The City of Munich has put its planned migration to Linux of 14,000 desktop PCs on hold due to concerns over software patents, the city's CIO said on Tuesday night. The call for bids in the LiMux Project, as it is known in Germany, was due to begin last week. But on Friday, Green Party Alderman Jens Muehlhaus called for the city to examine the impact patents might have on the decision, in light of software patents legislation currently under consideration in the European Union.
Muehlhaus said a cursory examination of Munich's proposed client software had turned up conflicts with more than 50 European software patents. The fear is that a company holding one or more of these patents could issue a "cease and desist" order to the Munich government, effectively shutting down the city's computer systems or forcing the payment of licensing fees. In response, the city decided to cancel the planned call for bids until the patent issue has been investigated, according to a statement from Munich CIO Wihelm Hoegner issued to the LiMux Project mailing list late on Tuesday.
News source: eWeek