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French Parliament To Go Open Source

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the desktops-and-all dept.

Linux 231

dhoyte writes, "Newsfactor.com reports that next June the French parliament will be switching from Microsoft to open source products such as Linux for desktops and servers and OpenOffice for day-to-day documents. They see it as a cost-cutting measure." The French have not settled on a Linux distribution yet. The article quotes an analyst voicing a note of caution: "'The evidence on the cost savings attributable to a switch to Linux has been mixed,' according to Chris Swenson, director of software industry analysis at research group NPD. 'There has been some evidence that companies have to spend a good deal on training and support after you deploy...'"

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231 comments

Dupe (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028130)

It's childish of me to do this but I recall posting this story five days ago [slashdot.org] .

There is a little bit of new information for this submission, however, so hopefully we can read the childish jokes on the other submission and cut right to the actual discussion here?

eldavojohn
queen of the karma whores
(hence the AC post)

Slashdot, Linux and eldavojohn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028258)

The homosexual connection continues.

Re:Slashdot, Linux and eldavojohn (-1, Troll)

buswolley (591500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028558)

I duck now.

Of course they are adopting open source now that they are headed by a Socialist.

;)

Re:Slashdot, Linux and eldavojohn (1)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028648)

No socialist is in power in France, even though that may change next year. This decision was actually taken by the right wing of the political compass.

mandriva (3, Interesting)

nocomment (239368) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028150)

It'll probably Mandriva. Isn't that a French company anyway?

Re:mandriva (2, Informative)

Clete2 (823221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028204)

Yes, Mandriva (formerly Mandrake) is a French company. I don't see any reason why they would use Mandriva over anything else, other than Mandriva being French.

Re:mandriva (5, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028236)

Keep the money in their economy. I'd rather have my government paying citizens who will buy goods from other citizens.

Re:mandriva (-1, Flamebait)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028644)

"I don't see any reason why they would use Mandriva over anything else, other than Mandriva being French."

haha you dont really seem to be familiar with the frogs do you?

Re:mandriva (1)

Clete2 (823221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029060)

No; I have no clue what you're referring to. Please inform me...

Re:mandriva (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029242)

sarcasm doesn work online very well does it?

Re:mandriva (1)

Clete2 (823221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029256)

I realize that he was using sarcasm, but I really didn't understand what he was getting at.

Re:mandriva (2, Interesting)

for(x1,x!1,x++) (966751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028238)

Hopefully more governments will follow suit and find that sometimes open source is better software, since it has been under the scriutny of the public.

Re:mandriva (3, Interesting)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029152)

Hopefully more governments will follow suit and find that sometimes open source is better software, since it has been under the scrutiny of the public.

The whole EU will follow, as I hope. With regard to Germany, I am quite sure.

CC.

Re:mandriva (2, Funny)

lamebrane (962051) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029194)

Yes, the Germans have always been good at following the French. Or, if that doesn't work, just anschlussing them.

Re:mandriva (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029340)

Yes, the Germans have always been good at following the French. Or, if that doesn't work, just anschlussing them.

As I perceive it, this is not the case, and the servers of the "Bundestag" (our parliament; about 100+) have been migrated to LINUX (from NT) already last year.

Besides, you should consider that history in Europe is more a matter of milleniums, not just decades or, even worse, years.

CC.

Re:mandriva (1)

lamebrane (962051) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029422)

Of course, you are correct in your facts. I was just trying to point out the humor of those two central nations of Europe that have, historically, spent so much time spitting or shooting at one another, finally following each other's leads. Since I am just an american, I can't viscerally feel the love/hate that must underlie so many relations throughout the continent. Now, if I can only get more of my U.S. clients to adopt open-source (not necessarily free) solutions. Bravo to the Bundestag. ..lb

Re:mandriva (5, Interesting)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028362)

I think Mandriva will be the best choice for Linux transitioning to desktops. It's easy to install (probably the quickest and most straightforward installation next to Ubuntu), pretty simple to maintain, and is in my opinion the most user-friendly operating system for home and small-business users. I think of it as the Red Hat of Home Linux; it has fully dedicated support channels, premium content that is pretty nifty to have, and a very solid online community for those that cannot afford support. Last time I checked, the only other two mainstream Linux distributions that have all of those advantages are SuSE Linux (Novell) and Red Hat Linux.

