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French Police To Switch 72,000 Desktop PCs To Linux

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the year-of-the-linux-desktop dept.

Linux Business 183

jones_supa writes "France's National Gendarmerie — the national law enforcement agency — is now running 37,000 desktop PCs with a custom distribution of Linux, and by summer of 2014, the agency plans to switch over all 72,000 of its desktop machines. The agency claims that the TCO of open source software is about 40 percent less than proprietary software from Microsoft, referring to their article published by EU's Interoperability Solutions for Public Administrations. Initially Gendarmerie has moved to Windows versions of cross-platform OSS applications such as OpenOffice, Firefox, and Thunderbird. Now they are completing the process by changing the OS. This is one of the largest known government deployments of Linux on the desktop."

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183 comments

Are they capable of using Linux ? (-1, Flamebait)

thatDBA (2626877) | about 7 months ago | (#45027917)

I know in the U.S.A. you can barred from being a Police Officer if your I.Q. is to high. Are the French Police intelligent enough to use Linux ?

national law enforcement agency = FBI in usa? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 7 months ago | (#45027985)

I think the FBI wants people with better IQ then some of the cops out there.

Re:national law enforcement agency = FBI in usa? (3, Interesting)

Arkh89 (2870391) | about 7 months ago | (#45028129)

FBI in the USA = Police in France
Police in the USA = Gendarmerie in France (The one who pull you over for DUI, giving speeding and parking tickets, etc.)

Re:national law enforcement agency = FBI in usa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45028181)

Chuck Norris in the USA = ??? in France

Re:national law enforcement agency = FBI in usa? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45028221)

Jean Reno

Re:national law enforcement agency = FBI in usa? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45028785)

Whatever next. The correct answer is here [wikipedia.org].

Re:national law enforcement agency = FBI in usa? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45028601)

Actually the Gendarmerie Nationale is part of the Military. It is not a civilian institution.
So Police in the USA = Police in France.
Gendarmerie in France is something in between military police and the FBI in the USA.

Re:national law enforcement agency = FBI in usa? (3, Informative)

jalet (36114) | about 7 months ago | (#45029975)

Not really.

Police is usually mostly for urban areas, and Gendarmerie mostly found in the country side.

Also Gendarmerie staff are military personnel, while Police are not.

Re:national law enforcement agency = FBI in usa? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45028167)

Nope, the Gendarmerie is closer to the National Guard if you're looking for an equivalent in the United States. Although when you're considering their duties, they're more akin to a police force.

Re:Are they capable of using Linux ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45027987)

Firstly, you sound pretty pompous. Secondly, you do not have to be any smarter to use a Linux PC than you do to run a Windows PC. Administration of said machines is a different matter, and depends on a number of factors.

Re:Are they capable of using Linux ? (1)

cusco (717999) | about 7 months ago | (#45028211)

You do need to be more adaptable, which cops notoriously are NOT. I can hear right now the complaint of every (L)user getting a new Linux desktop, "It doesn't look right. The icons are in the wrong place. I can't use this. Give me my Windows machine back." The secretarial staff will probably not have any issue at all, but every actual officer will hate it for the first three months.

Re:Are they capable of using Linux ? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 7 months ago | (#45029535)

It may well be that the cops need only use a few web applications from a browser.
Chrome/Firefox/Opera works the same on Linux as on Windows.

Re:Are they capable of using Linux ? (4, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 7 months ago | (#45030557)

You do need to be more adaptable, which cops notoriously are NOT. I can hear right now the complaint of every (L)user getting a new Linux desktop, "It doesn't look right. The icons are in the wrong place. I can't use this. Give me my Windows machine back."

What do you think is going to happen when you switch them to Windows 8? Put a Win8 machine next to a Linux machine and they'll chose the Linux machine, surely.

Re:Are they capable of using Linux ? (4, Funny)

cusco (717999) | about 7 months ago | (#45030747)

I didn't know there was enough crack in Redmond to make the Win8 GUI look like a good idea. Ballmer should have been fired for that alone.

Re:Are they capable of using Linux ? (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | about 7 months ago | (#45028225)

Indeed, the question should probably have been whether they were observant enough to notice the difference (which can, to an extent, depend on how well the Administrator did his/her job).

Re:Are they capable of using Linux ? (4, Interesting)

jbengt (874751) | about 7 months ago | (#45030301)

Indeed, the question should probably have been whether they were observant enough to notice the difference

This, exactly.
I once put a Knoppix live CD in the family computer because of some potential virus issue. After my wife asked something like "Why does this look different" and I explained, she found Firefox, got on Facebook, and soon forgot all about not being in Windows.

