Gendarmes switch to Linux, save 70% [Archive] - Glock Talk


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Tennessee Slim
04-30-2009, 07:19
French police switch from Windows to Linux (
April 27th, 2009

The French national police force has slashed its IT costs by 70 per cent by cutting Microsoft out of the equation.
There are many arguments for or against switching from Windows to Linux. Many times these arguments are based more in fanaticism than fact.

In a recent report, the French national police force, Gendarmerie Nationale, has provided some great facts supporting the switch from Windows to Linux.

In 2002, the Gendarmerie Nationale adopted a strictly open-standards IT policy in order to improve inter-organisation communications.

Until 2004, a large part of the IT budget was spent on software licences — between 12,000 and 15,000 licenses each year. In 2004, an accountant in the Gendarmerie Nationale tried OpenOffice and, after finding it a surprisingly competent replacement for its paid counterpart, started pushing for it to be adopted within the organization instead of Microsoft Office.

After a while, the police force completely switched over to OpenOffice for all their office needs along with adopting Thunderbird for email and Firefox for browsing. The switch was easy and required little to no training since the open source apps had a similar interface to the paid ones.

In 2007, they decided to go one step further and switch to an open operating system.

“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.”

Currently Gendarmerie has about 5,000 PCs running Ubuntu, with another 15,000 planned to be switched over this year. By 2015, they hope to have the entire organization with all 90,000 computers running Ubuntu and open-source software.

This year their IT budget will be cut by 70%, but they will be just as capable as in previous years. Lieutenant-Colonel Xavier Guimard of Gendarmerie estimates that the organization “Since 2004 has saved 50 million euro on licences for standard office applications, hardware and maintenance.”

Importantly, the Gendarmerie’s reduced IT budget contradicts Microsoft’s arguments that the ‘total cost of ownership’ of Windows is less than Linux, because Windows supposedly needs much less support and integration work than Linux does. The lower actual dollars being spent on IT in the French national police disproves Microsoft’s argument — in this organisation, at least.

If they want to keep their share of the PC market, Microsoft better make sure they offer an easy transition to Windows 7, along with some benefits of transitioning. Otherwise, we will likely be hearing about more and more organizations and businesses switching over to Linux this year and next.

04-30-2009, 08:19
that is amazing. 90,000 machines running ubuntu? No more M$ license. Awesome. Good for them, and i'm glad it is working out for them.

Whats nice too, is you can throw ubuntu on an old beater computer and it will work fine, where with windows you need more resources and hardware!

i am looking forward to windows 7 be honest.

04-30-2009, 08:26
Microsoft has a history of releasing fairly crappy OS's, before releasing one that is halfway decent.

95 was good, and pretty innovative when it came out
98.. bleh.
98SE fixed some problems and wasn't "to" bad...
WinME, I think everyone can agree, was an absolute train wreck
XP -- Really was probably their best "Home" OS yet.
Vista.. sigh..
07--- ???

04-30-2009, 08:50
I'm so glad I don't deal with desktop support anymore. The thought of upgrading/imaging all those machines and dealing with users gives me the shivers. Switching to open source is getting to be more and more appealing, I'd like to see some companies in the states give it a go...although I wouldn't want to be the one dealing with the switch over. In the end it would be easier for my user base as they have to interact with linux servers on a daily basis. They could use built in tools instead of finding something to run on a windows box.

I worked at a manufacturing plant a few years ago, my "boss" was this crazy lady that knew little to nothing about IT. I had to do a switch over from using an NT4 domain to active directory. I was perfectly able to change every machine over from my laptop without having to touch them. She insisted that I touch every box and "verify" it worked...I had to walk miles across that plant trying to find each box.

I finished the job because I was getting tons of OT...then I quit.

04-30-2009, 09:32
Good for them. As times go by more and more people will switch to Linux. Why pay for something when you could do the same job on another OS for free. You don't even have to upgrade your hardware so you can run the latest Linux distro. For Vista you need min 2Gb of Ram just for the OS itself. Plus the enormous disk space it takes. It's just how things go nowdays. I will never pay Micro$oft for a OS licence.....never.

04-30-2009, 10:35
Good for them.

<---Debian Linux user, happy one

Tennessee Slim
04-30-2009, 10:50
Like I've been saying, Vista is the best thing ever happened to Leenuks. It was a major strategic error because -- as the netbook craze is illustrating -- XP did everything 90% of all PC users needed for their OS to do.

I also find it ironic that the open source movement is having such a profound impact on the Windblows world. Like the old axiom that the great empires always are brought down from within, the greatest threat to MS isn't external (Leenuks and Mac), it's the open source freeware people are flocking to instead of buying commercial software with elaborate bootlegging protections.

In time, that should also warm them to the idea of an open source freeware operating system.