Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Obama Looking At Open Source?

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the looking-isn't-doing dept.

Government 306

An anonymous reader writes "'The secret to a more secure and cost effective government is through Open Source technologies and products.' The claim comes from one of Silicon Valley's most respected business leaders Scott McNealy, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems. He revealed he has been asked to prepare a paper on the subject for the new administration."

cancel ×

306 comments

Open source has been "looked at" (5, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545085)

In just the Intelligence Community alone, there is great support for open source software and open standards and protocols.

As part of Community-wide tools and services, the Intelligence Community takes advantage of:

- MediaWiki for Intellipedia [wikipedia.org]
- WordPress for blogs
- Jabber (XMPP) for instant messaging
- Zimbra for enterprise email
- Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP to support and provide many of these services
- LDAP backends for single signon and other authentication tasks
- RSS for blogs, social bookmarking, news feeds, realtime information, etc
- Open APIs and standards whenever possible

All of these services and tools are available via a suite called Intelink, and are available to all 16 Intelligence Community components, the military, federal government, and law enforcement and homeland security partners at the state and local levels. They are accredited for use for information anywhere from UNCLASSIFIED to TOP SECRET/SCI, and everything in between.

For the last few years, the Intelligence Community has not only "looked at" open source, but has embraced it with open arms. In fact, the information sharing supported by these tools was listed as one of the major achievements during the tenure of DNI Mike McConnell [dni.gov] .

Open source works, and has allowed the Intelligence Community to rapidly provide a secure and robust suite of tools to its personnel, easily respond to changing requirements and requests, and all for far less money and far more flexibly than many commercial solutions. And the Intelligence Community isn't alone.

Re:Open source has been "looked at" (5, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545157)

I also work in the intelligence community, and agree that things like Intellipedia and Jabber show a top-down push for open source. But then everywhere I've worked we have Windows machines with Office, MS servers, hell even CENTCOM is going to Vista for some reason. Many of the key programs we use for intelligence analysis are closed-source proprietary programs, like Analyst's Notebook and ArcGIS. Even where there's communal unclass machines, they run Windows XP and Office, despite it being the perfect place for Linux or at least Open Office. There's been some great strides moving towards open source, but we have such a long long way to go.

Call it what it is, PUFF PIECE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545433)

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Sun? hahahahahahaa (--- LOL)

Re:Open source has been "looked at" (4, Insightful)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545493)

I would say that depending on where you are, there's certainly no question that there is a lot of Windows on the desktop. There are many reasons for this.

The main place where open source shines is in central service delivery...the client is irrelevant. The client piece is more complicated: sure, you can argue cost benefits for running Linux on the desktop, but even on the unclass side, there are still practical benefits to using a commodity OS. Some of it is management, some of it is tools. A lot of it comes back to familiarity of the user...in that setting who doesn't know Windows and Microsoft Office?

I don't think open source on the desktop is the place to start. The place that open source software can make the most impact and positively affect the most people, at present, is on the server and service end of things.

Re:Open source has been "looked at" (4, Informative)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545975)

Having used a linux desktop for both work and at home now for everything I do for 3 years now (except gaming, in which Windows' painfully slow start up time constantly draws my ire), I have to say I'm pretty pleased with how fast day-to-day operations are, even in Gnome on Ubuntu. Programs open much faster, and with the help of the preload readahead daemon the subsequent times I open Firefox or even Lotus Notes are blazing fast. The fact is once you get the system set up the first time, hopefully with as little pain as possible when it comes to things that tend to not always work out of the box such as wireless and sound, there's nothing else in your way between you and your internet surfing, chatting, music listening, iPod syncinc, and about everything else most people need a desktop OS for. I think maybe some people expect more from Linux than what they expect to be able to do from Windows and perhaps that is what causes such misconceptions.

Re:Open source has been "looked at" (1)

SemiSpook (1382311) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545831)

Unfortunately, with the good efforts put on by the IC Enterprise Services (ICES) group and the big 6 orgs (CIA/DIA/NSA/NRO/NGA/DNI) to push the Intelink suite, a lot of the service organizations are still very reluctant to buy into the idea of a standard DoD Intelligence Information System (DoDIIS) suite. A lot of the agencies are still playing the "that's my mission" job, and very reluctant to give users control of what tools/programs they can install on their workstations.

I would venture to guess that until you can get the programs to work completely separate from the OS, that's how it's going to be at most places. Oh, and good luck with that.

Open LISP has been "looked at" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545893)

"...like Analyst's Notebook..."

A program written in Lisp. Even if open-sourced I suspect few would be able to develop for it. OSS methodology only really works when a majority can work on it.

