Paris looks to dump Windows PCs in favor of open-source; why not consider Macs?

“Systems integrator Unilog is set to carry out a feasibility study on the installation of open-source software systems for the city of Paris, the company has said. On the strength of an earlier Unilog study, Munich agreed to migrate thousands of desktops from Windows to the open-source operating system Linux,” Christophe Guillemin and Matthew Broersma report for CNET

Guillemin and Broersma report, “The three-month study will review the 17,000 PCs used by the French capital’s administration, including 400 servers and 600 applications, and it was awarded to Unilog as a direct result of the Munich study, the company said. In May of last year, Munich decided to equip 14,000 workstations with SuSE Linux-based systems, a move seen as a significant win for the open-source camp. Linux is highly popular on servers, but does not yet challenge Microsoft’s dominance of the desktop.”

“‘Unilog has proven that its recommendations took into account the technological, economic, qualitative and strategic priorities of the customer,’ Unilog said. ‘As an independent company, Unilog can guarantee a completely neutral evaluation,'” Guillemin and Broersma report.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A look at Unilog’s website shows pretty clearly that Mac OS X, Apple Xserve, iMacs, eMacs, iBooks, PowerBooks and Mac OS X Server and other Apple solutions are not being considered. Emails to Unilog has so far gone unanswered. Why not consider Apple? Let’s see where Apple fits in with Unilog looking carefully at TCO, longetivity, Mac OS X, IT support, etc. If it’s too expensive, so be it. We’d bet Unilog, Paris, Munich and the world would be quite surprised if Apple were included in Unilog’s “comprehensive” evaluation.


  1. Won’t happen. These European cities are trying to become less dependant on a single vendor, which is why they are wanting to ditch MS. Linux is the only way they can achieve this.

  2. If there is a problem with deals like this it will be with APPLICATIONS. Most all of the specialized commercial software used by government and enterprise is being written for our favorite Mac rip-off, not OS X. Apple would do well to promote TrollTech’s QT which enables rapid cross-platform development of software. In fact, an outright purchase of TrollTech would be a smart move. Investing more time and dollars in the X11, DarWine and KDE on Mac projects would not hurt either.

  3. Just IT support costs coupled with iChat AV communication citywide on PowerPC CPUs would make Paris more ffeicient that chaining them to Suse/Intel/AMD.

    The reason it’ll never happen Dave, is because Paris’ consultant firm will not even consider the Apple solution. Paris could become a shining star – instead it will end up running Linux trying to act/work like Windows and failing even more miserably than Windows itself (if that’s possible).

  4. Keeping the junky and aging hardware that used to run Windows and now runs Linux reduces costs? As these machines are scheduled to be replaced as normal, simply buy a Mac instead. Mac OS X works well on Windows networks (when Windows works, that is) – so switch to Mac over time. IT costs will evaporate. The world would finally WAKE UP.

  5. The real reason is they want them and their kind to have jobs in 5 years time. If everyone switches to macs, you won’t need as many IT personnel and you won’t need some company doing feasibility studies, as everyone would be satisfied!

  6. They’re not going to want to ditch all their hardware. That’s why OS-X isn’t a real workable alternative. Though it should be possible to replace a large number of machines with macs when they need replacing. Most machines will be used to run the usual mail/word/excel/browser software. They can be replaced. Those that are running different software, well, if it’s available on Linux, it could easily be ported to OS-X, or they could just leave ’em running Linux.

    I would have no problem with running OS-X and Linux systems together. In fact, it makes sense. Diversity and all that.

  7. I looked at the website very quickly. I notice they do training. I wonder what on earth they train people to do? Do you think it could be the use of Linux and its programs?


    PS Please remember. Macs are not enterprise (or government) machines. They cost too much. They are closed. There is no software. Sigh

  8. Mark, even if Paris takes on Suse/Novell Linux, they are not locked into it because of the open source nature of Linux itself. You can make changes to Linux distros to suit your own needs. Add to that the fact that they can re-use their current hardware and buy new hardware from any vendor, and you’ve got the perfect high-volume OS for the public sector. Of course it won’t be anywhere near as integrated as OSX, and nowhere near as versatile, but who needs all that for a typing terminal in an office, especially when it means spending taxpayers money?

