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GNU is Not Unix The Almighty Buck

France Considers Open Source 370

joestar writes "Reuters today announced that the French Government is considering Open Source Software adoption as an excellent alternative to reduce their IT costs. A cost reduction of several hundred millions dollars is planned by replacing proprietary licenses by Open-Source solutions. 'Microsoft must return to being one supplier to the state among others', declared a government Minister. France's culture, agriculture and finance ministries had already signed deals with Mandrakesoft for first Linux deployment tests. After Munich's new move in Germany, it seems that Open Source Software is currently a major movement in old Europe."
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France Considers Open Source

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  • by SeanTobin ( 138474 ) * <byrdhuntr@nOSPam.hotmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:36PM (#9465418)
    Well, they almost get it. Example:
    Open-source software -- uncopyrighted software which has no license cost -- like Linux, OpenOffice, Mozilla, Apache, MySQL and Evolution -- was "very credible," Dutreil said.
    Well, there is a license cost, and it most definately is copywrighted. But monitarialy they are correct. Now, the very cool thing they said was:
    "This will also help us sell our solutions to other governments," he said, adding that he believed the German, Israeli and Malasian governments also envisaged shifting to open-source software.
    BINGO! We have a winner! Evil country A develops software for a fraction of the cost it would normally take in the closed-source land, sells it to Good Countries B through T and V through Z, and makes more money than they would have been able to otherwise.

    Now that is what the GPL is about. Saving money&time in development, making money in sales & support (of course I probably wouldn't want France supporting my KMissle Launch Control System), and giving back to the world an improvement on what they borrowed.
    • by xtal ( 49134 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:43PM (#9465487)
      Microsoft development tools can cost some big money, and it costs money to stay on top of things. Countries that invest once in open source tools can use those open tools to develop their own in house software - for example, Le KMissile Destructo Fumer 5000. All of this can run on open platforms, some the KMissile system can have more resources put into the APPLICATION and USE of the tools, instead of getting new hammers and nails all the time.

      Open source gives free tools to everybody. World class, kick ass tools. Do you know how much something as good as FFTW would cost to buy? More than my car! This lets you focus on using those tools to create value in the market - sucks to be in the tool making business, but overall it represents a boon. This is why so many people in the industry have problems; the value is not IN the IT, but what the IT enables you to DO.
      • by Tony-A ( 29931 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @04:12PM (#9466540)
        This is why so many people in the industry have problems; the value is not IN the IT, but what the IT enables you to DO.

        After 30-40 years seems like maybe, just maybe, some people are finally catching on. You measure cost inside IT. You measure value outside of IT.

        Open source gives free tools to everybody. World class, kick ass tools.
        This is slightly contrived, but the same principles apply to Open Source software. The French language is free. Anyone is free to use it. Now if the French were unwilling to make any expenditures the language would stay free but become whatever time and the Germans or whatever happen to make of it.
        To oversimplify, the software is free but an opinion (that matters) is not.
        Just try to have an opinion of what OpenBSD should be/do.
        Compare a whim of Linus versus IBM's agenda regarding Linux.
        Don't let the apparent low cost fool you. It can be had for cheap, but it is really exorbitantly expensive software that is affordable. For a ridiculously large range of definitions of affordable.

    • Open as in source. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by frodo from middle ea ( 602941 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:43PM (#9465490) Homepage
      Yes, Somehow that statement does sound wierd.

      All those products they mentioned are not cedible because they don't have license costs (which btw some of them have) or are not copyrighted (which they most definitely are), but because of the extensive testing and through code checking these products receive by the very fact that they are open source.

      I guess it's time we stop giving the anology of open as in beer or open as in speech. We should start using "open as in source". which I think most aptly describe these products than the beer (mmm beer..ok ok back to issue) or speech.

    • No, they didn't say that very cool thing. The second quote was from Mandrakesoft.
    • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:56PM (#9465642)
      The licence cost part is correct depending on how you look at it. When most people talk about software licences they are thinking of EULAs, which are supposed "licences to use". So what they are saying is that you don't need to pay someone to get a licence to use the software. Which is absolutely true - there is no cost, monitarily or in source, to use open source software.

      Of couse we all know that you don't need a license to use software, just to redistrubute it, so those EULAs aren't really licences at all. They are just notices that say you have no licence to distribute, as well as an attempt to get you to agree to a bunch of things that probably aren't legaling binding anyway, since EULAs are not valid contracts.

      Open source licences on the other hand are real distribution licences. But the only cost is when you want to redistribute derivitives works, in which case, the cost is the source to those derivative works. In the standard user's perception of "software license" there is no cost.

