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French Police Save Millions Switching To Ubuntu 368

Ynot_82 writes "The French national police force, the Gendarmerie Nationale, has spoken about their migration away from the Windows platform to Linux. Estimated to have already saved the force 50 Million Euros, the migration is due to be completed on all 90,000 workstations by 2015. Of the move, Lt. Col. Guimard had this comment: '"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."'"
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French Police Save Millions Switching To Ubuntu

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  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:13PM (#27171307)

    ... but solitaire and minesweeper are great training for stakeouts ;-)

    Doesn't the default version of Ubuntu have both? Mine does along with Chess, Othello, Tetris, Sudoku, Mahjongg, Blackjack, and a few others.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:26PM (#27171505)

    They migrated their applications first, as part of a phased rollout, aimed at being a first step before the migration to Linux.

    So the users did migrate applications, it just wasn't at the same time as changing operating system.

  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:32PM (#27171575) Homepage Journal

    Actually, it's a reference the Virgin Mary, for whom the color blue is sacred.

  • For information (Score:3, Informative)

    by godrik (1287354) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:33PM (#27171615)
    The Gendarmerie Nationale already used free software daily such as open office. The migration would have been more complicated is they were using MS Office.
  • Re:Go France! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:34PM (#27171631) Homepage Journal

    They were found guilty of anti-trust violations with penalties enforced for their transgressions. The sad thing is that the whole thing is a joke. Bundling IE isn't really a crime. Bundling WMP isn't a crime. However, the Halloween Documents [] suggest there were serious illegal, anti-competitive practices at play that no one ever really hit them for.

  • by kenh (9056) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:45PM (#27171817) Homepage Journal

    They saved millions by migrating 90,000 desktops to OpenOffice, they have migrated only 5,000 desktops to Ubuntu, they plan for 15,000 by the end of 2009, and 90,000 by 2015. (IIRC).

    The title of the article, and the title of the slashdot posting is inaccurate - the savings are real, but the reason was not Ubuntu - it was OpenOffice.

  • Re:Go France! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:59PM (#27172035)

    Check out the footer of the French consulate's web page:

    They already use open source software. I think I noticed that footer more than a couple of years ago or so.

  • by thirty-seven (568076) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:30PM (#27172515)

    The French national police force, the Gendarmerie Nationale...

    Actually, there are two separate national police forces in France.

    The Gendarmerie Nationale [] is, (adapted from Wikipedia):

    the national gendarmerie (a military body charged with police duties among civilian populations) and military police force. Its missions include:

    • The policing of the countryside, rivers and coastal areas, and small towns with populations under 10,000. About half the French population is under the direct jurisdiction of the Gendarmerie.
    • Criminal investigations under judiciary supervision.
    • Crowd control and other security activities.
    • The security of airports and military installations, as well as all investigations relating to the military, including in foreign interventions.
    • Participations in ceremonies involving foreign heads of states or heads of governments.
    • Provision of Military police services to the Military of France.

    The Police Nationale [] is, (adapted from Wikipedia):

    the main civil law enforcement agency of France, with primary jurisdiction in cities and large towns. In those larger cities and towns, its mission includes:

    • Conducting security operations (patrols, traffic control, identity checks...).
    • Conducting criminal enquiries, serving search warrants, etc under the orders and supervision of the Investigating magistrates of the judiciary. It maintains specific services ("judicial police") for criminal enquiries.
  • Re:Go France! (Score:3, Informative)

    by j79zlr (930600) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:35PM (#27172619) Homepage
    That is not really how it works though. I have done some engineering work on DOD projects a long while ago and they require everything to be US made. Everything. I just remember that the conduit runs cost approximately 4x's average construction cost since all of the steel used in the piping and the fittings had to be made in the USA.
  • Re:Mandriva snubbed? (Score:5, Informative)

    by basiles (626992) <> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:39PM (#27172667) Homepage

    First, a small precision: The Gendarmerie Nationale is not exactly the French national police (called Police Nationale in French), but an armed force (the fourth french armed force, after infantery Armée de Terre, navy = Marine Nationale, air force = Armée de l'Air). The small difference between Gendarmerie & Police is that Gendarmerie members are exactly soldiers (with strict military discipline).

