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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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  • Will never happen (Score:5, Informative)

    by bleh-of-the-huns (17740) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @08:45AM (#18261146)
    I work within the DOT, there has been no discussion of linux or Mac replacing windows, the discussions are about not upgrading to Vista and Office 2007/IE7 due to inconsistancies with the custom applications, and much of the hardware would need to be replaced, not even upgraded, but totally replaced.
  • by TobascoKid (82629) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:06AM (#18261320) Homepage
    Perhaps you should consider the Google Enterprise Professional Programme...

    Google Enterprise Professional partners are product experts who provide value-added services or products to Google customers. As a Google Enterprise Professional, you'll have the ability to reach Google's rapidly growing customer base. We'll also provide you with either your own Google Search Appliance for development or a set of Google Apps Premier Edition user accounts for your own use. Plus you'll receive in-depth product training.
  • Already there (Score:5, Informative)

    by gr8_phk (621180) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:20AM (#18261458)
    "Hopefully, they are seriously considering Linux regardless."
    FAA is outsourcing the whole flight services infrastructure to Lockheed. A rep from Lockheed gave a presentation to our local EAA chapter on the new system and it's rather cool. Each person gets a multi-head display and all the software is running on Linux. I don't recall the distro. So when you call in for a weather report or to check if there are TFRs in your flight path, you will be talking to a guy running Linux. It makes sense for the FAA to switch because they will likely want access to the same software. The only downside is that there will be fewer of these people, so you may be talking to someone far away who doesn't know the local area and local weather.
  • by gkhan1 (886823) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <nossdravgisrakso>> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:25AM (#18261516)
    They not only operate in the public eye by convention, they do so by law. Has nobody heard of the Freedom of Information Act? Virtually all data that the FAA would store on those servers would be public anyway, and promptly available on request from anyone in the general public.
  • by badonkey (968937) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:07AM (#18261948)
    There have been issues. [elhacker.net]

    Some are recent. [engadget.com]

    Both are declared "fixed," but it's a bit unsettling. Contact lists and email are one thing, highly sensitive documents are another.
  • Re:Will never happen (Score:3, Informative)

    by bleh-of-the-huns (17740) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:15AM (#18262818)
    No, Actually I work for the CIO's office, who Dave Bowen is accountable to. Linux is used extremely sparingly, and mostly for specialty applications. The same goes for the DOT. As for Macs, there are a number of them, they are in the imagining department, and a few select people high in the chain of command.

  • Re:training (Score:2, Informative)

    by lenne (1050888) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:34AM (#18263084)
    Boss got office 2007 a few days ago. We still haven't found the print button. Well, now he knows he can use ^P, but anyway. I'm sure he won't use any of the new "features"... Lenne
  • by encoderer (1060616) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:40AM (#18263162)
    Yes, the VBA/Automation is a big part of what's missing.

    But as others have said here, Google Documents doesn't even have Find & Replace capabilities yet. (They only have a "Replace All" option and even that is "experimental").

    This is the future, I think. I really do. But not today. Not yet. It's just not ready.
  • by rehtonAesoohC (954490) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:43PM (#18264156) Journal
    That title is totally misleading... They're not ditching Vista for Linux... They're thinking about the possibility of ditching Vista in favor of google applications. Google applications running on Linux has no bearing on the fact that the FAA is choosing google applications...

    That's like saying: "I like Hondas better than Fords because the gas tank is made with different materials."
  • Re:training (Score:3, Informative)

    by mcrbids (148650) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @01:47PM (#18265340) Journal
    The FAA keeps what is by far the world's busiest civil air transportation system running with a remarkably good safety record. Every time you go to the airport, get on your plane, fly to your destination, get off your plane, and nothing else happens, you have the FAA to thank for it.

    As a private pilot, I can happily support this. Really. Air traffic control is excellent, and available just about everywhere in the USA. Navigation aids (VOR, etc) are available just about anywhere that you'd ever want to fly, ATC is widely available just about anywhere that might resemble a proximity to civilization.

    Not that I agree with every one of their decisions, and there are certainly warts here and there, but it really is generally a well thought-out and well enforced system with an excellent safety record.

    Think about it: some small, 2-seat private plane crashes somewhere 3 states away, and it's frequently on the 6 o'clocke news. But it's unlikely that you would even find out about a similar-sized automobile that fatally crashes one block from your house.
  • Re:training (Score:3, Informative)

    by Columcille (88542) * on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:40PM (#18266154) Homepage
    It did strike me as odd that there is no print button by default, but it's easy enough to add. Top left of the window, next to the Windows logo, there is a "quick access toolbar" - click the little drop arrow on that and you can select some things to add or remove from that toolbar. The print button is one of those things. I think MS should have had it on by default, but it was easy enough to find.
  • by jlizard43 (935504) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @05:28PM (#18268254)
    Flipping from M$Office to Google apps is one thing, but flipping from XP to Linux is an entirely different matter regarding TCO. What nobody seems to be discussing here is centralized management and security when it comes to access and control over the desktop. It's one thing to re-train your busy bee workers, but you would need an entirely new IT staff to work with the centralized management tools for a fleet of Linux desktops. If you want a mature set of tools then you are going with Novell or RedHat anyway, which doesn't seem that politically or monetarily different than Microsoft and the cost of your IT workers with expertise on enterprise managed Linux systems is 15-20% higher than getting a cast of MCSE's to keep everything in top shape for you.

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