      Just splitting hairs :)
    • SELECT `DorkFactor` FROM `users` WHERE `userid`=138474;

      MySql returned 1 row(s):
      [DorkFactor]
      99.99
    • I think that they actually looked at FOX News and saw in the no spin zone how O'Reilly called french president the enemy of united states and promoted stickers calling to boycot french products.

      Let me tell you, nothing promotes the good image of United States and american companies and goods as a bunch of ultra-right religious fanatics that scream on top of their lungs: "Who is not with us is our enemy!"

  • by BitwizeGHC ( 145393 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:39PM (#9465437) Homepage
    Now that the french have got their mitts on it... I propose we rename it to "Freedom Source"! ... What? Too Stallman-esque?
    • Considering they came up with the word "micro-ordinateur", the thought of learning what word they'll come up with for "open source" scares me.
      • "Open Source", as the name of the movement, is a proper noun, so it may not be translated in France. Quebec, with their silly language laws may though - they once banned the apostrophe-s on public signs because it was an english construct - So Kowalski's had to be called "de Kowalski" or something like that.

        "Source Ouverte"

        or

        "Code Ouvert"

        I could be wrong about the subject-adjective agreement for "Ouvert(e)" though, "Source" is femenin, "Code" is masculin. Typicly you add an "e" for adjectives of femen

      • Re:Well, shoot. (Score:4, Informative)

        by chris_mahan ( 256577 ) <chris.mahan@gmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:24PM (#9465927) Homepage
        perhaps "source libre"

        Libre in french (i'm french I know) means free as in speech.

        Free as in beer is "gratuit", which is where the english word gratuity comes from. A freebie.

        the advantage of "source libre" is that the english speaking world can understand it perfectly well.
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:58PM (#9465662)
      There's always "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite the Source," which is quite a mouthful, so we'll just call it "LEFtS" for short, but that might be a bit too Dantonesque for some.

      KFG
  • by tekiegreg ( 674773 ) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:39PM (#9465445) Homepage Journal
    You just quoted in the article:

    "In fact, open-source software is not free. It is very expensive because it shifts the cost to maintenance, services, integration and training," Microsoft France chief Christophe Aulnette said.

    The scary part is, I highly agree with that statement. Price alone is not a factor for people going to open source, perhaps I should enlighten you people.

    1) The upgrade trap, perhaps if people could upgrade on their schedule instead of yours.
    2) The whole OPEN SOURCE part, or if I need a feature added or changed, I'll find a developer to do just that...

    Yes, to the Slashdot community, I know you all know the best reasons for going open source, however I'm worried that MS doesn't :-p and that could do them in (like it would be a loss???)
    • by shis-ka-bob ( 595298 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:05PM (#9465721)
      The fact is Microsoft software requires more maintenance. At least on servers, The Robert Francis group found that Linux requires far less admin time. This is discussed at zdnet [zdnet.com]. For a 'server unit' (defined in the report), the admin costs for Linux was $12,010 annually. The cost to administer Windows was $52,060 annually.

      Microsoft likes to say "Linux is free like a puppy". I say, yes and Microsoft is like the purebred (add the 'b' word here if you wish) that costs a lot upfront and has congenital defects from generations of inbreeding. Sure, she is pretty, but shie is high strung you will spend way too mutch time and money fighting infections. Give me a mutt anyday; the mutt is not only cheap to aquirer, but more robust and better tempered. Saving money up front is only the start of your savings, the real savings is found in the maintenance costs.

      • by GypC ( 7592 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @04:32PM (#9466762) Homepage Journal
        Hey, I like that mutt analogy. Nice one.

        My experience has always been that MS servers are a huge pain in the butt and expensive to keep licensed and running.

        Linux and BSD servers much less so; they're not quite as stable and exploit-free as Novell servers or mainframes, but much better than Windows and much more flexible than any of them.

    • by thetoastman ( 747937 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:09PM (#9465757)
      Hmmm, I suppose you've never looked at the cost of software maintenance, training, and software integration of Microsoft products.

      Maintenence . . . . you have forced upgrades, required reboots (translates to downtime), and prohibitively expensive maintenance support costs.

      Services . . . . I have yet to find Microsoft services capable of answering even the simplest of questions. For this I can pay a huge amount of money.

      Integration . . . The key to any software integration project is the adherence to well-defined, published, and freely available standards. This is why the Internet works so well. This is why you can run SOAP and web services between competing vendors. This is why you can use XML-RPC and accomplish an amazing amount of integration. This is why EDI worked well in the transportation and distribution industry. This is one of the reasons OSI failed (standard costs were expensive).

