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Microsoft

USDOI Goes 100% Microsoft 385

SatanIsHere writes: "A memo (here, here, here, and here) dated September 19th, 2002 from the Department of the Interior's Acting CIO notes the new policy of a "Department-wide standard for computer operating systems (desktop and server)" Of course the good news is that this will herald a new era in government transparancy for the Department of the Interior.
SatanIsHere Continues: "On September 13, 2002, the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget signed the attached Findings and Determination establishing Microsoft Corporation's enterprise desktop and server software as the Department-wide standard for computer operating systems (desktop and server), office automation, and asset management software.... Benefits of establishing this new Department-wide standard include:
  • Lower Total Cost of Ownership for the desktop, including lower user training costs.
  • Centralized and efficient security policy administration
  • Greater flexibility and management functionality from products that offer a broader range of management solutions that integrate with non-Microsoft environments
  • Greater productivity and reliability attributed to less downtime.
  • Extended support for a large base of software applications.

Business specific application software requirements (such as Sun/Solaris, IBM, AIX, etc.) outside the established Microsoft standard may be addressed through the OCIO waiver process."

This looks to freeze out an entire Federal Department (70,000+ employees) from non-Microsoft solutions, requiring a "waiver" to use anything non-MS. One more step to complete Microsoft World Domination. This is particularly ironic considering the problems DOI has had recently regarding IT security. If this isn't leveraging a desktop monopoly into other areas I don't know what is. :-P"

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USDOI Goes 100% Microsoft

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  • by aborchers ( 471342 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @06:52AM (#4318137) Homepage Journal
    Now they can blame MS for their abysmal performance!
    • Re:Brilliant tactic! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by aborchers ( 471342 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:32AM (#4318275) Homepage Journal
      OK, since my earlier attempt at taut humor met with a troll mod, I will attempt to elaborate what I meant by "Brilliant Tactic: Now they can blame MS for their abysmal performance".

      DOI has cultivated a reputation for being total mongos for decades, and since Gale Norton came on board, all pretenses of their mandate to protect US natural and cultural resources have been pretty much dropped. Their handling of Native American and environmental issues have been atrocious (so much so that they were recently called to task by a federal judge for their incompetence) and their recently publicized network security problems are just icing.

      I would post links, but why /. the sites. Just google for some combination of: Department of Interior, Native American, Environment, Pollution, Oil, and - if you really want to loose the gates of heck - throw in Gale Norton by name.

      In short, the DOI is largely derided as an incompetent bunch of bumbling boobs, hence my weak attempt at humor noting that installing a uniform MS environment would be an excellent diversion and scapegoat.
  • by Zakabog ( 603757 ) <john@@@jmaug...com> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @06:52AM (#4318140)
    We're sorry, but this page is currently unavailable for viewing.
    If this site belongs to you, you owe us big time, one of our rack's just melted from this fatal slashdoting.
    • I just got amazing deja-vu reading your post. Do you or someone else say something like this every time this happens?

      It's totally weird. I'm bidding on a server on ebay too, that is tying into it. I wonder if my gf put something into this coffee.

      Oh yeah, to be on topic, I wanted to say that I work for gov't, and our department's CIO has declared that only MS is going to be "supported software." It doesn't mean anything. People are going to use what they want. There are plenty of Unix boxen on our network.

      Of course our CIO is a joke, the DOI CIO isn't neccessarily...

  • So? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nuggz ( 69912 )
    Software is cheap, a few hundred bucks, much less then paying the employee for a few days.

    I use linux at home, but at work I gladly use windows & MS Office, it is the best solution, or at least a decent one for many situations.

    Hopefully the waiver process isn't so difficult that people can still select the best tool for the job.
    • waiver process?!? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Ender Ryan ( 79406 )
      Why the hell should there be a waiver process at all to use the best tool for the job, just because it's not an *M$ Solution(TM).

      That's the kind of sh*t that pisses me off, I don't pay taxes to have the government simply hand that money to a corp. I am morally opposed to. I wouldn't mind if they simply chose the best tool for the job and the tools they needed happened to be MS software, but this just reeks.

      There is absolutely NO REASON why a waiver should be needed to use something other than M$ software, that's ludicrous and stinks of corporate pandering.

      * i usually stay away from using $'s in M$, but in this case i thought it was appropriate

      • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .tteksehnad.> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:31AM (#4318265)
        Hmmm.

        There is a strong case to be made for conformance of systems.

        Using a "standard" tool, even if its not the absolute best for the job, often saves money in the long run, simply by its conformance.

        I've been in numerous situations where a MySQL solution would have saved about $1200, and been about 5% faster, but then again, why have 47 SQL Server databases and then 1 MySQL database? It doesn't make sense. Instead of 1 set of patches, 1 set of tasks, 1 set of procedures, now you have two. In effect, adding that one box doubled the complexity of managing the network, even though its only 2% of the total hardware.

        Honestly, sometimes, it makes sense to standardize.

        Too bad it was MS here, and not something more friendly.
        • by jspaleta ( 136955 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:20AM (#4318550) Homepage
          There is a strong case to be made for conformance of systems

          And I'd say take that one step further had have conformance of systems...but conformance to a published open standard...so you can have competition without conformance degration.

          Once you start down the MS road and start using software that does not conform to a published standard you are locked in and the cost of switch over to any else becomes extremely high..and higher after every release cycle.

          Its hard to talk about conformance when the issues at hand are vendor specific since the vendor can force change on you via updates. You can get conformance and competition if you limit yourself to an open specification that all vendors can compete for. Once you let the vendor dictate to you what features are worth using and what features you are going to get...your stuck...without paying a huge penalty to get out. But if you don't pay the huge penalty in the short term you pay a gigantic penalty in the long term after several upgrade cycles, where you have lost the power to make decisions as to what you really need and who can provide the software and the systems.

          Honestly, sometimes, it makes sense to standardize

          It sure does...so stop using MS...becuase MS software does not conform to OPEN standards. How standard is a standard if there isn't a neutral 3rd body overseeing conformance to that standard.
          If we used a standard of length measurement only sold to us by MS, we'd have to upgrade our rulers every 2 years becuase the standard would surely change.

          -jef

          • by danheskett ( 178529 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .tteksehnad.> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:33AM (#4318635)
            I agree that there is a larger issue of conformance to standards.

            But lets say that was the entire issue. The point is, that even with open standards, it makes a lot of sense to conform all desktops/servers to the exact same software packages.