Re:Are they capable of using Linux ? (1)

hey! (33014) | about 7 months ago | (#45030143)

I know in the U.S.A. you can barred from being a Police Officer if your I.Q. is to [sic] high.

Whereas you can say condescending things about the intelligence of public employees without suffering the discomfort of ironic self-awareness. Smells like freedom to me.

the text is incorrect (5, Informative)

sxpert (139117) | about 7 months ago | (#45027925)

technically, the Gendarmerie are the military police force, that is mostly managing the countryside.

Re:the text is incorrect (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 7 months ago | (#45027977)

So these people are Barney Fife.

Re:the text is incorrect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45029083)

No, the MP in France is called Police Militaire (PM). The Gendarmerie is however organized and trained as military units, and in war-time transfer from the ministry of interior to the ministry of defence.

Re:the text is incorrect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45031019)

They're also the guys that patrol touristy areas of Paris in small groups, wearing military fatigues carrying assault rifles.

I have to admit that I kind of like that no-nonsense approach to security.

Proud (5, Insightful)

TechNeilogy (2948399) | about 7 months ago | (#45027993)

There are days when you wake up proud to have French ancestry.

Re:Proud (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 7 months ago | (#45028071)

I wouldn't go that far. I still claim French Canadian ancestry rather than French, because at least it's diluted by moose.

Re:Proud (3, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 7 months ago | (#45028263)

Much of my time in Canada has been spent camping, with only basic water purification. "Diluted by moose" is not something I consider a good quality.

Probably still better than being French, though.

Re:Proud (1)

znrt (2424692) | about 7 months ago | (#45029815)

they have been suckeing your money for ... decades, and they were french all the time.

we knew that all those estimates that equated total maintenance costs of windows and linux were total bullshit. now that budgets are being dramatically cut this continued felony (someone might call it a "business model") just dissapears, it's natural. too bad for ms.

i would say it's good for society, but i doubt it has really learnt anything from this.

OSS - with 100% less big brother then commercial (5, Insightful)

schwep (173358) | about 7 months ago | (#45028091)

So not only do they get lower TCO, they also get 100% less built in spyware (literally) by the NSA.

It's truely a win-win!

Re:OSS - with 100% less big brother then commercia (0)

intermodal (534361) | about 7 months ago | (#45028215)

Based on the assumption that the NSA didn't slip in anything funny when they were helping create SELinux.

Re:OSS - with 100% less big brother then commercia (2)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 7 months ago | (#45028557)

Based on the assumption that the NSA didn't slip in anything funny when they were helping create SELinux.

no, based on peer review. with these revelations by the NSA, there has been an even higher level of scrutiny has been out on SELinux. a much more likely vector of attack would be through companies that only distribute binary blobs for their hardware.

Re:OSS - with 100% less big brother then commercia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45029833)

no, based on peer review

Given the recent revelations, it turns out that the only peer one can trust is one's self.

Re:OSS - with 100% less big brother then commercia (0)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#45030423)

no, based on peer review. with these revelations by the NSA, there has been an even higher level of scrutiny has been out on SELinux. a much more likely vector of attack would be through companies that only distribute binary blobs for their hardware.

Really? I'd love to know who exactly has started a new peer review of SELinux, because I haven't heard of anything new.

While WHAT SELinux does is well understood, and clearly visible in the source code, and contains no opaque structures or code, we can't know for sure that it wasn't engineered to allow some security flaws that were already in place. In other words, most people agree it doesn't add new exploits, but it may in fact leave some intentionally un-closed.

The types of things SELinux controls are far ranging, including which programs and utilities can talk on the net, access data, right down to the inode level. Its been embedded in the kernel since 2.6, sometime after the SELinux release in 2009. But That was well within the NSA's age of evil empire if you ask me.

Re:OSS - with 100% less big brother then commercia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45030485)

Based on the assumption that the NSA didn't slip in anything funny when they were helping create SELinux.

That's the advantage of FOSS though, they can create their own equivalent of SELinux and weed out anything that came from the NSA since the codebase is completely open.

Re:OSS - with 100% less big brother then commercia (1, Informative)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 7 months ago | (#45029341)

So not only do they get lower TCO, they also get 100% less built in spyware (literally) by the NSA.

It's truely a win-win!