      The challenge with a Microsoft-centric solution is that it adheres to standards poorly if at all. And of course, like Cabletron (remember them, the networking company that eschewed standards for a proprietary management system) this will only be cost-effective in a single vendor solution.

      Training costs for Microsoft are every bit as high as training costs for open source products. Many organizations don't train their users on Microsoft products, which is what Microsoft then uses as a training cost baseline.

      If you have ever had to work with a reasonably complex Word document that someone else has created, you know what disaster this lack of training can be. Often it is easier to create a properly (?) structured Word document and paste in the contents rather than attempting to fix the original work.

      In short, capital costs are lower, maintenance costs and schedules are business-driven instead of vendor-driven, services are better (would be difficult to be worse), integration is better, and training is a wash.

      Another clear advantage with open source is that you can train your IS staff on principles and concepts instead of vendor-specifics. This means that when the next IT revolution hits, your staff will be in a position to take advantage of it.

      It also means that your IS staff and business are insulated from capricious vendor changes that REQUIRE specialized and expensive training.
      • Well, I never said that cost is NOT a factor. In my parent post I never so much as said that Linux is cheaper than Microsoft or vice versa. Granted that there are studies that go both ways. With all the information (and probably dis-information) that I have gleaned, I dare not make a claim that one OS is cheaper than the other at this time.

        However price alone should not be a decision in going open source. Rather weigh it with all the other factors and make a well-reasoned decision. For many who have
  • by aim2future ( 773846 ) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:39PM (#9465446) Homepage
    What MS need to assure is that MicroSoft finally will become a company that provides what the customers want. Today MS is among that line of companies pushing the customer to buy and not asking the customer what the customer want (I've heard from insiders how this works). A policy which will never work in the long run.
    In the free software development the customer is also the designer, for the skilled ones, but why could not the customer also be the designer for the less skilled ones?
    The reason that the free software development has been so successful is that the providers are also the customers and can continue develop the products. I'm not sure that MS has understood this simple fact yet.
    MicroSoft should adopt to this idea, and in the long run they can become a very successful supplier of wanted software, designed by the customer for the customer.
    /AIM
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Open source by and large does not listen to actual end users.

      This is obvious in the
      low quality documentation, if any,
      configuration process,
      usability
      ongoing support

      Business users are not going to continuously fight the 'geek needed to install and operate' mentality of open source software.
      • by idiot900 ( 166952 ) * on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:38PM (#9466116)
        Open source by and large does not listen to actual end users.

        This is obvious in the
        low quality documentation, if any,


        The major OSS projects have third-party published books out.

        configuration process,

        Which is why a business would use a distribution instead of rolling their own.

        usability

        The big-name OSS projects meant for the end-user (i.e. KDE/GNOME/Mozilla-spawn) are very usable - they are just a bit different than the closed source competitors. I'd venture to guess somebody who hasn't seen any desktop before would learn an OSS desktop just as easily as a Windows one. Switching over to OSS couldn't be any worse than switching from Windows 3.1 to 95.

        ongoing support

        Businesses would buy a support contract.

        Business users are not going to continuously fight the 'geek needed to install and operate' mentality of open source software.

        Ditto with the support contract. (And since when has running a non-OSS shop been a walk in the park? You need competent IT staff, period.)
    • by Tarantolato ( 760537 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:47PM (#9465546) Journal
      What MS need to assure is that MicroSoft finally will become a company that provides what the customers want. Today MS is among that line of companies pushing the customer to buy and not asking the customer what the customer want (I've heard from insiders how this works).

      The Joel on Software article yesterday pointed out that during MS's big growth leaps in the 80's and early 90's, the number of new PCs sold every year typically exceeded the entire installed base. Now that's no longer the case.

      Because they rely primarily on OEM licenses for revenue, MS has to somehow artificially stimulate hardware upgrades in order to acheive acceptable growth without a major change in business model. (A change to what?, one wonders.)

      The places where you're seeing movement to Open Source desktops are not coincidentally the places that tend to be most resistant to hardware upgrades. In the end, if MS withers, it'll probably be because users won't stomach Dell et al.'s reasonably low prices, rather than MS's own inflated ones.
    • What MS need to assure is that MicroSoft finally will become a company that provides what the customers want.

      I don't think you grasp the type of monopoly that MS has on most of the market.
      First, they don't _need_ to care about their customers, as long as 85% (or whatever) of the OEM machines from Dell, HP, Gateway, that get sold to regular old consumers, they will have plenty of money.

