Ubuntu Saves the Gendarmerie Nationale Millions
Article by George Norman
On 12 Mar 2009
The Gendarmerie Nationale (this is the official title of the national police force from France), upon adopting Ubuntu on its workstations has plenty to be happy about: users are happy with the operating system, networks have never worked better, and costs are down by more than €7 million (that’s almost $9 million).

Back in 2005, French authorities decided to use open source software for their 105,000 strong police force, and consequently gave up on Microsoft Office, which costs a lot of money, and turned to OpenOffice.org, which comes free of charge and provides similar functionality. Regarding the operating system they used, they decided not to jump from Windows XP to Vista, but instead turned towards Ubuntu - and never looked back again. As a matter of fact, in 2008 the decision was made to use nothing else but Ubuntu.


Lt. Col. Guimard explains: “Moving from Microsoft XP to Vista would not have brought us many advantages and Microsoft said it would require training of users. Moving from XP to Ubuntu, however, proved very easy. The two biggest differences are the icons and the games. Games are not our priority.”

At the current moment in time, Ubuntu is installed on 5,000 of the Gendarmerie Nationale’s workstations; plans have already been made to switch an additional 15,000 workstations to Ubuntu this year. According to the French authorities, by 2015 every workstation will run on Ubuntu – all 90,000 of them.

Not only is Ubuntu saving the Gendarmerie Nationale money because it is open source, it also requires less maintenance. Lt. Col. Guimard again: “Previously, one of us would be traveling all year just to install a new version of some anti virus application on the desktops in the Gendarmerie's outposts on the islands in French Polynesia. A similar operation now is finished within two weeks and does not require traveling.”

Tags: Microsoft, MS Office, OpenOffice.org, Ubuntu, Gendarmerie Nationale
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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