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Google Apps Not the DC Success Many Believe?

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the slow-on-the-uptake dept.

Google 139

theodp writes "Google touts its partnership with the District of Columbia government, presenting it as quite the Google Apps success story. So as part of his coverage of last week's Gmail outage, nextgov's Gautham Nagesh called the DC government, but was told they hadn't heard of any reports of outages among city employees. Nagesh wrote this off to safeguards put in place for the government by Google, but readers tipped him off to another explanation: 'Despite all the press releases trumpeting Google in DC,' an anonymous commenter wrote, 'Exchange is still the city's primary email system.' Nagesh followed up, and was surprised to learn that there is indeed no Gmail in DC government. This all seemed rather strange to Nagesh, considering how much attention former DC CTO and current Federal CIO Vivek Kundra has received for implementing Google Apps for District employees. Reporting separately, CNET's Elinor Mills was told by a DC spokeswoman that while Google Apps is available to 38,000 DC city employees, only 4,000 are actively using it. The spokeswoman added that Gmail could potentially replace Microsoft Exchange, 'but this decision has not been made yet.'"

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This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29339525)

I live here, unfortunately, and the whole DC government is corrupt and inefficient. This is really not surprising to anyone familiar with the local government.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about 5 years ago | (#29339659)

maybe, just maybe, DC civil servants have a good reason for not using Google aps.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29339695)

maybe, just maybe, DC civil servants have a good reason for not using Google aps.

Yeah but using a Microsoft solution like Exchange is comparable to beating your own nutsac with a tack hammer. Clearly they need a third option!

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (4, Insightful)

netcaretaker (585753) | about 5 years ago | (#29339805)

Wow, and the haters who love to bash MS begin. Ya, exchange, the mature product that does calendering and mail and all your contacts truely sucks. It is much worst then google (oh wait, they don't have a global directory, and email outage, blah blah blah), or Apple .mac (really? that works now?) or mac servers with IMAP. Google, is not enterprise ready, and is not secure, and will own your data in the cloud. I would perfer my local .gov NOT to use it if my name is going to be on any of their docs.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (3, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | about 5 years ago | (#29340025)

I have to agree. I am generally in favor of free and open source software. But MS exchange and the software ecosystem surrounding it is highly available, reliable, feature rich, painlessly scalable from a small operation up to hundreds of thousands or possibly even millions of users at a price point that almost any business can afford. Its one of microsofts best products, and there really isn't anything I have seen in any competitors that can meet, much less, beat Exchange at its game.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (4, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | about 5 years ago | (#29340105)

As an open source evangelist, I also regretfully agree. While there are substitutes for many *parts* of the Exchange ecosystem, there is no other truly integrated system that works as well, is as comprehensive, provides the full gamut of functionality and is as mature and easy to use.

If you want to know how Google Apps as a whole compares to Exchange as a whole, compare the Google Apps spreadsheet application to MS Excel. Sure, it covers the functionality needed by little Johnny figuring out what a spreadsheet is, but the minute you need to do any *real* spreadsheet work, Google Apps just doesn't deliver.

That is true of the whole Google Apps framework. It's great for high school study groups and perhaps even university clubhouses, but when heavy lifting needs to be done, it doesn't cut the mustard. Anyone who thinkos otherwise hasn't spent any/enough time in a real, productive office workplace.

As I said, I regret to have to say this, as I'm a Linux only desktop user, and hate it every time I have to troubleshoot some guy's virus infested workstation. I *wish* open source could deliver, but it just can't - YET. Google Apps, THANK GOD, doesn't deliver. Moving from platform lock in on the desktop to another platform lock in where not only the software that I'm using but also my frakkin' USER DATA is also locked in is literally jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Can the Google fanboys please stop? Can't you idiots see that Google has the makings of an evil monopoly that makes Microsoft look like your friendly local corner store.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

nrgy (835451) | about 5 years ago | (#29340355)

You had me most of the way until your last sentence.

I've used Linux for quiet some time and am lucky enough I can usually request Linux for my operating system at freelance jobs. That said I really don't give a rats ass about the cloud, Microsoft, Google, or where my data is.

At the end of the day all I care about is what works regardless of where it comes from. I have forgotten documents at home more than Google has had an outage preventing me from getting at my Gmail account. I have all my email at my employers forwarded to my Gmail account. The one or two times Google has prevented me from accessing Gmail I simply logged into the companies web servers that had my data still on them.