            Even if StarOffice and Abiword and OpenOffice used *exactly* the same file format, it would still make sense to choose one and only one program to support across a network. Choice is good, but rarely does it work out well in a corporate/business/government environment.

            From a SysAdmin standpoint, I want every desktop to have the precise same hardware, software, settings, and packages regardless of location or job function.

            If you have a new desktop added later in the mix, it would be silly to consider going with a different platform or software package.
        • There is a strong case to be made for conformance of systems.

          One problem, conformance of systems usually means that you have to use older systems to ensure conformance. To get conformance right now you'd have to throw out most of your current PC's and buy/upgrade all of the desktops to the latest version of Windows XP. Additionally, you'd have to migrate all of your servers to Windows 2000. With that accomplished you would now have a conformant layout.

          Then, you'd have to avoid making any upgrades to the systems. All you could do is patch and make sure every box had all the patches. Sounds great. So, this whole process gets completed somewhere around Q3 2003 (being generous time-wise).

          Windows .NET Server 2003 comes out then. What do you do? You either have to upgrade all of your servers (and probably patch your desktops) or stay with a now old server OS.

          BTW, this part hasn't even started to go into the actual applications being run on the desktops and servers let alone the hardware being used by them.

          Basically, "conformance" is impossible. Hardware changes too quickly. Software changes too quickly. You'll either need to freeze everyone in time or just deal with the fact that everyone will be running different OS's.

          Finally, considering the DoI's current track record with security (couldn't even put the Indian records into a DB) I find it very hard to believe they would be able to stay up with the patch-wave that is MS.
        • There is a strong case to be made for conformance of systems. Using a "standard" tool, even if its not the absolute best for the job, often saves money in the long run, simply by its conformance.

          If the gov't had created a policy requiring the department to settle on the most widely used and standardized systems available, that would have acheived the desired end.

          As I understand this policy (and I really don't, because all of the links are dead), I'm required to purchase a Microsoft product even if it a) doesn't integrate well with other Microsoft products, b) is completely non-standard, and c) is not the package generally used for that purpose.

          One policy is at least vaguely justifiable. The one they've chosen is just a blank check to Microsoft.

    • Re:So? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by abase ( 587221 )
      You use the right tool for the right job. Linux is not the end-all be-all for everything, nothing is. I enjoy using Linux at home (Mandrake 8.1 on a K6-2/350 with a GeForce 2 card) and I also enjoy using XP at work and at home on another computer. I won't give up my Dreamweaver ;-) Enjoy and 73 -Pat
  • by EkiM in De ( 574327 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @06:57AM (#4318156)
    Of course the good news is that this will herald a new era in government transparancy for the Department of the Interior.
    With the security in Microsoft products transparency comes as an unwanted standard feature.
  • Benefits?? (Score:2, Troll)

    by struppi ( 576767 )
    > [...]
    > Centralized and efficient security policy administration
    > [...]
    > Greater productivity and reliability attributed to less downtime.
    That are the Benefits of using M$? Funny, I never knew that widooze provides these features...
    • by rde ( 17364 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:23AM (#4318236)
      > Centralized and efficient security policy administration
      > [...]
      > Greater productivity and reliability attributed to less downtime.
      That are the Benefits of using M$? Funny, I never knew that widooze provides these features...

      You've got to pay attention.
      Centralized and efficient security policy administration
      This says nothing about security; just a security policy (apply patches and hope for the best)

      Greater productivity and reliability attributed to less downtime
      'greater productivity' means that Spider Solitaire isn't as easy as freecell, so users will give up in disgust and do some work.
      'reliability' is a truncation in the memo of "re: liability"
      'less downtime' refers to the microsoft helpdesk
  • by lurvdrum ( 456070 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:02AM (#4318178)
    This is more or less exactly the policy implemented in my organisation five or six years ago, justified on TCO grounds. Since then, the TCO for all IT systems has increased by around a factor of ten while the amount of useful IT systems being run has perhaps doubled. Go figure. Perhaps the original TCO arguments were flawed. Smoke, mirrors, and marketing...
    • The management at the previous place I worked made the Microsoft Mistake (tm). Their IT dept. put in probably 1000-2000 man-hours per month with Exchange Win2000 and other experimental products and still couldn't manage a week of uptime nor go two months without getting "0wn3d". Their solution was to buy extra licenses, hire extra consultants, and repeat the mantra "it'll work after the next upgrade/servicepack", pay for an upgrade, rinse, repeat.

      Contrast that with the high availability for non-experimental products like Netware for file sharing or Exim,Postifix, or Sendmail for mail.

      Sounds like the government's Fraud, Waste, and Abuse hotline, 1 (800) 647-8733 [info.gov] is going to be ringing off the hook.

  • One by One (Score:4, Interesting)

    by e8johan ( 605347 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:06AM (#4318191) Homepage Journal
    Ok, lets cover them one by one:

    * Lower Total Cost of Ownership for the desktop, including lower user training costs.

    We've got problems at my work with people thinking that they are fully fledged programmers since they can record two macros and cut'n'paste the results into a super-macro. Of course users need to be educated, otherwise they will not be able to use the applications properly. (One example is people insisting on using spaces when they try to indent text, then go to the IT department and complain about the lines not being properly aligned...)

    * Centralized and efficient security policy administration.

    Oh, what? Surely one can pull the TP-cable out of *nix boxes too. Even the 'central' one in the basement... Security can not be a reason to use M$ software.

    * Greater flexibility and management functionality from products that offer a broader range of management solutions that integrate with non-Microsoft environments.

    This is M$ key to new markets. Take a standard, implement it, expand it in your solution in order to make your app 'integrate' with others, but not the other way around. A good application should be able both to import and export data properly. (M$ Word RTFs crash my FrameMaker... portable format - not).

    * Greater productivity and reliability attributed to less downtime.

    Again, you do not get less downtime by buying an expensive system with big flaws. They probably pay loads of $$$ to get a guaranteed time to support arrives and press the 'reset' button. *nix usually do not fail as ofter as Win*, thus no need to advertise that support will arrive in 2.3ms. The lack of service can be because it is not needed, not because it is an ingnored flaw.

    * Extended support for a large base of software applications.

    Since most advertised software is commersial, and they probably do not look for software them selves (just ask for it in a formal way and have companies make offers). Just use KDE as the German government intends to do. This does not only give a better quality of the software, but also save loads of license $$$.