Every time I have used Linux, I land up turning to Mandriva or Fedora. Fedora is good for ultra bleeding edge stuff, while Mandriva is the Linux distribution that "Just Works" (save the casual Linux stuff, of course). I think that if they do not use the other two said distributions, Mandriva will be a very probably candidate. I would most certainly switch to this distribution if I had a project of this magnitude.

Re:mandriva (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029416)

Fedora is good for ultra bleeding edge stuff

Hmmm, I (and my machine) bled more doing a Gentoo stage 1 install. I switched to Ubuntu and feel fairly comfortable.

CC.

Re:mandriva (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029204)

I thought Mandriva was what you do to a guy with a dildo attached to a cordless drill.

Re:mandriva (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029354)

They'll probably give it a more French-sounding name, and make a few small tweaks to it, but yeah, that's a pretty safe bet.

Hope it goes through (5, Interesting)

thedarknite (1031380) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028192)

Although I am a little bit skeptical about news that states large organisations will be switching to open source. I recall similar a story in Australia, in which Telstra (IIRC) was going to switch to Linux until M$ offered them below normal pricing.

That's not a bad thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028242)

Even if that is what happens, it's not necessarily a bad thing. It would directly mean less revenue for Microsoft. Even if it's one relatively small deal in the whole scheme of things, it's still better that they don't get that extra money.

Re:Hope it goes through (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028386)

Actually with Telstra MS did not offer them any big discounts. The linux pilot failed miserably, probably due more to the choice of distributions and software but this definitely wasn't a MS buying back the customer, rather the other way round.

Re:Hope it goes through (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028750)

You really think it isn't obvious that you posted as an AC because you're full of bullshit?

People in glass houses (2, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028818)

If posting as an AC implies BS, what should we make of you?

Re:Hope it goes through (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028446)

I think it's more than just a measure for saving costs. They don't want to depend on one large company that doesn't mind to blackmail others. What if Microsoft suddenly threatens to drop its products in Europe? Both Europe and Microsoft will lose, but the difference is that Microsoft is in control while it should have been the government (representing the people).

Being less dependent while saving costs can only be a good thing. Let's hope that they prove it's possible so others will make the step as well.

Re:Hope it goes through (2, Interesting)

thedarknite (1031380) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028654)

I agree that is likely not a cost saving ploy. However, I will maintain my skeptism until they begin rolling out a distribution. It is possible that they may end up maintaining the status quo, because it's even cheaper to not upgrade.

At one of my previous jobs I had to install and setup a piece of specialised teaching software, and quite a number of large organisations were sitting on very old Windows installations.

But, I like I said, I hope it goes through and doesn't get shot down by some vocal minority.

Re:Hope it goes through (5, Interesting)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028484)

Telstra (IIRC) was going to switch to Linux until M$ offered them below normal pricing.

I can confirm that, worked for them at the time. Had a CIO poached from Sun around then, too. Bill Gates flew in to talk to Ziggy Switkowski (then CEO) and after that it was all roses between them. My opinion at the time was that it was all just a ploy to beat down Microsoft's prices, sort of the corporate version of talking to a vendor with their competitor's coffee mug on your desk.

Everything's negotiable, especially if you have 40,000 high-profile desktop licenses at stake.

Re:Hope it goes through (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028538)

I too worked for them at the time and got to see some of the pilot, so like me you would have seen how much an utter disaster the attempted linux pilot was. It was a sun driven pilot for no reason other than suns anti MS sentiment as the CIO was little more than a Sun mouth organ. thankfully once sun poached him people inside could see the disaster he was creating and stopped it dead in its tracks.

Re:Hope it goes through (3, Interesting)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028612)

...so like me you would have seen how much an utter disaster the attempted linux pilot was.

Not that that would have stopped them. Every new project that Telstra attempts is a disaster, including the ones I've been involved in. You are quite right about the Sun-anti-Microsoft sentiment, of course. But Ziggy was not above using his execs as pawns to push his own agenda.

Insider joke -- Telstra projects have finally run out of acronyms -- you can't open a new project unless you prefix the acronym with the number "9".

