Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/14/paris_oss_debate/

Paris may favour gradual switch from MS to open source

'Big bang' costs high, says study

By John Lettice

Posted in Operating Systems, 14th October 2004 13:29 GMT

A Parisian road to Linuxism seems the most likely future for the Paris municipality's IT systems, following the presentation of a study by Unilog yesterday. The cost of a complete switch over to open source for Paris, reports Libération, would have been too great at €57 million over five years, but it was nevertheless seen as being vital to overcome the city's dependence on one "quasi-monopolistic supplier."

We have no idea who François Dagnaud could possibly have in mind here, but the city's inclination to go for a "third way" is unsurprising. In common with many other organisations the Paris municipality faces lock-in, and in this case 75 per cent of the cost of a full-scale switch would be accounted for support and retraining costs.

But as Libération reports a number of representatives in favour of a gradual but progressive switch to free software saying, it isn't just a matter of cost. Green rep Marie-Pierre Martinet meanwhile observed that she hoped the discussions wouldn't be used simply as a negotiating ploy to achieve price cuts from Microsoft.

Faced with a possible Parisian defection earlier this year Microsoft cut its prices by almost 60 per cent. Paris is due to make the final decision on its IT future by early next year. ®

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