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Senior Navy Official Slams Microsoft 273

Here is a short article which indicates that the Navy is not happy with Microsoft. One paragraph: "There are shareware products that have better groupware features than those of Microsoft products, he said, drawing applause from the audience." ("He" is Undersecretary of the Navy Jerry MacArthur Hultin.)
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Senior Navy Official Slams Microsoft

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  • clueful developers to do cool things with Outlook...

    Oh yeah. LookOut! Perhaps the most despised client app by mail admins since Bloated Goats. Good idea.

    One could argue that only thing "clueful" about developers doing anything with LookOut! would have to be that they're clued that they can make a lot of money with no-questions-asked because it's Microsoft product.

    Yes, I'm an Admin. I get more complaints about e-mail problems from LookOut! users than all others combined. Imagine that. What good is an alleged "groupware" product if one can't even depend on it to deal with plain old e-mail reliably?

    And as far as groupware products go: last I looked, LookOut!/SexChange was the weakest of the pack. (Except perhaps in sales volume. It is, after all, a Microsoft product.)

    What the U.S. Navy ought to be doing is insisting that all of its vendors' products adhere to open standards. For the clue-impaired: Microsoft "standards" does not necessarily equate with open standards.

  • Dude, people love to see bad things happen to people a lot more wealthy than themselves.

    People who want bad things to happen to esr, please stand up.

  • Now people who want bad things to happen to this "ZicoKnows" (who is unlikely to be rich), please stand up...
  • I rarely laugh out loud at posts, but this one got me. Probably because it included the word "toilet".
  • Y'know, when I saw South Park: The Movie, and Bill Gates got shot, pretty much everyone in the theater applauded.

    I said to my wife at that time that Microsoft's monopoly is over, because the average person had finally acquired contempt for their shoddy products, even if they were still using them.

    New XFMail home page []

  • Not to turn this troll fest into a productive conversation, but anyone know what good groupware products this guy might have been referring to?

    Any that run on NT? (I use what the boss tells me, deal with it.)

  • Its a lot closer to risk free than a closed sourced OS with millions of bugs in it (28K in Win2K... and those are just the ones they *know* about).

    Not to mention how expensive NT is and that us US citizens get to pay for such an inferior product, when better, cheaper, more relaiable options exist. Its inexcusible that the Navy single sourced with NT. Totally inexecusible.

  • you need parens around the if test. Also, you might of meant post(\%article), which would pass a reference to the hash instead of converting it into a list (Assuming that you are not using prototypes and declaring post as sub post ($) { .. }).
    Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right.
  • I don't know of any replacement for Visio. Dia looks good (do a search on Freshmeat), but it doesn't have all of the the functionality of Visio.

    Novell is porting Novell Directory Services to Linux, which should make your SSO solution a snap, for NT and Linux machines. Native NDS services also means that you don't need a NetWare server.

    NDS is far better than ADS in almost all respects. It is stable, well-documented and supported. It is on its third version and tenth year of development. It works well with DNS, unlike ADS, which refuses to cooperate well with BIND (not just server, but client, too).

    Read more about the advantages of Novell NDS over Microsoft ADS here.

    HP OpenMail supports MS Outlook, including calendaring. Free license for Linux (no support and only 50 users).
  • I didn't say free groupware, I said groupware for a free OS. There's a BIG difference. So, I feel fully entitled to point out Lotus Notes, thank you very much.

    But, if you insist on free groupware, I suggest looking at SourceForge, CODA, Global File System, Reliable Multicast File Transfer, VIC, RAT, CVS, any NNTP server plus XVNews or newsreader with similar level of functionality, IMAP, Postfix, any fully-featured MIME-compliant e-mail package, ICQ for Linux (or similar) and this news site's Very Own Slash!

    If Exchange can match, 1:1, every scrap of functionality ovvered by the above setup, show me. If not, it's not worth wasting my time over. If I can do better, for less, using Industry-Standard Software and Protocols, I don't need to fork out large sums of money on something that doesn't offer anything else and throws away all the security I could have, using the free tools I've listed.

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday February 12, 2000 @07:39AM (#1282124) Homepage Journal
    Linux companies, and companies deploying Linux (such as IBM and SGI) should be queueing up outside the Navy's office, about now, to tell them about this extremely robust system they know of, that DOES support the groupware the Navy needs, at a fraction of the cost, and without any risk of catastrophic failures or public relations disasters.

    IMHO, the Navy needs Linux. Linux doesn't particularly need any of the military, but they DO need it, or at least some Open Source system. I imagine FreeBSD and OpenBSD would be two good alternatives to Linux. (NetBSD is, from what I've heard, a hotbed of politics, which might make the more discerning customers a little nervous.)

    Open Source solutions provide the stability AND SECURITY that the Navy needs, both from a military and legal stand-point. There is also, as the gentleman pointed out (though mis-naming it "shareware"), the Groupware that he needs to operate an efficient service.

    In my books, I'd say that Linux and the *BSD's would be hot-favourites, right now, to win a contract with the Navy. And, once they see the sheer quality, I suspect they'll stick with it.

