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Liberté, Egalité… Linux!

La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, starts with the lines ‘Arise, you children of the fatherland, the day of glory has arrived’. For the deputies (MPs) elected to the French parliament, the Assemblée Nationale, the ‘jour de gloire‘ will be one in next July when 1,154 French parliamentary workstations will start running a Linux OS with the suite, Firefox and an open source email client. It is reported that the choice of Linux distribution and email client have still to be decided.

The project formed the basis of a study by Atos Origin, whose conclusions convinced the French parliament to make the switch.

A parliamentary spokesman said: “The study showed that open source software will from now on offer functionality adapted to the needs of MPs and will allow us to make substantial savings despite the associated migration and training costs”.

This will be the first case of a French public institution switching its PCs onto a Linux operating system. Previous open source initiatives concerned servers – as happened with the Ministry of Agriculture – or OpenOffice and Firefox, which are now in use by France’s gendarmerie.

The decision has been welcomed by French open source supporters. Benoït Sibaud, president of the Association for the research into and promotion of open source computing, said that the decision to migrate to open source will allow the Assemblée Nationale to have greater control over its IT, without depending on any one vendor and to make better use of public money.

The original French report is available on ZDnet France.