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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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  • training (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bizzeh (851225) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:09AM (#18260882) Homepage
    this isnt going to happen tomorrow, or next week, or next month. training staff to use an entirly new system takes a lot of time and money. i will be supprised if we see this take effect before this time next year
  • by codepunk (167897) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:14AM (#18260906)
    They need to bundle that up in a appliance so they can sell it to enterprises that do not wish to
    store their data out of house.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:15AM (#18260916)
    From the article: If Microsoft can satisfy his concerns over compatibility with the agency's existing applications and demonstrate why such a move would make financial sense given Google Apps's low price

    Sound familiar? It seems like the tried-and-true tactic of publicly looking into Linux so Microsoft will rush in and offer support and discounts. Hopefully, they are seriously considering Linux regardless.
  • Re:training (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:16AM (#18260926)
    Yes, as everyone keeps saying. Funnily enough though I have yet to see anyone provide any figures, experimental data or case studies from non-biased sources that supports this. Now, I've no doubt that any new application deployment requires training the end users, but just how much and at what cost?
  • Re:training (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:17AM (#18260936)
    Can't they just employ immigrants who learned to use computers in order to get a job? We're not talking complex applications here like 3D or compositing apps, those who can't use generic email, word processor or spreadsheet don't deserve to have a desk job.
  • Re:training (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linguizic (806996) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:17AM (#18260940)
    What's interesting though is that the FAA seems to think that the costs associated with training will in the end be cheaper than an upgrade to Vista.
  • by bconway (63464) * on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:18AM (#18260944) Homepage
    But the article fails to mention why the XP systems need replacement. Any organization as conservative as the FAA no doubt waited a year or two before rolling out XP, so even the earlier systems are only a few years old, and probably far from slouches. Why does the release of Vista necessitate an upgrade, especially if you aren't going to be upgrading to Vista?
  • by endianx (1006895) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:19AM (#18260956)
    I agree 100%. I think that is the future of software. Not applications that run on someone else's server, but ones that run on your own (but still not on hundreds of desktops).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:20AM (#18260960)
    1. Some CIO flirts with the idea of migrating to a different platform in order to get a better deal on licenses.
    2. Vendor with monopoly rushes in with truckloads of licenses at "discount rates" to secure their position.
    3. CIO returns with whitepaper indicating a TCO in favor of monopoly.
    4. ???

    If the "ditch" occurs, then that would be news.
  • Re:training (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:21AM (#18260970)
    "What's interesting though is that the FAA seems to think that the costs associated with training will in the end be cheaper than an upgrade to Vista."

    Don't forget that they'll need to retrain people for Vista and Office-whatever anyway. So it's not like one option is free and the other costs money.
  • by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:22AM (#18260988) Homepage
    You can't outsource security [e.g. oh look google is so much better at keeping our documents secure] any more than you can outsource responsibility. Why isn't this guy simply looking at Open Office, or hell the other free tools like AbiWord, Gnumeric, etc.

    Ah, to be ignorant of technology, but rife with enough buzzwords to be dangerous.

    Not only are the google versions of the tools not nearly feature complete, but they're over the internet. Thus guaranteed to be sucktastically slow (especially when a lot of people use it) and very likely insecure in the end (hint: gmail has already had a few goofs). I'm all for ditching Windows, but using online office tools is just short sighted. Within a year or two of the switch they'll be climbing back into bed with MS Office [no doubt].

    Also, if you're just going to use AJAX based web tools, what does it matter what OS you run?

    Tom
  • seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:22AM (#18260992) Homepage
    Bowen cited several reasons why he finds Google Apps attractive. 'From a security and management standpoint that would have some advantages,' he said."
     
    What about openoffice.org surely its more secure than an internet app.
  • by Iphtashu Fitz (263795) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:25AM (#18261002)
    But the article fails to mention why the XP systems need replacement.

    Simple. MS says they won't support XP after a given date. After that date the FAA (and everybody else) would have to upgrade to Vista to continue getting support from MS.

