Solving budget crises at the local level may not be so complicated after all, if the French Gendarmerie Nationale police force is any indication. By switching to open source software, such as the Ubuntu operating system and OpenOffice instead of Windows and Microsoft Office, the force has saved roughly €50 million since 2004. The best quote comes from Lt. Colonel Xavier Guimard: “Moving from Microsoft XP to Vista would not have brought us many advantages and Microsoft said it would require training of users,” he said. “Moving from XP to Ubuntu, however, proved very easy. The two biggest differences are the icons and the games. Games are not our priority.” But what about those sweet, sweet icons? No matter, the department says its budget dropped by 70 percent by switching to open source, and it’s obviously an approach they’d like to continue in the future. The entire organization should be running on Linux by 2015. My editor, an open source junkie, is probably ecstatic.
French Police Adopt Ubuntu