The French Ministry for Education has migrated 2,500 servers across its 30 local education authorities to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
The move is part of the ministry's strategy to invest in open source and avoid proprietary software lock-ins.
Michel Affre, IT systems manager at the French Ministry for Education, said, "Having first abandoned GECOS 7 and DPS 7, and gradually the AIX system, the ministry decided from 2000 that it would drastically lower its costs by definitively decoupling the operating system supplier from the hardware supplier."
He said, "In doing so, the ministry has standardised the information system architecture of each local education authority by running its application servers on Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating on standard servers."
Affre said that more than 3,000 servers - which represent 80 to 120 servers per local education authority - now operate on Linux, with 80% of them running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
The Linux servers support financial applications or tools for managing exams, staff, students or everyday administrative activities.
The ministry's applications suppliers, internal developers and external partners now develop on open standards to ensure compatibility with Red Hat Enterprise Linux and other versions of the Linux OS the ministry uses.
The ministry said it was generally satisfied with the systems provided by its previous IT suppliers, but that it was hampered by the high costs of software licences, hardware, support and business applications development.