open office

Government wants to break free from Microsoft? – France shows you how.

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I will start this article covering two matters on the Web in regards to Microsoft software and government.  It’s reported that Bristol Council is having some difficulty breaking away from its Microsoft “lock-in” (which might not surprise some) however does suggest that its making inquiries in all the right places in order to bring about a future where open standards/source are common place in our Government.  Can we look forward to a more diverse IT set of solutions in all of industry as well as the public sector?

It seems though at present, Bristol Council is finding that they are having to spend more money on upgrading their Microsoft software and maybe now they are considering that the proprietary decisions of the past were not so good :

Bristol ICT director Paul Arrigani said in the IT proposal that Bristol was being forced to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft software because, since its old software was no longer supported, access to other key computer systems such as the Government Secure Intranet could be invalidated.

Source: Computer Weekly

Forced to upgrade“?  – reportedly coming at a cost of at least 7.3 million pounds at a time when everyone is trying to cut costs and save money to get the economy back on track.  I suppose at least if we dip into another recession, theres one company doing alright, thank you very much.

What is also reported though is the news that:

….Bristol’s Microsoft strategy was not a “retreat” from open source. The council would still install the open source Open Office alongside every machine with Microsoft Office. It would encourage users not to form habits that would lock them into using Microsoft in the future.

and even more encouragingly:

There’s a fairly strong open source community in the Bristol area. There’s a growing number of open source companies as well. The council’s money is local money from local taxpayers; isn’t it better to feed that into growing local businesses rather than faceless multinational companies?

You can read the Computer Weekly article here.

So are council’s and governments in the UK finally wanting to break free of Microsoft? Are they now seeing what Linux/FOSS users have been saying for years? – I’ll let you decide, but ask yourself this, if Microsoft software was so great and Open Source such a poor alternative, why are people in government making comments like this?

Meanwhile on a more national level, the government is looking for Opensource business cases.   They need your help and it seems to me that the government really does want to make the move from a Microsoft dependency, it just needs your help to justify doing it (after all who else will help? A Microsoft salesperson?:

Follow the money, follow the numbers… if you have some case studies send me them on email, Twitter, whatever. We are avidly looking for these… and championing them out of the public sector.

Source: ITpro

Talking of case studies/business plans, here’s one regarding the adoption of Linux/FOSS  by the French Police.  It certainly doesn’t highlight any issues with the migration:

From an end-user perspective, the transition went unexpectedly smooth. Almost no additional training was required for the local police forces using the computers in their daily work. This was in part thanks to the fact that the software applications remained the same, but also because the Ubuntu user interface was easy to get used to.

Pascal Danek points out that a transition from Microsoft Windows 2000/XP to Vista would have been more difficult, since the new version of that operating system introduces many new features and designs which might confuse users. If difficulties do occur, there is however a Didacticien, which is a tutorial application installed on each workstation that can give further guidance if problems  occur. Furthermore, there is a hotline that the local police stations can call where phone guidance on technical issues is given. This helpline however is not used very often, as most issues can be resolved in a learning by doing fashion.


And it was not just the migration to Linux that went well.  The report goes on to say:

Through the introduction of Ubuntu, the networking abilities of the local police stations and the central office in Paris has improved very much.

The move to Ubuntu was started in 2008 and as you can see it’s looking like a very nice partnership.

But then for any Linux user who already knows how good Linux/FOSS is,  we have been saying this for years.  Maybe the UK government could take the lead from the French who are already experiencing the benefits of migration?

Goblin –

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

Prices, Promotions and extortion – The One Microsoft Way ?

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"We're helpless! We're harmless! We just want to sell you things!" - From the Deep Space 9 Episode - "Little Green Men" I'll let you draw any comparisons with Microsoft.

It’s a shame that I released the previous article so quickly since I really could have amalgamated these two together for a better overview of recent actions.  If the summer is traditionally a quiet period for tech news, then I think this next piece signals the end of it.

Previously I wrote regarding Microsoft having a “double whammy” on Android phones, first being that there is a “deal”[1]  in place with certain providers of Android and secondly the platform that Mr Ballmer was so quick to dismiss not so long ago, is now flavor of the month with Microsoft as it tries to push its Bing onto it (with, I hasten to add, “innovative features” which it appears Google already provides).  I don’t personally blame Microsoft for trying their luck on a Linux platform and I am sure that they pick up a few new Bing users from charitable Android consumers.  You can read that article here and I’ll let you decide if you think Microsoft’s actions re: “deals” and Android is a type of extortion or not.