I'm not saying Googles services are the best or great at everything but obviously they are for some people or no one would use them. The last movie I worked on we used Google calendar and docs to push things around the office and to vendors. A 200 million US dollar movie I hope thats a productive enough office workplace for you.

And so what if Google has my data. I figure the chances of someone owning Google or a Google employee getting my personal data is about the same risk as someone owning my rig at home/work. Continue on bashing Google as the anti-christ reborn while I enjoy my use of there services.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29341859)

"I have forgotten documents at home more than Google has had an outage preventing me from getting at my Gmail account."

You do IT as a job and don't have remote access to your files? Fucking amateurs these days. Get a laptop and set up a VPN, what kind of bumbling tech-idiot requires a web service to access their files? There are good arguments for using Google Apps, but "I can has my files everywheres" is not one of them.

Also, trading ubiquitous access to your files for the privacy of your files is a pretty silly tradeoff, at least in my opinion anyway.

"And so what if Google has my data."

So what? Given that they have *proven* ties with the government's secret hush hush antics and the fact that they are *already* a monopoly whose scope is constantly broadening are you really short sighted enough to say "so what"? You must have your head waaaay up your ass if you are unable to see where we're heading.

"I figure the chances of someone owning Google or a Google employee getting my personal data is about the same risk as someone owning my rig at home/work."

It's not about Google employees being voyeuristic, it's about the ability for private citizens to carry out their business without prying from government / corporate oversight.

"A 200 million US dollar movie I hope thats a productive enough office workplace for you."

I call bullshit. With that big a budget, it'd be a movie I can find on TPB and find your name in the credits. So I call you, show your hand or STFU.

"Continue on bashing Google as the anti-christ reborn while I enjoy my use of there services."

That's fine, you're not the type who'd take part in anything more revolutionary than showing up for work on Friday in casual clothes anyway. So those of us who can see what's coming and are willing to not just lie down and accept it don't give a shit about you anyway. Just keep munching blissfully on the shit they keep shoveling you.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

nrgy (835451) | about 5 years ago | (#29342195)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1190080/ [imdb.com]

No I don't do IT work.

As to your laptop VPN suggestion, most facilities firewall off the wireless and internal networks from themselves.

"I can has my files" is exactly why I use services like Google and Dropbox, sorry you disagree. I'm not a tinfoil hat crazy as you appear to be so I don't mind someone controling my data. In all honesty I don't see any difference between Google and a financial institution when it comes to personal data. Both can be good and bad.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29340483)

As someone intimately familiar with Exchange, perhaps you can answer this simple question: What features does it have that OpenGroupware.org or Scalable OpenGroupware.org do not have? Exchange advocates frequently cling to the 'integrated address book, mail and calendaring' line, but OG.o/SOG.o have had that for a while, along with support for CalDAV clients and a web interface. Presumably, as someone who is an open source evangelist but familiar with Exchange, you can shed some light on exactly what the compelling features of Exchange over the competition are. I presume it has some, but without anyone who uses Exchange being willing to enumerate them, it's difficult for open source alternatives to implement them.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (2, Insightful)

MrCrassic (994046) | about 5 years ago | (#29341639)

Exchange over Activesync? RPC over HTTPS? Seamless integration with Outlook?

(I know that Zimbra, a groupware product I used for a LONG time, had the basics of the first feature, but lacked everything else.)

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (5, Interesting)

lukas84 (912874) | about 5 years ago | (#29341951)

Unfortunately, these kind of comparisons are very hard to do, because people that are familiar with Exchange usually aren't as familiar with other products, even if they looked at them or evaluated them.

From my perspective as someone who works for a small Microsoft Partner, the main advantage of Exchange over the competition is "it just works". Getting a small company with 10-50 employees up and running on Microsoft's Small Business Server 2008 is something that can be done in a few days, and it offers much more than just Groupware (managed updates, group policies, file sharing, intranet using Sharepoint services).

Outlook integrates into Sharepoint, Active Directory, etc. without the need to configure anything. You can easily get a fairly standardized setup without much hassle or the necessity to develop or create deployment plans, default configurations, etc. in house, as SBS already ships with a very decent configuration that only needs slight adjustments.

My most extensive experience with another Groupware product was Lotus Notes, using both the native Notes Client and the Outlook Connector. Notes gives you several things that Outlook does not have (e.G. offline capable applications that can replicate their database when the network is back up), but it's much more of a hassle to use. The Outlook plugin sometimes just doesn't work, lags behind released Outlook versions (took forever till they got a 2007 version out), etc.