  • [ There are shareware products that have better groupware features than those of Microsoft products, he said, drawing applause from the audience. ]

    Ok then, give some shareware developer out there an early christmas present and buy his software. If not, then basically...shutup. Or was he hoping to get some beanie points by bashing Microsoft?

    The Department of Defense has already made a large commitment to using an Open Source groupware package called CVW [], that was developed as an internal research project by MITRE []. There's an article in the latest Linux Journal [] about it. My guess is that Undersecretary Hultin was referring to CVW, and confused shareware with open source.

    OSS trivia item: Eric Raymond was instrumental in helping convince MITRE (and their legal department) to release CVW as Open Source Software.

  • by miniver ( 1839 ) on Saturday February 12, 2000 @07:06AM (#1282126) Homepage

    The Department of Defense has already made a large commitment to using an Open Source groupware package called CVW [], that was developed as an internal research project by MITRE []. There's an article in the latest Linux Journal [] about it.

  • Federal development has a long history of public disclosure, and Open Source development is well known for providing the widest possible exposure of the codebase to security audit.

    The common weakness of Open Source projects is the limited bandwidth for integrating the influx of data, patches, and functionality requests. Good projects have, and need, that core group of developers to guide the flow of the code, and it's this behavior that lends legitimacy to claims of authorship long after others take over non-insignificant module implementation.

    This is the most concentrated point of labor in the otherwise highly distributed architecture of open code evolution. This, combined with the Federal Government's prediliction for disclosure and concerns about (national!) security, would make it advisable for at least a few government contracters to consider integrating the GPL as a key win in their official project bids.

    The timing is perfect: Microsoft's Worst-Case Scenario of the Sixty-Five Thousand Bug Operating System has deflated expectations of W2K considerably. Most governmental managers(decision makers) have just had a well-respected higher-up validate their employee's doubts in the "dominant paradigm". The market has fully validated Linux as a viable platform. And The Code Needs A Shepard.

    Why not Open Outsource? So much of the resistance to bringing in outside workers is that the internal developers aren't confident outside workers are going to meet their specific user requirements. Internal resistance would be lessened considerably if employees knew they could always fix the problems in software they were being tasked with deploying--and they'd even get to have their fixes integrated into the next release! Various departments would be able to cease redundant development; critical fixes would be integrated, experimental forks would be both possible and feasable at a low cost of exploration, and outside developments would be integrated into the central source trees based upon the strength of functionality, not force.

    Open Outsourcing is the answer to the question of how the code development house makes money in the essay <a href="">I published some time ago</a>, and should be considered by decision makers throughout the entire market. I was just recently working on integrating this information into my essay before the DDoS stuff hit; I'd be happy to have it ready as soon as possible if anybody wishes to take advantage of it to try to win a contract.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
  • Interesting. Appears to be an attempt at a rebuttal, or maybe something trying to elicit rampant anti-MS ranting.

    You're not going to get that out of me; I hate Microsoft's business processes far more than I'll ever disrespect its coders by arbitrarily condemning the fruits of their labor.

    Much Windows code is broken. Much isn't--I hold quite a bit of respect to your User Interface people, and I'm not afraid to admit it.

    There are, however, some major problems with any infrastructure built upon Microsoft solutions. One serious issue is that, for alot of what MS does, they're the only ones that can do it--the collateral damage of the hidden and obfuscated OS interfaces which let MS attain dominance in the Office Suite market has been that Microsoft hasn't had the internal drive to fix those problems that everyone else needs to suffer through, but that Microsoft can escape by accessing their API's.

    You'll never find Ordinals(API's accessed by numbers alone) on the Linux platform. And while there's alot of stuff you won't find on Linux, there's very little you can be sure you'll *never* find. And that's a problem.

    I don't really want to argue the questionability of Microsoft in the literal programmatic space, if for no other reason than I think there are quite a few counterarguments that can be brought up that are entirely valid. The point is not really that Windows is an inferior environment to program in, it's that it's a much *harder* environment to program correctly, and worse, it's *intentionally* harder.

    Linux, despite the lack of a VS6-grade IDE(and that's coming in the form of KDevelop), is and will always be far simpler for developers to dip their toes into. All systems ship with a compiler, and incremental study of universally available can convert even armchair coders into contributing members of the Linux community. There's a real bottom line in the fact that large scale customers can direct their own internal coders to fixing mission critical problems(i.e. the ones who are suffering the financial ruin can directly contribute to increasing their own savings) while small scale customers too tiny to appear on Microsoft's roadmap can still pull themselves out of the fire.

    I agree with Microsoft's concept of a "digital nervous system", though I'm annoyed by the acronym. I'm just not convinced Microsoft is the greatest supplier of this system, and I don't think anyone else is either.

    More about why I think the Open environment generates better code can be found in the essay on my website; please, feel free to respond with any concerns you might have after reading it or this post.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
  • The 4.6 Notes client does work with Wine. It's not 100%, but it is enough for everyday use. I've used it and the only thing stopping me from using it all the time on linux instead of windows is a lack of memory on my linux machine. I believe a guy in our linux user group now only uses it on linux. Check out uxnotes.html [] for more information.

