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French Police Save Millions Switching To Ubuntu 368

Posted by timothy
from the justified-disdain dept.
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 macxcool (1370409) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:07PM (#27171201)
    ... but solitaire and minesweeper are great training for stakeouts ;-)
    • by Thelasko (1196535) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:11PM (#27171271) Journal
      How do they ever expect to catch Riddler? [wikipedia.org]
    • 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by digitalunity (19107)

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

        • by arth1 (260657)

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

          Chess Titans
          Freecell
          Hearts
          Inkball
          Mahjong Titans
          Minesweeper
          Purble Place
          Solitaire
          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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Abreu (173023)

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

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

    • In fact, solitaire really is great training for using a mouse. Time and again I have seen novice computer users of all ages, who would otherwise struggle with the mouse, become quite proficient after only an hour or so playing solitaire.

      Now if they could just be gotten to stop playing solitaire afterwards, they could move on to other lessons.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Now if they could just be gotten to stop playing solitaire afterwards, they could move on to other lessons.

        I could say the same for fortune. Show a linux noob how to start a terminal and type fortune, then how to press up-arrow to use the history, and you can lean back for an hour or so. Not great console training, but it's a start. :D

      • by eleuthero (812560)
        it also works well as a tutor for learning to use the arrow keys and carriage return / enter... played that way quite a bit when my mouse didn't work
      • by PitaBred (632671)
        Just change the solitaire shortcut to a link to 2g1c. Problem solved!
      • Now if they could just be gotten to stop playing solitaire afterwards, they could move on to other lessons.

        Write the game so that the longer you play, the more cards go randomly missing. Once they get down to about 45 cards the game will not be much fun anymore... Call it Terminal Solitaire.

  • You don' frighten us, Microsoft pig-dogs!
  • Go France! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:08PM (#27171221)

    Now if only state and federal agencies in the US would do some of the same. Sadly, so long as corporations are allowed to lobby, the pork train will probably continue.

    • by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:10PM (#27171265) Journal

      Sadly, so long as corporations are allowed to lobby, the pork train will probably continue.

      Hey, it's not "pork", it's an "economic stimulus".

  • Duh (Score:5, Funny)

    by spykemail (983593) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:09PM (#27171243) Homepage

    Free is cheaper. Who knew?

    • Re:Duh (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:38PM (#27171699) Homepage Journal

      Except for most of the suits I've dealt with at my last two companies. We keep talking about the need to save money and cut costs, so we lay people off. When I show them articles how IBM saved over 100 million dollars last year migrating more Windows systems to Linux, they balk at the notion. We literally use everything from Office 97 to 2007 here, and we can't share documents internally. We had a big crisis when departments couldn't work together on a budget, because no one could open each other's files.

      I suggested OpenOffice to several execs, and not a single one would consider moving away from Office. It is just unthinkable. They keep insisting they want everyone on the same version of Office (and we have Mac users with Mac Office) but they won't buy new Office 2007 licenses for everyone. They want a solution that is free, but they are terrified of free software.

      Instead, they'll cave and buy more Office 2007 licenses, and fire more people to make up the difference.

      • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Totenglocke (1291680) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:13PM (#27172229)
        Your anecdote further strengthens my view that American companies are all run by idiots. I swear, American companies sit down and figure out the most efficient way to run the company and then say "Ok, great -- lets do the exact opposite".
        • Re:Duh (Score:5, Interesting)

          by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:26PM (#27172465) Homepage

          They aren't run by idiots. They're run by selfish bastards. There's a big difference.

          An idiot will make you fill out form 22/B in order to get a new stapler because he doesn't know of any other solution. A selfish bastard will make you fill out form 22/B in order to get a new stapler because he wants to save money on staplers and knows that most people won't take the time unless they really really need one.

          This may seem like the effects are similar, but they aren't: the idiot, when he hears of a more efficient way, will at least consider changing it or at worst be very confused. The selfish bastard, when he hears of a more efficient way, will fire the guy who made the suggestion for undermining his authority. It's a difference between Dogbert and the PHB.

        • by nschubach (922175)

          It's not necessarily idiots (but I'm sure it applies somewhat.) Boards are made up of people from other companies. In fact, the company I work for took on a board member from Symantec a few years back. The same year, everyone got "upgraded" to Symantec Anti-Virus. It's a buddy-buddy world in Corporate America.

        • by JWSmythe (446288)

          It's more like, they stay with what they know is safe, regardless of the costs (in man hours, dollars, or pieces of their souls).

          Myself, I'd look at it as, what is the cost difference? You'll have to deploy OpenOffice to every desktop. That will take manhours. But, if you have to deploy/upgrade and maintain the MSOffice installs, that will also take manhours. I'd say it's a wash on the manhours, but really it isn't. OO installs quicker. The licensing is ... well, free. Ev

      • According to Guimard the move to open source has also helped to reduce maintenance costs.
        Keeping GNU/Linux desktops up to date is much easier, he says.
        "Previously, one of us would be travelling all year just to install a new version of some anti virus application on the desktops in the Gendarmerie's outposts on the islands in French Polynesia.
        A similar operation now is finished within two weeks and does not require travelling.

        Aaah... government work.
        Not only do they find an exceptionally complicated way to solve a simple problem - they don't know when to keep their mouth shut when it goes in their favor.
        Traveling around French Polynesian islands [wikipedia.org] updating anti-virus software for living?