Moving on though, the latest reports about Windows Mobile 7, which if you keep up to date with the tech world you will already know is due out very shortly.   The mainstream audience in my opinion are too busy talking about Android or Apple to be interested in a Windows phone and I think its fair to say that the 500 people who experienced Kin won’t be rushing to Microsoft again anytime soon.    That being said its being reported that Microsoft is to charge $15 for each Windows Mobile 7 deployment.  So whats the problem?  Well nothing, providing that these “deals” in which HTC is but one “victim” are not making Android more “expensive” for manufacturers to deploy than the Windows Mobile platform.  If that was the case then I hope I could be forgiven for highlighting what I think is a rather dirty trick.  Maybe proof (if ever you needed it) that software patents are a bad thing, if it was a case that a free platform became more expensive than a Microsoft product due to “deals” being made by them.

Mr Grallia from Computer World says:

Microsoft is claiming that it’s less expensive for smartphone makers to put Windows Phone 7 on their phones than it is for them to put Android on it — even though Android is free and Windows Phone 7 costs them $15. Do you buy it?

Now the point Mr Grallia reports that Microsoft say manufacturers have to write drivers for tech deployed with Android (and Im not sure how convinced he is by that) but I would think that in terms of cost (maybe in the case of HTC) its the Microsoft Tax on a Linux platform which makes it more expensive (if indeed it does)

Mr Grallia makes a very good point:

But overriding all the issues of cost is a much larger point: Android devices sell like hotcakes, and Windows Phone devices don’t sell at all. So if Android costs phone makers more, they’d still flock to it, because that’s where the money is. So cost, at this point, is irrelevant.

A reader of Computer World makes the observation:

By the time Windows 7 mobile comes out in a couple months, I’m guessing that it will be too late for it to get any traction, and it will be a two man fight between Apple and Google.

Source: Computer World

Which really echoes my opinion since the news of a release date was announced.

Which many Microsoft advocates claim is incorrect (on the grounds of Win Mob 7 not being released).  To them I’d say, read the article.  We are talking about Microsoft products to date.  Wheres the existing Winmob advocacy?  Lets not forget Microsoft have already had a stab at phones with the Kin….that ended in tears.

Microsoft to offer another promotional offer – Still fighting XP?

Its been announced that a Windows 7 family pack promotion is to be launched again.  Is Microsoft worried about possible future deployment of their OS?  If Windows 7 is doing as well as Microsoft claim, why is this “promotion” being offered?  I’ll let you decide.  Maybe its a sign of generosity from Microsoft in thanks of everyone who’s running Windows 7? ;)

If it is, I wonder what promotion Microsoft will offer to people who bought into Kin or Vista to make amends?

With that in mind though, Microsoft has another battle which is rarely written about on OpenBytes.  Its not Apple, it’s not Google nor is it Linux, its XP.  It seems that many people don’t want to move from the familiar XP and to me the danger for Microsoft would be that when they finally do move, they may consider Windows 7 just a big a “jump” as Linux.  Since Linux is free, I wonder if Microsoft have considered this scenario and are desperately trying to move people away from XP, not only because they want to make more money off you, but because they fear people will go elsewhere. – You can judge that, but if you are an XP user who feels pressured to leave it, why not try Linux first? it won’t cost you anything and at least you will know if it’s for you.

The announcement is mentioned here:

But Microsoft wants to be a friend of FOSS!!!!

Lets get this straight.  Why would it?  Please can anyone who claims this sit down and think about that statement.  If we agree Microsoft is here to take money and not some humanitarian crusade to bring software and joy to everyone, then IT CANNOT WANT TO BE FRIENDS OF FOSS.  FOSS goes against everything Microsoft wishes to sell and when Microsoft makes all these grand gestures towards it, people should be thinking why?

Lets forget about any rivalries between Apple/Microsoft/Linux users and just consider this.  Why would Microsoft want the FOSS ethos to succeed around the world?  Would Microsoft want people switching to say Open Office instead of buying its own office suite?  If Microsoft is donating code to the Linux kernel why?, in order to get people to use it? and if that was the case why would Microsoft want to give away its customers and subsequently loose revenue?