I know that the Slashdot groupthink here disagrees, but Microsoft does indeed products that work together very well. You can all your non line of business infrastructure from Microsoft, and you'll get a pretty decent system, even though there are some suppliers out there that offer partially better products (e.G. VMware).

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | about 5 years ago | (#29340777)

I agree with you in general, but with a caveat. Google apps present a far better way to organize information than Exchange does. Yes, it's mature and people understand it. However, it's very difficult to properly version documents with Exchange. With Google Apps, it's effortless. Collaboration is built in. I'm working on a project right now that's split into 5 spreadsheets, and there are two separate copies, not counting the numerous copies that have been sent via e-mail as we've been modifying back and forth and making corrections.

All the spreadsheet does is track some database field names, their purposes, and equivalents in the new database. It doesn't need anything other than the basic features. What it does need is version control. Exchange not only avoids version control, it actively supports this sort of e-mail tag where everyone has several copies floating around.

Until Exchange provides proper Wiki functionality, I don't see it as a compelling alternative for someone who hasn't yet learned its ways. Unfortunately, there's a lot of training that goes out the window, and probably makes the current workforce incapable of realizing the benefits of ditching the e-mail and modify model without having the full force of the Office interface in place.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

lukas84 (912874) | about 5 years ago | (#29341973)

If you want version control and such, you'll need Sharepoint. Exchange is not equal to Google Apps.

Exchange + Sharepoint + Office is.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

kabloom (755503) | about 5 years ago | (#29340803)

Open source can deliver just fine. We've got CalDav, IMAP, OpenOffice, etc... for doing your basic and advanced office functions. Your mistake is confusing Google Apps with open source software.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about 5 years ago | (#29342835)

"Open source can deliver just fine."

Can you effortlessly sync calendars (yes, calendar*s*), notes and addressboks seemlessly to your mobile devices as Exchange plus Activesync? While your main data is not duplicated and stays at an LDAP server easy accesible by a ton of other apps? With document routing for approval?

Seriously, I don't think open source deliver just fine on this field.

But, hey, I would be very glad if you can show us *your* opensource solution (not the one that you heard it should work but the one you already have in place and in production for more than six months) for a typical ~200 people company with two or three locations.

I wait.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#29342207)

As an open source evangelist, I also regretfully agree. While there are substitutes for many *parts* of the Exchange ecosystem, there is no other truly integrated system that works as well...

I would put a caveat here. Nothing works as well, out of the box from one provider. If, you're willing to pay someone to put together a solution for you using CalDav, OpenOffice, etc. it can be integrated just as well, and sometimes better. The issue being, you actually have to pay someone like Redhat, IBM, or Canonical to build a good solution and you have to have a good idea of what you want. This is, or course, not how big business in the US works. Sure IBM does a lot of business, but mostly in selling lock-in to their services to people without a proper set of requirements. It's the same as MS, supply the hookers and blow to whoever is purchasing a solution and they'll take whatever you offer them.

If you want to know how Google Apps as a whole compares to Exchange as a whole, compare the Google Apps spreadsheet application to MS Excel. Sure, it covers the functionality needed by little Johnny figuring out what a spreadsheet is, but the minute you need to do any *real* spreadsheet work, Google Apps just doesn't deliver.

In my experience 99% of users never do any *real* spreadsheet work as you have defined it. The issue with Google Docs in this case is mostly momentum for all the templates in use out there today and all the places that won't change because change is hard and they don't have to. For the other 1%, most of them are covered by OO.org and most of the rest are lock-in liability situations where people have build brittle solutions and entrenched workflows probably are stuck on Win2K and some other software that will never be updated, and are using packages that were a terrible idea to start with and you need some serious professional help migrating and starting something flexible that can go forward.

That is true of the whole Google Apps framework. It's great for high school study groups and perhaps even university clubhouses, but when heavy lifting needs to be done, it doesn't cut the mustard.

I disagree here. For some use cases they certainly are not as productive as MSOffice, but for most of those it is cases where MSOffice is being misused anyway and people should be using more cost effective tools tailored to their needs. Examples of this are long, technical documents where Word is one of the worst, yet most used solutions. For a few grand you can get enough licenses of a good tool for the people running the project and it can import work from people using Word or Google Docs. The cost will be recovered a dozen times over by the productivity savings. Where MS Office is doing the "heavy lifting" is usually where purchasing and software licensing is so bureaucratically entrenched that nothing other than MSOffice will ever be approved anyway, and users will simply have to suck it up and make do.

For more common, everyday use cases the collaborative capabilities of Google Docs are probably more of an advantage to users workflow.