You make it sound like that's a problem (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546157)

Why wouldn't you want them using the best tools for the job, rather than choosing ideology or the lowest bidder? I'd rather they spend tens of millions of dollars on programs like ArcGIS that work really well for them, than using open source versions that don't really work nearly as well. The fact that they've reached such a pragmatic view on open source is itself a fundamental victory. It means the war is over because they're now focused on the best tool for the job without other considerations.

Re:Open source has been "looked at" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26546507)

We are generous to you for the information you provided to us!
Al Quaeda et al.

Fortune 500, Government, Big (5, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545257)

Open source is pervasive already in large companies and government. Not as pervasive as Windows, but a significant and growing proportion of their infrastructure. The real weak target markets are small and medium businesses and governments, where open source adoption requires a zealot like champion. The main problem here is ISV's which have a great deal of influence over solutions and have no incentive to deploy open source. In fact they get a revenue stream from licensing proprietary software. For example Microsoft gives a 12% kickback for selling their products and a 6% renewal. Most other software companies have similar arrangements. So any open source solution an ISV may present reduces said ISV's profit margin on the deal unless it is made up on increased service fees. But as we all know, Linux and most open source software has a bad tendency to just work and has a lower need for staff than many proprietary solutions. So the only way open source gets into a small or medium organization is if it is customer driven.

No... (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545965)

The real weak target markets are small and medium businesses and governments, where open source adoption requires a zealot like champion.

It also requires a LOT of money. My small business can't afford to go open source. It's *very* expensive because of the staffing requirements. That's the only reason why my business isn't 100% open source: it's EXPENSIVE!

Re:Open source has been "looked at" (-1, Flamebait)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545471)

If that's the case, then please send me all the source code to every Open Source program the "Intelligence Community" uses. I mean, it's truly Open, right?

Re:Open source has been "looked at" (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545559)

Okay:

MediaWiki [mediawiki.org]
WordPress [wordpress.org]
Jabber [xmpp.org]
Zimbra [zimbra.com] ...

Get it?

This is about using open source software for internal, noncommercial, nonprofit purposes.

Re:Open source has been "looked at" (4, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545563)

If that's the case, then please send me all the source code to every Open Source program the "Intelligence Community" uses. I mean, it's truly Open, right?

Don't be daft. It's "open source" in that the client--- in this case the US gov't--- has complete access to the source code, not that every drooling twit with a web browser can download a tar.gz of it from the DOD. The "open" in "open source" has always been relative to the end user.

Re:Open source has been "looked at" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26546173)

It's "open source" in that the client--- in this case the US gov't--- has complete access to the source code

What? That doesn't make it open source. If that were the definition, all code I've written would be open source; our clients always get the source code, so they can maintain the code without being dependent on our company.

That has nothing to do with it being open source or not. It's still proprietary as fuck.

Re:Open source has been "looked at" (1)

aperion (1022267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546413)

Just because you give someone the source doesn't make it open source.

I had an old professor he used to say: If you cut off someones head they die, but just because they're dead doesn't mean you cut off their head.

like wise

If something is open source it means you distribute the source code to the end user, just because you distribute source code to the end user doesn't mean it's open source.

(please note, not all OSL require distribution to the end user)

Re:Open source has been "looked at" (5, Informative)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545887)

If that's the case, then please send me all the source code to every Open Source program the "Intelligence Community" uses. I mean, it's truly Open, right?

When the Intelligence Community distributed to you software under the GNU GPL (v2), they gave you either

  1. The source code;
  2. A written offer to give anyone the source code (valid for at least three years); or
  3. The instructions you need to get the source code [see the GPL for details].

If you want the source, you have the means. Use them, mm'kay? ;)

If the object code you got is under a non-copyleft license (such as the X11, MIT or BSD), no one is required to give you anything.

If you want to learn more, I can recommend http://www.gnu.org/philosophy [gnu.org] , http://www.gnu.org/licenses [gnu.org] , http://www.opensource.org/ [opensource.org] and http://www.debian.org/social_contract [debian.org] among others.

Open Source doesn't mean you can point at anyone who uses it and say "give me that code". It means that they, in some cases, can point at the people who gave it to them and say "give me the code for that".

I hope I've cleared things up a bit, and keep on lovin' the open code :)

Re:Open source has been "looked at" (2, Interesting)

AG the other (1169501) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546077)

That is a huge change. When I was working for the Arkansas National Guard it was against army regulation, 25-2 if I remember correctly, to use any open source software on government computers.

Eh. It was about time (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545099)

after numerous asian countries, and germany, france, all looking into, and some moving some state governments entirely to open source.

Re:Eh. It was about time (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545487)

And it'll work about as well as the switch to metric, too.

Re:Eh. It was about time (4, Funny)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545645)

Everyone will get it right but the US will screw it up?

Re:Eh. It was about time (4, Informative)

multisync (218450) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545653)

And it'll work about as well as the switch to metric, too.

