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8/10/2007
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Automaker Peugeot Converts 20,000 Desktops To Linux

Peugeot is planning to give Linux desktops to a wide variety of computer users, including sales force workers and workers on the manufacturing floor.

The French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen is slated to become one of the few large scale conversions to desktop Linux.

The migration is still in the planning stages but will get underway soon, said Guy Lunardi, Novell senior product manager, during a session on desktop Linux at LinuxWorld in San Francisco this week.

Peugeot will convert 20,000 of its 72,000 users to Linux, using Novell's SUSE Linux Enteprise Desktop product. The package includes the Novell edition of OpenOffice.org 2, a desktop productivity suite that includes a spreadsheet, word processor, presentation graphics, drawing program and database. The software claims compatibility with Microsoft Office files. OpenOffice.org is an open source project; its latest release is OpenOffice 2.2.1.

In addition, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop includes a search engine for searching the user's desktop files and documents.

Lunardi said Peugeot does not have in-depth Linux expertise and is a typical user company rather than a technical company with entrenched user expertise. "No extra people have been hired for the project. The new desktops do not require any special training, except for a quick, double page set of explanations," said Lunardi.

Peugeot is planning to give Linux desktops to a wide variety of computer users, including "sales force workers and workers on the manufacturing floor," he added.

Peugeot has completed a pilot project for 300 users based on Mandriva Linux from Mandriva, the former Mandrakesoft. Mandriva is a French firm that based its early product on Red Hat Linux. Mandriva is currently used in the French Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. Lundardi did not explain why Peugeot switched from Mandriva to SUSE Enterprise Desktop for its installation of 20,000 seats.

But he said the icing on the cake was Peugeot's decision to purchase support for 2,500 SUSE Linux servers as well. Both desktop and server Linuxes will have to integrate with a typical Windows infrastructure, including Active Directory and Microsoft Office.

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