Surely actions where Microsoft is “friends” with free and open source software must either overtly (or indeed covertly) suit them and whilst Microsoft makes claims about playing nicely, it’s also taking revenue from Android sales with Samsung/HTC and others?

I personally could never accept Microsoft wanting to be “friends of FOSS”, sure they might want to be SEEN as friends, but unless someone can come up with an explanation of why Microsoft would want to support a model which goes against the way they do business (and takes customers from them) then I will keep my opinion as it is.  Unless of course, Microsoft has already admitted defeat (behind closed doors) and is ready to make money in the court-room instead of the marketplace.

But of course to suggest that Microsoft does mind loosing money to customers switching to FOSS solutions will have you labeled as a “Microsoft hater”, “Zealot” and the plethora of other insults thrown our way, lets see if there is someone who is willing to come forward and explain how Microsoft can sustain its business on either a FOSS ethos or by directly/indirectly supporting FOSS products which are directly competing with theirs.  Talking of “haters”, for me Microsoft’s  opinion on Linux/FOSS is quite clear and I haven’t seen Steve Ballmer retract it:

Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.

Source:  Steve Ballmer – CEO Microsoft

Apparently though it’s a “cancer” Steve Ballmer is now using to push Bing (and gain revenue from via “deals”)


[1] The details of the “deals” with HTC and others are not known.

Goblin –

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

NewsBytes – Monday 23rd August 2010

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Kinect beaten by Sony Move

Poor old Microsoft just can’t seem to get it right?  Kinect, Microsoft’s attempt in my opinion to suck a little more life out of the 360 has been beaten by Sony’s similar offering (Move) which won “Best hardware accessory”. CVG had this to say:

The jury, which consisted of celebrated German video games industry experts, overlooked Microsoft’s Kinect for the prize.


Xbox 360 woes….

Dr Schestowitz of Techrights takes an interesting look at the woes of the 360 including products on hold, sales and much more.  The  question I would like to put to my readers: How many 360’s of yours RROD? and how much longer will you be wanting to stay with 360 specs? Dr Schestowitz had this to say:

Microsoft lost the consoles war a long time ago. The Xbox 360 might be the last product to ever come out of Microsoft to test absorption of DRM in the mass market. What a hallmark of restrictions in one’s own living room.


Telegraph comments on Linux/FOSS

The Telegraph writes about the three better known platforms – Windows, Apple and Linux.  They have this to say about Linux, which whilst I would correct the “difficulty/experts” part (Ive deployed Linux to many users who have no interest or knowledge in computing), its a fair assessment of the power of Linux that Ive had in all my years using it.  Get yourself a LiveCD and see for yourself how wrong the “expert” part of the Telegraph article really is.  In their article they had this to say:

Definitely the hardest operating system to learn but also the most formidably powerful. A computer running Linux is capable of doing everything a Windows or Mac computer can but has the added bonus of most software being free. However, it’s really only for experts.


The Telegraph goes on to write about OpenOffice and compares to the cash cow of Microsoft Office saying :

Just as capable for most users as anything Microsoft can offer and totally free, Open Office is the software of choice for those on a budget. The word processing program easily matches Word and much of the other PowerPoint and spreadsheet capabilities are extremely close.


Do the majority of users need to pay for alleged extra features of Microsoft’s Office?  Try OpenOffice for yourself, its free. What have you to lose?

Goblin –

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

A Microsoft fail agenda? – Yes Blevdog, I do want to discuss.

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The title of this article will be made clear shortly as Ive had an “exchange” of posts with a Microsoft employee on Twitter.

Being that most of you have read previous conversations, I think you know what to expect, but suffice to say I will continue to look for someone who is willing to hold a sensible conversation on the merits of Microsoft products over the plethora of alternatives available these days.

Before I go any further I urge you (as always) to see the posts in context and would like to preempt any comment of “Why do you bother covering conversations on Twitter about issues like these?” – To which I would reply: a/ I am after debate b/ I am trying to find someone who is willing to justify/champion Microsoft products without resorting to PR posts or generalizations in an attempt to throw light on the issue that there are many alternatives to Microsoft products out there.   Is it too much to ask to get a Microsoft employee to respond to questions on products by the company they work for?  I think my challenges are fair and if they are not I would like to be challenged on them.

So now lets move on to our latest Twitter conversation.   Meet Blevdog on Twitter.  In search of my “debate” I challenged a post of his where he said:

My take on #Microsoft. We make money. Plain and simple we provide our shareholders value. Jump on the train.”