The switch to metric worked just fine for the countries that did it. In fact, the only confusion that exists is a result of the fact that some countries have chosen to hold out.

yes. but (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545665)

you have to switch to the state of having balls to post with your username first, else you will get confused.

Good ole Gartner (4, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545667)

'Meanwhile research firm Gartner has warned that the benefits of open source might not deliver unless properly managed.

"Do not expect to automatically save money with open source software, or OSS, or any technology without effective financial management," said analyst Mark Driver. '

...no... it almost sounds like they're saying that if you want to save billions of dollars you have to do .. some .. (no!) ... work!?!?

yea (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546113)

as if stuff happens without working.

Re:Eh. It was about time (3, Informative)

stuntpope (19736) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545809)

The DoD put out several papers on using Open Source dating back several years. I believe one was mentioned on Slashdot at the time.

Here [osd.mil] is one from 2006.

I've been using almost all open source, both for architectural solutions and for custom software, in DoD since joining in 2005, and I know there are plenty of others doing the same.

Re:Eh. It was about time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26546229)

moving some state governments entirely to open source.

I don't think I will see the day when governments are moved to open source. The software they use may be, but governments will be closed source for a long time.

Re:Eh. It was about time (1)

camcorder (759720) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546701)

Microsoft is company of none of them. I think going for non-MS environment make least benefit to USA than any other country.

Most respected? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545107)

Yeah right...

Yeah. (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545111)

Next week: Steve Ballmer himself visits the White House...

Re:Yeah.To answer a request for bid... (2, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545209)

The summary goes something like this:

This Whitehouse Administration is seeking a x86-64 64 bit computer operating system (OS) that is free of cumbersome and expensive licensing issues, can be secured and is not vulnerable to Windows security flaws, and which the Whitehouse Administration IT department can view, modify, and re-issue the source code in compiled form. ....

My understanding is that the maintenance staff at the Whitehouse are currently working 24/7 to secure any chairs that can be picked up by a single person. ....

In other news, the New president has asked for help installing Seti@home in the Oval Office, and has personally initiated communication with Adobe because he can't view the Zebruder Youtube videos on his laptop.

Re:Yeah.To answer a request for bid... (2, Interesting)

kabocox (199019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545659)

The summary goes something like this:

This Whitehouse Administration is seeking a x86-64 64 bit computer operating system (OS) that is free of cumbersome and expensive licensing issues, can be secured and is not vulnerable to Windows security flaws, and which the Whitehouse Administration IT department can view, modify, and re-issue the source code in compiled form. ....

Well, open source generally isn't free. Some one else generally pays for it somewhere. I do think that it is 30-40 years past to do this though. The government "pays" for tons of software development just for it. There should be a push from top down that every spec that the feds push out to contractors makes the source, apis, file formats, all open as far as the government is concerned. If they pay your company 10 million and they turn in a half assed product, well instead of spending another $30 million at the same place trying to fix things, you could have other contractors fix it in theory.

The government is still paying for development to be done somewhere by some one, but this time it knows to either own or open up the code, file formats, and APIs needed to get multiple contractors to work on it without being tied to any of them. That's the real benefit of open source to government. Of course, if the feds or states really wanted to be nasty or evil, they could just pass a law that said any software that the government runs has to turn over the source and be modifiable by the government. If the government really wants something, they can and will use eminent domain to take it away from those that currently "own" it.

Re:Yeah.To answer a request for bid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26546583)

Replying to undo accidental mod

And the week after (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545617)

Big announcement about MS generously discounting licenses, citing the need for everyone to tighten their belts and get US through these hard times.

"The tuna .. with a heart!"

Re:Yeah. (1)

stoofa (524247) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545937)

The week after that: Obama invited to a drive around Dallas.

McNealy? (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545127)

I was starting to write here that McNealy is an odd choice for this, since he was somewhat dragged kicking-and-screaming to OSS.

But thinking about it, I actually can't think of a better choice. I can understand the administration wanting a "red blooded" businessman to write the paper rather than wild-eyed OSS advocate that might be less than objective about the pros and cons of OSS versus proprietary software. McNealy really does have a broad background... he's run a major business, he's sold proprietary software, and he's made major releases in OSS software.

He's actually a pretty good choice.

Re:McNealy? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545215)

Yeah, and his company has tanked because of it. Sun/McNealy are among the worst people in Silicon Valley to ask for advice on anything. Any Sun shareholder will agree.

Re:McNealy? (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545643)

Not to mention that McNealy is a blabbermouth who tends to exaggerate. Remember when he claimed that "ZFS will be the file system for OS X [slashdot.org] "? The reality was a little different [cnet.com] , Apple supported ZFS but it was by no means the default file system.

