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70,000 Ubuntu Linux PC Rollout in France

Yahoo News reports that France’s Gendarmerie will migrate its 70,000 computers from Windows to Ubuntu Linux.

The Gendarmerie has been gradually and methodically moving to open source since 2005, when it replaced 70,000 copies of Microsoft Office with In 2006, it adopted Firefox and Thunderbird, and now it plans to complete the migration with Ubuntu Linux.

“The gendarmerie’s 70,000 desktops currently use Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system. But these will progressively change over to the Linux system distributed by Ubuntu, explained Colonel Nicolas Geraud, deputy director of the gendarmerie’s IT department.

“We will introduce Linux every time we have to replace a desktop computer,” he said, “so this year we expect to change 5,000-8,000 to Ubuntu and then 12,000-15,000 over the next four years so that every desktop uses the Linux operating system by 2013-2014.”

Cost is the third in their list of reasons for making the move to open source, but it really does add up. “The move away from licensed products is saving the gendarmerie about seven million euros (10.3 million dollars) a year for all its PCs.”

It’s clear that open source is making rapid progress in Europe, and government investment is starting a virtuous cycle that will increase the pace of its adoption. While Firefox is still the highly visible success story, it can be seen as a proxy for the and Linux adoptions that are following along but are often harder to track.

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