Re:Hope it goes through (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028698)

"Insider joke -- Telstra projects have finally run out of acronyms -- you can't open a new project unless you prefix the acronym with the number "9"." :-) I have not been at Telstra for a while, but that made me smile. It always amazed me how badly run everything was and how management whims had more of an influence then any actual informed decision, I can't imagine it has changed much in the last year or 2 since I left.

Re:Hope it goes through (4, Insightful)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028498)

that very well may be, but i think it is also a political move of independance. Being French myself, I find it quite surprising that the software used at the center of democracy, where all of the economical, political and social decisions are made, still relies on a foreign company, microsoft. this is especially true since the UE has started giving microsoft fines; on one hand we punish microsoft, and on the other we ask them to please allow us to not cripple our democracy. this move to opensource is very good news.

Of course they will surrender! (-1, Flamebait)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029210)

> Although I am a little bit skeptical about news that states large organisations will be switching to open source.

Of course it won't go through, they will talk tough and then surrender to Microsoft! This isn't just a French outfit, this is the fricking French Government. They know it is in their national best interest but they won't be able to help themselves.

Ok, now that I have done the o.b. French bashing......

Like all of the other large rollouts that get announced to great fanfare and then get abandoned to even greater press releases, white papers and case studies, Microsoft will go in and make em an offer they won't refuse. Before losing such a high profile installation they will be willing to give it away (so long as the terms stay 'undisclosed') with free support and who would turn that deal down? Anyone with half a brain and/or a concern for the public good would, but last time I checked Parliments (or Congress/Legislatures) are filled with politicians so there ya are.

So far the almost all of the high profile large rollouts outside the server space that have made it to reality have been in point of sale competing against DOS, SCO or hoary old embedded platforms. Seeing a lot of pos installs though, getting fairly common to see a redhat logo or kde gear in the corner with a terminal emulator filling the bulk of the desktop. Apparently Microsoft won't give freebies away to keep those installs.

As Long As...... (-1, Troll)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028210)

.... the French don't surrender, then this will be good.

At least I am trying to be original here: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028744)

In soviet russia, the chair throws YOU.

Think Linux juice. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028222)

'There has been some evidence that companies have to spend a good deal on training and support after you deploy...'"

Nonsense! Linux is so easy to use you can take it out of the box and plug it in. And be working that same day.

Re:Think Linux juice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028270)

haha. Mod parent funny!

Re:Think Linux juice. (1)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028344)

Yea cause everyone needs an Ipod at work, right?

Dude (1)

ElephanTS (624421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028338)

You owe me a new scarcasm meter.

I think slashdot... (1, Redundant)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028252)

...must be a nexus point in the Matrix, déjà vu seems to happen quite often around here.

Re:I think slashdot... (5, Funny)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028438)

...must be a nexus point in the Matrix, déjà vu seems to happen quite often around here

Retraining. (5, Interesting)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028266)

I'm sick of hearing about retraining as being a reason not to change to Linux. The facts are that you're going to have to retrain everyone when you're forced to upgrade anyways. The big difference being that your Linux rollout will cost less, and provide future savings in the form of not having to upgrade and retrain for the next big change in an MS Office menu.

Retraining-Relearing how to breath. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028420)

"The facts are that you're going to have to retrain everyone when you're forced to upgrade anyways"

You do realize that for most companies retraining doesn't mean "starting from scratch". How much preexisting knowledge and skills will cross-over to a Linux installation? Or will that be a "from scratch" issue?

Re:Retraining-Relearing how to breath. (3, Insightful)

eosp (885380) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028466)

Most of the things that are different are not used by the average person anyway. A French Parliament member would likely stay in their home directory, not use the command prompt, etc.

Re:Retraining-Relearing how to breath. (4, Insightful)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028566)

How much preexisting knowledge and skills will cross-over to a Linux installation? Or will that be a "from scratch" issue?

you have to remember that its the French Parliement. Parliement, not any kind of technical branch of the government. The people affected by this move will only surf the web, write reports and emails.

I dont think that a massive training will be needed to switch from IE to Firefox, etc. Nor will it be from scratch. From a strictly user view, for the computer illiterate, the only changes they will notice will be maybe fonts, or colors.