Re:McNealy? (3, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545929)

You are a little out of data. Snow Leopard server has ZFS as the default. They have also indicated they intend to make this move on the client OS very soon which probably means 10.7.

Re:McNealy? (2, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545961)

Not to mention that McNealy is a blabbermouth who tends to exaggerate. Remember when he claimed that "ZFS will be the file system for OS X"? The reality was a little different,

Sure was. McNealy never claimed ZFS will be the file system for OS X. That was Jonathan Schwartz. In other news, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) has read-only ZFS support, with a beta read/write file system module available, and a full ZFS implementation is part of the announced specification for Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard.)

Re:McNealy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26546003)

Remember when he claimed that "ZFS will be the file system for OS X"? The reality was a little different.

Considering Jobs has pulled stuff like this in the past, I wouldn't be surprised if ZFS was going to be the file system for OS X but scrapped the plans as punishment when McNealy announced it early.

Re:McNealy? (2, Insightful)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545673)

Sun's business didn't tank because of software, it tanked because of hardware.

Re:McNealy? (1)

joekrahn (544037) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546329)

Sun/McNealy may not be a good choice to ask about making a profit, but the question is how can the Government as an end-user save money. Open Source can be bad for companies that make money selling equivalent software, but that is what we want.

Re:McNealy? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546659)

Isn't that a good thing then? McNealy, with the benefit of hindsight, will say "we ignored OSS and seriously hurt our company. If we'd done OSS better and earlier, we'd have reaped the following benefits".

It might be one thing to ask him to make the future better, but you can reliably ask him about lessons learned from past cock-ups.

Re:McNealy? (2, Insightful)

FatherOfONe (515801) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545231)

Is there really a better choice? Yes. Scott is tied to Sun, and I like Sun as a company, but you won't find another company short of RedHat that is pushing free software as much as Sun. Sun doesn't really care much about open source so much. They want whatever it takes to kill or bring down Microsoft AND perhaps more importantly sell their hardware.

I am a HUGE fan of open source software and have switched most of a business to run on it. I am also a fan of Sun, but I have to admit that there are times when buying software or "proprietary" software is the right choice. As much as I hate dealing with the idiots that mandate "buy only Microsoft", I also don't like the idiots that say "only use open source".

Having said all this, it will be interesting to see what the new administration does on this.

Re:McNealy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545463)

IBM has been pushing open source for a very long time. Are you sure Sun pushes open source more than them?

Re:McNealy? (1, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545989)

The more I learn about science, the more my faith in God increases.

Hmm, I find the more I learn about God, the more thankful I am that science doesn't require any blind faith.

Re:McNealy? (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545453)

Careful consideration and healthy skepticism isn't really "Kicking-and-Screaming".
I myself take open source by a need by need basis.
I will use Photoshop over the GIMP
I use Apache over IIS
I use Linux for a server Mac OS X for a desktop.
I prefer Microsoft SQL Server over MySQL ...

Open Source has the Free as in Beer quality, as well they tend to have ports to multiple platforms, or soon will. Sometimes it is nice to go under the hood and add some hooks to get my job done better.
However there are also a lot of Bad Open Source apps out there which will take me more time to make good that it would be cheaper to get a closed source version and deal with stuff I cant change.

I personally don't like RMS vision of all software Free and Open Source, it has its place and its advantages. However we still need close source applications to drive the market. Running of a support model insures your software never gets easy enough to use without the support. Also close source software has the mix bag of PHB controlling the projects, which sometimes hinders it abilities, and sometime pushes people to do things they just don't want to do. "Oh that interface is difficult to use and not orders in the way that people use the app". Competition is good, competition only works well when we have an well educated consumers who can really balance the pro's and con's without falling into political nonsense.

Re:McNealy? (2, Interesting)

Davorama (11731) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546345)

All that looks good except I'm curious why you would choose MSSQL. Did you consider PostgreSQL in your quest for pragmatism? Was it features, reliability, ease of use or something else?

Just curious.

Re:McNealy? (1)

AceofSpades19 (1107875) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546545)

However there are also a lot of Bad Open Source apps out there which will take me more time to make good that it would be cheaper to get a closed source version and deal with stuff I cant change.

The reverse is true as well

Re:McNealy? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545479)

You really can't think Obama will suck compared to what we just went through.

Bush was a black hole of suckage, the likes of which we won't see for a long time, he sucked in an exceptional way.

Re:McNealy? (0, Offtopic)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546041)

You really can't think Obama will suck compared to what we just went through.

If you think "things can't get any worse", then you are very, very wrong. There's a lot of talk about the Great Depression lately in a romantic "woe is me" way, but few people understand just how bad it really was.

Bush sucked, but it's entirely possible Obama will suck in fantastically enormous ways (e.g., spending us into bankruptcy), all with an optimistic belief of doing the "right" thing. Good intentions count for nothing. Obama is brimming over with good intentions, but the only thing I care about is results. If he fails, then he's a failure.