    If the DOT/FAA goes with linux they'll likely go with a vendor like RedHat or Novell who will offer full support services without arbitrary drop-dead dates for support, much easier upgrade paths, etc.
  • by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:28AM (#18261026)
    Fast internet access for business customers is still somewhat expensive. Connecting to your own server in-house with a fast LAN will be cheaper in many cases.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:37AM (#18261088)
    Your whining sounds exactly like all the seamstresses who were replaced by looms, all the assembly line workers who were replaced by machines, all the telephone operators who were replaced by automated switching, all the freight train job losses due to the advent of the superhighway and freight trucks, etc. Changes happen. Get used to it.
  • Big Discount Stick (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frogstar_robot (926792) <frogstar_robot@yahoo.com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:38AM (#18261094)
    I'd like to believe such a thing is being seriously considered but it's probably just the same-ole same-ole. Some poor MS salesdroid is going to be thwacked bloody until he comes across with big discounts and free consulting services and training for a Vista deployment. Still Linux has to be a least a credible threat for that to work. I wonder how many Aerons have come to a splintery end because of Linux induced discounting.
  • by thatjavaguy (306073) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:38AM (#18261098)
    The guy is just trying to get his MS license costs down - sensible enough.

    Whats the betting that after his Microsoft trip they will come up with a vastly reduced price?
  • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:40AM (#18261116)
    At least with Microsoft Products i can still sell my services, support, licensing, hardware and services.

    Boo-fucking-hoo. That proves that not everything that is good for the customer is good for you. Let the old business model die, long live new business model.

    In the meantime, Free Software and co. will continue as if nothing had changed, their product continues free, revenue (for whoever is aiming for it) continues coming from the same sources.
  • by TheVoice900 (467327) <kamil@kamil k i s i e l . n et> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:45AM (#18261144) Homepage
    The 1960's called, they want their computing paradigms back. Future of software? More like the past, we're coming full circle...
  • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:48AM (#18261174) Homepage Journal
    You can't outsource security [e.g. oh look google is so much better at keeping our documents secure]

    Of course you can. For many organizations, handling document security is a major problem. Even basic stuff like backups is a major PITA

    But even more than that, presumably one of the things he was referring to is the security implications of having people download "stuff" that may or may not be legitimate documents, and accidentally running it (and don't even try to give me shit about how there aren't any real viruses for Linux - if a major government agency starts relying on Linux boxes, you can bet someone, somewhere will start looking at ways to use it for intrusion). Yes, lots of apps have far saner policies about running things than Office has, but avoiding downloading files from mail accounts entirely in favor of processing those documents outside of your normal environment whenever possible would have the effect of limiting the potential damage further.

    It's not that a webapp is required to do that, but that Google's apps present a possible way of doing it that is convenient and available.

    Not only are the google versions of the tools not nearly feature complete, but they're over the internet. Thus guaranteed to be sucktastically slow (especially when a lot of people use it)

    Maybe, maybe not. Google Spreadsheets handle a lot of Excel files that breaks badly in Open Office for me, and it's also FAR faster to open a document in than Open Office is on my box, and far less resource hungry to just keep open, which reduces the time to open even more. If I'd been editing lots of large spreadsheets instead of mostly viewing the occasional small one, perhaps Google Spreadsheets would be a pain, but for MY use it's actually far more efficient than Open Office. Haven't tried Gnumeric for a while, and I rarely need a word processor but when I do Abiword just haven't cut it for me (I tried it again a couple of days ago, and the printouts of the document I tested it on just came out horrendously ugly).

    Also, if you're just going to use AJAX based web tools, what does it matter what OS you run?

    It matters because the IT department has to manage the systems regardless what apps you run on them.

  • by encoderer (1060616) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:53AM (#18261206)
    We're talking about US Government documents being stored on non-government servers. First, I'd be really surprised if something like that was even legal. Second, I have real issues even if it IS legal.