    But since Bill payed Bush's campain, Bush has to give the money back to Bill. As he doesn't fancy paying up at few $$$, he just takes the $$$ from the tax payers. Bomb the hell out of a few arabs and the software sums looks small in the contents.
    • Re:One by One (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:21AM (#4318232)
      Centralized and efficient security policy administration.

      Oh, what? Surely one can pull the TP-cable out of *nix boxes too. Even the 'central' one in the basement... Security can not be a reason to use M$ software


      As much as I loath to defend any decision to choose Microsoft, I still need to point out that the sentence you quote talks about policy administration WindowsNT security model is based on ACL's. Combine that with LDAP and you have a system which is ideal for centralized and efficient security policy administration. Currently, thats something that Unix just can't do, at least not on the same level as Windows can do it.
      • Re:One by One (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        "thats something that Unix just can't do, at least not on the same level as Windows can do it"

        It just depends on what you want to implement. There are good options out there, including ldap, kerberos, etc.

        On the other hand, Windows won't show you file permissions by default. And most users don't even know they can (and should) set those permissions (I guess lots of Windows sysadmins don't).

        I never had any problems editing other people's files in my company. I used that in a productive way and with permission from the owners, but it is a security risk.

        You can make your system secure either way (even using Windows). It just depends on you. This advocacy for MS products stems from fear. Windows sysadmins go for the easy road (where decisions are made in Redmond) instead of taking responsibility for developing a security policy of their own.

        Just like my company: 90% of the Internet has been blocked out. For security reasons. Everybody afraid of the killer ActiveX control. But if you go to the web site, they post dozens of Excel spreadsheets and Word documents. Talk about security risk (and liability, since those documents can spread virus)!
      • Re:One by One (Score:4, Informative)

        by pmz ( 462998 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:23AM (#4319031) Homepage
        Currently, thats something that Unix just can't do, at least not on the same level as Windows can do it.

        Since when? Did NIS, LDAP, Kerberos, and ACLs suddenly disappear from Solaris? UNIX vendors have been selling centralized policy administration tools for years. With a little thought and planning, they can even be efficient. Many of them have very nice GUIs, too.

        There are even "trusted" versions of UNIX if you want to go crazy with military-style need-to-know setups.

        Basically, Microsoft is delivering nothing new, here, except more marketing spin.
      • Re:One by One (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dark Fire ( 14267 )
        ACLs have been proven to be considerably less secure and harder to audit than UNIX permissions.

        http://www.wikipedia.com/wiki/Computer_Security

        There have been several papers examining the subject. See the above article and the confused deputy problem for details.

        ACLs are certainly more flexible in certain cases than UNIX permissions. But flexibility usually has a cost, as aforementioned.

        I agree with you on LDAP, it is a great way to centralize security. UNIX would certainly benefit from a clean way of tying the two together (PAM is only part of the puzzle and is certainly not simple to setup in my opinion).

        Kerberos? It was never designed to resist attacks in which a listener can capture packets. That pretty much means how secure active directory is depends on the physical security of your network. If someone can get onto your network you out of luck. Why? Well, because your domain controller encrypts an ascii timestamp with your password when a request is sent to it to logon as a certain user. An RC4 cipher is used and given that RC4 has been torn apart cryptographically, that you know atleast a 80% part of the ascii timestamp because the dc will happily tell you the time, you have plenty of info to crack the password.

        Since MCSE's like defaults, I would imagine and as far as I have seen, most admins use the out of the box kerberos authentication as is. In there defense, Microsoft does offer the use of PKI in place of RC4 which is resistance to these particular attacks, but it generally requires a smart card reader and smart cards to deploy. There is an additional substitution option, but I cannot vouch for the strength of it either. Hopefully, microsoft will use a strong authentication protocol like SRP in the future in place of the weak mechanism included in there kerberos implementation.
      • Linux has tcpwrappers (ACLs) and inherent permissions at the file level. Linux also works smoothly with LDAP (using a PAM module) thus granting everything on your (short) list.

        If you don't know it, don't say it!
    • M$ Word RTFs crash my FrameMaker... portable format - not

      I don't suppose you've considered that this might be a FrameMaker problem?

    • Re:One by One (Score:5, Interesting)

      by duffbeer703 ( 177751 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:05AM (#4318459)
      Please just make it stop!

      "We've got problems at my work with people thinking that they are fully fledged programmers since they can record two macros and cut'n'paste the results into a super-macro"

      That's a problem anywhere. When I was a junior sysadmin at a university Unix shop we'd have PhD candidates dropping fork bombs and other stupid Unix programmer tricks.

      "Oh, what? Surely one can pull the TP-cable out of *nix boxes too. Even the 'central' one in the basement... Security can not be a reason to use M$ software."

      Microsoft Security is pretty decent and granular in an all Windows 2000 / Active Directory environment. Try implementing group policy and acls in Linux or Solaris.... it can be done, but you do not know anyone who can.

      IIS vulnerabilities do not count -- Apache has it's share of exploits and doesn't belong in an LDAP or NIS server. Similarly, you keep IIS where it belongs.

      "Take a standard, implement it, expand it in your solution in order to make your app 'integrate' with others, but not the other way around. A good application should be able both to import and export data properly. (M$ Word RTFs crash my FrameMaker... portable format - not)."

      No disagreement with you there.

      "Again, you do not get less downtime by buying an expensive system with big flaws. They probably pay loads of $$$ to get a guaranteed time to support arrives and press the 'reset' button. *nix usually do not fail as ofter as Win*, thus no need to advertise that support will arrive in 2.3ms. The lack of service can be because it is not needed, not because it is an ingnored flaw."

      That's really not true anymore -- busy Windows servers are nearly as reliable as Unix these days. The only real disadvantage of Windows (and Linux) vs. Commerical Unix are mass-deployment and backup tools. Comparing your Windows XP desktop computer's uptime to your Linux boxes' is not a valid comparison.

      As far as your delusions about support go, you need to think a little. Our datacenter pays about $1.2M annually for 4-hour support contracts for Unix machines. (For our most important machines only) Similar contracts from Dell or Compaq for Intel hardware cost about 1/2 of a similar Unix contract.

      "Since most advertised software is commersial, and they probably do not look for software them selves (just ask for it in a formal way and have companies make offers). Just use KDE as the German government intends to do. This does not only give a better quality of the software, but also save loads of license $$$."