Re:McNealy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26546155)

Think about it. Java is bloated, overly complex, and full of unnecessary layers. No wonder the government felt drawn to Sun.

Scott McNealy? Funny, that. (2, Funny)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545151)

You mean, this Scott McNealy [techtarget.com] ? The one who said Linux is for hobbyists, not enterprise?

Teh funny, it hurts. I even think it's called "eating crow" in U.S.

When you can't beat 'em... Right, Scott?

They are free to use it, of course. (4, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545159)

Let's just hope they don't try to "help".

Re:They are free to use it, of course. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545323)

The NSA "helps".

Obama should meet Stallman (5, Funny)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545217)

I surprised that Obama did not spend more time in his inaugural address on the differences between GPL and Berkely licensing. Oh well, hopefully Stallman will have the time to visit soon and set Obama straight.

Re:Obama should meet Stallman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545585)

He spoke against RMStalin, this means he is in the BSD camp.
He better be or we'll release an actually free OpenOBAMA to replace him.

Re:Obama should meet Stallman (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545611)

You know, I'd pay good money for footage of Stallman wandering the White House surrounded by Secret Service agents...

The sound you hear (0, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545265)

Is CmdrTaco masturbating furiously.

Of course the government looks at, and likely uses, Open Source. What's next, "Obama decides to eat breakfast" and we all drool and slaver over THAT piece of minutiae?

Re:The sound you hear (5, Funny)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545531)

What's next, "Obama decides to eat breakfast" and we all drool and slaver over THAT piece of minutiae?
Obviously you missed CNNs inauguration coverage yesterday.

Re:The sound you hear (2, Funny)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545675)

Obviously you missed CNNs inauguration coverage yesterday.

Every UK news channel was equally sycophantic, and he's not even our president except by proxy.

Re:The sound you hear (3, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545765)

I knew the BBC had completely run out of space filler when they started recounting Joe Biden's political career (not so much thirty years as one year thirty times over).

Re:The sound you hear (1)

cool_arrow (881921) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546765)

We're now focusing on who designed their clothes.

Re:The sound you hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545843)

He's the new Steve Jobs...he's a messiah. Now that Steve Jobs is out of the picture, we need a new one.

Sun != Cost-Effective (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545317)

I'm not disputing the Open-Source angle, but I imagine a paper produced by Sun will be somewhat skewed in that company's direction. Which is great if you want that boss-friendly logo on your machines, but not so much if you care about cost-effectiveness.

Re:Sun != Cost-Effective (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545697)

Which is great if you want that boss-friendly logo on your machines, but not so much if you care about cost-effectiveness.

Serious question here... unless you're in a very tech-oriented industry to begin with, how boss-friendly is the Sun logo these days?

The real secret...... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545353)

....to a more secure and cost effective government is to merely start getting rid of 50%+ of the morons working in it and also get rid of most of the useless fucking programs they have.

it's the same way with schools.

We have terrible schools, so the obvious answer is throw more money at it.

we have inefficient government, so change everything....
we spend to much money on Computers and software in government (HAHAHAHAH) so change everything to a different, not widely used in the real world day to day personal use sector, Operating System....
we aren't secure, so instead put on something that in "inherently more secure" because it's open source......

not fucking likley on any of those accounts.

Want security?
Fix the fucking problems, like lame policies, lax standards, etc.

want efficiency?
make every department actually use their people and time properly.
Want a prime example of wasteful policies and lack of intelligence? Look at the post office.

"we need to raise the price of a first class stamp because mail volume for personal letters has decreased and we are losing revenue."

oh good choice there spot....
how much of the mail is bulk rate versus first class?
50%? 60? 80?
it's about 90% actually.

so lets raise the cost of somethign and drive away the ones using it, instead of the common sense thought of raising bulk rate 1 cent.

oops
common sense and government in the same sentence, I'm sorry.

this administration will be no different than any other about this.

oh wait, except they want to GROW the government by 25% already and thus spend MORE money (from the magic money tree)...

so yeah, the open source is gonna save us......

not.

Re:The real secret...... (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545439)

The problem with the US Postal Service is not that it is being
treated more like a business. Infact, that is the root of it's
problem. They want to push this illusion that the Postal Service
can or is self supporting.

It is not and never was meant to be a clone of FedEx.

It was intended to be a necessary public service, not an outlet for spam.

The jokers in charge responsible for the current state of the postal
service should be strapped down Clockwork Orange style and forced to
watch "The Postman".

Re:The real secret...... (4, Interesting)

j79zlr (930600) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545573)

The USPS is the only Government agency I can think of that actually makes a profit, albeit a small one, $45 billion industry with about $1 billion profit, but it is designed to break even. I still think that it is one of the best values out there. $0.42 and I can send a letter across the country in 3 days.

