Microsoft loses French Police to Open Source

The French Paramilitary forces will migrate their 70,000 desktop computers - and its 100,000 employees - from Microsoft Windows XP to Ubuntu, writes Christina Mackenzie from AP.

The move to Ubuntu is the last step in the Gendarmerie's migration from a proprietary environment to an Open source one - it started in 2005 when French Bobbies switched from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice.org, then moved from Internet Explorer to Firefox.

One spokesperson for the Gendarmerie's IT department reckons that the move will be complete by 2014 to give time to the staff to get acquainted with the new environment.

Three reasons were put forward for the move: the need to move away from a single source of software supply to a more diverse one, the need to reduce the operating costs of software package and the fact that the open source platform can be customised to the Gendarmerie's needs.

This is apparently in marked contrast to what is happening in UK. According to CBReview, the Central Scotland Police moved from Linux and Sun's StarOffice in favour of Windows and a number of public organisations have said that they would continue using proprietary solutions.