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Europe in Brief Last year, the city of Munich, Germany opted to go with Linux instead of Microsoft software on more than 14,000 desktop computers. This was seen as a significant setback for Microsoft and a clear sign of Linux' increasing viability. But now the project is in trouble, according to Computerwoche.

This Spring, Munich needs to finish a migration plan as well as present a budget for the project. But according to Computerwoche there is not enough money and technical difficulties may result in stalling of the LiMux Project. In particular, smaller software vendors seem to be unable to migrate Munich to Linux, simply because they lack open source knowledge.



France: Colloquium on digital divide

On January 22, the French Senate and European space organisation ESA are to hold a colloquium on Satellites and Bridging the Digital Divide in Paris. The session will evaluate the potential role of satellite systems in achieving nationwide digital access.

Bridging the digital divide is a challenge that must be addressed for the future development of Europe's regions, ESA says. No commercial solution has yet been found to provide online access to those citizens isolated by natural obstacles, living in scattered rural communities or on the outlying periphery of the EU. Moreover, the arrival of ten new EU member countries may well add to an already uneven spread of digital access. However, space-based infrastructures may be able to provide the most appropriate solution to narrow the gap.



Germany: wearable electronics

Infineon Technologies and O’Neill Europe, a German provider of sportswear and sports gear, yesterday unveiled an electronic snowboard jacket.

Woven into the jacket are electrically conductive fabric tracks which connect the chip module to a fabric keyboard and built-in speakers in the helmet. The module contains a full-featured Mp3 player and a Bluetooth chip. If the snowboarder wants to make a phone call, the stereo system acts as a headset. A microphone is integrated in the collar of the jacket. However, it is not a worlds first. Both electronics giant Philips and France Telecom have experimented with wearable electronics.



Poland: national telecom operator fined

The Polish national telecommunications company TPSA has been fined zl 20 million by The Office for Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) for heel-dragging over Internet contracts with independent Internet providers, Polish Business Report writes.

Most Polish still connect to the internet using a modem. More than 90 per cent of all subscribers use TPSA's fixed-line network for this purpose. Independent providers need to sign agreements with TPSA to use its network. Although operators have submitted cooperation bids, no one has signed with the telecom giant yet. According to UOKiK, operators which want to provide such services have to collect an additional subscription fee from TPSA subscribers, which makes their competition with the dominant operator more difficult. ®

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