French National Police are Now Running 37,000 Ubuntu Desktops

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 02, 2013

In a bold show of support for one of the most popular Linux distributions, The French Gendarmerie now employes 37,000 Ubuntu desktops. The move is part if a broader migration toward open source software that will see the French national police using 72,000 Ubuntu workstations by the summer of next year. The news from France follows other recent news of worldwide government support for Linux, and is good news for Ubuntu.

 In 2004, the IT department of the French national police force faced a major challenge. According to its own report: "At minimal costs, we had to provide all users access to the internal computer network, and greatly expand the use of standard office productivity tools." That prompted a move to the OpenOffice suite of productivity tools, which it installed on all 90,000 PCs, making obsolete 20,000 licences for a proprietary office suite. The police force also switched to using Open Document Format for its internal reporting.

French Gendarmerie officials have an extensive online post up about support for open source software and the switch to Ubuntu in particular. It notes the following:

"The Gendarmerie now employs 37,000 Ubuntu Linux desktops. In the summer of next year, it expects to have completed the switch, and will then have 72,000 Ubuntu-Linux workstations. That makes it Europe's and possibly worldwide the largest example of a public administration using open source on workstations.

"It is possible to deploy thousands of Linux desktops. We did", the Major said, speaking at the Evento Linux conference, which took place in the city of Lisbon, Portugal, on 26 September."

"Next to the massively lower TCO, the benefits include being independent from commercial software vendors. The desktop migration allowed the Gendarmerie to structure the IT organization, saving time, human resources and money. Using Linux on desktops allows the police force to control costs when deploying new technologies."

The French national police are also standardized on Mozilla Firefox and email client Mozilla Thunderbird.

Numerous government bodies around the world have been stepping up support for open source software. As reported here, the Argentine government has sponsored the development of a Linux distribution to be used on all state provided education computers. Huayra Linux is based on Debian and is already being tested in Argentinian schools.