Re:The real secret...... (1)

rarel (697734) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545459)

....to a more secure and cost effective government is to merely start getting rid of (...) most of the useless fucking programs they have.(...) it's the same way with schools. (...) We have terrible schools, so the obvious answer is (...) fix the fucking problems

Woah dude, I kind of agree that we have to limit population growth but to randomly sterilize or execute healthy adults of breeding age is a bit harsh of a solution don't you think? :p

Re:The real secret...... (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545761)

"Want security? Fix the fucking problems, like lame policies, lax standards, etc. want efficiency? make every department actually use their people and time properly."

Just so you know, from experience, every time security standards are tightened then at least most, but often all workers are forced to waste some period of time dealing with the new policy often on an ongoing basis. For instance, the switch from passwords to smartcard/pin costs about 10 extra seconds of time every time I log in and if I leave my computer I must lock it via policy. So the new policy costs about a minute a day, which adds up to about 4 hours a year, which is half a standard work day. It takes less than a thousand employees for that policy switch to cost the collective a manyear of labor over the course of a year, just for the extra login time (not counting getting the card, dealing with hardware/software failures, training, etc.). And that example is pretty cheap and useful. Fast, cheap, good(secure) choose two.

Re:The real secret...... (3, Insightful)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546363)

I work for the Postal Service as a contractor (Probably half of IT work in the USPS is done by contractors).

The USPS employs at least 1 employee in every Post Office in the country, significant amounts of administration and behind the scenes operations to support its primary function. In many rural locales, the Post Office is the only presence the Federal Government has nearby, which is why draft registrations and passports involve the Postal Service.

Now, if we get rid of the business that the Postal Service does handling junk mail, the cost of first class and package shipping will have to go up a significant amount to cover all of the costs to maintain that entire workforce. If bulk mail is half the cost of first class, and makes up 90% of the volume, then the cost of a first class stamp is going to have to go up to a $1.50 or more to make up the lost revenues. And if that happens, what will happen to the volume of first class mail and shipping packages? Would I love receiving less junk mail? Sure, but not at the cost of having to pay even more when I wanted to send something of my own.

And, I do think Open Source would help a lot. Once government computers are on non-proprietary systems, every vendor will support it, which will mean drivers for hardware, and familiarity for regular computer users. Once people are familiar with it, they'll decide to try it at home, and their kids will grow up with it. And once it starts to grow that way, software (games and the stuff you see on the shelf at Best Buy) will be written for the *nix environments. Then people will be able to choose based on the merits of the Open Source systems instead of saying, 'Oh, I can't use Linux, because it doesn't have Photoshop.' Then, Microsoft and Apple will have to do some pretty significant things to compete, and if they can't, they'll eventually become the minor players in the market. Unfortunately, if that ever comes to pass, it will be at least 15 years away.

Scott better include sucess stories (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545363)

While I have no doubt that Scott will mention Open Source Software, he better include serious success stories of OSS implementations and detail how such an approach if adopted, will result in jobs created here in the USA at the same time save money.

My suggestion to Slashdotters:

Let's write to Scott informing him of these success stories with as much detail as we can. I do have a success story in the education field to write about. All I need is Scott's contact.

Let's also remember that on the other side, folks at Microsoft will also be doing something similar only that to them, they would reap all the profits while undermining Open Source Software.

Well if this economy needs anything right now (-1, Troll)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545411)

...it's to drive MS and other software companies into bankruptcy just to chase some hippie ideal.

Go ahead mark me troll, but have any of you seriously given thought to what will happen if open source were to become the norm and all these people were out of work, being asked to volunteer the skills they once got paid for?

Re:Well if this economy needs anything right now (5, Interesting)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545627)

Go ahead mark me troll, but have any of you seriously given thought to what will happen if open source were to become the norm and all these people were out of work, being asked to volunteer the skills they once got paid for?

Who says that Open Source has to be free? Seriously. This model is still completely misunderstood. Someone wants a specialized application for whatever ... they pay you to write it. You publish it under a license and share the code. That way you get money AND free input from the community. Sure there will be competing products that base on your code but look at the distro vendors. SuSe, Canonical, RedHat they all use more or less the same code and sell their specific very individual solutions.

I can imagine what would happen if programmers were no longer bound to huge companies by NDAs and Non-Compete agreements and all code was open: We'd get a shit ton of awesome code to work with and all the brilliant results stemming from there.

The difficult part is to change the perception of open source from the one like yours "Everything is free as in Beer and the brewer goes broke" to "Everything is free as in speech and you get paid for the quality and sustainability of your work". I wouldn't mind having companies go broke that re-release the same product year after year with little to no improvements. If there are other companies that do the job better and improve over time I guess it would only be fair. The current market is based on monopolism and power struggle between the monopolies. That's what has to change for FOSS to succeed and we need to start in the heads.