Re:Retraining-Relearing how to breath. (5, Interesting)

grcumb (781340) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028850)

Parliement, [sic] not any kind of technical branch of the government. The people affected by this move will only surf the web, write reports and emails.

I really doubt that. I don't have any experience with the French Parliament, but I did a lot of contracting with the Canadian Parliament for a few years, and I can tell you that they have a huge data management task. They were responsible for the timely publication of every single formal statement, document, report etc. from our politicians. And we all know that politicians do love to talk.

One of the services we offered the was daily Hansard (a record of everything spoken in Parliament during a session), which was fielded by and indexed, cross-linked in both official languages and searchable by language, Party affiliation, region, riding and protocol (e.g. Question Period, Votes, etc.). Every morning by 07:00, we had everything spoken the day before prepped and readied for our customers. This data was merged into the existing infobase, creating a tremendously powerful research tool. And that was only one aspect of the kind of data management services they offered.

I'm inclined to say that the French Parliament probably did a needs analysis and decided on FOSS for precisely the opposite reason you're suggesting. If my experience in Canada is any indication, their typical workstation needs would be quite advanced, and the ability to create special purpose data management tools in open, interchangeable formats for a reasonable cost would likely be the most compelling reasons to move to Linux.

I say that from experience. It was the work I did with these guys (and other clients at the time) that convinced me to move away from Windows entirely. I haven't ever regretted that decision.

Re:Retraining-Relearing how to breath. (1)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028942)

you may very well be right, as i must admit i do not know exactly to what extent they record and store data in Parliement. Now that i think of it, workstations there probably have a more advanced use than say in police stations, where typing is a slow, painful two-finger adventure. I also have the feeling (probably incorrect) that the French Parliement is, apart from the official publications, much more informal than what you describe. After all, our representatives mainly show up on wednesdays (when the session is broadcast on tv) and then leave the rest of the week to do other things.

Re:Retraining-Relearing how to breath. (2, Interesting)

cyphercell (843398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028576)

It's hardly a "from scratch" situation for normal users. Normal users will adapt to the new system the quickest. They'll complain the most, but they will actually have the least difficulty. Actually, quite a bit of skills will transfer over nicely, people will complain, but the actual differences are moot. The hardest parts to switch will be in the server room where your database setup depends on functions unique to MS SQL server and other such problems. Then again these switches will be implemented by people who are expected to implement "from scratch" solutions. I do understand that these training costs are going to be higher than normal, but in the long run I think they are hardly viable arguments. What if for instance they had never switched over to computers because of the training costs?

Re:Retraining-Relearing how to breath. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028726)

Well assuming retraining would be needed in the first place when making a windows upgrade. The jump from windows to windows is a smaller jump than windows to linux be it desktops or servers. Or has everyone already forgotten their complaints about MS's allegience to backwards compatability already?

Retraining? Not that hard. (1)

Alaren (682568) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028600)

You do realize that for most companies retraining doesn't mean "starting from scratch". How much preexisting knowledge and skills will cross-over to a Linux installation? Or will that be a "from scratch" issue?

Anecdotal evidence that you're not making a very strong point. A few months back, I switch to Ubuntu. I asked my wife if she would be comfortable making the switch; her computer use is limited to word processing and internet browsing, like most people. She was hesitant, but made me promise to help and relented.

Long story short, once I showed her where I had moved her documents, how to run OpenOffice, and how to open Firefox, I was done "helping." She had a moment of panic when she couldn't figure out how to set margins in OpenOffice, but it only took her about five minutes to figure it out. For most users, the difference between the Linux and Windows GUIs effectively zero. Retraining is only expensive if you have a huge team of Windows-trained technicians, and even then it costs far less that Microsoft's licenses.

Re:Retraining. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028462)

I'm sick of hearing about retraining as being a reason not to change to Linux. The facts are that you're going to have to retrain everyone when you're forced to upgrade anyways. The big difference being that your Linux rollout will cost less, and provide future savings in the form of not having to upgrade and retrain for the next big change in an MS Office menu.
I'm with you. I know this is going to upset some people, but I don't care. If you really need training to move from Internet Explorer to Firefox, or MS Word to OpenOffice Writer, I think I'd rather replace you than train you. You weren't smart enough to use 95% of the features of the old app, and if you can't pick up the 5% you need in a few days, you were probably going to be lost at the next Office upgrade anyway. Look! File / New! It's still there! Select words! Change font! Print! Center, Justify! My mom made the jump in less than a day, your users can too!

