French Gendarmes Rely on Ubuntu

Mar 10, 2009

The French Gendarmerie intends to save $50 million in switching from Windows to Ubuntu.

According to Lieutenant-Colonel Xavier Guimard's calculations, the French police plans to save a bundle by migrating to complete Open Source desktop and web applications. Such is the news from the European Commission's Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR). Guimard reported about the migration of Microsoft to Ubuntu at a conference in Utrecht: "This year the IT budget will be reduced by 70 percent. This will not affect our IT systems."

Most of the savings will be in proprietary software licenses. Much of the previous budget flowed into conventional Office applications. Up to 2004 the Gendarmerie needed about 12,000 to 15,000 of these licenses annually, whereas in 2005 they acquired only 27. Guimard says, "Since July 2007 we have bought two hundred Microsoft licences. If one of us wants a new PC, it comes with Ubuntu. This encourages our users to migrate."

The Gendarmerie has about 105,000 policeman. 2004 was the beginning of their transition to Open Source, mainly because one of their concerned accountants decided to switch to OpenOffice on his own. Because of subsequent Microsoft lobbying, the general manager found out about the experiment and was resolved to install OpenOffice on all of the agency's desktops.

Even though conventional wisdom might support training for Open Source migration, the agency decided to dispense with it, with the attitude "users need no training to use a web browser." According to Guimard, the move to Ubuntu incurred minimal complications: "The two biggest differences are the icons and the games. Games are not our priority."

The European OSOR recently reported case studies of open source migration for two entities, the Swiss Federal Court and the French Gendarmerie, with details on the latter here.

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Comments

  • Microsoft lobbying blows up ni its face

    "Because of subsequent Microsoft lobbying, the general manager found out about the experiment and was resolved to install OpenOffice on all of the agency's desktops".

    Good to see a manager understanding what Microsoft is actually about, the enjoyment of fast diminishing monopoly profits. Rather a good case of egg on face.
  • Follow them

    I think all other governments should follow these guys by also going open-source!

    Conrad Theart from www.technologyheaven.com
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