Is this a real “credit crunch”?

I ask as I have, over the last few days, spoken to three people who not only have lost their jobs, but, as older people, stand little chance of getting another job in the foreseeable future.

On being asked what operating system they use on their computers, they all said Windows. When asked if they want to explore a free operating system (Linux) with tens of thousands of free programs (20,000 at the last count), each one said no. So I thought that, perhaps, being jobless, they were too busy to explore ways of cutting back their expenses?

Still it is their life (and their bills) so who am I to argue.

Gendarmerie saves millions with open desktop and web applications

by Gijs Hillenius — last modified Mar 10, 2009 09:34 AM

The French Gendarmerie’s gradual migration to a complete open source desktop and web applications has saved millions of euro, says Lieutenant-Colonel Xavier Guimard. “This year the IT budget will be reduced by 70 percent. This will not affect our IT systems.”

Guimard this Thursday in the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands gave a presentation on the move from a Microsoft-based to an Ubuntu GNU/Linux-based desktop. The Lieutenant-Colonel was one of the keynote speakers at an annual conference organised by NOiV, the Dutch national resource centre on open source and open standards.

Most of these savings are on proprietary software licences. Up until 2004 the Gendarmerie acquired 12.000 to 15.000 licences annually. In 2005 it bought just 27. “Since July 2007 we have bought two hundred Microsoft licences. If one of us wants a new PC, it comes with Ubuntu. This encourages our users to migrate.” Guimard estimates Gendarmerie since 2004 has saved 50 million euro on licences for standard office applications, hardware and maintenance.

The Gendarmerie’s decided on a strict open standards IT policy in 2002. The 105.000 heads strong police force at that time used an out-dated IT system which was expensive to maintain and not able to interoperate with other police forces or custom agencies. Strictly maintaining of this policy for instance lead SAP to adapt its human resource application so it could be used with a web browser. “This means we can move to a competitor’s human resource application at any time.

The decision in 2004 to move to open source, was raised by one of the Gendarmerie’s accountants. “Microsoft was forcing us to buy new software licences. This annoyed our accountant, who tried OpenOffice.” According to Guimard the proprietary software maker then started lobbying the Gendarmerie, which is how the general manager found out about the experiments. “When he saw OpenOffice worked just as well and was available for free, it was he that decided it should be installed on all 90.000 desktops.”

The rest of the article is here.


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