Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Linux cuts costs by 40% for French police

The French police have recently migrated from Windows to Linux, affecting 37000 computers at present and with another 72000 computers coming up. This migration resulted in a cost reduction of 40%.

best linux migration savings cost reduction
Whether or not open source platforms can reduce costs or not is often up for debate, and in particular the migration from Windows to Linux is a very delicate topic. While some claim that it is obvious that a switch to an open-source platform would reduce the costs significantly due to the free license forms, others claim that a migration to open source platform always is associated with lots of hidden costs, such as training, re-implementation of processes and reduced support, which in the end could be more expensive than supported proprietary options. There are examples that support both camps but the latest example by the French police department is in favor of the open-source camp.

According to an evaluation which is published as an EU article entitled Interoperability Solutions for Public Administrators, the French national police has reduced their costs by 40% as compared to solutions based on Microsoft platforms. The key point to succeed in a migration according to the article, is to perform the migration over a long period of time. For example, the migration started already in 2004 with applications including Open Office, Firefox and Thunderbird being introduced instead of the Microsoft equivalents in the Office suite. Once the the users were familiar with the open-source environments, a switch to a Linux platform could be made relatively easily. 

The above approach, which gradually introduces the users to an open source platform is probably one of the best ways to migrate from Windows to Linux as the primary Achilles heel otherwise have been that training and loss of production does not motivate a switch to open source, ever.

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