Retraining slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028922)

Now that's the spirit! Now how many here want to learn Lisp, Flex, XML, and AJAX? Uh, huh. Thought so. Gung-ho about getting rid of those "roadblocks", until you're the "roadblock". Thank God for outsourcing.

Web apps (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028776)

Then you don't even know you've changed.

RE-training? (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028920)

Honestly, what company ever actually does ANY training that you're aware of?
Certainly none that I've ever worked for.

Re:RE-training? (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029208)

My experience has been that "the amount that training and ongoing education is emphasized in the interview is inversely proportional to the amount of training and ongoing education you'll receive in the position".

Re:RE-training? (2, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029264)

Universities.

Re:RE-training? (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029434)

If I had mod points today. . .

You're right. What job actually provides training beyond "here's your computer, your login name is foo and your password is bar. Get to work."

Cost of Training (4, Interesting)

darkonc (47285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028314)

This means that the best time to change from Microsoft to OO would be when changes in MS's products would require a heavy investment in training and support for a new product, in any event ... such as.... 2007 .

Can anybody get some estimates of the cost of training and support for a recent majour MS Office update? I figure that that should be somewhere near the cost of a switch...

FOI request anybody?

Re:Cost of Training (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028512)

Retraining my ass. I put my mom in front of OpenOffice.org and the only difference she noticed was that the icon had changed. Pretty much the same with my girlfriend, except that my mom is far less tech savvy.

Re:Cost of Training (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028652)

Can anybody get some estimates of the cost of training and support for a recent majour MS Office update? I figure that that should be somewhere near the cost of a switch...

Dunno, some of those new Catalyst switches from Cisco aren't that cheap...

Spend money on education not 1's and 0's. (4, Insightful)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028320)

It seems to me that money spent on education tends to pay off all around especially when that education teaches people how to do things without being locked to a certain vendor. Education passes from one person to another whereas buying commercial software locks you to that vendor and is not allowed to pass from person to person. Even if the costs are identical the opensource solution empowers the user more than a commercial solution.

My experience though is that if the tasks you need to do can be done using opensource you will save quite a bit of money. If there are rough spots you need fixed you can spend a little bit of money to hire, or sponsor, an existing developer of that project to make things work the way you need. For what you could spend to buy a few licenses of your average commercial app you could have the opensource equivilant customized to your needs. That is power over your own fate. How much is that worth over years or decades?

Re:Spend money on education not 1's and 0's. (2, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028418)

It seems to me that money spent on education tends to pay off all around especially when that education teaches people how to do things without being locked to a certain vendor. Education passes from one person to another whereas buying commercial software locks you to that vendor and is not allowed to pass from person to person. Even if the costs are identical the opensource solution empowers the user more than a commercial solution.

Switching fom one platform to another entails pretty much the same 'training' costs. Going from Linux/OpenOffice to Windows/MSOffice would be just as weird to the users.
And going in either direction, you still have to rebuild all the myriad apps/macros that people use and rely on to do their daily jobs.

The main thing you save is licensing costs to MS. Assuredly not trivial, but a lot of the various open source vendors would charge a not insignificant $$ amount for support.

The rough spots you gloss over are NOT trivial nor easily dismissed. Switching a large organization to a totally new platform is not something easily done.

Re:Spend money on education not 1's and 0's. (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029480)

And Microsoft started providing free support when, exactly?

Re:Spend money on education not 1's and 0's. (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028464)

> It seems to me that money spent on education tends to pay off all around especially when that education teaches people how to do things without being locked to a certain vendor.

You would seem to be confusing training and education. Training is what you give dogs and employees. Sit, speak, roll over, click File, click Save As, click RTF. Education is something you give tuition reimbursements for. There's precious little generalization you can get out of most corporate training.

Re:Spend money on education not 1's and 0's. (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028914)

My experience though is that if the tasks you need to do can be done using opensource you will save quite a bit of money. (...) For what you could spend to buy a few licenses of your average commercial app you could have the opensource equivilant customized to your needs.