    If the "ditch" office/windows they're going to have to use GMail for ALL DOCUMENTS. Anything else would have to be like .txt or .pdf that's emailed around (probably using google servers again, so it's moot).

    Furthermore, tell me this slashdot: Why is it better to be locked-in to Googles proprietary software instead of Microsofts?

    As others have said, this would only be a good idea, IMO, as a "GApps Appliance" that can be properly audited and approved by US Government security experts.
  • by D-Cypell (446534) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @09:56AM (#18261224)
    Fantastic, lets worship another "overlord" and move everything we do to a REAL "black-box" company.

    I have to admit, this is what scares me.

    Look, like most slashdotters, I want to believe in the 'do no evil' thing, and you know, when it comes to the intentions of Larry and Sergey, I do believe it. Everything I have seen of those two guys suggests to me that they are geeks first and billionaire capitalists second, I am just afraid that there is an element of 'Frankenstein's monster' in the whole Google phenomenon.

    There are people out there (and lots of them) that would literally kill to control the kind of wealth and power that google has amassed. It would not be completely ludicrous to suggest that Google is currently the most powerful organisation on the planet. Google results can make or break companies and build/ruin reputations and with the Google apps model we are poised to hand over a lot more. That information will be around for a long time, it will probably outlive us all. It isn't going to bio-degrade, it isn't going to self-destruct.

    It's too much trust. There are things I might put into a document or spreadsheet that I would not be comfortable discussing with my close family. There are things I do at work that I am not even allowed to discuss with my wife. Yet, we are expected to hand them over to google on the basis of the 'do no evil' promise (which as we have seen is impossible to keep regardless of how well intended). Right now I would rely on security through obscurity. I am a relatively obscure individual, it is unlikely anyone (beyond a small group of competitors and friend/family) would be interested in what I write in my documents, but what about if someday I want to become less obscure? Go into politics or a similar type of public life... then there will be more interest, and it will all be sitting right there.

    I guess what I am saying is that it is important to bear in mind that it was Sergey and Larry that promised 'do no evil' not 'Google'. Google doesn't have a conscious, it doesn't care about good vs evil, even human's struggle to make that distinction. We are talking about handing over data that will outlive the founders, and will outlive the promise. I am the only one who is nervous about that??

  • $75 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:03AM (#18261288)
    The problem is that even at $75 for Vista and Office 2007 combined, the problems still don't go away. WinXP with Office 2003 was also overpriced, but at least it worked reasonably well.
  • by Sique (173459) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:07AM (#18261328) Homepage

    You can't outsource security [e.g. oh look google is so much better at keeping our documents secure] any more than you can outsource responsibility.


    Of course you can. Security is one of the oldest businesses ever outsourced (that means taken away from your own employees/slaves/servants and given to a foreign group for money/treasures/valuable gifts). What do you think the name 'soldier' comes from? It's a person working for sold (from latin solidus = a Roman gold coin), not because of loyality or proudness or legal requirements. Having foreign groups serving as your protection is one of the oldest tricks in the book because you hope that the foreign people are ignorant about your internal struggles and intrigues or don't have any local alliances, and if they aren't as independent as expected, you might replace them without fear of a local unrest.

    That's the business of Pinkerton and all the other security agencies, and even outsourcing bookkeeping and document production, exchange and storage is old news. Every middle age town had its writers or calculators whose business was to work for the local traders who weren't able to write or didn't have the calculatory knowledge for bookkeeping. And even today you go to a solicitor if you really want your documents to be correct, authentic and secure.
  • by halfdan the black (638018) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:12AM (#18261378)
    I've tried them (Google apps). The web based word processor is roughly identical to wordpad (free with Windows), or the text editor with OSX. This is a MASSIVE reduction in functionality compared to word or open office. I do not understand how this web based word processor can be used for anything more complicated than a simple memo. I suspect that if you put down any user remotly farmiliar with MS-Office and force them to use Google apps, there will be some serious revolt. Put them behind Open Office, which may be somewhat different than MS Office, but HAS SIMILAR CAPABILITIES, that user will learn to use it with possibly minimal rumblings. What is wrong with Open Office? Why would anyone choose Google apps which have I estimate 5% of the functionality of Open Office ??? So, IMO, any web based attempt at anything as remotely complex as a office suite is going to suck so freaking hard compared to a desktop application, no mater what the platform be it Linux, OSX or Windows.
  • by EMeta (860558) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:14AM (#18261392)
    If I had to leave important FAA information on a server, I'd feel safer with Google than from either the lowest bidding or highest bribing IT company for the FAA.
  • Re:training (Score:5, Insightful)

