Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Saving money at the source, the open source way

The French armed forces have figured out a way to save money with open source software. What exactly does this mean?

For a long time they have been using Windows and proprietary software that runs on top of Windows. You know, Microsoft Office, Photoshop, QuickBooks. They knew there was a better way, but they wanted to make the transition slower, easier on their users. What did they do?

They started by replacing Microsoft Office with OpenOffice. Then they replace Internet Explorer with Firefox. They replaced Photoshop with the GIMP. When all of the proprietary applications they were using were replaced while running Windows, they replaced Windows with Ubuntu. By then, everyone was already using the tools they were familiar with so changing the operating system wasn't a big deal to their users.

The French Gendarmerie have saved 40% on their IT costs for each computer built with Ubuntu. Now that the French have years of experience behind them, and the numbers to back it up, there is no argument Microsoft can offer to counter the cost savings. This isn't a theoretical projection. This is hard data from experience that provides demonstrable results.

Strange. This is a significant cost savings, but I don't hear the Tea Party expressing an urge to shutdown the government to get it to use Ubuntu Linux rather than Windows.
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