      If you have ever worked in a large IT shop with lots of custom applications, you will know that custom software sucks and costs about 5x an off-the-shelf solution. Plus, who has the budget for full-time developers to make software that is already on the market for 1/5 the cost??
      • Re:One by One (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Enry ( 630 ) <enryNO@SPAMwayga.net> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:30AM (#4318610) Journal
        I'll bite....

        Microsoft Security is pretty decent and granular in an all Windows 2000 / Active Directory environment. Try implementing group policy and acls in Linux or Solaris.... it can be done, but you do not know anyone who can.

        Why would you want to? If I need to, I can fire up man pages and search google. I administer about 10 fileservers across three departments totaling a good 15-20TB and hundreds of users and have never run into a situation where ACLs are needed.

        Comparing your Windows XP desktop computer's uptime to your Linux boxes' is not a valid comparison.

        Why not? I use Linux on the desktop as well. The problem with Windows boxes is that mgmt. often thinks that trained monkeys can administer a box. And it's probably true. Until something fails. Then "Monkey Boy" does you no good.

        Similar contracts from Dell or Compaq for Intel hardware cost about 1/2 of a similar Unix contract.

        Probably. Better reason to use Linux on Intel.

        If you have ever worked in a large IT shop with lots of custom applications, you will know that custom software sucks and costs about 5x an off-the-shelf solution. Plus, who has the budget for full-time developers to make software that is already on the market for 1/5 the cost??

        Now you're confusing "custom software" with "non-shrinkwrapped software". There's plenty of software floating around here running everything from the web server to our ticketing system to databases, and none of it is written in house. The cost to replace them with shrinkwrapped equivalents far exceeds the cost of a few highly trained system administrators . Oh, did I mention we're often times in contact with the authors of said software, and they're usually pretty responsive to bug patches and feature requests.

      • Can you explain to me how you keep your windows servers up as long as unix servers?

        What I can't understand is when windows server security patch comes out and requires you to REBOOT your server how do you keep it up?

        And after you install several "hot fixes" and "roll up patches" how do you keep the windows server stable? How do you experiance strange errors that require some more installation of "hot fixes" and reboots which generally follow the installation of said "hot fixes" and "roll up patches".

        You do patch you windows servers and keep them secure don't you?

        See we have this problem where I work. Our windows admins are pretty good but they are constantly playing wack a mole with the windows servers keeping them patched and secure.

        The unix/linux servers however don't need a reboot unless the kernel needs to be patched.
      • by pmz ( 462998 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:36AM (#4319106) Homepage
        The only real disadvantage of Windows (and Linux) vs. Commerical Unix are mass-deployment and backup tools.

        Don't forget the Registry, DLL Hell, Office File Format Lock-In, EULA-of-the-Month Club, DRM, the Upgrade Treadmill, the GUI Frontal Lobotomy, BSA Audits, Drive Letters, IE Everywhere, Competitor Aquire and Crush, False Advertising, Not Engineered for Security, Automatic Updates, #1 Virus Host, Tax Evasion, 3rd World Corruption, Congress Payroll, Embrace and Extend, and the Microsoft "we got you where we want you" XPerience.
  • How it all works. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:13AM (#4318206)
    Sure, Go 100% Microsoft. It'll make the drooling MCSE's on the site titter with glee at the thought of "unifying" everything in the Microsoft way.

    But you know what 100% Microsoft translates to? 100% downtime when the next "melissa" or "nimda" hits. I've BEEN there. I've worked at companies like this. Just wait--they'll get tagged by the next Outlook script and the entire site will be down for a day or two while ONE MCSE pokes at the keyboard, surrounded by one or two other MCSEs standing and staring at the guy typing--all the while pulling in huge $$$ in overtime, on top of the huge $$$ they get just for having a 4-letter Microsoft-approved title. Everything is on hold until the next virus update to "fix" the problem, since goodness knows there isn't much in terms if diagnostics and repair you can do in WinNT by itself.

    There's a reason why I gave up being a sysadmin--100% Microsoft is mostly why. Can anyone else stuck in 100% Microsoft/MCSE land corrorborate the above story? I'd be surprised if the exact same song-and-dance didn't happen at every Microsoft site.
    • I hear ya brother! Amen.

      At work, we have a win2k server which shares our internet connection, provides a domain controller for the windows boxen, and basically serves files all day. Big deal...

      Problem. DNS entries and isp continues to be flaky. Solution? reboot the win2k server..

      How is that a diagnostic solution? It isn't... Which is why I am steering people to the linux world, and other alternatives.

      Microsoft has been a joke in security, configuration and ease of use for YEARS. I think the masses are finally starting to sense something wrong with the herd, and moving on to a better pasture.

      Hopefully.

      Your comment is totally on the money, even though you ARE an AC, but I'll let that slide. ;)
    • by Your_Mom ( 94238 ) <slashdot@@@innismir...net> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:30AM (#4318608) Homepage
      But you know what 100% Microsoft translates to? 100% downtime when the next "melissa" or "nimda" hits.
      No. No, No, No, and No again. It's not about a 100% homogenous networks, its not about MSFT or Linux, and it's not about what certifications you have. It's about competent administration. I am a NT admin, I enjoy Linux, I use it at home regularly, but NT pays the bills. We got hit by Nimda, but, we only lost 2 computers. One of which was a Developer's box who decided to be running IIS and told no one about it (Patient Zero, I think he was rooted within 5 minutes of the first onslaught of IIS exploits), the other one ran an attachment 5 minutes before we pushed out the AnitVirus updates ("But I only previewed it!" LART - Hard). I think we had spare boxes swapped out in about 1 hour and had files salvaged off the old PCs in about 3h. Did we do mop up duty for the next 2 days due to infected boxes from "trusted" people spewing .eml files onto our file server? [1] Indeedy do. Did we put in some overtime? I think all of IT did about 2 hours per person the night after the initial infection, and I put in about 2 hours watching snort logs scroll by the first night the sh*t hit the fan. under $200 OT, probably cost my department $300-$400 tops. Did my 2 IIS servers (*shudder* Yes, I hate them too) get rooted? No way. I patch those things like there is no tommorow.Did we lose the entire network to the thing? Not on your life.

      Also, when everything calmed down, we all sat down over a nice glass of Guiness and figured out "What can we do better next time?" there is always room for improvement. (We initiated policies of port scanning computers in the NT domain for unauthorized services, as we were proved once again that some people can't be trusted)

      That is how it all works . thank you.

