"The French Gendarmerie's gradual migration to a complete open source
desktop and web applications has saved millions of euro, says
Lieutenant-Colonel Xavier Guimard. "This year the IT budget will be
reduced by 70 percent. This will not affect our IT systems."
Why am I not surprised?
"The decision in 2004 to move to open source, was raised by one of the
Gendarmerie's accountants. "Microsoft was forcing us to buy new software
Why am I not surprised?
"This annoyed our accountant, who tried OpenOffice." According to
Guimard the proprietary software maker then started lobbying the
Gendarmerie, which is how the general manager found out about the
experiments. "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
Whoops ... I bet Microsoft really wished they'd not drawn attention in this
Now lemme see ... 90,000 desktops at an estimated €250 each equals €22.5
million in savings. For the office software alone, that is.
But wait, there's more!
"In 2007 the Gendarmerie decided to replace even the desktop operating
system. Guimard: "Moving from Microsoft XP to Vista would not have brought
us many advantages and Microsoft said it would require training of users."
I believe it's safe to assume that training costs would amount to another
€250 per desktop (and that's pretty cheap -- I've seen trainings & seminars
easily exceeding €1000 per head for just one day). So chalk up another
€22,5 million in savings, amounting to almost €50 million. Now that's not
to be sneezed at! And we're not done yet -- there's still more!
"According to Guimard the move to open source has also helped to reduce
Why am I not surprised? It's a well-known fact that one *nix admin can
handle up to four times the amount of machines a Windows tinkerer can, and
that one *nix server can do the job of multiple Windows boxes.
"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
I bet those admins are really, really pissed off because of Linux! No more
all-year-round trips to tropical paradise islands, but instead a boring few
weeks behind a boring desk, doing some boring networked maintenance on a
boring OS which requires hardly any maintenance in the first place ...
In some ways, Linux really sucks ...