Resisting the urge to make a comment now in regards to the figures released by Microsoft, Ill simply post my response to him:

What about your users value? OpenOffice? What justification do you have for the average user NOT to use OpenOffice?

What sort of value did you provide to all the users who had problems with Vista? or what about WM?

I believe people did “jump on the train” and they’ve now noticed they’ve missed their stop, they want to get off. #microsoft

Now as past experience has shown us, things usually go off on a tangent from this point on (especially if people are unwilling or unable to answer a challenge) so it was with little surprise that I saw these posted a short while later.

“Quality, supportability, user experience, interoperability..”

Eh? A non specific answer and I believe all the above relate to OpenOffice, infact Id go as far as to say that Ive found more users willing to help very quickly in the OpenOffice forums than with ANY (FOSS or otherwise) package Ive used (for your information though I still prefer Abiword, as ive said in the past)

Blevdog then goes on to say:

“So your contention is that problems with 1 product then the most profitable non-oil company in the world is not a good investment.”

This threw me, at first I believed he was trying to imply I was having a stab at capitalism (which Im not) in anycase it didnt matter, since all I asked him to do was justify why someone should NOT use OpenOffice (since he is an MS employee and ergo should be a supporter/user of MS office)

He then continued:

“By your logic commerce as we know it would cease to exist. there would be no investment because all companies have issues.”

Again, whats he trying to suggest I implied? All I asked was about OpenOffice and “value” in terms of WM/Vista.  Maybe his next comment would shed some light on this matter:

I need more dragons and ogres.”

…..or then again maybe it wont.  Was it some cunningly clever marketing answer that has gone completely above my head? or was he simply trying to throw ridicule into what I considered to be a fair challenge?…no, it appears he was making a joke.

So I followed on with:

“Eh? I was asking you to respond about REAL benefits of why someone should NOT choose OpenOffice… #microsoft”

Not to respond in a manner which to me seems like someone on LSD. Im trying to be adult here. #microsoft

“You seem to think my question on OpenOffice was a campaign against capitalism.I still cant work out your “ogres” remark #microsoft

(which I could) but I refused to dignify his ogres remark with an acknowledgement.  I went on to say:

“Maybe you see this all as a joke, if so fine. Ill try to engage someone else from Microsoft in discussion.”

and at this point, I could see Blevdog wasnt going to answer so I was going to leave it there.

Blevdog though decided to get in the last word and did respond a short while later:

“Probably for the best, you don’t really want to dicuss, but rather further your Microsft Fail agenda. The Ogres comment was a joke”

So I dont want to discuss?  Maybe this post will show that I do and maybe Blevdog will then want to answer the initial challenge I put to him.  I wouldnt hold your breath.

My final comments to him were:

LOL “Probably for the best” Best for who. I challenge you to quote this “fail agenda” unless you are calling me a liar #microsoft

and I was aware of your “joke” I simply thought it disrespectful since I asked a question. Tell me, as a #Microsoft employee, are you calling me a liar?

Or is your flippant disregard for my question born out of a realization that you have no real answer? #microsoft

and for the record, I managed to discuss with Jess Meats (a MS employee) quite amicably. #microsoft

The comment of Blevdogs that prompted the title of this post was:

Would you call tagging posts with the word fail and ask other people to send you tweets of examples of Microsoft Trouble an agenda?

To which I responded with:

No. I asked for photos. There are plenty of sites dedicated to BSOD’s etc. One could argue I am helping show that MS products…are used in a diverse range of businesses and public facilities. Was that photo not a #fail and was it not a #microsoft product?

Maybe you would prefer if the issues the Windows platform has suffered were just brushed under the carpet? are you really saying that I, with a blog of only 20000k hits can have a fail agenda with Microsoft? Do you think I believe I have any impact whatsoever?

All I am after is a debate, and to get someone to answer the numerous issues that have been brought up that are never answered.

For example, a problem with Vista is dismissed with Mojave as an example (in many cases) Microsoft has used it patent portfolio (IMO) as its “red button” and only now (IMO) when it realizes the value of FOSS is it is trying to backtrack.

lest you see a more dire result nextime than a -32% net profit loss (IMO)Has Microsoft worked out yet why many didnt like Vista?

