Toulouse, France's fourth largest city, has saved 1 million euro by migrating all its desktops to LibreOffice, an open source suite of office productivity tools. "Free software and open source in general is now an established part of the city’s comprehensive digital policy, and the open model promotes economic development and employment in the region", according to a study published by the Open Source Observatory and Repository today.
Moving to LibreOffice is one of the key projects in the city's IT strategy, the study reports. Currently several thousand people out of the 10,000 who work for the city and Toulouse Métropole use LibreOffice daily. The migration started in 2012, following the political decision in 2011. The switch took a year and a half, and 90 per cent of the desktops now run LibreOffice.
Switching to free software results in cost-savings, the study quotes current and former city officials as saying. "Software licenses for productivity suites cost Toulouse 1.8 million euro every three years. Migration cost us about 800,000 euro, due partly to some development. One million euro has actually been saved in the first three years. It is a compelling proof in the actual context of local public finance", the study quotes Erwane Monthubert, who was responsible for the city's IT policy until April this year, as saying.
A popular move
The city's open source IT approach has not changed following the elections in April, when the city government changed from the Socialist Party to the centre-right Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP).
Toulouse started working on its free and open source software policy in 2008, the study reports. The creation of Toulouse Métropole resulted in the merger of the city's two IT departments, for the city and the city's suburbs, with the new CIO taking an active approach towards open source. The use of open source stepped up to a higher level, though this was done very gradually. At the political level, the position of open source software was debated regularly.
The city now has several websites, web applications and intranet portals (toulouse.fr, toulouse-metropole.fr, data.grandtoulouse.fr) that are supported by free software. Collaborative tools and electronic document management portals are based on Liferay and Alfresco. Joomla is also used to accelerate the development of small websites, Bertrand Serp, who is currently resonsible for Toulouse and Toulouse Métropole digital policy, said in the report.