Re:Well if this economy needs anything right now (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546209)

I wonder, if MS were to suddenly open source their OS but not actually stop existing ... how many OSS volunteers would take up the stick? I'm guessing a very considerable portion of MS hackers would still be on the payroll, only working on source code that the rest of us can see, too.

If volunteers were free to attack some of the low hanging fruit, MS could focus on harder stuff instead of dealing with everything as they now do. Or, volunteers might fix some deficiencies which aren't "bugs" in the eyes of MS (such as boot loader mangling).
Hey who knows -- Windows might become respectable! ;-)

Re:Well if this economy needs anything right now (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546393)

Capitalism is about creative destruction.

Having a standard size of screw did not stop production of screwdrivers and screws. It made them cheaper.

Microsoft and others want excessive amounts of money and that's not good for the economy.

15 companies *like* microsoft that produce editors of standard formats at a tenth the price is better.

The faster we rip off this band aid and get it over with the better off we will be. Japan has been in a recession for a couple decades because they propped up the bad actors.

WhiteHouse.gov (1)

Roxton (73137) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545469)

Hey, if you look at the new WhiteHouse.gov, you may find that, unless I'm mistaken, it's running WordPress.

Re:WhiteHouse.gov (1)

the-matt-mobile (621817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546233)

Unless Wordpress is written in ASP.NET (hint: it's not), Whitehouse.gov is not running Wordpress. View source - the ASP.NET ViewState is a dead giveaway.

A better first step (5, Insightful)

Zolodoco (1170019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545481)

might be to eliminate IT contracts for sensitive services and communications that have been awarded to foreign companies. Foxcom, an Israeli company, comes to mind. The government should handle its own IT, not contract it out, especially when it involves communications that could easily be used to gain leverage (read blackmail) and shift US foreign and domestic policy further against our best interests than we typically experience.

Re:A better first step (0)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545779)

Nice underhanded troll.

Yes, the government should handle its own intelligence. That being said, it's hard to overlook the "Israel" interjection into the otherwise sound thought process.

One would have to be completely immersed in anti-Israel prejudice in order not to see that if there is one country in the world that values and cherishes the prosperity and security of the U.S. as much or more than U.S. itself, it's Israel.

Re:A better first step (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26545943)

One would have to be completely immersed in anti-Israel prejudice in order not to see that if there is one country in the world that values and cherishes the prosperity and security of the U.S. as much or more than U.S. itself, it's Israel.

If by "values and cherishes the prosperity and security of the U.S." you mean "enjoys receiving massive amounts of US taxpayers dollars and stealing state secrets from its 'host' country", I'd would agree with you entirely.

Re:A better first step (1)

Zolodoco (1170019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546259)

I wasn't trying to be subtle. And I don't apologize for what I implied.

Re:A better first step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26546511)

Nice underhanded jew troll. Keep on using the holocaust to justify your zionist trolling.

News at 11: (1)

RagingFuryBlack (956453) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545525)

President Obama inquires as to whether to use white sheets or beige sheets

Re:News at 11: (3, Funny)

Frankie70 (803801) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545717)

President Obama inquires as to whether to use white sheets or beige sheets

Martha Stewart has been asked to prepare a report on that subject for the
new administration.

Oh rly? (3, Insightful)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545541)

From TFA:

...overall it has been estimated that the global loss due to proprietary software is "in excess of $1 trillion a year."

That's the same kind of lame-ass no-evidence silly figure pushing that the RIAA and MPAA uses to sell their Anti-Piracy measures. I love Linux and I'd love to see it spread even more but this way of propagating it is just retarded. You get Microsoft software for your money, be that a good investment or not is your decision. It's clearly not a "loss" it's merely a costly under-utilization of alternatives.

I tend to praise Linux and rant against Microsoft but this OSI guy Tiemann just blew the frame by using the same silly and faulty means of propaganda rhetoric. One thing I try to learn and live by is "Just because THEY do it doesn't mean we have to or even should do it too". By pulling figures out of his ass to make himself look more interesting he's not a single notch better than Microsoft with it's installbase or the supposed piracy figures by the media companies. That is just NOT the way to convince people of the right thing.

Re:Oh rly? (1)

Zecheus (1072058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546359)

Seems to work for the recording industry.

Re:Oh rly? (1)

meist3r (1061628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546541)

Seems to work for the recording industry.