I suppose that depends on how much you're paying that person. If it's like a contribution as in "I would be working on it anyway, but sure I'll take some extra cash too" or "I want full compensation based on competative programmer rates to quit my day job". Custom development isn't cheap, and most companies I've found strive to avoid it. I guess that depends on whether it's development for upstream or for a custom, internal version but in any case they don't like it. For "a few licenses" of Photoshop you won't make GIMP into Photoshop. For "a few licenses" of MS Office you won't turn OpenOffice into MS Office. "A few licenses" is enough to fix some quirks or add some minor features, but only if it's almost there already. Most any company has some sort of enhancement request process, if they get enough requests it will happen. So open source is only just a big win if

a) it's in the ballpark
b) you have a special demand
c) which isn't popular

If you want easy wins, the easy wins are where both apps, including the OSS app is overkill. I've used MS Paint to do stuff because that's what installed and I couldn't install software, I'd love to have GIMP installed by default. Not because it'd replace the art designer's Photoshop, but because it's damn much better than Paint and could be installed everywhere for free. Notepad? Give me Notepad++ any day. With luck, your users might find it's usable "enough" they don't ask for commercial software untli they really need to.

Bullshit (-1, Troll)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029018)

For what you could spend to buy a few licenses of your average commercial app you could have the opensource equivilant customized to your needs.

Ok. How about some real world examples, instead of hyperbole? Anybody willing to make or modify an OSS point of sale system that is 100% graphical, accepts credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards via at least one major merchant bank via either a modem or online, transfers all sales, customer, vendor, and inventory information to Quickbooks automatically, handles all inventory, including purchase orders, invoices, returns, reorder points, and suggested PO's, handles all ad-hoc reporting, prints all inventory tags, purchase orders, vouchers, etc. in multiple formats, with customizeable print templates, works with all standard point of sale software, including cash drawers, receipt printers, barcode scanners, credit card swipes, display poles, and touchscreens, and is scalable via a client-server setup for at least 20 registers for less than $1600?

Yeah, thought so.

Liberté would be a stronger ground to stand o (5, Insightful)

H4x0r Jim Duggan (757476) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028330)

As Stallman explained at WSIS [fsfe.org] , if we argue based on cost, they can offer that too, but if we argue based on freedom, they're not even in the running.

Re:Liberté would be a stronger ground to stan (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028688)

Everybody cares about money.

A strict subset cares about freedom, and they're probably already running Linux.

I think the real trick is convincing people that freedom itself is worth real money. Yes, switching will cost you, but then, next time Microsoft says "You will buy Vista.", you don't have to. When you have this software that does X but you need it to do X+1, you can make it happen by hiring people, and there is nobody to tell you no. Presumably if you care about X+1 it comes down to "because it will save you money".

Arguing in pure freedom terms will shoot over many people's heads.

Re:Liberté would be a stronger ground to stan (1)

ewl1217 (922107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029050)

I'm sure a large part of the reason that people don't care about software freedom is because they don't know it exists. If we could explain to them that open source software is not only free as in beer, but as in freedom as well, then they would probably agree with us. Tell them about how they're allowed to modify and redistribute open source software, but they might not care. Then tell them the true advantages of open source. Microsoft could discontinue support for all their old Microsoft Offfice formats in their next version, and there wouldn't be a thing we could do about it. If OpenOffice also scrapped all old formats, there would still be hope. Not only are there many other open source (and some closed source) programs that could handle the open formats, but we could go back through old source code to gain an understanding of OpenDocument (or any other open format in OpenOffice) and implement it in another program. For that matter, OpenDocument is just a specially organized zip file (I think so at least, but I know it's some compressed format.), so we could simply extract it and see the original document in plain text. Now that's open. You don't have to be that technical in explaining it, but I think you get the point.

translation (3, Insightful)

Speare (84249) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028368)

The French have not settled on a Linux distribution yet.

