Linux is not “geeks only” anymore. It is also “suits friendly” or at least “uniform friendly” in France. French national law enforcement agency Gendarmerie is now running over 37,000 desktops on Linux. Interestingly, Gendarmerie uses a custom Linux based on Ubuntu, GendBuntu.
Gendarmerie has been adopting Open Source approach for some time now and as per Lieutenant-Colonel Xavier Guimard, this switch to Open Source has cut 70% of their IT budget this year. As per the report:
Most of these savings are on proprietary software licences. Up until 2004 the Gendarmerie acquired 12,000 to 15,000 licences annually. In 2005 it bought just 27. “Since July 2007 we have bought two hundred Microsoft licences. If one of us wants a new PC, it comes with Ubuntu. This encourages our users to migrate.” Guimard estimates Gendarmerie since 2004 has saved 50 million euro on licences for standard office applications, hardware and maintenance.
This is not the first, this won’t be the last
This is not the first time that a government agency has switched to Open Source. In past few months we heard the news where State of Valencia in Spain switched to Linux completely and thus saved millions of Euro. State administration of Berlin started distributing free Ubuntu CDs to Windows XP users. China is already betting heavily on its own Chinese version of Ubuntu Linux: Kylin. And we have more Ubuntu powered desktops in India. Altogether a good news for Open Source lovers.