There are thousands of separate groups of people working codes that go into open source distributions. Most openly accept patches from anyone...

So yea "Mission accomplished" Linux must 100% less big brother...

I know I know... "but...but . we have source!"...

And a lengthy historical record of innocent vulnerabilities caused by **innocent** human mistakes only being found years after the fact to prove how much having the source is worth.

Re:OSS - with 100% less big brother then commercia (1)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | about 7 months ago | (#45029761)

The fact that open source projects accept code from others don't mean that anyone can enter code into a project. New code is checked by a maintainer before being added to the project to make sure its dont suck like closed source code often does.

Most of the old bugs are not in open sourced projekt. Most of the open source projects find that security problems is in new code.

The smart people like me are slow to change to new code unless they have to because of security reasons. Doing that
other have time to find any bugs and straighten them out before we use the new code.

Its a win win from a security standpoint to use open source. If you want - you can always do your own code review if you think something fishy is going on.

Gendarmerie is not THE national law enforcement (1)

aepervius (535155) | about 7 months ago | (#45028171)

Gendarmerie more or less does the policing outside in the countryside, the national police (Police national) does it in city. Also IIRC they also do control of road law. Originally they were a military police.

Re:Gendarmerie is not THE national law enforcement (5, Informative)

boule75 (649166) | about 7 months ago | (#45028541)

The situation is a bit peculiar : - both the Police Nationale and the Gendarmerie report to the Ministère de l'Interieur. But Gendarmes retain a military status while Policiers are civilians: some differences in duties and in pay, but a strong difference on rights: les gendarmes are not allowed to go on strike or to publicly profess political preferences (as all soldiers here) while les policiers can do both. - both forces have elite counter-terrorism teams, altough the most renowed one belongs to the Gendarmerie (GIGN). And both forces are requested to work together if need be, and regularly train together. As for the police : Windows on the desktop, 80% Linux in the datacenters, with some AIX and windows.

Short term money saving. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45028183)

Long term, more expenses. Where as everyone coming in should have at least some Office skills, just about every person you bring in will need OpenOffice training, not to mention the headaches if you work with any other company that isn't using Open Office files themselves.

Re:Short term money saving. (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 7 months ago | (#45028365)

If law officers can't figure out the difference between Office and OpenOffice/LibreOffice I *think* there might be bigger issues to worry about. :)

If they need to send stuff out of house, that's what PDF is for. When was the last time they needed out-of-house Office editing??

Re:Short term money saving. (5, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 7 months ago | (#45028375)

On the contrary, I recently did support at a company migrating from Office to LibreOffice to save on transition costs. Standard issue was Office 2007, but 2010 was present and 2013 was announced, boasting yet another new interface to learn. The company switched to LibreOffice, with only a few key Office installations for things that had to be perfectly correct to leave the company.

There was no real training budget, but there was only one brief period of transition rather than several, no licensing costs, and everything just worked.

Re: Short term money saving. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45030801)

I tried to help my son do an assignment using Libre Office under Mint Linux about 8 months ago.
It had headers, body text, bold/italic/underline and embedded images only.
The document layout corrupted repeatedly.
Now, I love the idea of Libre Office, but is was the worst office suite I've used since word 95 (which REALLY sucked due to major bugs such as: refusing to print; infinitely large documents that corrupted the document after _5_ minutes of saving; embedded images that disappeared, etc).
Note: Libre Office version was the latest at the time and should have been a stable release (ie. Is was an x.2 release, not an x.0 release).

Re:Short term money saving. (4, Interesting)

dakohli (1442929) | about 7 months ago | (#45028551)

They already switched to OpenOffice, I've used both and while there are some differences, if you know one, you can use the other without too many problems.

Most folks don't even use more than a small percentage of the features of a word processor anyways. I have friends who work with lawyers who say Word is no good for them, and that they have to use WordPerfect for their legal documents.

I agree that formats are very important. This organization is large enough to be able to mandate the formats they will use. But a quick check of LibreOffice Writer (4.0.2.2) shows it can handle the fol formats: odt, ott, sxw, stw, fodt, uot, doxc(MS Word 2007/2010 XML) , doc, xml(ms Word 2003 and Doc Book), html, rtf, txt, and docx (OpenOffice XML Text)

It appears that they won't have many problems accepting any common format.

I work in a very large organization. We use MS Office, and we provide training for many of our staff in Excel, Word, Powerpoint and Outlook. If we were to swtich, it would involve creating new lesson plans, but the savings in licensing would more than pay for that.