  • Nightmare? It shouldn't be a nightmare for a company that knows what it's doing, like IBM. The company I work for has thousands of unix machines (soon to include linux) distributed across the US. I don't think anyone considers it a 'nightmare'. Standardize the software/hardware distribution and make sure that only authorized people have the ability to update the software. Given the support contracts involved with something like the Federal Government, I'm sure it's more like a dream than a nightmare.

    Just because there are a ton of MSCEs, doesn't mean we have to justify their existence. That's like saying at 1900, there's a ton of blacksmiths, buggies, and horses, so just forget about those automobiles.

  • Groupware systems are fairly easy to implement. I mean real groupware stuff, not the bollocks that Exchange pretends to be.

    So many sheep go with Exchange though, when in fact it's functionally destitute.

  • Let's see... the Navy is up for the rebidding process w/Microsoft soon. I think this is their attempt to try to get MS to accept a lower bid. Nothing more.

    What would be really funny would be to see the Navy running on Shareware products! :)

  • T?he US? Na?vy ?has ?an ob?jection? to Micros~1?

    C?n they? like wr?te an article using somethin? ?hat works so ?e can re?d wh?t thei? grievance is?

  • My bet is that they'll return to Lotus Notes.

    I quit my last job, which was primarily web development using Notes/Domino 4.6, because 4.6 was an incredibly frustrating platform upon which to develop good web applications - that is, applications which are designed to run in a web browser.

    But Notes is an incredibly powerful platform if you are willing to use the Notes client. Notes has already received the necessary security certifications - otherwise the Navy wouldn't have been using it previously.

    IBM, Lotus' parent company, has made Domino a central part of their larger internet strategy. IBM is making WebSphere work very closely with Domino, has greatly extended Java servlet support in Domino, and has included Domino support in their Visual Age for Java IDE.

    I don't know of any other "industrial strength" groupware packages which have met the government's security requirements. They may very well be out there, but if so they definitely have a "nice" market, and a deficient Marketing department.
  • don't make me laugh little boy.
    litestep is nice and all, but it is VERY weak, when compared to most *nix WindowManagers...

    When you grow up, come back to the party, until then, play with your toys.

  • This isn't "news for nerds". It's a suit using some speech for his own purpose -- be it a to get a discount from MS, join the bash MS bangwagon or whatever.

    As it happens, groupware under Windows gets much better if you take a peep at Exchange 2000 or hire clueful developers to do cool things with Outlook...
  • You wouldn't want them to take a journalistic chance, now, would you? Don't you realize that millions of dollars are riding on the shareholder's perception of this internet property?
  • >So, what Linux groupware products can we turn the Navy on to?

    HP OpenMail or Lotus Notes for the server. What we still need is a good Lotus client for Linux.
  • One of the problems the DoD agencies face is that various mandates were made several years ago to standardize on Microsoft NT. Another problem is that new contracts are required to comply with the DISA DII COE. Currently only Microsoft NT, Solaris and HP Unix are directly supported by DISA. Until they directly support a Linux distribution or roll thier own, it will be very hard to get Linux based products into the DoD and other government agencies.
  • Funny that he starts bashing microsoft just before negotiating on the (presumably vast) Intranet/Internet project. You don't think thew Navy pays retail, do you?
  • >Microsoft is responsible for bugs in other companies' software?

    Any decent OS is responsible for handling error messages from the client applications, & keeping the rest of the system chugging along.

    Think about it: if you had just kicked off an application that would update records in a million-row DB table, & it could be destroyed by some newbie's error of forgetting to include a semicolon, would *YOU* trust your work to that OS?

    Of course, someone in the Navy was just plain stupid for entrusting an entire ship's safety to just one computer. A single, lucky shot could disable the computer, & the warship would be just as dead in the water if it was running NT, UNIX, or some POS written by a crackhead in return for a case of Ripple. And some prime rock.

  • Re point 3:

    It may not be heavy duty enough for your needs, and it has the occasional bug, but the calendar works very nicely to keep our mixed workgroup of 40 assorted Linux, Windows and Mac users coordinated.

    It has quite decent meeting and task scheduling. I guess you could also use Netscape mail if you liked. (Personally I just keep an Xterm open for pine).
  • Ok, this is off-topic and it's a major troll, but I wish that all the clueless lusers who write their web pages with word processing software would learn to turn off Smart Quotes. That crap just doesn't look right on the web, and as a result of the luser using Smart Quotes in this article, I stopped reading after the third or fourth sentence.

    Some people just need to get their asses kicked!
  • Or were you wishing that there were shareware products to change the ? to the proper character?

  • It isn't just the secretary of the Navy -- Microsoft has been doing a bunch of customer research into Lotus Notes operations, as well as prepackaged web-based solutions, and they've heard about a million reasons why MS Groupware sucks.

    Microsoft's answer to groupware is Microsoft Exchange. But what do you think of Exchange as being? An expensive Email server.

    It sounds to me like they've gotten the message that Exchange (as it stands) will never be more than a half-assed e-mail/calendar server. The problem is changing directions.

    They've been running around whispering about some vaporware called "Tahoe" for a while now. The goal is to make MS Office the groupware 'client', and to make extended versions of IIS and MSSQL the groupware 'server'. Exchange only fits into the picture as an MTA -- it's unstable Jet databases are going to fade quietly into the night.