      Wow, that was a nice rant

      [1]"Why is $luser's account disabled?"
      "Because she was spewing nimda into our file server"
      "But she needs to access $important_file"
      "When she gets fixed and I cna inspect her computer, I will re-enable the account"

      • by dpilot ( 134227 )
        You're obviously better than the average MSCE.

        Part of the problem is the attitude apparently shipped with MS products that MSCE==competent sysadmin for those systems.

        I don't have the numbers on my fingertips, but I suspect that none of the major Win-exploits of the past few years used a new hole. They spread so badly because of poor administration. By that token, it would seem that a competent sysadmin could indeed run a secure Win-based business.

        But a few weeks back there was a new kid in town, and this time it hit Linux - slapper. From what I understand, this was a newly discovered hole that was made into a worm in record time. Still the infection rate turned out to be minor, mostly because of competent sysadmins and the **rapid release** of a security fix.

        Slapper broke new ground in several respects, between hole-to-worm time and its use of peer-to-peer. Now try running this combination against the more common (not yours obviously, though you can only deploy released patches) Windows security environment. Add to this the chilling effect of the DMCA on grey-hat activities, especially in the closed-source security arena.
      • by Loundry ( 4143 )
        It's about competent administration.

        Your story is yet another of the scores of examples which contradict the long-touted "feature" of (NT|2k|XP) that it is "easy to administer." If it was truly easy to administer, then the administration would not need to be done by competent administration; i.e., anyone should be able to do it.

        I maintain that (NT|2k|XP) is equally difficult to administer as *nix and has always been. One may be better than the other for certain tasks, but effective administration for both has been and still is difficult and requires highly skilled professionals to do it right.

        I think that my biggest problems with NT systems was the outright deceit which pervaded the marketing surrounding said systems. (See also: "NT Workstation and NT Server are completely different operating systems. Really. I mean it. Pay no attention to the identical kernels.")
    • Oh, that's ok.
      The US Government has that part covered.
      They'll just declare virus writing/deploying as a terrorist act and use as an excuse to invade the Philipines or other asian countries.
    • Re:How it all works. (Score:3, Informative)

      by haggar ( 72771 )
      You are correct: a 100% Microsoft network is very vulnerable. I, let's say, am closely affiliated with this famous company that makes mobile phones, and it's a 100% pure Microsoft shop, including IIS, Exchange, Outlook and Office - Microsoft end to end. Well, when these mail viruses attack our IM people look like idiots. They perhaps are not idiots, but they look so helpless and inefficient, and network services just don't work.

      And we're punished every time some schmuck writes one of these macrovirii, because of this uniform, Microsoft infrastructure.
  • by tshoppa ( 513863 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:14AM (#4318212)
    What the head article fails to mention is that a Federal judge ordered the Department of the Interior to shut down all internet connections [washingtonpost.com] last year. With no from-the-outside network attacks, the Microsoft systems might stay up for days, even.
    • "the Microsoft systems might stay up for days, even."

      Interesting, so you're saying that MS systems connected to the internet CAN'T stay up for days? Hmm, well then I'd better check my server again because I could SWEAR it's running Windows 2000 Server.... Yep, it is. It's also been up for about 40 days straight now. Yes, that DOES mean that there are critical patches, including the NetBIOS venurability, that haven't been applied. It's not affected though. Why? I took the time to secure it in the first place. None of the venurabilities are relivant since none of the services they affect are turned on or allowed through the firewall.

      Of course far more important than uptime, which is something that many Linux users seem inordinatly obsessed with, is unscheduled downtime. It is acceptable and expected that a non-critical system like a webserver will go down for scheduled matenence. Hell, most systems do. I'm a night person and from time ot time when I try and do something like pay my phone bill on the web at 3am it tells me that their finincal system is down for matenence. E-bay goes down every week for matenece at a certian time in the morning. Downtime is only a problem if it is unscheduled, ie happening because of a failure.

      In the case of my 2k server it has been down precisely once: when the power failed. It has never been hacked, or crashed.

      Really, the incessant ragging on MS is just unwarranted. If people would bother to take the time to learn a little about Windows server and secure them, and then keep current with patches, there wouldn't be near so many problem. The patch for code red came out long before it hit the fan and none of the servers I admin were affected. Hell, if you do a good job with securing the server, many patches you don't even have to worry about and can put off until your next scheduled matenence since the services they effect are either turned off or protected by firewall.

      As the receant Linux worm showed, it's bad administrators that are the real problem, not the OS.
  • by Bocaj ( 84920 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:15AM (#4318216) Homepage
    Offtopic example.
    Peter: "Why not cross the streams?"
    Egon: "It would be bad."
    Peter: "Define bad."
    Egon: "Imagine all life as you know it stopping instantainiously, and every molocule in your body exploding at the speed of light."
    Peter: "Ok that's bad. Important safety tip."

    Ontopic example.
    Hemos: "Don't post links to That server!"
    chrisd: "Why?"
    Hemos: "It would be bad."
    chrisd: "Define bad."
    Hemos: "Imagine all internet traffic as you know it stopping instantainiously, and every packet on the network bombarding the server at the speed of light." chrisd: "Ok, that's bad. Important safety tip."
  • why is it such a terrible thing if a government office standardize on some license requirements (e.g. only buy free software) allowing any vendor to compete, but not a problem when a government office standardize on a single vendor, and accept whatever license that vendor provides?

    Somehow the idea of a government office being unwilling to accept any license is soo evil that even some traditional free software advocates are against it, yet standardizing on a single vendor is so commonn that it rarely get mentioned.
    • by Tikiman ( 468059 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:41AM (#4318321)
      I don't know about what others think, but the fact that they are standardizing on the single most expensive solution bothers me. I am also bothered by the fact that they have either subscribed to microsoft FUD or just don't care. The vast majority of those 70,000 need word processing, web browsing, and email for which MS is a stupidly expensive solution. I would rather see them all using 5 year old hardware running a stripped down, custom Linux distro with Mozilla and an office suite.

      The effective of a MS solution is not justified by its cost period - and as a taxpayer, I say its a problem.
    • why is it such a terrible thing if a government office standardize on some license requirements (e.g. only buy free software) allowing any vendor to compete, but not a problem when a government office standardize on a single vendor, and accept whatever license that vendor provides?
      Think biologically: compare the evolutionary performance of organisms issued through sexual reproduction (by screwing), versus organisms issued through asexual reproduction (by budding/cloning).