      A policy which will never work in the long run.

      Most consumers don't understand or want anything customized, tha
  • From the article:
    Open-source software -- uncopyrighted software which has no license cost
    Wrong! Free and Open Source Software absolutely relies on a strong notion of copyright because of the need to protect (in this case preserve the freedom to modify) the software itself. Without copyright you have no way to actually license the software to someone else, and hence impose your specific licensing requirements (e.g. GPL).

    That's partly why the term "copyleft" is so dangerous and should be stamped out. It's absolutely vital that people realize that F/OSS is copyrighted and under the control of an individual, or group or a corporation. The strength of F/OSS comes from the underlying copyright and the fact that it enables us to control the code.

    John.

    • "Copyleft" isn't the only potentially confusing term. "Free Software" itself is a potentially confusing term, especially when spoken to journalists in phone interviews and the like, where the distinction between "Free" and "free" isn't clear. Richard Stallman, whatever you may think about him, clearly isn't good at packaging or marketing concepts in a way that will communicate effectively with regular people.

      "Open Source" may not be a perfect term, because it doesn't distinguish between the right to jus

    • Wrong! Free and Open Source Software absolutely relies on a strong notion of copyright because of the need to protect (in this case preserve the freedom to modify) the software itself. Without copyright you have no way to actually license the software to someone else, and hence impose your specific licensing requirements (e.g. GPL).

      OTOH, free and open source software could survive just fine in a would without copyright restrictions or DCMA type laws. Proprietary software could not. So in that sense, copy

      • OTOH, free and open source software could survive just fine in a would without copyright restrictions or DCMA type laws. Proprietary software could not. So in that sense, copyright is not mandatory for the existence of free software.
        How?

        Without some basis under which I can state that I control the code I write (the current incarnation of which is copyright) then you could just take it, I'd have no legal recourse, and there'd be no way for me to _force_ my code to be open.

        The entire point of copyright is that it grants to the holder of the copyright the right to license the work and it prevents you from taking it without a license. So copyright is the bedrock for F/OSS. I use it to grant you the right to modify my software under certain conditions (namely that it remains "open"). Without copyright you can just walk off with it, start some closed-source company, make modifications and be done with it.

        John.

  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:43PM (#9465489) Homepage Journal
    ... freedom source!

  • by pauly_thumbs ( 416028 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:43PM (#9465491)

    Je jette le gant - Prepare to taste cold steel Monsieur Gates!
  • I woulda titled this article "France Surrenders to Open Source Software!"

    But that's just me.
    • by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:33PM (#9466041) Journal
      Ok, i'm tired of loud mouth americans flogging this joke like a dead horse.Let's review history.

      Before World War TWO there was World War ONE.
      • French soldiers killed: 4,331,375
      • American Soldiers killed: 233,954


      Thus, at the time, 11% of France's entire population were killed or wounded!

      Compare this to the united States, which did not enter the land war in strength until 1918, suffered one-third of one percent (0.37%) of its population killed or wounded.

      World War Two comes along just a few years later, and unfortunately there just isn't enough male soldiers anymore to win, and they don't want to see the population decimated like the last time. Any tactician with an ounce of intelligence would have made the same decision.

      Hey assholes: no one keeps bringing up VIET NAM, a war the USA lost with nothing near 11% of the population killed before making the decision to pull out.

      Conclusion, STFU.
      • by GuyFawkes ( 729054 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @08:15PM (#9468988) Homepage Journal
        OK, I live in england, I'm celtic by ancestry, you might refer to me as "a Britisher"

        My parents generation fought ww2, on my mums side 5 kids, all of them signed up, their father, my grandad was torpedoes three fucking times and lived to tell the tale... he was a bosun on the murmansk run on oil tankers, he used to chew tobacco (can't smoke on tankers) and that's what eventually killed him, colostomy and bowel cancer.

        Of his five children the eldest was a telegrapher, RN, was ordered to stay behind at the fall of singapore and report on the nips, was mia for 9 months and eventually made his own way overland to india, next eldest was another RN telegrapher (the radio shack was a prime target btw) my mum was a wren who was a plotter in devonport, plotted the d-day practices in which thousands of americans died through the sheer incompetence of their commanders, going to cut a long shit load of history short here, not much point going on about a thousand years of clanging swords with someone or other which is basically what english history is, let me tell you how WE see american military in first hand observations from ww2 (my father etc) through korea (before you lot went into nam properly) to the present day.

        in 1943 when the british army couldn't even get a pair of boots and 20 rounds of ammunition to every soldier, the american military machine could get chocolates to every soldier, and all the boots they could wear and ammo they could carry, "over sexed, over paid, and over here" was a 1943 sentiment about americans here in the southwest training for d day, but EVERYONE was in absolute awe of american logistics.

