City of Munich saved more than €11.7 million in a decade and were among the earliest to understand the benefits of adopting open source and Linux. Then came UK with sweeping changes to its policies favoring LibreOffice over proprietary alternatives. Not only that. Just recently, they even adopted ODF as UK's official document format. Governments and public offices around the world are slowly waking up to the hard fact that proprietary software may not be in their best long-term interest after all, even if you ignore the cost-factor. Toulouse, France's fourth largest city, is the latest to jump on the bandwagon.
In Toulouse, 90 per cent of the desktops now run LibreOffice
Toulouse, France's fourth largest city, has saved 1 million euro by migrating all its desktops to LibreOffice, an open source suite of office productivity tools. "Free software and open source in general is now an established part of the city’s comprehensive digital policy, and the open model promotes economic development and employment in the region", according to a study published by the Open Source Observatory and Repository today.
Moving to LibreOffice is one of the key projects in the city's IT strategy, the study reports. Currently several thousand people out of the 10,000 who work for the city and Toulouse Métropole use LibreOffice daily. The migration started in 2012, following the political decision in 2011. The switch took a year and a half, and 90 per cent of the desktops now run LibreOffice, the study finds.
Switching to free software results in cost-savings, the study quotes current and former city officials as saying. "Software licenses for productivity suites cost Toulouse 1.8 million euro every three years. Migration cost us about 800,000 euro, due partly to some development. One million euro has actually been saved in the first three years. It is a compelling proof in the actual context of local public finance", the study quotes Erwane Monthubert, who was responsible for the city's IT policy until April this year, as saying.
It's not like the French are new to all this either. It was reported earlier that the French Gendarmerie, a branch of the French Armed Forces in charge of public safety, has been a leader in moving away from proprietary software towards FOSS alternatives in recent years. As early as in 2004, they decided to stop using Microsoft Office and embraced OpenOffice and the Open Document Format instead. That meant 90,000 PCs moved to OpenOffice, and 20,000 Office licenses were no longer needed. Then they adopted Firefox for web browsing and Thunderbird for email by 2006. And 2007 saw Gimp and VLC installed across the network.
And then, in 2008, French Gendarmerie decided to go a step further and began migrating its systems from Windows to Ubuntu. Initially 5,000 PCs were switched to Ubuntu in 2008, that went up to 20,000 by 2011, and currently sits at 37,000 Ubuntu PCs.
[Source: Open source observatory]