It’s not often that governments lead the way in technological revolutions but it seems that where Windows is concerned, some have simply had enough. An interesting article in Wired explains how many governments have stalled in their efforts to change from expensive Windows to cheap and cheerful open source Linux. The biggest problem has been incompatiblity issues according to Wired:
Switching to open source can cause compatibility issues with Microsoft’s file formats, which are proprietary — and still used by the vast majority of other computer users. There can be conflicts with MS Exchange servers, commonly used for e-mail and calendaring. And there’s the problem of educating government IT departments about the ways of Linux.
However, you can always rely on the French to spearhead a revolution. France’s National Assembly are about to attempt a total conversion to Linux, Sun’s OpenOffice software and Mozilla’s Firefox browser. The move, rather than due to operational problems, has been inspired by fears over espionage in the growing “economic war between the USA and Europe” according to one open source expert. If the French police force’s experience is anything to go by however, the transition will not be without major problems. A spokesperson explains that OpenOffice is “complicated, atrocious” and that “the advantages are not terribly clear.”
So maybe not Vive La France! but C’est la Vie?