The French Police are switching 72,000 desktop computers from Windows to Linux. This will result in considerable cost savings over the existing Windows computers that would require constant maintenance for anti-malware and virus protection. Linux on the other hand requires less maintenance and is more reliable. Once the user gets the hang of the different interface the rest would be easy. Once they figure out that they can still use familiar applications like Firefox; the rest is easy. The applications that the police use could be written to work in a web browser using a secure Intranet, this would allow the Police using Linux to still navigate the application and look up case information and details of offenders. The Gendarmerie deserve to have a secure operating system to use instead of the Windows operating system that has gone down the toilet as of late. The NSA SELINUX system in Linux offers more security for free than you get with Windows. This will give the Police more security and reliability and massive cost savings. This is very good news for the open source community as well as Linux in general.
The users were initially switched to the OpenOffice.org suite instead of Microsoft Office; then the open source Mozilla Firefox web browser. Once the users were trained in the new applications the desktops were switched to the new Linux distribution. This is based on Ubuntu and is a custom distribution that is customised for the use of the Police. Countries like Brazil are using more open source software and China has a custom Linux distribution named “Red Star Linux”. This goes to show that Linux has more security and reliability than Windows and this is a good reason for the uptake by various agencies. We only need more applications to be developed for Linux and then it will be a more worthy contender for the desktop. There are a lot of proprietary desktop applications that do not have free alternatives yet. This is all that is holding back Linux at the moment.