        Similarly, from 1943 through korea etc to present day, nobody ever thought american soldiers lacked courage.

        While american logistics were awesome, most people rated american military hardware as sub-standard, when germany had tiger tanks you were running around in shermans, worst thing about a sherman was the motor, 2 stroke detroit diesel was NOISY bastard, made it real easy to shoot at... similarly because supply of bullets was never a problem american weapons and soldiering were much more automatic fire than semi automatic, times where supply chain breaks everyone shit themselves if americans on the flank, waiting for them to expend all ammo and then fall back.....

        no, BY FAR commonest sentiment about american military machine was the soldiers were not as highly trained or versatile as ours (this is still true, simply because US military budget is so fucking huge we HAVE to be better at everything, on a per platoon basis) and american brass were by and large grandstanding assholes, just like we used to shoot in the back when going over the top in WWI....

        americans go on patrol in iraq in armoured vehicles all toting fully automatic weapons and more importantly crew-few medium calibre automatic weapons, anything tougher than a columbine schoolkid pops up and you hunker down and call in an airstrike.... such tactics are inevitable when you have a HUGE military machine with awesome logistics and vast numbers of under trained cannon fodder troops.

        british go on patrol in iraq in open backed landrover (4wd, a british "technical" really, often minus the 50 cal) response is very short ammunition conserving short bursts of 3 or 4 rounds at most, of not single shot mode, if it turns bad retreat and regroup, or die there, we just don't have that kind of air support or even heavy armour.... such tactics are inevitable when you have a small military machine with shite logistics (remember, we had to canniballise our biggest liner just to get troops to falklands, and she was built that way just in case too...) so every soldier must be a minimum of proficient at many tasks and bloody good at one or two.

        same thing is true of bar fights, in american bar fights there is much pre fight posturing and strutting, like bears in some mating ritual, much opportunity for both to mutually cool it off without losing face according to some strange set of rules...
  • ...concerning MS in Europe? I'm just interested to see how deeply entrenched they are there financially. It may be just the stuff I'm reading, but open source seems to have a stronger foothold there than in the States.
    • ...concerning MS in Europe? I'm just interested to see how deeply entrenched they are there financially. It may be just the stuff I'm reading, but open source seems to have a stronger foothold there than in the States.

      As usual it's difficult to get statistics on client software, but web-servers are easy [securityspace.com]. securityspace.com keeps statistics on web server breakdown by top-level domain. Of course TLD isn't a great indicator of where a box is actually located, but to my knowledge it's the best we've got to
    • ...concerning MS in Europe?

      Sure, there are about 350,000 adult europeans afflicted with MS [vard.org]. By country it varies from between 5 and 150 cases per 100,000. Cultural and ethnic factors probably play a large role in this.

      In Europe, MS is common in southern Scandinavian but not the north, in the Orkney and Shetland Islands but not the Faroes or Iceland, in Sardinia but not in Greece or Spain, and in Sicily but not in neighboring Malta.

  • Isn't it obvious? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Three Headed Man ( 765841 ) <dieter_chen.yahoo@com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:48PM (#9465551)
    All these countries are considering open source not so much because they may use it, but because they know they'll get some leverage against Microsoft. As soon as Linux was offered in Thailand, Windows cut prices on XP and office to $35. The best way to drive someone's price down is make them think they have to compete against a serious threat.
  • Go Mandrakesoft! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Air-conditioned cowh ( 552882 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:48PM (#9465555)
    I, for one, am happy to see this happen because,

    1) If France & Germany's governments become more patriotic & supportive toward Mandrake & SuSE respectively then perhaps they will be less inclined to pass silly laws to make open source difficult such as broad software patents etc. And, if it's already too late then maybe they will push the EU to dilute the silly laws over time so they don't affect open source.

    2) If Mandrake are taken seriously by more businesses then they will have to increase their end of life from 2 years to at least 5 years or even 10 years (to compete with MS) for their enterprise releases. The short EOL is the one reason I can't use Mandrake on a mail server I am setting up, otherwise it would have been perfect.