Re:Short term money saving. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45029133)

But a quick check of LibreOffice Writer (4.0.2.2) shows it can handle the fol formats: odt, ott, sxw, stw, fodt, uot, doxc(MS Word 2007/2010 XML) , doc, xml(ms Word 2003 and Doc Book), html, rtf, txt, and docx (OpenOffice XML Text)

It appears that they won't have many problems accepting any common format.

It is not that simple. You cannot judge file format compatibility only based on the file type extensions that the program agrees to load or save. The general problem has been that in many cases OpenOffice messes up the formatting of Microsoft Office documents.

Re:Short term money saving. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45029485)

Don't let the printer settings affect the formatting of the documents.

Re:Short term money saving. (1)

LordThyGod (1465887) | about 7 months ago | (#45029665)

But a quick check of LibreOffice Writer (4.0.2.2) shows it can handle the fol formats: odt, ott, sxw, stw, fodt, uot, doxc(MS Word 2007/2010 XML) , doc, xml(ms Word 2003 and Doc Book), html, rtf, txt, and docx (OpenOffice XML Text)

It appears that they won't have many problems accepting any common format.

It is not that simple. You cannot judge file format compatibility only based on the file type extensions that the program agrees to load or save. The general problem has been that in many cases OpenOffice messes up the formatting of Microsoft Office documents.

And vice versa.

Re:Short term money saving. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45030049)

The general problem has been that in many cases OpenOffice messes up the formatting of Microsoft Office documents.

Microsoft Office messes up Microsoft Office documents.

You have a better chance to open a MS Office 95 document with OpenOffice than with a current version of MS Office.

Re: Short term money saving. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45030857)

FTFY,

The general problem has been that in many cases _any different office suite_ messes up the formatting of Microsoft Office documents_, including different versions of Microsoft suites_.

I once had to use Open Office as an intermediary to convert between word 95 and word 97.

Re:Short term money saving. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45028629)

According to Wikipedia, the French government has already moved to using XML based formats like ODF and OOXML
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenDocument_adoption#France

Government agencies are required to:
Accept documents submitted in XML formats: ODF format as like OOxml format (both are in "Observations")
Use PDF/A to preserve text documents

Government agencies are encouraged to:
Install OpenOffice.org (an open-source, ODF-based productivity suite)
Use ODF to create text documents, spreadsheets, and slideshow-style presentations

So Libre/OpenOffice has already been widely adopted among the government sector. Further training should be minimal at best.

MS has changed sw too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45028821)

Since the Microsoft has changed their Office and Windows UIs so radically, it is equally easy to train people to use them or the other alternatives. Nowadays if one has the usual Office 2003/2007 and Windows XP combo, the change to current versions is way too big to handle efficiently without training.

Re:Short term money saving. (1)

godrik (1287354) | about 7 months ago | (#45028875)

not to mention the headaches if you work with any other company that isn't using Open Office files themselves

It is gendarmerie we are talking about. Why are you making the assumption that they are working? Let alone with external people.

Re:Short term money saving. (1)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | about 7 months ago | (#45029333)

Okay... if you seriously need more than a few minutes to migrate from one document editor to another, you're probably lacking in the intelligence department.

Based on Ubuntu LTS 12.04 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45028199)

The custom Linux distribution is called GenBuntu [wikipedia.org] and is based on Ubuntu's 12.04 LTS release.

Re:Based on Ubuntu LTS 12.04 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45028247)

*GendBuntu*

Re:Based on Ubuntu LTS 12.04 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45028271)

I like the crazy penguin with a police uniform in the screenshot. Not exactly the usual image you'd expect from the Gendarmerie, though.

They should create their own CentOS knockoff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45028201)

and call it SECAM Linux (System Essentially Contrary to American Method) [filmbug.com]

Re:They should create their own CentOS knockoff (1)

pe1chl (90186) | about 7 months ago | (#45028543)

Of course there were very good reasons to do things contrary to American method in color-tv!

Re:They should create their own CentOS knockoff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45030167)

Then our Linux would be the friendly PAL Linux. Nice idea!

All about the apps (5, Insightful)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 7 months ago | (#45028321)

Moving to said open source applications beforehand was a smart move. Large-scale deployments like this can fail spectacularly, mostly due to the shock of having all of their applications change, rather than the actual OS. When the end users are already using Firefox, Open Office, etc., I have found that the transition goes much more smoothly with very little resistance.