Whilst you are claiming I have a MS fail agenda, please actually check out my comments on XP, 360 and the EU….if you dont want to do that, fine, but dont accuse me of any sort of fail agenda if you dont really know my opinions.

and as I was typing this I believed that was the last Id hear from Blevdog.  I was wrong.  Here was his latest:

“My apologies. I don’t have time to respond to your value question now, but will in the near future.”

Im sure he doesnt.  Although he seemed to have no difficulty before (albeit not answering what I was asking him)

I wonder what he’s appologizing for?  Is it for the implication?  (I seem to get alot of these when I try to engage an MS viewpoint in debate) or is he just apologizing for not answering the question?  I wonder how long the “near future” will be?

I am left wondering what on earth do I have to do to get a debate going in regards to Microsoft v Alternatives.  I have to ask myself if the answer is as obvious as some of the MS faithful on Microsoft Watch would have you believe, then it would be a really easy case for the MS employee to make.

So Blevdog, as I say to everyone, you are more than welcome to post a response here and since Twitter (IMO) does not give much room for fully justified response, I have created this post in order for you to have a full and detailed right of reply (if you wish).  I would though,  ask you carefully consider what you post in the future if you are not willing to answer questions.

I challenge your initial post of My take on #Microsoft. We make money. Plain and simple we provide our shareholders value. Jump on the train., since you are I believe a Microsoft employee.

I have this blog for the sole purpose of challenging and being challenged.  As you can see from my previous posts I censor/delete nothing.  Regardless of if you agree or disagree with me, you are welcome here and the whole spirit of debate (whoever is correct) IMO can only be a healthy exercise in enabling users to make the best choices for themselves.

Goblin –

Are games the last bastion of salvation for the Windows platform?

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and why I believe PC gaming will be on a decline (albeit gradual):

Ive got alot of material to publish, but since Ive had a very enlightening conversation over on a site in regards to todays gaming, I thought it may make an interesting article to discuss and give my opinions here.

Games, games, games.  Whilst I wouldnt consider myself a gamer, I am partial to the odd title now and then. We own a 360 and more recently a WII.  The WII (as you would expect) is a massive hit with the kids and whilst I considered the 360 the best “all rounder” of the recent consoles, its now been relegated to second place as the kids WII love means that its Nintendo’s offering that is permanently plugged into our TV.

But what for the Windows platform.  An argument put forward to counter the title of this article was that PC games are far more advanced both graphically and in terms of features when compared to the console version.  This is cited for the whole reason why gaming will not decline on the PC and ergo a selling point for Windows, whilst Wine offers great results with some Windows games, its not got the same “out of the box” compat as Windows.

I would agree with that statement… mostly.  I would though ask you to consider how many issues pop up on forums when a new title is released on the PC.  How many workarounds/patches do some users have to subject themselves to simply because of some conflict with their hardware and the latest game?  Add to that the need to keep ontop of the current specs (something which is expensive at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a recession)

I would argue that one of the reasons consoles are so popular is that they offer no such problems.  If you buy a console title you can be sure that once you put the disk in, you will be playing in minutes.  No fiddling with batchfiles or patches.

I cite the Atari Jaguar as a good example.  When it was released the specs of the machine made it a far more advanced system, capable of offering a much better gaming experience to that of the “big two” at the time, namely the Megadrive (Sega) and the SNES (Nintendo) so why did the Jaguar fail?  Simply because, (IMO) poor marketing and the fact that what Atari had hoped would be its flagship title (AvP) was a buggy and unpolished released.   The Jaguar disapeared from the shelves, which for your information is now quite a popular retro machine to buy on ebay, and the AvP title goes for quite a bit of money.

So whilst the three consoles are going from strength to strength, the PC gaming base (IMO) is declining.  Take a look in your local games store and see how much space is dedicated to console gaming compared to PC.  Speak to the next generation of gamers, IMO they mostly have consoles since I dont think your average 16 yearold is likely to be able to afford to keep ontop of the latest specs just to play PC games as they are intended.

The point Im making is that history has shown us that the more powerful platform is not necessarily the one to survive.  Lets look at a few examples:

Amiga 500 / Atari ST – These two battled it out for top slot for a good few years, the Amiga “won” in the end, but people were mostly unaware of another machine around at the time which was far better spec’d than the two, that being the Acorn Archemedes.  The first example of a more spec advanced platform loosing out.