    by greenguy (162630) <estebandido@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:16AM (#18261406) Homepage Journal
    Maybe I'm just a quick learner, but I can't see how Google Apps would require all that much training. Like everything of Google's that I've tried (with the exception of Google Ads, whose pricing structure remains mysterious), I found it had almost no learning curve whatsoever.

    Am I really that much smarter than the people who work at the FAA?
  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:24AM (#18261508)
    The 1960's called, they want their computing paradigms back. Future of software? More like the past, we're coming full circle...

    It won't be the first time we're coming full circle in computer technologies (or elsewhere), it doesn't mean that he's wrong. Do you think "organic food" is a thing of the past? It's pretty modern franchise these days.

    In computer software, we see interpreted languages coming in an out every few years. When I had my Apple II, the primary means of programming it was an interpreted Applesoft Basic script.

    As computers advance and more performance is required, the interpreters become full-blown compilers (C, C++, later Basic compilers), but then the needs for flexibility arises and today we use lots of interpreted languages again (JavaScript, PHP, Perl, ASP, Ruby, Java).

    And yet again the need for performance converted those to compiled language in the mid term (later Java runtimes /JIT/, .NET which is compiled on demand, although stored as source or bytecodes). Microsoft even has C# compiler now which compiles to machine code with no CLR dependencies now (as used in their popular research OS - Singularity).

    Still the portable version of .NET interprets... as a mobile device has no enough RAM to do the compilation and store the result, which is ironically the same reason Basic was interpreted on Apple II-s to start with.

    The notion that the future of software is to store absolutely everything remotely, like is the case with Google apps, is a very shortsighted one. It's a current short-term / mid-term trend.

    There's already lots of talk about rich clients which support "interrupted connectivity", which is, web apps that have lots of functionality even when you have no internet (i.e. with laptop on the go etc.). These apps operate by usually having a small and simple web-server or runtime and SQL database embeded in them, along with ability for rich caching of remotely downloaded assets. Examples include the upcoming Firefox 3, Adobe's Apollo, Microsoft's WinFX (aka NET3) and so on.
  • by vivaoporto (1064484) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:30AM (#18261558)
    What does google have to do with free software?

    Summer of Code [google.com], contributions to Wine [google.com], Firefox money ...

    My question is a serious question. Even though you may hate Microsoft, it created jobs.

    And so did wars, look at the amount of jobs in the Military Industrial Complex. You may want to take a look at the parable of the Broken Window [wikipedia.org]. It explains how eventual positive consequences of negative acts shouldn't be used to justify them.

    That is something i seriously question and find it terribly ironic you chose not to answer and throw around you illogical praise for free software as if its the magical dust that will save your future.

