Thursday, March 12, 2009

More open source migration

According to this entry, the French police force is in the middle of migrating their entire desktop infrastructure from Windows to Ubuntu and the move has already saved them millions of euros. A fascinating conclusion they came to after adopting the migration strategy is that it would have cost more to upgrade the existing Windows infrastructure! I would say that is a good indication that the Windows operating system needs some serious work to stay afloat in the coming decade.

Another interesting aspect of this migration strategy is how it all started by replacing Microsoft Office with Open Office. Open Office can run on Windows, like many other open source software solutions, and by so doing gives users an opportunity to get familiar with the interface. Not only is the general user experience eased into the migration away from proprietary software, but the concept of open source alternatives is introduced. Some of the users may already be familiar with how open source software works, but many wouldn't be.

Open Office is a good example of open source software that is tightly designed after its' proprietary equivalent. There is almost zero learning curve involved. What I think would be really cool to see is the reaction from the users not familiar with Ubuntu after the switch is made. After switching to Open Office, the user may think "wow, this is really cool software, I can't believe its free". After switching to Ubuntu, they might think "what were we paying for earlier?".

I think this story serves as an excellent example for companies currently engulfed in proprietary software to move to open source.

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