    In practice, Gendarmerie tend to work in rural or semi-rural areas, while Police tend to work in urban zones (actually, there exist some kind of competition between Gendarmerie and Police, which gives interesting french thriller films and books) And they have different legal abilities. For example, in some limited cases, a Gendarme can legally shoot his gun first, while in principle a Policier (policeman) can use his gun (policemen and gendarmes are armed with guns) only for self defense (but IANAL so I may be wrong).

    Gendarmerie is centralized and military, so it was easy to order them to switch at once to Linux [no training needed; just an official order from a high-rank official]. And I hear their IT department was strong enough to customize (without subcontractors) some Ubuntu distribution to the exact needs of Gendarmerie (which includes access to some peculiar databases). This could be an explanation of why Gendarmerie did not need any support from Mandriva.

    But Mandriva still has several French state contracts, including even research contracts on collaborative projects.

    Disclaimer: I do work sometimes with Mandriva on collaborative research projects (such as GGCC []).

  • by initdeep (1073290) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:39PM (#27172669)

    they donated their code.

    if they wanted to get paid for their code, they should have not donated their time.

  • by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:42PM (#27172731) Homepage

    Yes, by default Ubuntu includes several more games than Windows. I'd consider them better games also.

  • by Abreu (173023) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:05PM (#27173143)

    Not to mention the fact that you can install a lot more from the repositories

    ...including the ultimate destroyer of productivity: Battle for Wesnoth!

  • Re:Go France! (Score:3, Informative)

    by turgid (580780) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:10PM (#27173235) Journal

    Except they won't be saving the money, it's going to go to some other crazy project.

    What, like educating children, feeding the poor, healing the sick and looking after the elderly and infirm?

  • Minor correction (Score:3, Informative)

    by sodul (833177) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:32PM (#27173601) Homepage

    Gendarmerie Nationale is a branch of the French army, and are not the police. One major difference is that they are allowed to shoot to kill, while the police is not allowed to shoot even after they get shot at and are injured.

  • by Fenax (1094827) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:46PM (#27173797) Homepage
    "Bleu" was a voluntary mistake. Preventing to say "Dieu" (god) at that time it was forbidden to curse his name, but people did it none the less, just hid themself a bit" This guy is quite famous in curses. Sacre is the ceremony for making someone holy or something like that.
  • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @05:01PM (#27174021) Homepage Journal

    The games that come with Vista are quite a bit better than gnome-games:

    Chess Titans
    Mahjong Titans
    Purble Place
    Spider Solitaire

    Most of these have been updated quite a bit, both with respect to looks, sounds and playability.

    Although I miss pinball, I miss gorilla.bas even more :-)

  • Re:Go France! (Score:3, Informative)

    by jbengt (874751) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @05:13PM (#27174177)
    Your logic is ill.
    If all else is equal, the more expensive option puts a drag on the economy, the cheaper option frees up money for other productive uses.
  • by SleepingWaterBear (1152169) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @06:26PM (#27175189)

    Come on, how much better can minesweeper or solitaire be?

    Well, the minesweeper's basically identical, but Aisleriot solitaire (the default Gnome solitaire game) comes with 80 different solitaire variants, which beats the 3 or so that come with windows by a good ways. I personally like Hopscotch.

    Gnome also comes with something like 17 games by default, and you can install hundreds more if you want them without even opening a web browser. I will grant that the networked hearts/spades games in XP are something I would like to see an equivalent to in Ubuntu.

  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @11:48PM (#27177457)


    Essentially 500 jobs worth of money shipped to bill gates every year.

    And that is just france.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 13, 2009 @04:03AM (#27178425)

    well, five hundred years ago, maybe.

    "bordel de merde" would be a little more contemporary..

  • by Nutria (679911) on Friday March 13, 2009 @07:36AM (#27179355)

    ... and finding and downloading installable games are easier for Ubuntu IMHO. want a tetris clone, fire up Aptitude and .. oh there is one click on it and install presto.

    Except that it requires the root password, and lusers aren't given root.

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981