    Small Business USA will adapt to the new reality. Many companies will die, others will spring. Possibly, the ones that mimic Google business model (Free (as in beer or as in speech, it depends) Software, Paid Services) will have more chance that the ones what follow Microsoft strategy (Software lock-in, extend, embrace, extinguish). Time will tell.
  • by Svartalf (2997) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:31AM (#18261568) Homepage
    Security is NOT one of the things I'd be claiming, using a third party to provide my app
    functionality by remote. If I were the person in charge, I'd probably nix this one about
    as fast as the DOT did Vista and Office 2007. Simply put, you can't guarantee anything
    about information leakage, snooping, and so forth with this model.
  • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:31AM (#18261572) Homepage Journal
    Sometimes I wonder if the support angle is a crutch. Any large organization should have enough people qualified enough to manage the systems without any help from Microsoft. If there is some mysterious valid reason to need support, I'm surprised they can't buy a long term support contract anyway, MS does sell support for supposedly EOL software. I think the DOD has support contracts for VAX/VMS through to 2012, so an extra three years from Microsoft isn't an unreasonable demand, and I think Microsoft can make good money on those contracts too.
  • by Svartalf (2997) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:36AM (#18261634) Homepage
    Google Apps, the way they're doing it, can't be assured to be secure. It's a nifty idea, but
    unless you LIKE the idea of a potential information leak (including business critical and identity
    type information...), you probably don't want to be using their service unless you've no other
    choice.

    An Apps appliance probably would be a way around this problem. Buy one like you buy some of their
    search engine cluster as an appliance for indexing your intranet and exposed Internet presence-
    that way you get the security and control you need (Though make no mistake, while it is more secure
    than what the FAA is now proposing, it's not as secure as OO.org would be on a desktop...)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @10:44AM (#18261726)
    How is the parent post a troll?
  • by mysticgoat (582871) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:14AM (#18262046) Homepage Journal

    Maybe I'm thinking of a different Google apps, but how is running Google software more secure? Aren't google apps accessed from google servers? Doesn't that mean this government agency would be running applications from and storing data on servers they aren't maintaining?

    I think that's the idea.

    It's sort of like a company getting rid of its security force, armory, strong room and safe, and putting all its money in a bank. Wow, what a novel concept!

  • by mysticgoat (582871) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:37AM (#18262334) Homepage Journal

    We're talking about US Government documents being stored on non-government servers. First, I'd be really surprised if something like that was even legal. Second, I have real issues even if it IS legal.

    Okay, I can follow that logic. It's sort of like the way US Government agencies do not use private financial institutions to manage their money, but keep it all in Fort Knox, and use only Fort Knox Credit Cards? Huh?

    Google's specialty is high volume data management and security, and they take that very seriously. If they cannot yet do a better job for less cost than any business or agency whose main purpose is something else, then I would be very much surprised.

    Perhaps the government should establish a National Data Management Agency for its own information needs, at the cabinet level. But that won't happen with this administration: it lacks the foresight and considers "intelligence" to be disinformation that will permit them to invade Middle East countries.

    Hmm, possibly establishing a USNDMA would make sense. The USDVA (Veterans Affairs) already has a massive data sharing network for the CPRS (Computerized Patient Record System). It wouldn't be much of a reach to build out from that for all other government data. A USNDMA that was hardened against earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, etc, might be a good idea, and perhaps cost less than the total the individual agencies are already spending on data security and management.

  • by WebCowboy (196209) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:52AM (#18262500)
    training staff to use an entirely new system takes a lot of time and money.

    Technical similarities to XP aside, Vista basically IS an "entirely new system" as well, from an end-user and administrative perspective. The UI has been messed with. Security, right from the user prompts down to alterations in driver architecture, has been altered significantly. Applications released roughly in conjunction with Vista (IE7 and Office 2007) have significant changes (new XML file formats in office, more strict compliance with XHTML and CSS in IE7...). Compounding that the benefits to business are minimal compared to XP in its current state. The business case to upgrade vs migrate is less convincing than ever before.

    It is nearly that case with my employer as well--we almost might as well move to macs or Linux vs. XP--the impact of Vista on the enterprise thereis nearly that big. Almost all of the intranet apps are designed and tested against IE6. Running them on Firefox is glitchy but it works, but using IE7 often completely BREAKS the app. Over three quarters of the products we sell will not function under Vista and never will ("next generation" replacements are being developed for release over the next couple of years). Fully half of the hardware we have is not "Vista capable". We have XP and it (mostly) works (good enough anyways). Why risk breaking what is essentially unbroken? Do we really need eye candy? We are already firewalled and antivirused to high heaven so is there any REAL benefit to Vista's largely unproven security enhancements? Which brings up the fact that our corporate antivirus stuff apparently breaks in Vista...

