’ (15.07.2004)