  9. This is my take. A win for Linux can be a win for Apple. The more players we get on the field will help everyone but Microsoft.

    Here is how I think that is true. In a President election two candidates compete and many times it is a landslide other times it is pretty even. Now when an independent candidate adds himself to the ballot, he only takes votes from the other candidates he is most like.

    Back to tech. Linux feels much more Windows like than Mac like. The more Linux gets into the work place the more choice it brings to consumers. Joe Average has a Linux work station at work. He goes to buy a new Computer and Windows is not in his head. He looks around. Realizes he has choices. Without a work force of Windows PC’s Microsoft will find it much harder to compete in the home market against Apple. And if Apple really makes a play to build in more Linux buzz words then all the sudden they seem Linux friendly where as Microsoft doesn’t.

    I say Bring Linux, bring others. Once a Monopoly is dethroned then real competition can begin and maybe this time the best will win in this new environment.

  10. Mathew makes a good point. I would like to add that any Linux software that they become dependent on is easily portable to Macintosh, so it will be much easier for any government office or individual to switch to Mac later on.

    Also, France probably doesn’t trust Bill Gates. They probably don’t trust any American corporation. Buying Macs would be replacing their dependence on one greedy, lying, cheating capitalist with another (in their view). By choosing Linux, they retain complete control. They can put it on whatever hardware they want, including Mac boxes.

    Not to mention the fact that Linus is a lot closer to France than any American corporation.

  11. Kenny, is that why the BeOS never took off? The US’ distrust toward those greedy nutty intriguing french? (well, the founder was french anyway)

    Hey, I infinitely favour going Linux over Windows, at least it will boost open standards. I think it’s still pathetic that people can’t concede that there are other alternatives out there. Heck, let’s be honest, linux isn’t exactly a great desktop OS, and it’s only considered an alternative thanks to all the (sometimes undeserved) hype it’s got.

  12. They’ll go with Mandrake Linux (French) on AMD boxes (German). These are the French afterall. They’re the folks who made it illegal to use a word of “foreign” origin when a French one will do. While Mandrake isn’t as nearly as polished as Mac OS X, it’s not too bad and–did I mention that it’s French?

  13. To a large organization or government, Macs are the worst case scenario. PC’s won out over Macs because if you didn’t like Compaq, you could buy IBM. If you didn’t like IBM, you could buy HP, Dell, or Gateway. Basically the hardware was open. All running the same crappy OS.

    Now comes Linux. You still have the hardware freedom of choice. Now Linux gives you the software freedom of choice. Don’t like SuSe? Switch to Red Hat or Debian. Going with Apple limits your choices in the eyes of I.T. directors.

    I work for a city gov’t. I’m typing this on my iBook at my desk right next to my PC running Linux. I’m a Linux administrator. We are going open source in a major way. The director estimates that it would cost $30 million to replace our mainframe software. So he wants to use open source instead of being tied into one vendor like Microsoft.

    I love my iBook and wish I had a G5 on my desk, but I’ll be the first to say there is no way I’d recommend Apple desktops for my city gov’t. It would be too expensive. The average PC here costs less than $1000. And even that is costing us too much money. And don’t tell me about eMacs. If a PC’s monitor dies, its one hour tops to be back in business. If an eMacs monitor dies, you are SOL. Now if Apple had a low cost headless unit, with a G5 in it, I might listen. And now, we’re testing thin clients to cut the costs even more. IdotPC’s, minus a monitor, cost around $250 and make great thin clients, running X Window applications served from a Linux server.

    Apple Laptops, on the other hand, are something I recommend all the time to my director. Hopefully, he’ll listen at some point.

    Where would I recommend a Mac solution? Definitely in a small business or any business for that matter that has a need for each user to run a standalone computer.

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