The French Ministry of Equipment is in the middle of a multiyear programme to replace the aging Microsoft Windows NT operating system on about 1,500 of its office and infrastructure servers with versions of Mandrakelinux Corporate Server.
Mandrakesoft said the agency serves about 100,000 workers in some 160 locations throughout France, providing central and local administration and technical and navigation services.
The ministry has more than 60,000 workstations and 2,000 Microsoft Windows NT servers, according to Mandrakesoft.
The migration programme, which began last November, is being conducted by the agency's central administration for IT office. The replacement project will continue through the end of 2005. The Windows NT operating system is being replaced with two custom versions of Mandrakelinux Corporate Server.
The operating system replacement project comes amid initiatives from the French government that give software firms the chance to win state business as an alternative to proprietary products. The French government wants to use open-source software providers to resupply some of the nearly one million state computers, part of a government cost-cutting drive designed to trim a bulging budget deficit.
Other governments in Europe and around the world have been taking a closer look at Linux as an alternative to proprietary software in an effort to cut costs and increase reliability and security.
Last month, the city of Munich approved a plan to roll out the Linux operating system and other open-source applications on more than 14,000 city administration computers.
Todd R Weiss writes for Computerworld