Re:All about the apps (1)

Dadoo (899435) | about 7 months ago | (#45030489)

When the end users are already using Firefox, Open Office, etc., I have found that the transition goes much more smoothly with very little resistance.

Sadly, even that part is difficult, sometimes. We tried that at my place of employment, and everyone complained bitterly. As far as I can tell, no one likes to change, once they learn something; we actually have some people who are still using WordPerfect, and insist they can't do their jobs without it.

Re:All about the apps (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45030813)

Sounds like somebody needs to remind your colleagues about who's the boss and how nice it actually is to be employed at times like these.

Remember all those years of Linux on the Desktop? (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 7 months ago | (#45028387)

I suppose it was around the release of the 2.0 kernel that every year was heralded as the year of Linux on the desktop. Of course it was never really practical and eventually became something of a joke. But as the years have rolled on, Linux and the software that runs on it has steadily advanced. For various reasons, I think it's finally ready and I believe this is a demonstration of that. One thing that always held Linux back was the need to work with complex configuration files and work voodoo magic in a terminal (or console if you couldn't startx) to get things working right, and then continue to have to work like that to keep the system doing what you want. This was completely impractical for the general population. With modern Linux distributions you don't have to ever touch a terminal anymore than you do on a Mac - which for me is a lot because I'm a nerd but you catch my drift. Systems "just work" and installing software is no more difficult than looking for what you need in an "app store" just like on a phone. Also, graphical user interfaces have advanced forward leaps and bounds. I am currently running GNOME 3.10 and it's remarkably intuitive. Then we have software such as LibreOffice that are finally advanced and feature complete enough to be taken seriously. Even Wine works well these days. The only problem is the extreme choice we have in the form of fragmentation - this is very confusing for the general population. When I talk about Linux being ready for the masses, I am only speaking of a few distros that I won't name for fear of starting a war except to say the Ubuntu GNOME Saucy with 3.10 (almost out of beta) and elementary OS lead the pack. elementary OS would be the ultimate consumer distro if it wasn't problem ridden largely due to being stuck on being based on Ubuntu 12.04 - My own preferences erase all of that by being a Slackware, and for that matter FreeBSD fan - but again, I'm a nerd.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (4, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | about 7 months ago | (#45028507)

Pert of the problem is that the typical requirement for an office suite is described as "Work like Microsoft Office". Of course any competing office suite is going to be less good when compared to Microsoft Office using this criterion.

I know someone who is always talking up Windows. He knows that Windows has problems but assumes that Linux has these same problems (which it frequently does not), while highlighting issues with Linux. Put another way, he is blinded to problems in Windows while he exaggerates problems in Linux. I think that this is typical behaviour that has slowed down adoption of Linux.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (0)

realmolo (574068) | about 7 months ago | (#45028637)

Well, in many ways, Linux *is* inferior to Windows. Don't kid yourself. Especially for business use.

The fact is, most business software is Windows only. That's the deal-breaker for Linux, right there.

And Linux has nothing to compare to Active Directory. If you have to manage a bunch of desktops, Active Directory and Group Policy have no real equivalent on Linux. Yes, there is Puppet and stuff like that. But it's a colossal pain-in-the-ass compared to the very nice GUI tools (and Powershell, now) that Microsoft provides.

Linux has lots of advantages, but manageability isn't one of them. It lags FAR behind Windows on that front.

It's great for web servers and SMTP servers. Those are the only areas where Linux clearly beats all flavors of Windows, in my opinion. On the desktop...not so much. Works great for people that just want to use a browser and OpenOffice, though.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (1)

devent (1627873) | about 7 months ago | (#45028797)

How about the 72,000+ French Police desktops, or the 14,000+ Munich/Germany desktops?
Are you stating that they either don't need a large scale manageability or that they use just browser and OpenOffice?
This very story contradicts your comment, and also all the other large scale desktop Linux success stories.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45029229)

Are you stating that they either don't need a large scale manageability or that they use just browser and OpenOffice?

Yes.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (1)

Psiren (6145) | about 7 months ago | (#45030177)

Of course they need large scale manageability. What the GP post said was that there are no tools that offer the facilities that AD and GP do on Windows. You can do a whole lot of stuff with scripts and other tools, but that doesn't mean it's as straightforward.

The real strength of GP is the ability to modify the way the software that runs on top of Windows works, not just the OS itself. Of course, MS offers the best support for that in things like Office, although other applications can be managed too. With the sheer variety of mechanisms for configuring applications on Linux, there can simply be no equivalent.

