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CERN is ditching Micro$oft

The main reason is cost of licences. I would like to know how much they pay in total. When I was there they told us they have 20 000 servers. Which on its own is insane. Each year their electric bill is 150 000 000 Swiss francs.
Regarding their email system. I don’t get why they don’t use Protonmail, the bloody thing was made in the same place.


I suppose that could spawn outlook & skype replacement for humans


WUT! I can open the site just fine. Here is the text

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the largest and most respected scientific-research centers.

Today, it’s known for the Large Hadron Collider, but in 1989, the British scientist Tim Berners-Lee worked there when he invented a little thing called the World Wide Web.

For 20 years, Microsoft has been one of CERN’s major IT suppliers, but earlier this week, CERN announced in a blog post that, thanks to a tenfold price hike by Microsoft, CERN was yanking out all of its Microsoft software, a project it calls the Microsoft Alternatives project (MAlt). CERN employs about 2,500 people and collaborates with more than 12,200, and Microsoft told CERN it must pay increased per-user software pricing.

We reached out to CERN with several questions about which Microsoft products they were replacing, why they started this project a year ago, and why Microsoft jacked up prices on them.

Tim Smith, CERN’s head of collaboration, devices and applications group in the IT department, was happy to answer these questions and more.

The TL;DR version: CERN started the project a year ago as part of efforts to move to the cloud and upgrade its email system (which uses Microsoft). Microsoft decided the organization no longer met its definition of an academic institute and thus no longer qualified for the discounts it offers to educational facilities.

And he said CERN has every intention of showing other organizations how to replace Microsoft software with alternatives.

Here’s the full Q&A:

Business Insider: What Microsoft products do you use, and which ones do you plan on replacing?

Tim Smith: We will be reviewing the entire spectrum of commercial products used and have started with some products currently used to address core needs such as Exchange [Microsoft’s email product], Skype For Business, Office, Project & Visio, Active Directory and ADFS.

BI: Your blog post said your Microsoft enterprise contract changed in March 2019, but the MAlt project began a year ago. Why were you looking to replace Microsoft a year ago?

TS: The cloud-ification trend has led commercial suppliers over recent years to review existing site-wide deals, bundles, and user counting schemes. So for a while now we have been investigating alternative ways to build more dynamic services with less critical single product dependencies.

Some of the projects aimed specifically at Microsoft alternatives are just now coming to fruition, and specifically it was time for us to start the initial migration phase for our mail system. Hence it was important to communicate internally about MAlt to our users, so on 12th June we published an article in the CERN bulletin (a fortnightly newsletter to update our community regarding the latest news, official communications and announcements from CERN).

BI: Did Microsoft give you any reason for increasing prices on you by 10 times?

TS: The trigger for change was Microsoft’s decision that we no longer meet their criteria of an academic institute. Fitting us into any traditional per-user business model is always a challenge since our services cater to a vast community of visiting scientists and engineers.

BS: Will you be sharing what you learn with the greater research community and public, so others who want to ditch expensive commercial products can do it and learn from what you did?

TS: Sharing is part of our mission, and we do it with a passion! (CERN has helped pioneer initiatives such as open hardware, open access publishing, open data and not to forget releasing the World Wide Web under an open source licence in 1994!)

For MAlt in particular we are keen to use existing open source tools and to contribute enhancements if needed, and otherwise to develop open source solutions where there are gaps. The strength of open source projects derives from the communities that flourish around them, so we most certainly have that in mind.

Microsoft has not yet responded to Business Insider’s request for comment.


Finally someone says “No!” to Microsoft.

All I hear from people working is “This does not work” and “That programm sucks” but nobody ever went to their boss and asked for change.

Might be a good idea to link to CERN itself:


The trigger for change was Microsoft’s decision that we no longer meet their criteria of an academic institute

LOL. Talk about dropping the ball. Likely an oversight that someone is going to lose their job over. Even at educational licensing they were probably earning a pretty penny from them.

Cool. Maybe they’ll bring Scientific Linux back. Looking forward to drinking some Malt Software.

Microsoft has yet to respond…

Yeah I bet lmao. Inb4 damage control.


With 18 thousand employees and users, you don’t use an unproven, untested, cloud email system to keep your 1.1 billion franc a year research institute running.


I doubt that is the case.
I think this was Micro$oft testing how far they could push it (like Nvidia, Intel, Apple, EA, Ubisoft, etc. lately). It just so happens, M$ pushed on the wrong people.

I bet there is a “damage control meating” at HQ as we speak.

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fuck yeah!

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Yeah, reading the second article it looks like they knew this was coming down the pipes. They started planning about a year ago.

Wire is made by many of the original Skype team.

Outlook yeah Bluemail and Thunderbird are the only ones that are close. That would be hard to replace.

What exactly is unproven and untested in Protonmail? The paid version works in outlook and thunderbird. They have iOS and Android apps. You can even change your domain name to @cern.whatever and the fact that they were attacked by DDOS in the past proves that it’s really secure. (They are thorn in someone’s eye.)

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It’d be for the best I think if its like o365 type thing which uses these cern/edu logins, which is how o365 works and most likely is being used