    Note that if they can pull this off, they will strike at a big weak spot in Lotus. Notes has always had pretty poor integration with MS Office because they've chosen to sold the integration features as a value add in Lotus SmartSuite. The problem is that 95% of their customers use MS Office and have to fumble around with file attachments, etc.

  • My understanding is that's incorrect -- the SQL backend is planned for Exchange 7. Ex2000 (v6) does allow you have mutiple Jet databases, however.

    (I am a little confused at the "web store" feature -- as far as I can tell it's exchange stuff stored as XML documents in the traditional Jet backend. It does, however, allow Lotus Domino-like webserving of groupware content.)
  • I just can't help but thinking that if they really implemented MSDE, they would have "Powered By SQL Server!" written all over the marketing materials. Still there's a beta sitting around, so I suppose I could install it and see. (Of course, I could also start burning myself with cigarettes just for fun -- I've been waiting around since the v4 beta cycle for Exchange to get even halfassed, and I've pretty much lost patience.)
  • They converted from HP-UX to NT for ship operations and the system crashed during sea trials. See it here []
  • Dude, people love to see bad things happen to people a lot more wealthy than themselves. Your wife was probably wondering how she married such a simpleton.
  • People who want bad things to happen to esr, please stand up.

    You've never read any ESR-related threads on Slashdot, have you? In other words, terrible choice.

    Well, unless you were trying to rally people to want bad things to happen to ESR, which I wouldn't advocate, but would have to admit was funny, considering that we're on Slashdot.


  • Actually, although I can't speak for the Navy, they may already have lock-in to Outlook 98/2K. When I left, the Air Force was beginning their roll-out of DMS (Defense Messaging System) which uses and Outlook plugin along with X.400 directory services and Fortezza cards (embedded crypto on PCMCIA cards) for secure encrypted message passing. Unless they rewrite and re-roll out this system they are going to be using Outlook for some time.

    On annother note, except for being extremely bloated Outlook is not too bad. Although based on what I have read (I haven't used it myself) it is no competition for Lotus Notes. I use Novell GroupWise now and it has some pretty neat features, but the butt-ugliest client you could imagine (I used to use Netscape Communicator over GW LDAP to manage my mail until my mailbox caused the service to crash, repeadedly. I can't manage my mail lists with the Windows or Web based clients, they have no message threading).

    Just my $0.02 from the Peanut Gallery.

  • .....the groupware the Navy needs, at a fraction of the cost, and without any risk of catastrophic failures or public relations disasters....

    Fraction of the cost, possibly, but without any risk??? Come on.... You are kidding right? (At the very least you're kidding yourself). One only has to look at Bugtraq or the Errata list for any of the Major Distros to realise that there is plenty of potential for failure in Linux.

    The "Risk-Free" Operating system does not exist, and we don't do Linux any favours by touting it as that OS.


  • I keep forgetting the default now is text not html :|

    Then change your prefs so that html is default..
    Customise Comments -> Comment post mode

  • Hell, cans and string tied to a barbecue grill make better groupware than the Exchange lineup. I'd rather try to use my penis to bang out morse code on red coals than suffer through Exchange. "How come when I {post to this group/forum, send this mail, search through this directory, etc.} it {takes 45 minutes to pop out, is in the wrong order, is jumbled up, has these little squares and hieroglyphics, has the attachments screwed up, tries to dialup, etc.}?" Yeah I ever wanna deal with that shit again. I know exactly why that guy's irate. Friggin' shitware. Sendmail version 5 (yeah, "5"), talk, a common shared directory with a 2Mb quota, and an NNTP server from 1992 using tin (over ssh launched from a DOS prompt) are more effective than friggin' Exchange.

    O.k., so I exaggerated a bit -- make that a 4Mb quota.

  • Hey, first they use MTS (Michigan Terminal System) as the name for their transaction monitor. Now they use Tahoe, which everybody knows really was an intermediate BSD 4.3 release, as a codename for an unreleased Microsoft product. Perhaps they are trying to sow confusion so that everybody forgets past superior operating systems. It's a good thing Linus has trademarked Linux; otherwise the next rumored product from Microsoft might be the W2K-based "Linux" telephony/PBX server.

    Personally, I'm thinking of starting a new line of stainless steel cookware for geeks called "L'Inox" :-)
  • Small Comment Penalty (Assign -1 to comments smaller than this many characters. This might cause somecomments to be rated -2 and hence rendered invisible!)
    Long Comment Bonus (Assign +1 to lengthy comments)

    What i really want is:

    All Capitals penalty (Assign -2 to comments which contain more than 50% capital letters)
  • Sure we screwed up royally on that one. Shit does happen, it was a mistake, a huge mistake and we should take responsibility. We shouldn't be like Israel. Remember their "mistake" with the USS Liberty. they never appologized for that. why should they, it wasn't a mistake, they murdered our brothers. they knew it was a US ship, they knew it was unarmed. they thought that the sailors on the Liberty knew that the Israeli army was executing POW's. They wanted to kill the whole crew. They shot the men who were in lifeboats. they wanted no witnesses to their war crimes.