    FAA's serious consideration of Google's apps really looks VERY compelling and makes a lot of sense, even if adoption would be over a couple of years. The architecture of Linux is more proven and more secure by far than Windows XP OR Vista. The price per client is significantly less. Google's application-server-thin-client model is much less burdensome. Open and Free systems have much better "real" support (MS makes the argument that closed software gets better support because it is backed by a big, rich vendor but I think most people in the know realise that in practice thereis WAY MORE help and support for Linux because of backing by many vendors and a huge developer community, whereas only MS can offer certain levelsof support).

    I do thing that Vista is STILL very much on the FAA's horizon though. Government agencies as well as big corporations are coming under more scrutiny and are being more compelled to do due diligence and put as much up for competitive bid as possible--and get the best deal possible. MS' standard prices and offerings are VERY FAR from competitive since they've gone a long time without competing. Governmental agencies around the world are, as often as not, playing low cost Linux-based alternatives against Microsoft to "force Bill's hand" as it were. Even if Google's software suite falls short of requirements in the end, the FAA could very likely get a special sub-$100-per-user offer from Microsoft for Office upgrades.

    I'd hate to seeit turnout that way, but anything that cuts down MS (either inmarket share or insane profit margins) is good in my book.
  • Re:training (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kennon (683628) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:59AM (#18262576) Homepage
    90% of the training argument is pure FUD. I personally have converted many windows users to Linux who had never even touched it before and they are up and productive within a day. Your average office worker (at least in my place of work) uses a word processor, web browser, email client, and one or two propriatary apps specific for their department which are almost all web based and are browser friendly. There have been a few time in which people have some app that cannot be a web app, or will only run in IE or something and we will deploy it to them via Citrix until either a Linux version is written or it is converted to a web based app.

    Funny enough, the hardest Linux converts are the Windows "Power users" because they no long know how to tweak...aka fuck up their new desktop. But for a large majority of office staff Linux either already is or could easily be working perfectly for them in almost no transition time.

    I personally believe that if all the over protective MCSE's in the world woke up tomorrow with a decent level of knowledge about the Linux desktop within a couple months Linux and Windows in the corporate workplace would trade places for market share.
  • Re:training (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:02PM (#18262638) Homepage 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.
  • by CiRu5 (859713) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:02PM (#18262642) Homepage
    Why does everyone assume that all of the documents will be stored on a google server? If this is a service that you pay for then perhaps google will give companies the option of hosting their own google apps server.
  • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:09PM (#18262754)
    That said, I don't think the transition to Google Apps on Linux would be any more painful than the transition to Vista running Office.

    I don't know about that. This is the same Google Apps that many users got locked out of a couple weeks ago. Putting your productivity apps on someone else's servers just isn't a good idea. OpenOffice would probably be a much more prudent move.
  • by mackyrae (999347) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:15PM (#18262822) Homepage
    As far as Office, OOo has a UI that is much closer to that of old MS Office than to Office 2K7. Very little moves going from old Office to OOo. Everything's weird in 2K7. Oh, and Google's web toolkit is Java-based, so if their apps are based on the web toolkit, then yes, they're platform independent thanks to java
  • Re:training (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @12:44PM (#18263230)
    Shh, don't question the mindless libertarian bullshit. If everyone realized that government employees as just as human as private employees, it would cause CHAOS around here.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @01:54PM (#18264376)
    Probably most FAA systems run with a few forms-based applications sitting on top of some data base. They are not installing printers etc, the IT folk do that. Most likely very few people ever interact with the OS (except to reboot).From a user's perspective, it is not very hard to switch from one OS to another since the OS is hardly visible.

    There would, however, be traing for IT and support people.