    3) We don't have a really major distro here in the UK so I can feel patriotic about France in the meantime.
  • by Rhys ( 96510 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:49PM (#9465556) Homepage
    Why are all these governments endorsing and planning to use OSS on one hand, and then passing retarded laws that could cause serious problems for OSS on the other? Hello Mr. Foot this is Mr. Hand and his gun to shoot you.
    • Why are all these governments endorsing and planning to use OSS on one hand, and then passing retarded laws that could cause serious problems for OSS on the other? Hello Mr. Foot this is Mr. Hand and his gun to shoot you.

      As opposed to the completely fucked up US system. Jebus, give them some credit! At least they are making some kind of progress.

  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Luscious868 ( 679143 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:49PM (#9465558)

    Why is it considered news when some entity considers Linux? It's not news. It would be news if the decided to go with Linux, not if there considering it. Are they considering Microsoft as well? Yes. Then why isn't the story titled "France Considers Open Souce and Microsoft"?

    Right now, I'm considering taking a shit, but it wouldn't be an actual event unless I took a shit.

    I'm sure this will be marked as a troll or flamebait, but it's a valid point. I'm tired of reading articles about what some country or some city is considering. I don't care and I'm pretty sure that most people who read this site don't care either. Now when said country or city actually makes a fucking decision then that would be news and by all mean report it.

    • And to take your (good) point a step further, would Slashdot report it if France ultimately decided to go with Microsoft?

      I know that I'd want to know what happens in a head-to-head involving Mandrake vs. Microsoft, but somehow I don't think anything but a win for Mandrake will make the headlines.

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <agnosticpopeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:09PM (#9465758) Journal
      Newsflash: This is an open-source advocacy site. Perhaps you don't remember years ago when Linux was considered a hackers-only OS. While it's not mainstream, the mere fact that it is seriously considered by a member of the G8 as a serious contender is news, as it shows further heading toward that direction.
  • Translation issue (Score:4, Insightful)

    by loolgeek ( 717288 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:49PM (#9465559)
    SeanTobin wrote:
    -----------------
    "This will also help us sell our solutions to other governments," he said, adding that he believed the German, Israeli and Malasian governments also envisaged shifting to open-source software.

    BINGO! We have a winner! Evil country A develops software for a fraction of the cost it would normally take in the closed-source land, sells it to Good Countries B through T and V through Z, and makes more money than they would have been able to otherwise.
    --------------------

    I think it is bad translation. "To sell" ("vendre" in french) could also mean "to convience" or "to promote", it does not mean necessary that money is involved.
  • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:49PM (#9465570)

    I've not been a France fanboy for quite some time, but I'll have to grudgingly give them their due here, they're making a step in the right direction by not giving MS automatic license fees.

    With a few more current government clients joining this wave, MS might actually become a company again instead of the software dictator it is now. It will have to compete for business. This could only help software. (I still laugh at Sun and MS's statement that software will be what people pay for, and hardware will be free. Duh. Hardware is what you can hold in your hand and has real costs. Software will be free, the service/maintenance of that software is where the money is)

  • by nysus ( 162232 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:50PM (#9465577)
    The article fails to mention that France would also "consider" Microsoft if the company counteroffered with a 75% discount. I think this is merely a bargaining ploy on the part of the French government. It's a smart thing to do, though, and anything that sucks cash out of Microsoft's warchest has to be a good thing.
  • Open Source (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:52PM (#9465590) Homepage Journal
    If the article is about Open Source, why does it have a GNU on it? Why not use the OSI logo [opensource.org]?

    Or, if the article is about GNU, why not say Free Software [gnu.org]?

    Unless, of course, there is some advantage to creating confusion between the two that I am simply unaware of.

    -Peter
    • Because the open source movement pursues popularity and taking credit for the works of others is a convenient way to attain that goal without having to do the hard work of actually writing the licenses and defining the concepts that helped define and build our now 20-year-old community. Consider the GNU General Public License which was written well before the Open Source Initiative began and speaks of a different philosophy [gnu.org] than that which the open source movement speaks to. The OSI defined the terms of l

  • by danfairs ( 43527 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:52PM (#9465594) Homepage
    For any of those out there who were at Europython [europython.org] in Sweden a couple of weeks ago can testify, Nuxeo [nuxeo.com] have a large presence in the French public sector. Nuxeo's product, CPS, fulfils a similar role to Plone [plone.org] as a CMS. Like Plone, it's based on Zope [zope.org].

    In fact, I hear that it's got to the point where if you're planning a CMS project in Public-Sector-France-Land and you *don't* have a Zope-based product on your shortlist, questions are asked why... Corroborations, anyone?