    Shit does happen, and that's too bad. We need to pay reparations to the families of the victims.

    We created the theocracy in Iran by our support of SAVAK. It is our fault.

    How many stinger missiles did Reagan have to give to Iran to get them to hold the hostages until the day after his swearing in? What were those two Israeli C130's doing at Terhan airport the day of the hostages release? What were they carrying?

  • See Above
  • > Why didn't I build that bunker when I had the chance?

    Should be plenty available at close-out rates right now.

  • > Linux doesn't particularly need any of the military,

    Linux does need some governmental entities to adopt it. If the entire government of a country gets on the Micorsoft bandwagon, then open protocols are toast in that country, and as the protocols go, so goes Linux.

    Adoption of Linux by major government institutions may also make that government friendlier to the notion of reverse engineering for the purposes of compatibility.

  • Just what the net needed. More servers to be used by script kiddies as launching points for DoS attacks. How many geeks work for the Navy?

    Geez, what do they think they are? UCSB or Stanford?

  • The navy's existing purchasing policy is that anything Microsoft needs no sign off to buy it (i.e. you can buy with no approval). Anything non-microsoft requires the regular approval procedure. This is anectdotal, from a buddy who worked recently in the navy, but believed to be accurate. For navy offices busting a gut to be efficient/effective this policy is not condusive to qc.
  • I'm looking at the article, which states that until last year the Navy had a license with Lotus for competing products.

    I am then assuming that they dropped Lotus and switched to Microsoft... a move that undoubtedly used hundreds of thousands (if not more) tax dollars for re-training employees. Now they're possibly looking at switching again. How much is that going to cost me?

    Here's a suggestion: evaluate a product before you buy it.
  • I still say we need a (-1, Pedantic) moderation option.

  • Um.. you're talking about IBM here. They used to have phalanxes of people to throw at every support problem. They'd love to again deal with a huge IBM Linux installed base.
  • I think He speaks of ZOPE. DC just did a big job for the NAVY overhauling their People Search Site.

    They must have showed them what ZOPE in the hands of a Zen Master can really do. For very little cost.
  • The NAVY can do anything they want with money like that. They probably think they are saving money by using shrink wrap products, but not with a cutthroat company like MS. They could DEVELOP any productivity apps they want for that kind of money.

    Too bad innovation is so difficult for these major govenerment agencies, not to mention the number of parasites that will take the development cash, not produce anything, and run.

  • The entire comment is rendered invalid by even suggesting that W2K is worse than 98. I mean, didn't you ever talk to the guys doing desktop support? 98 is practically unsupportable. Add in a large environment and you are just screwed. W2k may be more complicated than it is worth, but it is still so much better than 98 that they don't belong in the same sentence. We all like *nix better (or are some kind of masochists), but there are hierarchies of crap.

  • by / ( 33804 )
    That's been around for over a year now. Just put in the # of characters after which the comment gets the +1 bonus. Putting in 0 disables it.
  • ok. let's assume that you have 600 000 ppl working for you who need some software product A and it costs you only $10 per seat and year.(where of course most software will cost you some aditional $100 because it only runs on operating system A-doze and an additional $100 on average for necessary hardware upgrade etc..) but let us assume just $10 for product A. that gives 6 mill$.

    for this much money you can pay a dozen of full time programmes who write you a custom application that does what you want. (maybe hiring the programmes of the shareware product you like) if you open soucre that application you are not dependent on them and get additonal people working for you for free! plus: an organisation which is fianced by public taxes should give something back to the people for their money after all..


  • The Navy has this plan called "IT-21", which makes it mandatory to use "Commercial, off-the-shelf" technologies. Usually, "COTS" is code for "MS Windows NT". Unfortunately, this is still being used by the Navy and its contractors in the new smart ship program. Which doesn't make me feel all that good when my next ship tour comes up in a couple of years. Clearly, this plan needs revising.

    However, that doesn't mean that I refuse to advocate "The right tool for the right job", like FreeBSD for web servers, etc. The problem is that enlisted rates like the DP's and the RM's (now IT's) had bad experiences with other Unixes and like the "simplicity" of NT.

    OTOH, the Navy also committed to ATM as their fundamental network technology for the 21st century. So, ...

  • A divide by zero shouldn't cause a blue screen of death. Which is what happened on the servers.

  • ... At least not this way.

    "I'm going to Microsoft at the end of this month to say to [chief executive officer] Steve Ballmer, 'You talk about how you create a business group process system, but I'll tell you [that] you don't come close to giving us what we need,' "

    This doesn't say anything that everyone doesn't already know. His trip, IMHO, would be an expensive trip all for the purpose of _not much_. He's basically said, "We want to spend money on your Microjunk, but we cannot justify it now. We'll give you another chance, though, and we'll buy your stuff if you change it." That's not a tough stand at all.

    There are shareware products that have better groupware features than those of Microsoft products, he said, drawing applause from the audience.

    That's great ... now MS will be sure to stomp those smaller software vendors out of business ... all in the name of "giving the Navy what they need."

    What the Navy needs to be doing is going out and seeking partnerships w/ those smaller vendors, promoting their work, and pumping money some place other than into MS.
    I wrote the play & still own the script ...