Offer me a working equivalent of GP, and an Exchange replacement, and I'll give it serious consideration. Until then, for me, it's just not worth the hassle.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 7 months ago | (#45030363)

I don't know - often its just a matter of knowing the tooling that's there, so if you don;t know the Linux ways you're not going to be as efficient as a Windows admin who does know the Windows tools. Pretty obvious.

However, In his presentation, Drumond also pointed out that the "Direct benefits (license costs) are only the tip of the iceberg (PDF Link). The force is also saving money with Linux's easier management and a " Huge decrease of local technical interventions on Ubuntu's desktops."

I guess a "huge decrease of local technical interventions" suggests that you're not right in that Linux doesn't have the same ease-of-management than GP has. I wish he's said more about it, but they're obviously making it work well. That means there must be an equivalent to GP (puppet maybe, or Canonical's proprietary Landscape [ubuntu.com] tool, or possibly just webmin :) ) Maybe its because they didn't know how to administer XP, or that they had such an old Windows infrastructure they didn't have effective GP anyway.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (2)

devent (1627873) | about 7 months ago | (#45030551)

Firstly, administration of a Linux system is much much simpler then Windows. In Linux everything is transparent, the configuration is just ASCII text files. I think you could do "group policy" with a bash script and dsh (distributed shell) through SSH. Secondly, the file system is much more powerful then in Windows. For example, you can mount /home/userA to a remove file server with fuse sshfs. The user will not see any difference and you can link configuration files across networks. Linux is quite easy to boot from a remote file server, too. Thirdly, in Linux everything is a file. You can just use a simple copy tool to copy one application or configuration from one computer to the next.

This is all fundamental to Linux, so at the base it's much simpler to administer then Windows. Now the tools, why not Puppet? And I'm not quite believe you that there aren't as powerful tools as Windows's GP or AD.

Puppet is a tool designed to manage the configuration of Unix-like and Microsoft Windows systems declaratively.
[...]
Puppet is used by the Wikimedia Foundation,[5] ARIN, Reddit,[6] Dell, Rackspace, Zynga, Twitter, the New York Stock Exchange, Disney, Citrix Systems, Oracle, the University of North Texas, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Stanford University, Lexmark and Google, among others

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (3, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | about 7 months ago | (#45029453)

Well, in many ways, Linux *is* inferior to Windows. Don't kid yourself. Especially for business use.

And you are doing the same as the person I discussed in the GP post.

Because, while Linux doesn't have Active Directory, it has other benefits that Windows does not have. So, if you define your criteria to be "must support Active Directory", then, obviously, Linux doesn't pass. If, on the other hand, you define your requirement as (for example), "must support SELinux", then Linux is your only choice.

As for the "nice GUI tools", they may make manageability easy, but they don't make it efficient.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45030079)

His criteria was not "must support Active Directory". Claiming it was is trolling on your part. His criteria was, "an easier way to manage a large group of machines." I might also point out that X11 pretty much rules efficiency out of the equation in regards to GUI anything.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (1)

mpe (36238) | about 7 months ago | (#45030457)

Because, while Linux doesn't have Active Directory, it has other benefits that Windows does not have. So, if you define your criteria to be "must support Active Directory", then, obviously, Linux doesn't pass. If, on the other hand, you define your requirement as (for example), "must support SELinux", then Linux is your only choice.

Effectivly they appear to be saying "The Windows way of doing things is the best/only way to do it". (Or possibly "The only way I know of is the Windows method.")

As for the "nice GUI tools", they may make manageability easy, but they don't make it efficient.

It's quite possible for "inefficient" to equate to "hard". e.g. if they expect you click X boxes for everything in list Y. Rather than just being able to tell the machine "Do X to everything in list Y and don't bug me til you've finished".

No Active Directory? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45031329)

Samba 4 came out the end of last year, and it supports being a domain controller, administering group policy, etc.
http://www.samba.org/samba/history/samba-4.0.0.html
So, any platform that can run samba, including Linux, is able to have much of this functionality now, as it was capable of joining a domain before.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 7 months ago | (#45028681)

I agree about the mindset hurting adoption. It's a side effect of the decade and half we spent trying to get end users to use it when it wasn't ready. I will say that Kingsoft Office for Linux has absolute and total perfect MS Office compatibility across everything in the suite and even has the ribbon interface, but it is both closed source and from China - I don't trust it. My best suggestion regarding your friend is to issue a challenge. Wait for Ubuntu GNOME to come out of beta in a couple of weeks and then challenge him to run it for a week - if he's not sold on it being a good solid system, his Windows blinders are surgically attached to his face. As a side note, Ubuntu GNOME even though it's still (barely) in beta it's rock solid, but best to not take any chances on making a good impression.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (5, Interesting)

devent (1627873) | about 7 months ago | (#45028865)

