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French MPs Dump Windows for Linux reports on the latest major market shift coming from France: 1,154 French parliamentary workstations will be moved to OpenOffice, Firefox and a Linux OS.

“After the gendarmes and the Ministry of Culture, it’s the French MPs’ turn to switch to open source. From June 2007, PCs in French députés’ offices will be equipped with a Linux operating system and open source productivity software.”

Whereas Birmingham, England is moving backward, French migrations started by adopting OpenOffice and Firefox, and now are taking steps further forward: “This will be the first case of a French public institution switching its PCs onto a Linux operating system. Previous open source initiatives concerned servers, as was the case with the Ministry of Agriculture, or OpenOffice and Firefox, which were brought into use by France’s gendarmerie.”

The great momentum behind France’s governmental adoption of open source is astounding. It just keeps steamrolling forward, without the petty difficulties that seem to have emerged in Birmingham. The two cases couldn’t be more different!

What’s most important is the size of the French rollout, and the central position France plays in Europe, which means that numerous other countries (and the EU itself) are probably going to follow France’s lead next.

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