Not really, this is about customers. The industry doesn't win customers over by telling them how much they believe is stolen from them each year. It works for court cases as long as the judges don't ask too many questions and just go with the pledge. The latest case around how download do not equal losses is a good sign for the paradigm-change that is happening. In any case, relying solely on telling the other part how much money they are (not) screwed out of isn't enough to sell a product. In my mind it still needs some actual advantages and features. Linux has enough of those and if you, as a side note, also refer to it as being free this will count as a bonus.

Re:Oh rly? (1)

Lalo Martins (2050) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546777)

Not at all. TFA said "the global loss due to proprietary software", not the global costs. It's not no-evidence figure pushing, there have been studies. Me, I think the figure is conservative.

McNealy's a bizzare choice (1)

throx (42621) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545669)

Seriously, what?

Sun has completely tanked in just about every aspect of their business. They're trading at around 1% of their peak value, and about 10% of their 5 year value. They're still laying off staff like nobody's business and they're really ripe for snapping up by some other company. McNealy drove them into the ground with a complete failure to read the market and respond to threats to Java and/or external influences on Java. Now you have the promise of Java revolutionizing the desktop all but dead to .NET, and IBM and Apache effectively in control of Java in the server space.

Taking McNealy's advice on technology is about as smart as taking Kenneth Lay's advice on energy independence.

If you really want some better advice, look towards some of the more successful companies in the software space and get a set of opinions to compare against each other. I'd probably take a range like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Apple for opinions and take into account their natural biases when you read their reports. McNealy's just wrong and so typical of governments rewarding failure with fat contracting positions.

Fear, confusion, curiosity, consequence (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546639)

Please don't make me hand in my geek card for this...

Confusion: When you see

Fear: When you see B8 00 4C CD 21 and know what it means

and don't know what it means

Curiosity: When you want know what it means

Consequence: When you've googled it, still don't know what it means except that it seems to be pertinent to the writing and sharing of viruses ... and you did it on your pc at work.

Pardon me, but pray tell: what does it mean? I mean, it seems that "B8 00 4C CD 21" prints characters to screen, but surely that in itself is not fearsome?

common misconception (1)

senorpoco (1396603) | more than 5 years ago | (#26545791)

I am as big a fan of Open Source as the next slashdotter, but there seems to be this feeling that because something is free or opensourced it is automatically better.

Re:common misconception (3, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546727)

I am as big a fan of Open Source as the next slashdotter, but there seems to be this feeling that because something is free or opensourced it is automatically better.

No, that is not the point at all. You're missing the point. Free/Open Source has the greatest potential to be better because it gets extensively peer reviewed and improved and thereby debugged and tested far more than any for profit company could ever afford to. Open source also means open standards. It means that you can watch streaming video without having to use MS Media Player but in a standards compliant MP4, AVI, or whatever other format. An open source website uses a browser agnostic and not requiring Internet Explorer in order to view it properly. Finally, and perhaps the largest advantage of open source is that hardware becomes open again. By forcing open source compliance, hardware will now be truely owned by the consumer. The consumer will not be forced into using Windows (or some NDIS wrapper) because a manufacturer, such as Broadcomm, deems open sourcing its drivers to be anti-competitive despite the fact that its drivers must be standards compliant to interoperate with other products. I hope Obama and his CIO will force the use of open source software. We are in a dawn of a new era now wherein it will take the collective effort of everyone to raise our country out of the ashes of our former president. Open source becomes one of the vehicles for large scale, rapid improvements not seen since the new deal.

Open Source Governance? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26546143)

So what are the chances he will examine the prospects of open source governance [wikipedia.org] ?

Perhaps by the end of his administration, he will step down in order to cede power to the Metagovernment [metagovernment.org] ? (Assuming a constitutional convention, that is.) :)

I just want public versioning of laws (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26546159)

Let's make these people really accountable for their actions by making them use git to track, where all the public can see, exactly who put what into what version of what bill, who signed it off, all of it verifiable, with commit messages explaining the change and why it was made.

Of course such a system would be violently opposed, because git sucks.

Campaign Donations (0, Troll)

ouder (1080019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546247)

I bet at this point Bill Gates and top execs at MS wish they hadn't given so many campaign contributions to Republicans and conservative causes.

Of course he is.. (4, Funny)

G Morgan (979144) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546405)

What do you think these calls for change were! You cannot change a proprietary program.

Obama will bring change. IDE time outs will end. Gnome will be half way functional. NetworkManager will stop dropping my wireless signal.

Change is coming my friends and I for one welcome our change bringing overlord.

"The Secret" to secure/cost-effective governement? (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 5 years ago | (#26546655)

Exaggerate much?

While certainly OSS could introduce cost savings, frankly it is freaking rounding error compared with the current budget deficit. A copy of OEM Vista, is what, $80?

And low-paid govt. IT that can't secure what they have now would hardly do a better job securing OSS.

It may help, but it isn't some kind of magic wand, and it introduces costs of its own.

SirWired

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...