      Or, for you hick types, look at the general health status of normal people versus inbreds (the O'Higgins living accross the tracks, or the britshit royal family).

  • So..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tanveer1979 ( 530624 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:28AM (#4318253) Homepage Journal
    how will it help. Geocities has been slashdotted, ,memo's been approved the harms been done.

    And this time they didnt boil the frog, the put it in hot water first!

    On the other hand, all is there is something by satanishere, geocities is trashed. So no proof. Is this story true? And Mr.Editors you know too well not to post links to geocities.. dont you. Better aproach would have been to download the images and then put them on slashdot.

    Nobody here knows what that memo contains, what is there in it, so before this post goes to the HALL OF FAME maybe we can see the images please. [slashdot.org]

    Another thing, apparently DOI has 70000 employees, are any of them on slashdot.. I really want to hear what they say about it. Or if none of them are there on /. i would presume that its very good for them to be on M$. Come to think of it.... its about improving productivity. If a 70000 workforce says that wanna work on M$ why should anyone stop them.... But I guess this wont be true, there will be numerous who are opposing this.... and in this case slashdotters cant do anything except slashdot the DOI site every second day.... Its upto those employees to get together and raise a ruckus.
    • If a 70000 workforce says that wanna work on M$ why should anyone stop them.... But I guess this wont be true, there will be numerous who are opposing this.... and in this case slashdotters cant do anything except slashdot the DOI site every second day.... Its upto those employees to get together and raise a ruckus.

      Beside the fact that the employees probably had almost nothing to do with the decision, it is objectively bad for the government to lock up our information in a propriatary format.

      The real tragedy of this will come down the road, when not even current MS crap (if they survive) will be able to read the obsolete Word2002 formats stored in the archive. Even today, I expect that you would have some problems reading at least some old windows document formats in the most current editions.

      MS development processes are so ad-hoc and market driven that they cannot even keep track of all the external representation formats that they have created. They just don't get it. The reason that experienced and skilled software architects and designers insist on supporting mature standards is because otherwise it turns into an unmanagable mess. Stability is way more important than wiz bang features. Note that this is also the source of many of their security problems, at least the ones that aren't due to allowing program fragments to run from untrusted sources, but I digress.

      This is also why the Linux platform is so much better. Even though it is not yet at a maturity and stability level that satisfies us, it is still completely usable because it doesn't just abandon standards in an attempt to gain market dominance. Once a standard is established and has become stable, you can be certain that it will be widely adopted. In this environment, any number of projects can implement that standard, and users have a choice to stay with the old reliable tool, or upgrade to get more features and functionality. Or even use both situationally.

  • Mirror (Score:2, Informative)

    by mraymer ( 516227 )
    Seeing as how the article was fresh, I thought I'd do everyone here a favor and mirror the images before the inevitable Slashdoting began. I'm such a nice guy.

    Much to my surprise, though, all I was able to mirror for you guys is this: http://home.centurytel.net/mraymer/sorry.gif

    Never underestimate the power of a Slashdoting, I guess. ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:36AM (#4318285)
    if you look at the stated reasons, I think that most from past experience will see the majority of them as not just flaky but bass ackwards. However, the question begs if now it is the same. Is 2000 server more reliable than NT, absolutely. Is the centralized domain control 'better' than NT, well sure. However, is it better than a *nix system as far as domain reliability and efficiency of managment? Well, that is what needs to be proven here.

    The biggest joke is perhaps the part about lower costs from more reliable services. Sorry, but I don't know of anyone who has knowledge of Unix and Windows systems than can attest to better MS reliability, ever. It would seem that it would have been just as valid for the report (when naming reasons) to say, "MS has cool commercials" and "The trees around Redmond are really pretty this time of year."

    Windows is definitely the solution in the case of desktops, especially with users already used to Windows. However, for backend reliability Windows has proven that it is only reliable in attracting exploiters and malicious code. This is just another example of blind bureacracy in action. The licensing costs alone will put the budget to a point that the equivelent agency that runs Linux backends would be able to buy 100's of more computers. I would like to see some detailed studies by the DOI as to backup their financial claims. However, they do have one point that is valid. If starting from scratch, it is indeed easier and cheaper to train administrators (at least to a partially competent technician level) in Windows than in any *nix. Call everyone monkeys if you wish, but the fact that a well organized GUI can be quickly adapted to by many will produce much more technicians than the unorganized mess (usually the fault of app/package and distro producers admittingly) that is *nix. Too many times, people trying to simply get the damn thing to work will ask, "where do I find out all the details on how to make X happen?" Often the answer is not there, or buried deep within a chaotic cavern of unorganized information and references. When asked about the silly redundancy (good example is Apache, where in writting to the httpd.conf you must often put certain definitions and features in multiple places) I can't answer except say, "Well I think someone just wanted it that way." (don't get me wrong, I love Apache... but that is an oft repeated question by many)

  • DOI ? (Score:3, Funny)

    by __aahlyu4518 ( 74832 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:36AM (#4318287)
    Department Of Injustice
  • Not the real thing, and of course, the easiest solution to any computing problem is "Buy what Msft has" - and if they don't use any Win9X/ME it'll be good enough. But they're sure to run into 'issues and limitations' that'll require regular payments to Msft in the future, but by then the ACTING CIO will likely be outta there. Remember that when you go to your favorite national park and have to pay $22 to get in, a fraction of that is guarenteed Msft income, and they own the digital rights to the sunset too.

    My favorite stand in govt official is "Acting Assistant Deputy Secretary" - that actually exists!
  • by miffo.swe ( 547642 ) <[daniel.hedblom] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:43AM (#4318332) Homepage Journal
    Since Linux and open source in general is a grounds up movement its hard to fight for Microsoft. They target the big players instead. When the snowball starts and some big agency adopts linux and it falls out well there will be no way in h'll to stop it. Microsoft needs to fight general adoption of linux. The day linux get widespread is the day when all the other players curently developing for windows only will throw an eye onto linux too.

    One thing i have hard to understand is how they can prise interoperability on one hand and not demand open standards at the same time.
  • Did they go through the appropriate bidding process that is needed whenever a substantial government contract is offered?

    If you used all Sun, Linux, or Apple software/hardware, you'd have the same compatibility bonuses as you do with Microsoft. Compatibility is not unique, or even native, to Microsoft. Hell, they removed from Office XP the ability to open other office suites' documents with the default install; isn't that a step BACKWARDS for compatibility?
    • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:13AM (#4318517)
      I'm a sys-admin for a small school, and I'm familiar with the restrictions of a bidding process. Most likely the DOI will go through the appropriate bidding process by producing an RFP specifying a Microsoft solution, and then various vendors will bid on a systems solution centered on a Microsoft product.

