El Reg is reporting that the gendarmerie is now ditching Windows XP in favour of Ubuntu, having already switched browsers to Firefox, and dumping MS Office for OpenOffice. Apparently, 70 000 desktop PCs are involved in the migration. Smart.

That’s a similar process to that followed locally by the CSIR – as I reported last year in CIO Africa, which sadly is a print only publication – and also almost exactly what I did almost four years ago: switched email to Thunderbird, browser to Firefox, office suite to OpenOffice and, finally, operating system to Linux. The result: stability the likes of which I hadn’t experienced since the advent of Windows. And it seems others have stumbled upon this migration path – if the recent uptake in Firefox use is any guide.

As I can attest, it works, like a charm. Still, the fear factor remains – something that Microsoft exacerbates with all the FUD it spreads around Linux and open source. Luckily, the CSIR’s Open Source Centre is availing its expertise and migration services to South African SMMEs wishing to get off the proprietary software treadmill.

Update: I managed to find an electronic copy of my CSIR story, and posted it here (1.2MB jpeg).