We switch to Open Source and save 50 million euros. The experience of the French gendarmerie.

    The time of the financial crisis makes us think about the issues of economy already on the scale of the national economy and state structures. Just at this moment in the discussion of the attractiveness of Open Source with eq. points of view are of the greatest interest and seem not to be such a “toy” in the eyes of top managers and top officials of the country.

    Consider the history of the transition to the Open Source French gendarmerie.

    What is a good example of the French gendarmerie? The fact that this structure began the transition to open source software a few years ago (more precisely, in 2001). So to speak, without waiting for Open Source to become a fashionable and almost indispensable factor in saving its existence. Also, in this case, we already have reliable results and facts on hand, and are not required to build forecasts only.


    The beginning of a long transition of the gendarmerie to open source software dates back to 2001. It was then that an expert group was assembled, which was supposed to deal with the transition from Windows to Ubuntu GNU / Linux.
    Experts very quickly agreed that the future IT infrastructure should be modular in order to quickly configure the system for any needs. In this case, open source software was the most justified solution, since with its use the goal could be achieved by applying the least amount of effort and money (which is important on a national scale).
    The second argument in favor of the transition was the ability to support open protocols and standards.
    Thus, as a result, in 2005, OpenOffice.org was introduced throughout the gendarmerie. This was followed by a transition from Outlook to Thunderbird, and, accordingly, from IE to Firefox.
    The last milestone was announced with the release of Windows Vista - plans to move to open OCs began to be implemented immediately.


    At the beginning of 2008, the gendarmerie openly announced the introduction of Linux-based operating systems on all workstations, which caused a stir at Microsoft itself (since July 2007 only 200 Windows licenses were purchased, before this amount was from 12,000 to 15,000 annually ) As a result, by the end of this year, it is planned to transfer 15,000 stations to Ubuntu, which will bring about 50 million euros in savings (since 2004); new PCs come preloaded with Ubuntu.
    Briefly, the results of the introduction of the French gendarmerie are impressive and positive. From year to year, the organization intends to save about 70% of the funds for the maintenance of its IT infrastructure. Moreover, the work of thousands of gendarmes in all corners of France was not disturbed to a large extent.

    Expectations and Plans

    The French gendarmerie is one of the largest institutions in Europe, which can set its results as an example to all European state (and not only) institutions - this explains the excitement of Microsoft, since the results of imitating such an example can be disastrous for him.
    In this case, even the active propaganda by Microsoft of the problems that may appear when switching to Open Source will not help. The published reports do not contain descriptions of any problems associated with the implementation or use of such software, since there are no points on the need for staff training. These arguments were central to propaganda from Microsoft.

    The experience of the gandermeria is really useful in many aspects: we are shown how, on a fairly large scale, to correctly and efficiently organize the transition to Open Source, and, most importantly, how much this can reduce the cost of air in the IT sphere - to purchase licenses.

    UPD: Translation of quotes from the case - habrahabr.ru/blogs/open_source/54219 . (Part 2)

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