  • He wasn't trying to knock down the price, he wasn't even warning the bidders that the days of "nobody was ever fired for buying Microsoft" are over.

    The key is in the final paragraph of the story. There are four companies bidding on this job, and all have indicated they intend to use Microsoft products. Pure chance, of course, since everyone knows that Microsoft is not a monopoly (*cough*).

    Since all bidders will use the same product, this is essentially a "single source" bid. Single source bids tend to make government agencies very nervous, esp. when that single source has a history of successful government prosecution for misdeeds. But the companies each fear that breaking from the non-opoly will is equivalent to voting for the libertarian candidate - it may make you feel better, but you don't have a snowball's chance in Hell of winning.

    Enter the gentlemen and his comments. He is sending a clear signal to the companies that it is not immediate suicide to announce a plan that doesn't include set-asides for the impoverished communities outside Seattle. To retain credibility, the nature of the game requires that at least one of the two finalists include non-MS products (assuming it isn't *totally* DOA), otherwise the military will be getting straight MS bids for the next 30 years.
  • The government will only accept bids from companies that are certified as capable of satisfying the contract. This is a *huge* contract, and it's no coincidence that the companies listed include IBM, CSC, and a couple other large companies whose name escapes me at the moment.

    This means that not only is no "young" company eligible to place a bid, even the senior project management is likely to be "highly experienced" at federal contracts. Read: expect everyone to have spent twenty years in the military, then another decade or two in defense contracts on the other side of the fence. I've known a few very cool project managers, but most of them seem stuck in the past century. Make that *two* centuries ago, now. Where you see a neat new technology, they will see buddies killed because the new-fangled M-16 rifle jammed in Vietnam.

    (Just wait until a BoI finds that a ship was lost, with all hands, due to a stupid software error....)

    That said, some groups might want to experiment with the hardware you describe. But this sounds more like a DARPA-funded research project than a billion dollar multi-year contract.
  • I honestly can't figure out why our military is even considering using software they don't have the source code to. Who knows what MS employee from what country put what code in what DLL. I figure it must be much easier for some government to infiltrate Microsoft and plant a spy in there then it is to plant one in the navy.

    BSD's are probably a much better solution cos they can change the thing willy nilly without being bothered by the GPL.
  • Since when are MS marketdroids posting here. Where did you get this from the MS web site?
  • "So why the story? And why post it here?"

    Because now not only do you know it, all the geeks in the server room know it but the govt knows it as well.
  • No they are responsible for building an OS that can't be crashed by a rouge application.
  • Why should he shut up doesn't he have first amendment rights? Or is MS now more powerful then the US Navy?
  • Someone "suit" bashes M$ for his own don't think "we" should care...

    But "we" care when someone clueless or clueful makes _any_ kind of statement about linux.

  • wasn't it even worse? didn't a single program on a single workstation lockup and take the server down, which took down all the NT servers on the ship?
  • Yeah, some dude who shaves his head once a week and was trained to fix only things covered in manuals would be an authority figure in this field. Did anyone ever consider that the navy's screw up with MS products might just have been due to the majority of mid-west morons that join up to avoid working at the lube rack?

    Who was it that said, "Stupid is as stupid does."

    If you don't like what you see on the highway, put your computer back in the box and take it back to the store damnit.
  • Sorry, my mistake. I stand corrected.
  • Except maybe Balmer will get shot, not Gates.
  • They may be better in some respects but not overall. They may implement things that MS obviously could without any difficulty but haven't.

    If MS is better overall, it doesn't mean that they haven't missed out on some really obvious features that people need.
  • One of the ways the free market operates is that feedback about goods on sale becomes public knowledge. So if a company rips one person off, they can tell everyone else before the whole market gets ripped off. As far as I can see, the army guy is just exercising this right/responsibility.
  • Big organisations rarely buy 36000 copies of a piece of shrinkwrapped software. They negotiate a contract with the software house, whereby the software house guarantees that the software will serve its purpose (e.g.) 99.9% of the time. A "best endeavour" contract says that the software house will do everything in its power to make this happen, even if it bankrupts them to do it.
    So the army bloke has probably got his fingers burnt in a contract like this.
  • > slashdot is [turning into] a linuxuser vs msuser forum.

    I don't agree. Many people here are very angry at MS for forcing shoddy software onto them for many years (via OEM sales, illegal monopoly activities etc.) and see linux as the first genuine choice for a long time. So naturally some people react (over-)violently to anti-linux FUD. But in general most posters give an informative statement of their informed opinion. Articles like this are an exception rather than a rule.