      By narrowing the systems specifications right down to the software vendor, a CIO can pretty much get what he/she wants. Sure, there are lots of MCSE's selling MS solutions, but if the RFP specifically requests a Microsoft product, that effectively excludes all other systems vendors.

      -ted
  • This policy, by providing a waiver process, is actually less restrictive than the "100% Open Source" public policies that people have been cheerleading for here on Slashdot.

    This means a Linux box will be allowed in the DOI if it's really necessary. All this really does is prevent the l337 h4x0r downstairs from running a Linux box he doesn't understand and can't make secure.

    The "100% Open Source" policies would not allow anything Microsoft, even if it is the best tool (gasp!), based purely on ideological (read: impractical) reasoning.

    • When I was a young SW Engineer working on military systems, I frequently had "great" ideas involving hardware "shot-down" (pun intended) because the system requirements from the gvt. demanded components that had a "second source." This prevented the system from being dependent upon a sole provider of a component. So even if more technically advanced hardware was available, that did not matter because a single supplier placed the whole system at risk... the risk that we may not be able to replace that component in the future - rendering the whole system useless based upon the unavailability of one component.

      I believe open source needs to be looked at the same way...and, in fact, many gvt's around the world are doing just that.

      Stop saying that requiring open source EXCLUDES MS. It does NOT. The problem is that MS does not have any products which meet the customer's system requirement for multiple sources for system components.

      MS (the company) is not excluded, their closed-source products are. If they wish to compete for systems that require multiply-sourced components,they should make products for that market.
  • Ten Year Ban (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NumberSyx ( 130129 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @07:58AM (#4318422) Journal
    I personally beleive the Federal Government should be banned for ten years from buying any NEW products or services from any company which has been found guilty of being an illegal monopoly, when there are alternatives available from other companies.
  • by rppp01 ( 236599 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:00AM (#4318431) Homepage
    I mean, think about it, we have a president, who doesn't give a rats ass about anything except corporations and the military. Look at the economy, it has to be every one else's fault but the administration's. Yell at Congress to lower spending, so we can raise military spending, and then keep pointing to Iraq as doing what they do, drawing attention away from the economy and from Isreal basically doing what Bush moans that Iraq might do in the future. What utter nonsense!
    But we knew this would happen. With a pro-corp prez in place, MS would get off, and now it is being espoused by the government. Nice going, morons. We don't want to punish MS for being a monopoly, no, we want to have them continue to publish wonderless software, and we'll even use them!

    If I could convince my gf and my ex (for the kids), I'd move to Canada already, or even Europe. Sure, freedoms and technology are not the same, but so what. These areas of the world are getting it (except Blair, what's he gonna get for his support?). Some Superpower....what's that saying? Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Thanks Bushki!
  • as a DOI employee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by briancnorton ( 586947 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:06AM (#4318473) Homepage
    I work first hand with DOI IT, and I can tell you that there will be waivers flying every direction. Everything is UNIX now, and there are not enough qualified people to migrate. They spent MILLIONS replacing 3000 mail servers with 32 Domino servers, and they arent changing that anytime soon.

    All specialized applications are UNIX, and will be waived.

    The major problem is with administrators. There arent enough qualified people here to run a multimode environment. They cant pay enough to get qualified Americans to work for them, and they cant contract out to H1Bs.

    in short, I dont think this will have much of an effect.

    • I'll second this. I'm a DOI subcontractor, and all our systems are DOI-owned. We have Linux, Unix, Irix, and SunOs all over the place, plus a Mac here and there. Most of these systems are running custom applications and their OS cannot be replaced by Windows. This will have little if any effect.
    • And as a fellow DOI employee, my take on this is they did no scoping or internal comment or ANYTHING to base this decision on. I do not think it is going to fly, in the long term.

      My entire IT office is up in arms about this. With NO comments from the rank and file, many people are upset.

    • Re:as a DOI employee (Score:3, Interesting)

      by killmenow ( 184444 )
      I dont think this will have much of an effect.
      It may not have much effect in the DoI, but I submit it will have the following effect:
      • New (note I said NEW) contractors looking to work with the DoI will see this as an indicator that NEW stuff will be done on a Microsoft platform.
      • MILLIONS will be spent by vendors, contractors, etc. in training and otherwise getting up to speed on said Microsoft platforms
      • A lot of CIOs will take their cue from this and do the same thing
      • Microsoft will market the S%*t out of this, using it as an argument against other government departments (not just US ones) who are pro-OSS
      • Other US departments will follow suit...and it will all repeat
      Now, I'm not saying OSS is dead in the DoI. But I am betting OSS will be slowly phased out if this policy stands, as any NEW projects will be hard pressed to justify those waivers.

      But I admit: I could be wrong.
    • There are currently thousands of highly qualified people available now who will work for half or even a third of the salary as average. This is why the government conspired with wall street to bust the big bubble, because no one would work for the government anymore (no stock options). And unlike H-1Bs, who have to be paid what the average person makes, you can legally pay Americans way under average. So now there are plenty of admins available ... and programmers, too. Just post the openings here [slashdot.org] and watch the geeks resumes come flooding in.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:10AM (#4318498)
    I contracted for the Texas Dept of Human Services, they, like most government shops, had a policy standardizing on MS products. What the higher ups quietly ignore is their critical WAN infrastructure is mostly linux. A small insular group of network guys set it up (the DNS server had a 9 month uptime and was still running a 2.0 kernel). Most of them were not experts, just guys who had setup Linux early and then kicked back and relaxed (not an ideal system from a security standpoint).

    Email went down for three days while they blamed the Exchange box, I had explain MX records to them and prove that it was disk overload on their primary MX (sendmail +Redhat 5.2). They couldn't even remember who had the root password.

    What I discovered was that government is still the last big company around. The place where no one ever gets fired, or laid off. Where the new technology approval board is run entirely by people whose only IT training is in Cobol and Unisys 2200. The few really smart people are full of great ideas, but they are rendered inert by the great mass of "lifers".

    In Texas, most of the real IT work gets done by big name consulting firms, at extraordinary costs and questionable quality.

