Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

French Parliament moving to Ubuntu. Wise or not?

This sounds like good news, really good news. According to p2pnet the French parliament is switching to Ubuntu.

France goes Ubuntu news:- “ZUT ALORS!” – says The Inquirer. “In a bid to save cash, the French Parliament is planning to switch to flavour of the month Linux distro, Ubuntu.”

And indeed, says LaTribune, the National Assembly initiative could be interpreted as a political decision aimed at fostering the growth of an open source software industry in France.

More than 400 French firms are already specializing in developing open source software and predictions are that the sector could create some 50,000 jobs in France between now and 2010, says the story.

“Following this recommendation two companies, Linagora and Unilog, have been selected to provide the members of the Parliament as well as their assistants new computers containing free software,” says Fridge. “This will amount to 1,154 new computers running Ubuntu prior to the start of the next session which occurs in June 2007.”

Ubuntu is a, “free, open source Linux-based operating system that starts with the breadth of Debian and adds regular releases (every six months), a clear focus on the user and usability (it should ‘Just Work’, TM) and a commitment to security updates with 18 months of support for every release (and with 6.06 LTS you get 3 years on the desktop and 5 on the server!),” says the official site.

“Ubuntu ships with the latest GNOME release as well as a selection of server and desktop software that makes for a comfortable desktop experience off a single installation CD.”

1.154 desktop migrations to be finished before June? Okay, I like the idea but is this really the wise way to do it? If all those desktops are completely stand-alone boxes with no links to Active Directories or Exchange accounts that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Or the sysadmins of the French Parliament have LDAP, Samba and Kolab running already on some nice server farm, in which case the migrations should go almost smoothly. Oh.. retraining shouldn’t be necessary for the French MP’s. No doubt all their Evolution accounts should be setup and working flawlessly. Using really isn’t the big hurdle, nor is the use of Firefox. Which major organisation really needs more than two to three months for such a drastic reorganisation of their IT infrastructure anyway?

Bottom line, I am deeply worried about the time frame they are using. When things go wrong Linux is the one being blamed. Ubuntu is the right choice. The decision to push migration forward in the highest levels of government sets a fine example. But I do hope it will succeed.

Tags: Ubuntu, Linux


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