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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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  • Mandriva snubbed? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:28PM (#27171531)

    Why didn't the French police didn't switch to Mandriva since it is of French origin? I thought the French are fairly protectionist and prefer to use French-based companies over foreign ones. Seems like they could have given Mandriva a needed financial boost with lucrative support contracts.

  • Re:Allies? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gapagos ( 1264716 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:32PM (#27171581)

    I think he was rather referring to Godwin's law. []

  • Re:Duh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @03:38PM (#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.

  • Biggest differences? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:02PM (#27172091)

    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 (like security and updates). But it slightly boggles my mind that someone thinks the "biggest difference between XP and Ubuntu are icons and games." It's almost an insult to Ubuntu! ;) Except I like XP, too, but whatever.

    I am expecting responses saying that this was from the "user's" perspective... probably true; I still think there's more different than icons and games. Package management would be a major difference from XP, for one thing. More so than icons.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:14PM (#27172249)

    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

  • Re:Duh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:26PM (#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 JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <> on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:26PM (#27172475) Homepage Journal

        Fortune is good for teaching people how do web programming.

        Make it show Fortune.

        Make it format pretty.

        Keep clicking reload, and keep making it prettier. :)

        I actually put it back into my personal site. I got the BOFH excuses fortune file, so whenever someone needs an excuse, they can just click.

        "Power Company having EMP problems with their reactor" :)

  • Mandriva? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by generalchaos23 ( 1326053 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:40PM (#27172689)
    I am surprised that they didn't go with Mandriva, seeing how I am pretty sure they are based in France.
  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tuoqui ( 1091447 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @04:45PM (#27172801) Journal

    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.

  • by Colin Smith ( 2679 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @05:03PM (#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.

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

    by Dan Ost ( 415913 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @05:11PM (#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.

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

    by History's Coming To ( 1059484 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @05:36PM (#27173655) Journal
    1: The police are funded by the taxpayer - if they can save the money then taxpayers have more to spend on imaginary things like belief-in-house-prices. According to the businessmen and politicians this is a Good Thing. The economists and mathematicians disagree.

    2: The police are in the business of keeping us safe and secure. Given the choice of a *nix based system and Windows where would you want your criminal (or otherwise) record stored?

    3: Is "THE ECONOMY!" the new "TERRORISM!"?
  • Re:Go France! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by dedazo ( 737510 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @05:49PM (#27173841) Journal

    It is by definition a criminal decision.

    It is if you're emotionally predisposed to consider the circumstances a "crime", but that doesn't make it a criminal proceeding or finding. If you like, it's the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor, I suppose. May I suggest catching up on how this works? This [] is a good starting point, although I'd go for the references there more than the contents of the article.

    Copyright infringement is also "breaking the law", yet I'd bet you'd argue to no end that it is not a crime, either.

    When you insisted that I was somehow backpedaling and not even referring to the EU case in the first place, you were just picking a fight and trolling.

    I don't care what you think I'm doing, as long as you understand that you're wrong, slashbot moderation notwithstanding.

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

    by dedazo ( 737510 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @06:36PM (#27174501) Journal

    Why is it so difficult to understand that breaking the law does not equal committing a crime? Would you be OK with the police putting you away for a year because they caught you going 5mph over the speed limit? After all, you did break a law by doing so.

    A criminal conviction can result in prison time, execution and/or a fine. A civil judgment will never land you in jail, it will never get you killed (although it can bankrupt you) and it does not imply criminal behavior in any way. It only means you were found to have broken the law in some way.

    Microsoft was found to be in violation of antitrust law because they abused their position as a monopoly. They were never "convicted" of anything, and the legal proceedings against them were civil, not criminal.

    If you think that's a semantic point, consider having a felony (murder) on your record, as opposed to a misdemeanor (jaywalking). Then try passing a background check the next time you are up for a job.

  • Re:Minor correction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by owlstead ( 636356 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @06:46PM (#27174691)

    "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?

  • Re:Duh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @11:41PM (#27177121) Journal

    It is only power users who really know Excel that will struggle to relearn those tasks in Calc.

    Whups (Ding!) Right on many counts, wrong on the implication there.

    In the business world, at least among the top 10 banks, Excel is a defacto standard -- not just for moving spreadsheets, but for moving software between companies. An absolutely huge amount of business is transacted via business rules living entirely in spreadsheet VBA. I know, I developed some of it (contemptable, perhaps, but a guy has to eat). Throw the spreadsheet across the hall to the next company and they can run it irrespective of what infrastructure the other company is running.

    It's ugly, I know, but it's the rule. There's more than intellectual inertia keeping people from shifting to FOSS. I'm just really glad that some organisations are making the shift despite the huge embedded world of VBA.

  • Re:Go France! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lars512 ( 957723 ) on Thursday March 12, 2009 @11:58PM (#27177207)

    Defense has additional and different concerns than other areas of government. They need to make sure that even if a war broke out with a country that you and I buy components from, the military can still source the components to build what they need. If that means keeping a less efficient industry in business in the States, consider it an expensive insurance policy.

    It makes perfect sense, but it's also a bit funny when you consider that DOD itself is just an enormous insurance policy. Or at least, it should be...

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