  • by tmarthal (998456) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:21PM (#18264802) Homepage
    I'm pretty sure that with the Professional version of the Google Applications, they install a server on your premises and it is managed by your IT staff.

    Same with thier GMail service at your domain.... they supply the server and software, you just pay them somehow.
  • by LurkerXXX (667952) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:26PM (#18264930)
    Putting your productivity apps on someone else's server is actually a great idea. You have no software licensing cost ($300-$400 per copy of Office 2007).

    You don't have any with OpenOffice either, which was what my suggestion was for.

    There are little to no rollout or upgrade costs with a hosted app (someone actually has to INSTALL Office on all of the machines).

    If you have a decent administrator, those should be rolled out smoothly over the network to your machines, so the overhead for that is fairly low.

    You don't have to worry about patches, upgrades, backups or security

    Oh yes you do. You have to worry that the 3rd party company is backing things up. If they screw up, it's your documents that are toast. Those documents mean a lot more to your company than they do to the 3rd party. You have to worry about patches as well, because if they have bugs those are going to get you. And you most certainly have to worry about security. You can't do much about it yourself of course becase it's now totally out of your control, but you have to worry that the 3rd party *IS* doing it right. Especially when all your documents are potentially open to the world through the internet if they get it wrong.

    and a hosted application is going to be down a lot less than the collective crashes of Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint across all of your machines.

    If Bob's copy of Excel is crashing for some unknown reason, he can go to the cubical next door and ask Fred to look something up. If the hosted 3rd party web app is down. It's down. Everyone at your company is now going to sit around with his thumb up his bum until it comes back online.

    The problem with Google Apps is functionality and offline use.

    The *extra* problems with Google apps is functinality and offline use.

    At some point, hosted apps will become a better solution than applications that are locally installed.

    I'm going to have to disagree with you on that one.
  • by the_womble (580291) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:55PM (#18265472) Homepage Journal

    The inevitable result would be more casualties, and market forces would only show up after the fact.
    To say nothing of the difficulties in relying on market forces when consumers lack any clear way of judging the safety of a flight they are planning to buy a ticket on.

    This is made even worse by most people's completely incompetence when judging danger. For example, travelling by train in Britain is MUCH safer than travelling by car, but whenever there is a railway accident hordes of idiots switch to cars because they think trains are dangerous. Yes, I do know about people preferring dangers they have a feeling of control over, but it only makes me think them even more idiotic.

    If we ever relied on market forces to promote safety, it would merely lead to a lot of resources being spent on marketing (rather than achieving) safety, and even more misinformation being spread.

  • Re:training (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bberens (965711) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @03:46PM (#18266224)
    That's exactly right. When a business changes to a new application it's not as if the business tells employees that they can get by completing 80% as much for the next few weeks. It's basically "Yes it's new and we expect you to be at 100% speed immediately, deal with it." And it sucks for the employee for a week or two while they have to semi-rush or work a few extra hours but it's not the end of the world. Typically the same salary IT person that has always been there gets stuck answering all the questions. The only additional cost is anyone involved who might be paid hourly, they might have to work a few extra hours. In my mind, it's not the end of the world.
  • by drix (4602) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @03:53PM (#18266308) Homepage

    I'll thank the FAA every time I take my shoes off or have to throw out a perfectly good bottle of water to board.
    To which they'll probably laugh in your face, considering the FAA has absolutely nothing [tsa.gov] to do with that. TSA is DHS, FAA is DOT.

    I didn't realize how many of you libertarian fucktards there are crawling around this web site until comparatively recently. Sadly, very few of you seem to have studied any economics. This is a shame since it underlies your whole system of beliefs. While I'm sure they don't teach this at DeVry, there in fact are cases where government intervention improves overall welfare. Lots of them. Any time a market is incomplete, a case can be made for some sort of coordinated intervention. You can quote me the Coase or fundamental welfare theorems ad nauseum (or not), but until you can demonstrate feasible plan for assigning property rights and assuring perfect, symmetric information, your misguided theories are simply hollow and deluded.

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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