I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy — but that could change.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

French gendarmes stick it to Bill Gates

The French are leading the move to open systems: Ubuntu, OpenOffice & Firefox. These are the first visible cracks in the Microsoft domination of the desktop. The tectonic plates are moving and the fault lines are about to start fracturing. Given Microsoft torpid product cycle, Redmond will find it increasingly difficult to response to Ubuntu six months release schedule. This is getting interesting...

(ABS-CBN) PARIS - The French paramilitary police force said Wednesday it is ditching Microsoft for the free Linux operating system, becoming one of the biggest administrations in the world to make the break.

The gendarmerie's 70,000 desktops currently use Microsoft's Windows XP operating system. But these will progressively change over to the Linux system distributed by Ubuntu.

"We will introduce Linux every time we have to replace a desktop computer," he said, "so this year we expect to change 5,000-8,000 to Ubuntu and then 12,000-15,000 over the next four years so that every desktop uses the Linux operating system by 2013-2014."

He also added that "the Linux interface is ahead of other operating systems currently on the market for professional use."

In 2005 the gendarmerie switched from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice -- a collection of applications such as a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation program similar to Microsoft Powerpoint, all of which can be downloaded free. A year later it abandoned Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for the Mozilla Foundation's browser Firefox and its email client Thunderbird.

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I am a cantankerous man living and working in the Silicon Valley where reading books is an abomination that is virtually unheard of, frowned upon and may be detrimental to one's career. I avoid censure by never conceding that I ever read or owned a book in my life. If anyone accidentally glimpses my scant proficiency in any subject matter, I immediately accredit it to having glanced at DrudgeReport that day.

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