French Armed Forces Switches 37,000 PCs to Ubuntu, Says Open Source Software Cuts Cost by 40%

The capabilities of Ubuntu OS is known well outside its enthusiast circles. The recent discovery of Ubuntu OS at the heart of Google's driverless cars is a perfect example. And that is not an isolated case either. Seems like the branch of French Armed Forces in charge of public safety is the latest to understand the cost-benefits of using open source software. 

French Armed Forces Switches 37,000 PCs to Ubuntu

French Armed Forces adopting Ubuntu in large numbers
As reported by, 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 moved to using Firefox for web browsing and Thunderbird for email by 2006. And 2007 saw Gimp and VLC installed across the network.

One needs to appreciate how they paced their conversion. First they introduced alternative apps one by one to its offices. Then the employees had ample time to get accustomed to new software. And then, in 2008, French Gendarmerie decided to go a step further and began moving 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.

They intend to move more than 72,000 PCs to Ubuntu by next summer, and will continue to migrate because it saves so much money. According to the French Gendarmerie, the total cost of ownership fell 40 percent because of their switch to open source alternatives. This was revealed at the Evento Linux conference held in Lisbon last week. [Source:]