Snes/Megadrive – As stated above, outspec’d by the Jaguar, but I dont think these two were affected.

DS/PSP – The battle of the handhelds winner, (IMO) is easily determined with the DS getting the prize.  There can be no argument which platform is better spec’d and capable of more advanced software (PSP)

and finally more recently:

WII/360/PS3 – Which highlights the point nicely.  Which one is the most popular?  Id say the WII by far and so it surprising then that it is the least powerful console of the three.

Specs dont make a success, simple, affordable and most import fun computing make for a winning platform and whilst Windows may have games far in advance of console titles (if you have high enough specs to run them) I put it to you that the reasons above are why we are seeing the increase in popularity of the console.

So whats in store for the PC?

The PC will always remain in the home, but I believe more and more is being seen as a productivity device.  You surf, you email and you Word process.  The average home user (IMO) has very simple requirements of their PC, which is why I challenge the Microsoft adverts where mother and son are out for a bargain.


Are Microsoft saying that the average user needs MSoffice?  Why isnt OpenOffice considered?  We could debate into the night about the features MSoffice offers in comparison to OpenOffice, however at the end of the day, how many home users do anything more than basic WP tasks anyway (something which arguments about features aside, OpenOffice is more than capable of)  Brandon Le Blanc recently ran an article in regards to saving money and avoiding “Apple Tax” very noble Im sure, however he’s never answered the question of why a child or indeed any average home user should need the alleged benefits MSoffice offers over OpenOffice.  OpenOffice is free, and for anyone who hasnt tried it, why not?  Its available for the Windows platform.  Use it and tell me if it offers the functionality you require.  If it does great, youve saved yourself money.  If it doesnt, why not?  Im genuinely interested.


It is my opinion that Microsoft supporters are using the games argument as the justification to the average user, its already been shown that alternatives can offer free computing and there are many people that have never had Microsoft products in the home for years.  I am one of them (in respect of the PC)  Has it prevented me doing anything?  No not at all.  Have I had to settle for “second best” in any aspect of my computing requirements? No.

So it only leaves games as the “bastion of salvation” which judging by the sales figures Ive seen (and what ive seen at the local games store) Id say the PC platform as a gaming machines days are numbered.  Or does anyone want to argue that a GTA release on the console would be less profitable than on the PC?  In addition you have to consider that with piracy rife in the PC gaming market, and the fact its far easier to get hold of and run pirated PC software than console, how long do you think software houses will put up with lower sales and piracy?

Even Microsoft themselves I believe discontinued arguably the best and most popular Flightsim software, which to me is a further sign of how viable the Windows platform actual is to software developers.

Whilst Wine offers compat on Linux with some well known titles, it hasnt the out of the box compat that Windows does (obviously) however we you read people commenting that they are finding the Windows games that work on Wine run far better on Linux than they did on Windows, I think questions need to be asked about what really is the definitve gaming platform.

I believe that should software houses release all their games with Wine compliance, it would completely negate any reason to have a Windows based machine in the home (IMO)  since myself and many others in the “alternatives” community are proof that you dont need to have the Microsoft logo on your PC in order to be productive and/or enjoy your computing experience.

Goblin –

Bonjour FOSS! – France embracing Open Source software.

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Bonjour FOSS! aur revoir Microsoft! Thats what the French Government bodies are starting to say....Viva La France!
Bonjour FOSS! aur revoir Microsoft! Thats what the French Government bodies are starting to say....Viva La France!

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:,en/

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 –

Bill Gates says “Thanks” on Microsoft Watch.

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Article by GoblinRFD

Well not really, its obviously a user making a joke, but hey it got you here and got me another hit! (Im trying to get 1000 before the end of the day)

Whilst it may be just a joke, I think the post is indicative of the opinion of Microsoft.  As I said on previous posts, I dont believe this image would matter if MS products didnt have the problems we all read about on the net.  I dont mind paying for something that actually works, that to me is value for money.  If I was a Windows user and I saw that I needed to upgrade my computer to run Vista, and even when Id done that I may still be in for difficulties, I would probably think “Why am I paying money for this software, when theres free Linux?”

The Microsoftwatch article, is well written (as are all of their features) I enjoy visiting the site.  It was also really nice to see with the impending Software Freedom day (20th September) so many people are mentioning free alternatives to commercial products.

You can read the article here, which is about the discounting of a certain Microsoft product.