Its no secret that many governments around the world are either looking into or have already adopted FOSS in some capacity. Ive said many times that FOSS doesnt just mean Linux, nor does it mean that if you replace one proprietary application with a FOSS one you need to replace them all. Whats wrong with keeping the OS of your choice and replacing say MSoffice with the free and IMO just as functional Open Office? – Nothing at all!
The Gendarmerie have been very keen on Open Source since last year, moving their desktops from Microsoft to Open Source solutions. Most noteably Open Office Now, its been announced that they are deploying Firefox and Thunderbird as part of their on going move.
The Gendarmerie have estimated that millions of Euros will be saved by the move. But it doesnt stop there! Over the next few years they are planning to move from XP to Ubuntu on 70,000 machines.
The French appear to be pioneers in the adoption of FOSS solutions.
Mr Guimard said “Since July 2007 we have bought two hundred Microsoft licenses. If one of us wants a new PC, it comes with Ubuntu. This encourages our users to migrate.”
When talking about how the general manager decided on Open Office deployment, he said “When he saw OpenOffice worked just as well and was available for free, it was he that decided it should be installed on all 90.000 desktops.”
Maybe this is why the UK government is looking at Open Source solutions since the French government seem very pleased with the functionality, cost savings and freedom that FOSS provides. Its an encouraging sign IMO, that governments are taking seriously the solutions offered and lets hope the good experiences of the French acts as an example for the others.
In respect of retraining (which is something that is said to discourage a move away from proprietary solutions) Mr Guimard said
“Moving from Microsoft XP to Vista would not have brought us many advantages and Microsoft said it would require training of users. Moving from XP to Ubuntu, however, proved very easy. The two biggest differences are the icons and the games. Games are not our priority.”
For further reading on this subject and sources:
What puzzles me is that we continue to see the same figures about Linux deployment quoted by proprietary supporters (usually 0.83%). They have been saying this for while, yet the above example (and others over the last few months) never seem to change the figure.
When considering any of the figures given by proprietary vendors/supporters, you have to consider that there will be people buying new PCs with a Windows platform pre-installed. They will not get a choice. So even if those users are wiping the HD clean and installing a Linux distro, they will still be counted as a Windows user. Figures, put no faith in them, theres 70,000 FOSS users in this article alone!
Gobln – firstname.lastname@example.org