    There are a lot of knowledgeable people here who lucidly expound their arguments. Try finding a similar level of informed discussion on a pro-MS site. (Here I discount grits/natalie portman trolls - browse at 0 if you don't want to see these).
  • Ok, since you seem to be pretty sure about there being good free groupware available for Linux, name the package that's better than Microsoft's exchange system. And don't say Lotus notes because that's not free.
  • NT 4.0 Server does too, however, the problem with it isn't that you can't telnet in, it's that you can't run much of anything, as NT was designed to be one person sitting at the machine, not many people running processes off the machine. The command line tools in NT are not documented terribly well, and most of the programs you run in NT assume you are right there at the computer. It makes it a real pain to try and get something to work without PCAnywhere, or BO2k, or whatever your favorite remote mgmt tool is.
  • by Get Behind the Mule ( 61986 ) on Saturday February 12, 2000 @03:41AM (#1282193)
    I think the anti-trust suit may have finally stripped M$ of its aura of invincibility in the public eye. For a long time, Joe Random Public thought that the world's largest software company must be just the greatest, particulary if J.R.P. never had the opportunity to see software from any other company. This is still true of a lot of people today, but I think that the general public is finally catching on to the astonishing idea that M$ may actually suck.

    Many of those in charge of procurement in the military may have known this for a long time. But it may have only recently become possible for someone like this guy to say so in public.

    So, what Linux groupware products can we turn the Navy on to?
  • ... the hostages, and the journalists they murdered in 1979.
    The burning of our flag, and vows to kill us all, the "Great Satan" nation.

    Two wrongs don't make a right. Just wanted to remind you.
  • If whatever shareware he's talking about is that good, he just might, but remember this is the Government we're talking about. There are layers upon layers upon sublayers upon strata of bureaucracy to plow through before you get to the point where you hand Joe Developer a check for his shareware text editor. However, since this IS the Government, that check could end up being for 100,000 copies of JoeDevWrite.
  • While I vividly recall playing Starcraft on the lan, it had no official reason to be there, along with redneck rampage and the FT's porn collection. Bottom line: the shit put on the system was put there because there was no experienced admin, NT "looks" easy, price wasn't a factor, and evidently the entire federal government was supposed to settle on a single operating system and NT was picked (thank you, Redmond political lobby).
    Want a truly scary site? Check out , a site that goes along with a magazine i've seen on every boat i've been stationed on, and at the Naval Reserve Center in Louisville, Ky.

    About the Marines...Either he was full of shit, or you are. Speaking as a former submariner w/ 6yrs in, the only navy ships i know of with a marine detachment would be "gator freightors" (amphib assault), or carriers. And they do NOT learn tactics from Doom (unless you count sinking like a stone in water... we damn near drowned some jarheads once...looong story) Contrary to popular opinion, the security i've seen on surface ships isn't that tight. The most junior personnel are the ones who get stuck guarding the ship/boat. On surface ships, the crew is usually large enough, and the guards green enough, that they don't know the entire crew. (btw, us bubbleheads are much tighter knit. y'know what they say... 100 men go down, 50 couples come up...) As long as you wear the right uniform, show what looks like a green military id, and salute the watch and ensign properly, they haven't a clue. That's not to say i recommend trying it, however: even a tiny fast attack sub in stand-down with a skeleton crew onboard still has at least four people minimum up and alert at all times, with detailed plans for alerting the rest of the crew/base and armed defense.
  • ...that's the only free "groupware" product I can think of. I've seen it in use on more than one U.S. submarine. In my opinion, it's not bad, but it's not all that great either.
    The only other program that springs to mind is Goldmine, and that sure as hell ain't cheap, let alone free. Then again, I didn't spend much time onboard surface ships, so I may have missed something.
  • This is hardly the first anti-Microsoft story in GCN. The one that comes to my mind is the one about how one dude decided that NT is insecure as a web server and is going back to the only secure web platform: Macintosh. (and the basis of this security is that Macintosh has zero remote administration)
    • One of the ways the free market operates is that feedback about goods on sale becomes public knowledge. So if a company rips one person off, they can tell everyone else before the whole market gets ripped off.

    The fact that Microsoft has been able to get away with ripping off people for so long is exactly because they don't operate in a free market.

    The low Microsoft quality and high profits are the best indication that they are, in fact, a monopoly.

    -Jordan Henderson

  • I work for the Navy and often employ Linux/Perl/Apache for intranet apps and to use it as a Samba server.

    Recently, per a request by Linux today, I wrote a short article on my experience with using Open Source software in the Navy. Before I could release the article and had to run it by "legal". They came back and denied my request for publishing the article as it could be construed that the Navy was promoting or endorsing a product.

    The following month I came across an article in "Government Computer News" that highlighted the grow use of NT at JPL. The article might have been written by MS propaganda department. So it is good to see someone up high come out and make some realistic comments concerning MS products.
  • Wow, is it me or is Slashdot launching a anti-Win2K news campaign right before it's release? And here I thought only Microsoft was capable of FUD. Congratulations on proving me wrong. So are all these news articles paid for by VA? How about posting some positive Win2K articles without any sarcastic quip from the "reporter"? Oh that's right, Slashdot is commited to herding it's readers into one particular direction. How silly of me to believe that even a remote attempt at unbiased reporting could happen here.
  • According to the article, annual NAVY expenditures are 88 Billion. Fist Call lists Microsoft's annual revenues for 1999 at 21.8 Billion. While the NAVY may be Microsolft's biggest customer, it is unlikely that the ultimate barganing chip - Naval dissertion of Microsoft products - will deeply impact M$ in the eyes of Wall Street. Besides, M$ has significantly increased soft money "donations" to both political parties. So, I wish the Undersecretary good luck in his discussions with the M$ CEO. By summer, he will probably be working for Red Hat.
  • FYI: Exchange 2000 ( in beta now) uses SQL server as database, btw.
  • I thought it was the new MSDE (m$ Data Engine, the single user SQL server that can be installed INSTEAD of Jet on Access 2k with a custom install). In this case the only "user" of the database is Exchange, so it's OK. MSDE is completely file compatible with SQL Server, you can turn a MSDE database to a SQL server just by using SQL's "attach database" statement. I might be wrong. It seems like the feature set of M$ products keeps changing every time I look. First COM+ is part of Win2k, then it's not, then it's back in......
  • In the interest of OpenSource, or the geek's right to reverse-engineer closed processes, I am posting my theories on the slashdot submission queue process:

