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French taxman opts for OpenOffice

Tax agency plans to put the open-source rival to Microsoft Office on thousands of its PCs.

The Direction Generale des Impots, which manages the taxes of all states and cities in France, plans to deploy the open-source office productivity application on thousands of its PCs. In an ZDNet UK interview published Wednesday, Jean-Marie Lapeyre, the chief technical officer at the French tax agency, said it plans to migrate 80,000 desktops from Microsoft Office 97 to next year.

The migration is expected to cut the agency's costs by 29.3 million euros, or $34.5 million, compared with the cost of switching to Office XP. The agency has calculated that it will only take three man-years to be "completely independent" of Microsoft Office, Lapeyre said. It may also consider migrating to Linux desktops in the future, although Lapeyre said this would require much more work.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.