Why Gnome? KDE is perfectly stable, have more features, looks great and functions in the same way then Windows 7.
In my opinions KDE is much more user friendly and have more features then Gnome, and have a round-up experience (the KDE applications are integrate very well). I run for 2 years now Fedora with KDE and it's extremely well experience.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45031487)

Gnome is faster. I honestly don't know about KDE right now, but last I tried (4.6 and before that also somewhere at 4.2) it ran sluggishly on my then-high-end machine. By sluggishly I mean the menus, Kicker and animations lagging somewhere between 1/20th and 1/10th of a second. Not much really, barely noticable, but it just felt bad. Gnome is much snappier, and switching back and forth with KDE just let me feel a strong incentive to stay with Gnome.

Apart from that, both accomplish pretty much the same in a similar manner. KDE has more of the config options in the GUI, while Gnome has you hunt for specialty settings in various config files (and gconf)... which is something personally I don't really mind but clearly may be inconvenient for others. Also some things are editable in Gnome while hardcoded in KDE (which probably also exists the other way around).

That said, I'm not talking about that trainwreck called gnome-shell... I'm using gnome-panel + compiz on my work machine and MATE on most of my others.

captcha: blacker

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (3, Informative)

devent (1627873) | about 7 months ago | (#45031689)

Gnome is a completely new design of the desktop. KDE is the traditional desktop from Win 3.11. (KDE have an option to switch to a netbook style desktop). As for performance: I run KDE just fine on an Asus Atom with Intel integrated graphics; Btw, it still runs just fine, the family of my wife is using that Netbook now for Skype and YMail.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45029967)

Pot meet kettle. Linux advocates, and in the most extreme cases, zealots, typically cite FUD against Windows that is either atypical (daily crashes, always blamed on the OS and never the hardware) or outdated (still using XP in 2013 and complaining about drivers or long since resolved problems). Many Linux devotes are blinded to the problems with using Linux on the desktop.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (-1)

Burz (138833) | about 7 months ago | (#45028961)

With modern Linux distributions you don't have to ever touch a terminal anymore than you do on a Mac - which for me is a lot because I'm a nerd but you catch my drift. Systems "just work" and installing software is no more difficult than looking for what you need in an "app store" just like on a phone.

I use Ubuntu and OSX every day and take exception to this. For 5 months, Ubuntu 13.04 lost the ability to accept external USB keyboard input on the unlock screen after waking from sleep on a laptop... I had to keep opening the laptop to use the built-in keyboard, or change to the user-switching screen to get back to the desktop.

Sh!t like that never breaks on OSX and Windows. Those OS's respect that the user needs the basic IO of the user interface (graphics, keyboard, mouse, audio) to stay rock solid. On Linux, only the wired NIC stays rock solid... a stark reminder its still a server OS with server-room priorities.

Audio is still problematic for Linux users from time to time, and bluetooth audio is still a complete mess... barely usable and requiring periodic system restarts to keep it working.

A fresh non-OEM install of either Windows or Ubuntu on a random PC will usually result in slightly more features working in Ubuntu than Windows. But the remedy in Ubuntu for the non-working stuff involves CLI work, whereas in Windows you can go to the system mfg website and download and install needed drivers using the mouse. OSX and Windows both let you get add-on hardware working by downloading drivers from each peripheral mfg website and install using a mouse. Also, some of the stuff that "just works" will not work correctly because the driver's default values aren't correct for the particular implementation of the chip family in question... more CLI work.

What has changed for the better since Ubuntu's introduction is graphics stability... after many years they finally got graphics to stop mysteriously disappering. Audio is marginally better than it used to be. IMO, that's insufficient progress.

BTW, Gnome 3 (actually, the loss of Gnome 2) was THE reason I had to move a couple users back to Windows. You should have those pom-poms bronzed, cheerleader.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (1)

PPH (736903) | about 7 months ago | (#45029067)

That should be 'le desktop'. Use proper French or you'll run afoul of L'Academie Francaise.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (2)

mpe (36238) | about 7 months ago | (#45030575)

Systems "just work" and installing software is no more difficult than looking for what you need in an "app store" just like on a phone.

