That move to open source software certainly saves money, but it only goes so far when it all runs on Windows. So the French Gendarmerie decided to go a step further and in 2008 began moving from Windows to Ubuntu. Initially 5,000 PCs were switched to Ubuntu in 2008, that went up to 20,000 by 2011, and currently sits at 37,000 Ubuntu PCs.
The Gendarmerie says it will have 72,000 PCs moved over to Ubuntu by next summer, and they will continue to migrate because it saves so much money. And here’s the important bit: in their experience using open source software so far, the total cost of ownership falls 40 percent, which is massive when you are talking about tens of thousands of machines.
How awesome is that? Not surprising, though. Ubuntu has had to come a long way in user-friendliness but I think now it’s reached a point where people can do the stuff they need to do on it and not have to jump to the CLI for every little thing. I believe the city of Munich went the same route a couple of years ago, with thousands of PCs freed of Microsoft’s licensing. Smells like a trend.
I’m still not able to make the switch 100%, as I love the software I have on Windows. But for entities like city governments and the like, it just makes sense, especially when so much of that office-software functionality can be replicated using free (and MS Office compatible) software.