  • I find it amazing that a government department should have an official policy of only purchasing from one particular vendor. I would have thought a fundamental factor in defining a purchasing policy in any large organisation would be making sure that there is competition amongst your suppliers. It's basic business sense, isn't it?

  • by budalite ( 454527 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:37AM (#4318672)
    Actually, the announcement is probably going to be blatantly ignored by all the DOI Bureaus/Empires. They are all their own little fiefdoms. I retired from the DOI Office of the Secretary IT network/web team team about 3 years ago. At that time, the DOI "Webmaster" did not know HTML, much less CGI or anything else; he used Front Page to build a little office home-page. It had animation bouncy things on it. He had no *nix nor any web experience of any kind when he was hired. ?? The Office of the Secretary Webmaster (my boss) needed to spend most of his day developing and maintaining a COBOL-based personnel administration application. He did not know any *nix nor did he care to learn it. (To be fair, he didn't have the time.) Each of the Bureaus headquartered in the DOI Headquarters building in DC had (has?) a seperate LAN/WAN system and seperate Internet access points. The DOI web site was funded by the Public Affairs office, which was/is not really sure what to do with the web. After working at GSA and FEMA, two orgs. with outstanding IT teams, the DOI lack of interest in IT, lack of qualified IT leadership, and the resulting mediocrity was very disappointing. However, the idea to "invest" in M$ is not very surprising. They had already begun to move that way, years ago. It's what the contractors use. It's what the contractors told them to use. Their lack of IT expertise means they must trust the contractors to provide their IT leadersthip. Apparently, they picked the wrong contractors and are just getting ate up. I could go on and on (and probably already have). Don't place too much emphasis on this "announcement". The Bureaus won't. It's just a way for that office to get its name in lights for a little while. Sad, but true.

    pfS.

    [Ironically, when the DOI web site was heavily attacked by the Chinese after we accidentally blew up their embassy in Bosnia, our Unix-based Apache web site, a left-over from a previous webmaster (bless his unix-loving butt), administered by a new-to-unix admin.(me), faired pretty well while the Park Service's M$ IIS4-based web site was hammered through an anonymous ftp account and was down for weeks. (Everything was secure but the gifs. I thought I had everything buttoned up, but for some reason, when I uploaded files to the server via Hummingbird, the gifs (& only the gifs) permissions were set to 'w' for everyone. So we had little Chinese flags all over DOI Home page for about 12 hours. Coulda been worse. Oddly, the Chinese sent tons of XXX-rated mail to the webmaster email address. Ow, ow. ]
  • by Andrew Gilmore ( 32369 ) <agilmore2.yahoo@com> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:43AM (#4318728) Homepage
    The rumor is that this was actually caused by someone blaming lack of standard email servers (Lotus Domino and Groupwise) for screwing up a email greeting/distribution from the Secretary. This problem was probably actually caused by network connectivity problems, rather than standardization issues. I got it fine from my Groupwise POP server.

    Thus this unfunded mandate to move to some standard platform.

    Given that there is no money behind it, and we're talking 40+ mill in LICENCES ALONE!!!

    I don't see this happening anytime soon.

    On the other hand, it is almost easier for Linux to interoperate with MS stuff than Novell, except Exchange/Outlook, which does have a non-free solution (Evolution).

    Further, we have several pieces of Unix only software, and I don't see those being ported soon.
  • "Centralized security control"? Sure, Microsoft can do that. Until one of your domain servers gets 0wned.

    Frankly, this doesn't come as a shock. Government agencies like the USDOI have always been of the attitude that if they pay more, and do less, it's better in the long run. But if they plan on running their entire networks on Microsoft servers, I plan on watching the news for hack reports.
  • The DOI is he same agency that was forced off the web by a court ruling in 2001 because it was easy to hack Indian royalty accounts. This turned off National Park Web site, earthquake data sites, etc. also in the DOI. What a mess at the time.

  • We don't need the Freedom of Information Act anymore... and I was worrying about our rights being taken away ... whew

  • by Quixadhal ( 45024 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @08:52AM (#4318812) Homepage Journal
    What happens when a government organizaton decides to use Microsoft products and has to shut down all operations for N days because:

    a) The authentication server at MS crashes or screws up so all the Windows XP desktops can't phone home to get Bill's permission to run?

    b) One of those lovely IIS virii starts sending sensitive documents out to every pr0n vendor in anyone's mail spool?

    c) The DRM system determines that a critical bit of multimedia presentation, which might decide the creation of a policy, can't be shown since it hasn't been authorized and therefore MIGHT be a violation of someone's copyright?

    If you thought your Government was lazy before... man!
  • DOI? (Score:2, Funny)

    by vogon jeltz ( 257131 )
    So MS equips The Department of InFeriors with its Software?
    Good match if you ask me.
    Oh well, couldn't resist ...
  • by cje ( 33931 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @09:16AM (#4318976) Homepage
    .. and this whole thing is basically nonsense. As briancnorton said in his post, expect waivers to fly like snowflakes in a blizzard (if they even bother to try to enforce this at all.)

    At the installation where I work, we've got dozens of legacy systems running on UNIX boxes as far as the eye can see. Some of these are processor-hungry image processing applications that run on high-end boxes from SGI and Sun. These systems are not going away anytime soon, regardless of what some tech-clueless bureaucrat at the top of the chain would like to think.

    I'm posting this from an SGI O2, sitting on my desk next to a PC that dual boots Win2K and Linux. All of the developers in the cube farm outside my office door are doing UNIX development on Linux PCs. In the past couple of years, we have started to shun more expensive solutions in favor of software like Apache, PHP, PostgreSQL/MySQL. There are currently several efforts underway to port existing systems from proprietary UNIX (i.e., IRIX or Solaris) to Linux so that we can leverage inexpensive, commodity hardware platforms and get away from paying exorbitant maintenance fees.

    We're moving pretty aggressively towards open standards and free software, and I would guess that this memo will have exactly zilch effect on that.
  • Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by PotatoMan ( 130809 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @11:36AM (#4319978)
    The meaning of 'transparancy' is completely opaque to me. Your 'parants' should be ashamed.
  • by egg troll ( 515396 ) on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @11:39AM (#4320008) Homepage Journal
    Apparently Gale Norton decided she'd better spend all the money the DoI has kept from Native American tribes [cbsnews.com]. Ah, free software: damned if you're free, damned if you're not....
  • by starling ( 26204 ) <strayling20@gmail.com> on Tuesday September 24, 2002 @01:24PM (#4320924)
    'Nuff said.

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