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FAA May Ditch Vista For Linux 359

Posted by kdawson
from the hello-Google dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Another straw in the wind: following last week's news that the US Department of Transportation is putting a halt on upgrades to Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Internet Explorer 7, today comes word that the Federal Aviation Administration may ditch Vista and Office in favor of Google's new online business applications running on Linux-based hardware. (The FAA is part of the DOT.) The FAA's CIO David Bowen told InformationWeek he's taking a close look at the Premier Edition of Google Apps as he mulls replacements for the agency's Windows XP-based desktop computers. Bowen cited several reasons why he finds Google Apps attractive. 'From a security and management standpoint that would have some advantages,' he said."
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FAA May Ditch Vista For Linux

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  • by BigBadRich (849128) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:17AM (#18260938) Homepage
    Great to see someone thinking about ditching software made by a monopolistic behemoth in favour of the little guy!

    Oh wait, Google apps? never mind.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:31AM (#18261052) Homepage

    the Federal Aviation Administration may ditch Vista and Office in favor of Google's new online business applications running on Linux-based hardware.

    The FAA issued a pilot advisory for the Seattle area: Pilots should be aware of the potential to encounter flying chairs any time they are east and slightly south of Seattle center controlled airspace.

  • moral? (Score:2, Funny)

    by blakmac (987934) <blakmac@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:41AM (#18261124) Homepage
    The FAA has a real problem when things crash.
  • by 8127972 (73495) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:44AM (#18261138)
    .... as they'd have to deal with this all of the time.

    - A plane is about to land. Cancel or Allow?
    - A plane is about to take off. Cancel or Allow?
    - A transport truck is about to crash. Cancel or Allow?

    You'd get sick of having to click Cancel or Allow all of the time too.

    Oh wait.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:34AM (#18261604) Homepage
    ...always have your Ubuntu mug, your Debian mug, and your iPod lying on your desk.
  • Re:training (Score:2, Funny)

    by zxnos (813588) <zxnoss@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:36AM (#18261628)

    Am I really that much smarter than the people who work at the FAA?
    we are talking government employees right?

    isnt the saying "those who do, do. those who cant do, teach. those whose cant teach work for the government?

  • by markov_chain (202465) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:10AM (#18261980) Homepage
    Hey, I know, we could put all these appliances into some kind of enclosure with common power, cooling, and even super fast backplane. We would probably need to keep these "frames" in climate-controlled rooms. The main "frame" would serve the most common apps, and if some offices needed some specialized stuff they could buy small versions, kind of like miniature computers! Hah, I kill myself.
  • by ragefan (267937) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:10PM (#18262756)

    But, you know, give them a hard date by which everyone should be using Google Apps (oh, there's always problem workers but leave that to middle management).

    Usually middle management *are* the problem workers.

  • by mergy (42601) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:54PM (#18263364) Homepage
    An executive from a big organization X is looking at upgrading his Microsoft-centric network of products. He thinks he will get a good deal from MS because he is a big shot and the company or government agency is a big deal. He is shocked at the initial price MS comes back with. He knows he is not going to rip-out all the MS stuff across the massive network but really has no other way to bargain other than issuing a release saying he is evaluating (Redhat/Suse/ and now Google) and wants bargaining chips to take back to MS.

    Let me tell you the end of the story for all of you, MS comes back and gives the software away on the initial upgrade pricing but nails them to the wall for years on support.

    In 5 years, rinse and repeat.
  • by HighOrbit (631451) * on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:56PM (#18263412)
    From TFA interview with FAA chief information officer David Bowen

    Bowen cited several reasons why he finds Google Apps attractive. "It's a different sort of computing strategy," he said. "It takes the desktop out of the way so you're running a very thin client. From a security and management standpoint that would have some advantages."
    ....
    Bowen said he's in talks with the aviation safety agency's main hardware supplier, Dell Computer, to determine if it could deliver Linux-based computers capable of accessing Google Apps through a non-Microsoft browser once the FAA's XP-based computers pass their shelf life. "We have discussions going on with Dell," Bowen said. "We're trying to figure out what our roadmap will be after we're no longer able to acquire Windows XP."


    I'm sorry, but do you really think Dell is going to enthusiastically push thin clients? AFAIK, Dell isn't even in the thin client business, they are in the PC business. Dell has an interest in dooming this from the start in order to protect their PC business. This CIO Bowen has no idea of where to go with this, so somebody needs to whisper in his ear. He needs to talk with Sun, since they have considerable experience with Sunray thin clients [sun.com]. Maybe even Neoware thin clients [ibm.com] from IBM/Lenovo.
  • by An dochasac (591582) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:18PM (#18264754)
    FAA (after several extremely expensive false starts) finally deployed a flight control system to replace the Sperry-Univac 8300s. You'd think they would have learned something from these mistakes, but there are several things that scare me about this:

    1) The fact that Windows Vista (an unproven not yet released OS) is being considered for mission critical systems.

    2) The fact that Government might tie a crucial part of national infrastructure to any single company (Microsoft or a high-flying dot com)

    3) The fact that Linux was considered but not BSD, OpenSolaris, OSX and any number of other OSs suggests that the FAA still doesn't understand their problem, instead they focus on a sole-source vendor who can claims to be able to solve it, whatever it is.

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