Translation: We want to see what Microsoft's counteroffer will be; if it's too low, we'll state we're picking Ubuntu, and if Microsoft still hasn't given a huge keep-me deal, we'll say we probably want Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

A comparison (1)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028496)

Some time ago, Microsoft was advising people to put a Microsoft mug on the corner of their desk when the Oracle representative came around. This would cause an automatic 1 milion $$ discount on Oracle.

It seems that the wheels have moved. When it's time to renew your licenses or upgrade, but a tux doll on the corner of your desk, and see what happens.

Site contains Micr$oft ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028424)

I find it a bit ironic that the linked site contains micro$oft advertisments!

Re:Site contains Micr$oft ads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028520)

Slashdot has Microsoft ads all the time. Yeah, they're evil and all. But their money is just as green as anyone else's. I think it's nice that Slashdot stands for what it believes in.

Re:Site contains Micr$oft ads (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028616)

Slashdot has ads?

FRANCE SURRENDERS TO OPEN SOURCE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028434)

-nt-

I find myself torn here. (0, Troll)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028622)

The French are always wrong, does this mean that open source is NOT the way to go for governments?

As a user and supporter of open source I find myself confused and not knowing what to think.

This is like as if AOL, a known evil, made something good.

I just don't know.

Re:I find myself torn here. (1)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028672)

Stereotypes are so funny. How has this thread not degenerated into a WWII discussion already?

Re:I find myself torn here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028974)

no worries... a broken analog clock is right twice a day.

anybody else having trouble signing in? do i nee to allow javascript for some site other than slashdot?

i get my new password and input it with my username and it fails to log me in. i don't see any place to complain about it... so here's my complaint.

long term savings! (1, Interesting)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028662)

"'The evidence on the cost savings attributable to a switch to Linux has been mixed,' according to Chris Swenson, director of software industry analysis at research group NPD. 'There has been some evidence that companies have to spend a good deal on training and support after you deploy...'"


Oh my god am I tired of this argument... some people seem to have very little grasp over "long term" and "short term" savings.

"It's different! It's hard to learn! Therefore it can't be good for us in the long run..."

Some people have no vision.

Re:long term savings! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028982)

"Oh my god am I tired of this argument... some people seem to have very little grasp over "long term" and "short term" savings."

You do realise they ARE talking about the long term. licensing costs are such a tiny fraction of the cost of any IT department that they have almost no effect over the overall TCO. It all comes down to administration, deployment, maintenance and monitoring costs. linux is not a deploy and forget solution, those costs like an MS environment are very real and VERY expensive. Why do linux zealots always think it is so clear cut to saving money when it is far from it. linux saves them a couple of percent in licensing, but those savings can easily be lost in managing the environment.

Re:long term savings! (1)

ewl1217 (922107) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029080)

While your argument is logical and I agree with it, remember that we're dealing with politicians here. I don't mean to stereotype, but most politicians want to return to their offices, and will do what they can to keep voter support. Unfortunately, even though open source is a great move in the long term, it has many short term setbacks. Voters may get upset if the government is perceived as wasting time and money (two huge short term losses) on the transition to open source, and those politicians backing open source could be shown the door.

Does anyone ever do this correctly? (4, Informative)

frogstar_robot (926792) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028680)

The path of least resistance is to switch pure functionality servers first. Things that provide services like DNS, DHCP, and NTP. The Linux machines can also hold the file shares even if Windows is still serving the directory. Anyhoo, you start simple and work up slowly on those.

On the desktops, deploy FOSS apps one at a time as dependencies allow. Even Office is tough if a lot of bespoke apps laying around use it as a development environment. Sneak up on that as long as you can too. Once the users are broken in on FOSS app replacements, begin switching the OS for those users you've managed to get using purely FOSS apps. Move up through the users from there. The last and most difficult cases can be handled with virtual machines and terminal servers.

If things are done this way rather than in one fell swoop then you avoid a user rebellions with great missing chunks of missing functionality amidst the kludges. You can also try things out first with the users who have a bit of clue and build up experience within the organization. Most of the negative Linux organization switch stories I've heard involved either the Fell Swoop approach or not having sufficient Linux/BSD/UNIX admin talent on hand.

Re:Does anyone ever do this correctly? (1)

bedonnant (958404) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028848)

to be accurate, no one has officially stated how this will be done in the French Parliement. Actually, since, after all, politicians are behind this decision, the switch will be made right after the upcoming elections of next year. This way, the actual process will have to be dealt with (and maybe defined) by the next administration.

