[Linux-aus] Fwd: French threaten Windows to Linux switch (silicon.com)
arjen at mysql.com
Tue Jun 22 09:45:02 UTC 2004
French threaten Windows to Linux switch
June 21 2004
But government says "we're not starting a war against Microsoft"
France's cash-strapped government is giving alternative software companies
the chance to win state business from Microsoft, in a pioneering drive to
challenge the US software giant in the public sector.
Civil service minister Renaud Dutreil told Reuters France wanted to use
"open-source" software providers to resupply some of its almost one million
state computers, under a government cost-cutting drive designed to trim a
bulging public deficit.
"We are not starting a war against Microsoft or against American companies
in the software sector," Dutreil said in an interview. But he added that
Microsoft "must return to being one supplier to the state among others".
"The competition is open," he said. "My estimate is that we can cut the
state software bill at least in half."
At stake, in the case of office suite software alone, is around ?300m worth
of software to be introduced to state computers over three years. Savings on
operating systems could be of a similar order, officials said.
France's conservative government is trying to cut costs as it seeks to rein
in a public sector deficit, which is set in 2004 to bust the European Union
limit of three per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) for the third year
Open-source software such as Linux, OpenOffice, Mozilla, Apache, MySQL and
Evolution is "very credible," Dutreil said.
Microsoft, which is appealing a European Union fine for breaching antitrust
law, said it would seek to show the French government it could offer
software at a competitive price.
"In fact, open-source software is not free. It is very expensive because it
shifts the cost to maintenance, services, integration and training,"
Christophe Aulnette, head of Microsoft France, said.
Open-source software suppliers welcomed the news. "This decision will allow
us to increase our presence in France," said Jacques Le Marois, the
president of French open-source software company MandrakeSoft.
"This will also help us sell our solutions to other governments," Le Marois
said, adding that he believed the German, Israeli and Malaysian governments
also envisaged shifting to open-source software.
The company said France's culture, agriculture and finance ministries have
already signed deals with MandrakeSoft.
[end of article]
Arjen Lentz, Technical Writer, Trainer
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MySQL AB, www.mysql.com
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