  • EU VS US Trade War (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CHaN_316 ( 696929 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:53PM (#9465612)
    I'm thinking the decision to move to OSS by France could be a geopolitical strategic move as well. A trade war between the US and the EU is almost certain to come, and it'd be in Europe's best interest to NOT be locked into software vendors from America. We are already seeing signs of the trade war, be it farm subsidies, technology standards (CDMA VS G3) (Galileo VS GPS), and genetically modified foods. In addition, we all know that the American-French relationship has seen better days.

    Just because Chirac complimented Bush about American hamburgers [kansascity.com] (3rd paragraph) at the G8 summit doesn't mean all is well between the two.
    • Chirac is one shrewd asshole... er politician.

      Anyhow, you're absolutely right to point out the geopolitical implications. You could have also mentionned Chirac's attempts at getting more military might, getting the ability to produce weapons in the EU, space exploration... Basically, France's right-wing uses a "Realist" analysis, and this thing has been going on for a while. While the Truman doctrine defined the US's ability to intervene in the Middle-East, around the same time the French had decided they
  • by xutopia ( 469129 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @02:56PM (#9465637) Homepage
    No, the French aren't doing this to piss of the USA. They're doing it for the same reason many people use Open Source :
    1. licence cost
    2. mandatory and costly MS upgrade cycles
    3. proprietary lock in
    4. piss off Bill Gates
    • You are correct on 1, 2, and 3. However I don't really think that pissing off Bill Gates is a real priority here.

      Maybe it is for 5kr1p7 k1dd33z, but I think that France's legislature has better things to do than sticking it to The Man.

    • 1. licence cost

      2. mandatory and costly MS upgrade cycles

      3. proprietary lock in

      4.piss off Bill Gates

      You forgot:

      5.- Get a kickass discount from MS.

      And then:

      6a.- Accept discount, tell OSS comunity to go hump or they shall taunt OSS again.

      OR

      6b.- Tell MS to piss off and get extra-strength number 4 (

  • Open-source software like Linux, BSD, etc is currently great for developers and for systems administrators - it's easy to automate a lot of the backend open-source programs. However, when you do a cost-benefits analyis of open-source software as a whole, you have to take into account user training and support costs.

    While widescale windows site licenses may be expensive, the productivity lost in having to retrain all your users in the intimate details of office software surely makes up for the nominal co
    • Unless you're replacing something with a $50-100,000 per user license with something open-source and 'free', then it's probably going to end up costing about the same in the long run.
    • Do you believe what you said? Read the studies [computerworld.com] and please stop saying the world is flat, when it is round.

    • by ultrabot ( 200914 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:12PM (#9465778)
      However, when you do a cost-benefits analyis of open-source software as a whole, you have to take into account user training and support costs.

      Don't forget the cost of lock in - it can't be measured on short timerange, but having competition on the market is going to buy you, and the rest of the industry, a lot.

      Going for Linux is a no-brainer at least for us europeans. It frees us from an oppressive US monopolist, creates local jobs and generally opens up new business opportunities because, well, Linux doesn't yet have all the software Windows has.

      It's time to be a little bit patriotic, people! Asshats that can't learn the few Linux apps they need with a little bit of tutoring could just be fired (now there's a motivation that gets people moving), you should have the best minds working for you in the first place...
      • I love your post, and I love that I can do this:

        Going for Linux is a no-brainer at least for us US-ians. It frees us from an oppressive US monopolist, creates local jobs and generally opens up new business opportunities because, well, Linux doesn't yet have all the software Windows has. It's time to be a little bit patriotic, people!

    • Linux, and *nix in general, has never been a "good" choice for general desktop deployment.

      For those in task-oriented positions that have a high number of users, having an X terminal of some sort attached to centralized computer/application servers makes much more sense though.

      The beauty of the standard desktop PC or Mac is that it is simple enough to use yet powerful enough to do all sorts of unplanned tasks.

      "Right Tool for the Job."

      The problem with both Microsoft and Linux is they seem to want to domin
    • Apparently you are still using the same versions of Windows and Office as you started with. Life cycle of a Microsoft product, from release to totally unsupported, is typically about 8 years. That means mandatory retraining at least that often.
    • You're absolutely right. It's not FUD: training for a different platform is expensive.

      In fact, that's exactly why a lot of companies are still using Windows 98. It works, and the cost of switching just isn't worth it.

      However, as security issues add up and we decide we want new features, we're soon going to have the choice between Longhorn and Linux. I'm betting a lot of people, when forced to upgrade, will consider Linux.
  • by ShatteredDream ( 636520 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:06PM (#9465723) Homepage
    In quasi-Socialist America, corporations benefit greatly from a close relationship with the government. The more the government spends, the more money they make. Therefore OSS could actually do a lot of good in upsetting that relationship.