        Why yes. It is MUCH better to sit in some windowless room instead.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tuoqui (1091447)

        People lack the balls to make such a big change.

        Remember 'Noone got fired for choosing Microsoft' is a famous line the higher up IT guys like to wave around. Fact of the matter is that noone ever got fired for choosing open source either. It's poor implementation of any solution that gets people fired.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Matt Perry (793115)

        I suggested OpenOffice to several execs, and not a single one would consider moving away from Office. It is just unthinkable.

        How did you mention it? Did you write a proposal that examined the financial ramifications of switching from MS Office to OpenOffice, including not only licensing costs but also retraining expenses? Did you outline the benefits of switching including how quality would be improved? Did you explain possible alternatives including the possibility of doing nothing? This is how executi

  • by canuck08 (1421409) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:13PM (#27171299)

    "French Police Save Millions Switching To Ubuntu."

    Jesus Christ! Windows was killing millions of people in France?!?!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12, 2009 @02:13PM (#27171305)

    What the summary doesn't mention, but is worth noting, is that they were already using open source programs where possible---Firefox, Thunderbird, OOo. Now I think their migration is wonderful, but I suspect it might have been somewhat more difficult if users were asked to adjust to new programs, as well.

    • 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 Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:02PM (#27172095) Homepage

      What the summary doesn't mention, but is worth noting, is that they were already using open source programs where possible---Firefox, Thunderbird, OOo. Now I think their migration is wonderful, but I suspect it might have been somewhat more difficult if users were asked to adjust to new programs, as well.

      Of course it would have been more difficult. That just means they did it right, switching to Free applications first then to the Free OS. They probably saved money in the first step as well as the second, and lowered the burden by doing it phased rather than dumping it all on the users at once.

  • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by getclear (1338437)
      Not particularly, they would have had to offer retraining from 2003 to 2007, as well as on the new OS.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by godrik (1287354)
        My point was that moving from office 2003/windows to openoffice/ubuntu would induce much more compatibility issues than from openoffice/windows. since the file format are fully compatible.
    • 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.

      Actually, they used MSOffice back in 2005. They did a staged transition to free software, first moving to OpenOffice and Firefox and Thunderbird. Now they're moving into the second stage and switching the underlying OS now that most of their applications are platform independent.

    • by Colin Smith (2679) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:03PM (#27173099)

      1: Switch your applications to Open Source.
      2: Switch your operating systems.

      And ironically, the best way to switch people away from Windows is to port free and open source applications to the platform.
       

  • Great for Linux , awesome for Linux admins, even better for open source movement!

  • Almost every time I pass the parked policy car in Cambridge, I saw the policeman playing some game (e.g., solitair) on his PC. I guess games *are* the priority here, hence don't see any migration to Ubuntu any time soon.

    • by janeuner (815461)

      Never mind that Solitaire is on the default Ubuntu install, along with a dozen other (read: more than Windows) pre-installed games.

  • 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.

  • French Police Save Millions Switching To Ubuntu

    French Police are going door to door these past days informing citizens of the long-term health
    effects of Windows. The so far largest campaign for public health in the history of France is
    expected to continue for another week and is aiming for a coverage of over 90% of the nation's
    households. Jean Trudeaux, an elderly villager in the Bretagne recalls opening the door to officers
    early in the afternoon and being asked if he owned a computer. Acknowledging the pos

  • The two biggest differences are the icons and the games.

    Man alive. If that's what this person thinks are the "biggest differences" ... I don't know, that just sounds really strange. This wasn't a very technical person, I take it, saying this. Even from a pure user's perspective, there's more that is different than "icons." Like, the entire GUI is different. I know, basic functionality is mostly the same, and you still click things to get them to open, but there's still a lot more different. Good things, too, I'm not trying to say the switch was a bad idea

    • by cptdondo (59460)

      But really, the paradigm of all modern GUIs is the same. There really isn't that much difference between XP or XFCE on a paradigm level. It's all clicky menus and icons.

      My parents, who are about the most illiterate people I've ever met, went from Win98 to Gnome to Mac OSX over the years without a single complaint about usability of the GUI. Plenty of other issues, but never about the GUI.

      So yes, I agree with the article. The biggest difference is in the icons and the games.

  • 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 [wikipedia.org] 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 [wikipedia.org] 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.
  • Mandriva? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by generalchaos23 (1326053) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:40PM (#27172689)
    I am surprised that they didn't go with Mandriva, seeing how I am pretty sure they are based in France.
  • ...Seriously?

    Unless the sole purpose of the computer is to access web based application, otherwise how could it be easy?

    Or does it only refer to the user training part? Then I would believe easy is the correct word to describe (Form Windows, you have to train user to use windows LOB apps too)

    • Re:Pretty easy? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Dan Ost (415913) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:11PM (#27173259)

      How much training have you received in using the apps that you use 90% of the time?

      Just curious.

      I don't know anyone who has received formal training in how to use their email client, web browser, word processor, or presentation software. If they don't
      know how to do something, they simply ask peer who does.

  • Will this switch on a large level impact the EU's suit against MS? If there are large numbers of computers, especially at the government level, that do not use MS at all, does this not take the force out of the meme, "It's a monopoly, kill it now," or is there more to this than is clear at present?
  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by owlstead (636356)

      "while the police is not allowed to shoot even after they get shot at and are injured"

      They can only shoot their side arm after being buried 6 feet under? Or do they have to go to the arcade like the rest of us?

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

    Staggering.

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

    And that is just france.

Forty two.

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