    • if $article{title} =~ /quake|linux|mp3/ ||
      $article{body} =~ /(msft|microsoft|riaa|patent) suck/

    Am I missing something?

    (freedom of regular expression =anagram> so, exposing referred formulae)
  • <i>
    There are shareware products that have better groupware features than those of Microsoft products, he said, drawing applause from the audience.
    Ok then, give some shareware developer out there an early christmas present and buy his software.
    If not, then basically...shutup. Or was he hoping to get some beanie points by bashing Microsoft?
    BTW, has he not been looking into Windows 2000?
  • thanks :)
  • why was the 'smart' html/text hybrid removed?
    I keep forgetting the default now is text not html :|
  • Win 2000 has a built in Telnet Server...
  • I wonder if the Navy is still smarting over the ship on which they installed WinNT to run majority of control / steering functions. The server crashed due to some div-zero bug and the whole ship shut down -- had to be towed back to base.

    See 21/1049204.shtml []

    for more memories.

  • The Undersecretary of the Navy is going to go to Redmond to tell Steve Ballmer that Microsoft's groupware products are terrible.

    So? Does he think he's going to tell Ballmer something that Ballmer doesn't already know?

    Quick Quiz Time: Name Microsoft's "groupware products" that we're talking about here. Ready? What's your answer?

    Microsoft's answer to groupware is Microsoft Exchange. But what do you think of Exchange as being? An expensive Email server. What does the entire corporate marketplace think of Exchange as being? An expensive Email server. Perhaps a slow, difficult-to-administer, and expensive Email server. I run a small company, and we're a Microsoft ISV. We get Exchange for free (bundled with the rest of the software we license) and we're likely to toss it for a Linux server and SendMail. Build enterprise applications on top of Exchange? You must be joking....

    But is that some revelation to the Navy? To the Undersecretary? To Steve Ballmer? To Bill? Nope. If Microsoft's corporate muscle, marketing prowess, and sheer evil were one-third of what the Dept. of Justice (and your typical Linux pre-teen) insist, Exchange would be ubiquitous. Lotus Notes is sold at very hefty prices--much higher prices than Microsoft charges for Exchange (if Microsoft charges anything for Exchange at all). Lotus is sold by IBM, which is the living embodiment of "ham-handed" sales. So why does Notes still exist? Because Microsoft has a turkey of a product, and they (and everybody else) knows it.

    So why the story? And why post it here?
  • Today, President Clinton announced a new policy to handle the longstanding issue of closet Linux users throughout the military.

    The policy, dubbed "Don't Ask, Don't Shell", promises that as long as Linux users don't make their preferences known, they won't be disciplined.

    Bill Gates called the policy "...a poor compromise compared to the proper response of interrogation and dismissal of anyone with Open Source tendencies, given the importance of secrecy in military organizations."

    Nor was Linus Torvalds happy with the outcome. "It is ridiculous to think that, in the year 2000 -- or, in Microsoft terms, 1980 2.0 -- soldiers have to worry about being open and honest about using Linux. It's not bash users, but Linux-using bashers who should be targeted as insufficiently American for the military", said the famous Finn.

    Richard M. Stallman claims the policy is a strained attempt to solve a problem with military personnel using Linux. "GNU/Linux users in the military might make better soldiers in the long run, which should TCL the generals. But soldiers using proprietary software shouldn't be allowed to benefit from working arm-in-arm with GNU/Linux users. That'd be an unfair Scheme since the GNU/Linux software can be shared but the proprietary software cannot."

    Military personnel asked about this new policy had a wide range of reactions:

    • "I don't want to find myself stuck in a foxhole with some Linux nut, but I guess as long as he keeps it to himself, I can live with it."
    • "Linux or Microsoft, who cares, as long as the job gets done."
    • "How am I supposed to keep my using Linux a secret -- reboot my machine twice a day for no apparent reason?"

    The Linux and BSD Alliance, formed to combat source-bashing worldwide, claims the policy is a small first step towards widespread acceptance of consenting adults exchanging source code as they see fit. Spokesdeity Eric Raymond explains, "we've long felt that if every closet user of an Open Source(TM) product in the military suddenly turned blue, they'd look butt-ugly in those uniforms." (Raymond is a well-known supporter of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear source.)

    On a more humorous note, the editor of Soldier of Fortune Magazine announced they were responding to the new policy by making a small change to their name. They'll now be known as "Soldier of fortune Magazine".

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"