Re:Does anyone ever do this correctly? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029024)

Getting someone to use OOo doesn't make it one bit easier to switch from Win32 to Linux on the desktop. That's like saying "I got my mother to use Winamp instead of WMP, so now I can install Ubuntu on her PC and she can use Linux".

What color is the sky on your planet?

Cluebat time (4, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029258)

> Getting someone to use OOo doesn't make it one bit easier to switch from Win32 to Linux on the desktop.

Oh hell yes it does, especially in an organization. If all of an organization's data is in Office format that organization will probably stay on Windows. Crossover Office ain't going to cut it (Office license + CX Office license and forget getting a sweet deal on the Office licensing) and neither will OO.o's import filters. First time a document doesn't work 100% in the initial testing a MS fanboy (MCSE type afraid of learning) will raise holy hell.

Get everyone off of Office and IE first and swapping out the underlying OS is a lot easier. Remember, people don't run an OS they run applications.

Retraining: A Red Herring (1)

ewhac (5844) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028690)

'There has been some evidence that companies have to spend a good deal on training and support after you deploy...'

You will spend as much, if not more, on retraining if you roll out Windows Vista and Office 2007.

As for support, raise your hand if you honestly think that, somehow this time, this release of a brand-new version of Windows will be any less of a disaster than all of the previous brand-new versions of Windows...

Schwab

Re:Retraining: A Red Herring (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028904)

i know, it's such a load of shit, as if windows doesn't need as much training.

Re:Retraining: A Red Herring (1)

scoot80 (1017822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029146)

I don't agree. The fact that users are already used to Windows will make the switch much easier. In Windows, everything is really dumbed down for the end user. The learning curve that someone will need to go through is much steeper when switching from Windows to Linux rahter then upgrading to a newer windows version. I have seen so many people in my industry (electronics design) who only know the basics of using the computer. It is sometimes painful watching them using a Windows PC to do simple operations, I would only imagine they would be totaly lost in Linux, making the re-training cost higher. If an organisation has any long term benefit from switching to Linux (provided that the applications they need are available), then they really should bite the bullet and re-train the staff, in small portions at a time.

Windows Retraining: A Red Herring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17029158)

"You will spend as much, if not more, on retraining if you roll out Windows Vista and Office 2007."

Well seeing as both really aren't out (betas nonwithstanding). You're not really saying anything. But then this is slashdot and we all have an agenda to boost so you'll do it anyway.

Dang, this ain't Fark.com (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028714)

VI surrenders.

who gives a fuck? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028886)

what a bunch of fags.

Re:who gives a fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028954)

Someone needs to sew your lips to your asshole.

So France likes Linux? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17028908)

Does this mean that all gay people are also Linux users?

Like the Chinese, except - White Flag Linux? (-1, Flamebait)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028910)

I mean c'mon...gotta work that cliche in somehow.

It's just for getting cheap windows (3, Insightful)

charlieman (972526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17028950)

I think governments just say that so M$ lowers their price...

There is a joke in here somewhere... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17029118)

Currently on the front page:

Linux: French Parliament To Go Open Source

and immediately below that:

Your Rights Online: Barney Surrenders To the EFF

I know there is a joke in there somewhere, but I lack the skill to find it.

Obvious tactic to save money... (1, Insightful)

thelinuxjunkie (452581) | more than 7 years ago | (#17029254)

Isn't it obvious, anytime a large corporation or entity states they are switching to Linux/FOSS and states a main reason of saving money, is merely screaming from the top of their lungs, 'Hey Microsoft, give us some free software or we're gonna switch!'

No one ever really switches. Microsoft gives them tons of free software everytime. French Parliament doesn't want to pay the money to upgrade everyone to Vista, so instead they are playing a tactical rouillette game, in which they will win because regardless of who it is and how weak they are, Microsoft doesn't want a single hi-profile entity to actually switch to Linux and will willingly 'give' them the free software, not that it actually costs Microsoft anything, but they can then write it off as well as a charitable donation... blah blah blah.

walk (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17029384)

Ever taken a stroll outside completely naked? It's very nice.
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