In what kind of enterprise system does any kind of "app store" make any sense at all. The "personal computer"
Also if you have a need for per anything licenced software you'd tend to also need a suitable licence tracking system. An obvious advantage here of OSS is that it effectivly comes with a site/enterprise licence.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (0)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 7 months ago | (#45030731)

Why do people keep replying saying how wrong I am about desktop Linux in the corporate environment? I completely agree with those comments. I used to administrate Active Directory so I really do get it. I was talking about Linux as a simple home computer operating system. I never said anything about it being suitable for the corporate desktop... at all. Geeze people, either read a whole post before replying, or stop replying to OP based on another reply to without having read the original yourself. Of course Linux is not suitable for the enterprise!!! Classic Slashdot stupidity.

Re:Remember all those years of Linux on the Deskto (0)

wjcofkc (964165) | about 7 months ago | (#45030829)

I specifically refer to the general population in my post. I say nothing in support of Linux as an enterprise desktop. I specifically refer to Linux for the masses. I say nothing in support of Linux as an enterprise desktop. I specifically refer to consumer distros. I say nothing in support of Linux as an enterprise desktop. I repeatedly refer to Linux for common people. I say nothing in support of Linux as an enterprise desktop. Two words: reading comprehension.

I'm taking bets! (0)

dicobalt (1536225) | about 7 months ago | (#45028445)

How long before they switch back to windows and declare the whole project a twisted waste of time and money?

Re:I'm taking bets! (3, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | about 7 months ago | (#45028633)

Sounds to me like they know what they are getting into pretty well:

The migration started in 2004, when the Gendarmerie was faced with providing all its users with access to its internal network. In order to save money, the agency switched from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice. Then the agency rolled out Firefox and Thunderbird in 2006. Finally, in 2008, it switched the first batch of 5,000 users to a Linux OS based on the Ubuntu distribution.

Ahh, it's so nostalgic to have this discussion on slashdot again!

Re:I'm taking bets! (3, Informative)

godrik (1287354) | about 7 months ago | (#45028779)

They did multiple pilot test and all went all. I don't think they will migrate back anytime soon.

Re:I'm taking bets! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45029139)

Unlikely. They have already demonstrated 40% cost cuts. It takes something big to undo a budget cut like that!

And to them, Microsoft is a foreign company - they have no reason to stick with ms at all. Whereas at least some of the linux developers are French.

Now, if the American government saved 40% on purchasing cisco equipment instead of huawei - would any Americans protest? Didn't think so . . .

Re:I'm taking bets! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45029677)

You'll lose that bet: Look here [wikipedia.org]

Cue lobbyists ... (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 7 months ago | (#45028493)

And Microsoft will now unleash the flying monkeys to try to refute any claims about lower TCO.

I'm sure there will be studies trotted out, and all sorts of attempts to discredit this.

There's no way in hell they'll take this lying down, or without trying to get the government to intervene on their behalf -- perhaps as a trade issue and claim they're being unfairly excluded.

Re:Cue lobbyists ... (4, Informative)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 7 months ago | (#45028685)

And Microsoft will now unleash the flying monkeys to try to refute any claims about lower TCO.

I'm sure there will be studies trotted out, and all sorts of attempts to discredit this.

they tried that with the "Get The Facts" campaign and it backfired so badly that they took down the page.

There's no way in hell they'll take this lying down, or without trying to get the government to intervene on their behalf -- perhaps as a trade issue and claim they're being unfairly excluded.

nah, in the EU, it's not so easy to manipulate governments and really this is small beans to get worked up about. far smaller than say, having the london stock exchange switch to linux.

Yup - it makes sense to ditch windows (2)

kilodelta (843627) | about 7 months ago | (#45030463)

In one prior place of employment we had Ubuntu on all the desktops and Firefox and Thunderbird. The mail accounts were all IMAP only so you could essentially blow away a machine and re-install an image on it.

Does this mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45030593)

that the Pink Panther will now be running Red Hat?

It's taking off; really ThinkPenguin, System76, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45030769)

and others are doing well and the business is getting bigger. There are actual products available with explicit support for free software and even only free software operating systems from printers and computers to wifi cards and graphics. ThinkPenguin exclusively caters to GNU/Linux and has a broad product line up. They're not just in the US either. They have operations out of Europe & the United States, and there are dozens of little companies like ZaReason, System76, etc. offering desktops and laptops preinstalled with GNU/Linux.

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