    Microsoft made $521M in sales from the US Army a procurement cycle ago. Imagine if by switching to Linux for most of that, the US Army could cut down the market by $450M. If the government's contract values go down significantly because of Linux then the major companies will have less interest in selling to the government.

    In the long run this will reduce the reasons for why we are taxed so heavily by our Congressional overlords who at present cannot account already for approximately at least 1/22 ($100B) of the federal budget. To put that in perspective, that is approximately 1/80 of the wealth generated by Americans that is wasted by government bureacracy. That is not even counting the waste at the state level and the good old boy/girl networks commonly known as your average municipal "public service."
  • "old Europe" (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:10PM (#9465760) Homepage Journal
    Ah, the irony! If anyone thinks that technology decisions are immune to international politics, this development should serve as a wakeup call. Whatever the stated reasons, a desire to avoid dependence on an American company is at least partially behind this move.

    I suspect that a great many European Slashdot readers are happy about the French plan not only because it could be a victory for Open Source, but also because it sends the message that America and American companies have come to expect blind acquiescence from the rest of the world.

    Action, meet Reaction.

  • by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <agnosticpopeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:14PM (#9465797) Journal
    Perhaps I'm just being naive, but anyone else notice a pattern here? Suse, a German OSS distro, is being considered as a candidate in Germany. Mandrakesoft, a French OSS distro, is being considered in France. The American government is using an American-based proprietary OS.

    Anyone else see a pattern? Perhaps it's not open-source ideals that's driving this move, but good old-fashioned protectionism, at least in part.
  • by The Ultimate Fartkno ( 756456 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:16PM (#9465825)


    Qu'est-que c'est 'command line'?

    Apres moi, le r00t!

    Je pense, donc je hax0r.

    Bonjour, mademoiselle. Parlez-vous php?

    Le b0x. Les b0xen?

    BSOD? MERDE!

  • France considering going open source, on the mostly American slashdot? This is gonna be fun. Bash, or laud? Insult, or praise?

    This is gonna be like a platoon of Imperial Stormtroopers going up against a squad of Starfleet Red-shirted ensigns.
  • Whats the trend? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Ok it loooks like
    SUSE -Germany
    Mandarke -France
    RedHat -USA
    Are we going to have classification of countries by operating systems that they use majorly????
  • Don't you mean Euro?
  • by Theovon ( 109752 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @03:51PM (#9466289)
    What would be fun to watch is if some country decided to switch to an Open Source OS, and then did a separate bid for office software.

    Microsoft would be in a position where it could compete for the position of supplying office software, but only if it ported their office software to the Open Source platform.

    I wonder what they would do.

    It would fun just to watch what they do in that predicament.
  • by dalillama ( 770418 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @04:15PM (#9466580) Homepage
    Slashdot has for some reason ignored some big articles on Governmental Open Source. This is what I mean: Brazil has a government department bent on migrating all of the government's software into Open-Source software. This department already has 2,000 employees DEDICATED for migration operations. It's estimated that over 300,000 computers will migrate to Linux. As it stands it still is the largest government-backed program for Open Source. This is nothing new. This dept. was created back in December of 2003 and was covered by Wired. In any case, the most amusing consequence of this was Microsoft's response calling this program "ideologically motivated" in a veiled allusion to President Lula's left-leaning socialist tendencies. But of course, an instant loss of 6% in revenue for Microsoft makes them a bit, uhm, "twitchy". A few links if anyone's interested: Wired Article [wired.com] The Register [theregister.co.uk] Folha de São Paulo (in portuguese) [uol.com.br]
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Friday June 18, 2004 @04:15PM (#9466585) Homepage
    France can wave the nationalistic flag, reduce their dependence on an American brainshare product and thumb their nose at MSFT all in one event.

    We've worked hard at making ourselves abhorrent to the rest of the world the last four years, so efforts like these get a boost from political ill will. The fact they're getting a more stable and secure OS platform with a lower overall TCO is merely a bonus. I don't think the political climate alone would justify the transition costs, but that coupled with MSFT's own corporate malfeasance is enough to get them over the hump.

    I could be wrong but I'm guessing there's more than technical considerations playing into this.

  • by Cnik70 ( 571147 ) <seven2170NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2004 @05:34PM (#9467490) Homepage
    Microsoft canceled plans for it's latest product: Microsoft Surrender Suite. Freshmeat.net was soon overwhelmed with new releases of kSurrender, gtk-surrender, and gSurrender. Mirrors should be available for all French citizens to download the latest releases.

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