I *wish* open source could deliver, but it just can't - YET.

It's funny because I've seen it happen, so yes it can deliver. You just need smart people putting it together in the first place and designing a good solution for your needs.

Google Apps, THANK GOD, doesn't deliver. Moving from platform lock in on the desktop to another platform lock in where not only the software that I'm using but also my frakkin' USER DATA is also locked in is literally jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

I truly don't understand your concerns. Google exports to several formats cleanly, so you can always migrate to another solution, be it open source or closed or Web apps. Google Apps can source the user data from your LDAP, Domino, or MS-AD server or you can use one of the synch tools to migrate the other way. Mind you, if you're deploying an enterprise solution, obviously you're going to use an external user data/authentication system so it can integrate with your logins and whatnot anyway. So unless you do something weird and idiotic, your user data is just pushed to Google Apps the same as your other services like payroll, local authentication, etc.

Can the Google fanboys please stop? Can't you idiots see that Google has the makings of an evil monopoly that makes Microsoft look like your friendly local corner store.

Sigh. MS is an abusive monopoly that is undermining several markets and slowing or halting innovation. Google is not (to my knowledge) leveraging any monopolies in any way that undermines any market or harms innovation. Quite the opposite, they're stimulating innovation and helping to push the market along in spite of MS's crimes. You speculate that they might be an abusive monopoly at some point in the future but, the only example of a danger you provide is factually incorrect. I don't see a lot of danger in any of Google's services to date and they have gone out of their way to allay my fears by making use of open protocols and formats that make certain I can easily move to competitors if their service does not meet my needs.

I'm not under an illusions that they are some happy shiny benefactor of mankind. They;re a corporation that will do what is profitable for them, but to date they've been working very, very hard to keep the trust of the people and build a solid reputation for not being a lock-in shop that exploits users with no other good options. And yet, I keep hearing people like you spouting off about how they are potentially evil and dangerous. How about you wait until they actually do something? I know some of this is astroturf since MS is running a smear campaign through their partners, as reported in several tech journals recently. Others jump on the bandwagon because they don't actually form critical opinions themselves, but just repeat what they've heard. I don't know which you are and I don't mean to accuse or insult you.

Google is developing Google Wave which looks to be one of the coolest and most adoptable technologies in years. They hope to get a lot of people using it instead of traditional e-mail, chat, blogs, and forums. So the first thing they do, is build it on an open, in use protocol and release all the specs and a reference implementation so competitors can build interoperable solutions to do the same thing. In this way users have more choices, the technology gets more adoption, and there is no potential for lock-in. Do you see how this differs from MS and why a lot of people like Google's way of doing things? From the outset, they provide a playing field for others and rely upon the merits of their implementation and the first mover advantage their innovation has won them. If five years down the road you decide the Wave client server MS has built is better, nothing stops you from migrating and it will even interoperate with everyone else (assuming MS decided they want to). That is a completely different business model from MS and greatly superior for users. That's why people prefer and trust Google, they've done a lot to earn that trust and nothing to lose it, yet.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29342787)

If you want to know how Microsoft Windows as a whole compares to GNU/Linux as a whole, compare the Microsoft spreadsheet application to Gnumerics. Sure, it covers the functionality needed by little Johnny figuring out what a spreadsheet is, but the minute you need to do any *real* spreadsheet work, Microsoft Excel just doesn't deliver.

That is true of the whole Microsoft framework. It's great for high school study groups and perhaps even university clubhouses, but when heavy lifting needs to be done, it doesn't cut the mustard. Anyone who thinkos otherwise hasn't spent any/enough time in a real, productive analysis unit.

Fixed that for you.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

bigpat (158134) | about 5 years ago | (#29340915)

Microsoft Outlook 2007 running on Microsoft Windows XP hangs on me all the time in mid email. I'd hardly call that stable.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 5 years ago | (#29340435)

Google apps is a hell of a lot cheaper in many cases, and can potentially have lower downtime. And if SSL isnt secure, then i think we're all in trouble. As for "owning your data", do you have a citation from the EULA of Google Apps for business to back this up?

Exchange has a lot going for it, but so does Google Apps-- for example, instead of spending $500 (WinServ license) + $20 per WinServ cal + $1100 (exchange license) + $40 per exchange cal + $200 for office (and outlook), you could just sign up for Google Apps. Want a more large-scale setup supporting blackberries? There's a connector for BES. Maintenance costs are literally nil-- that doesnt mean theres no downtime, but historically downtime has been very low.

That said Im not sure of the wisdom in switching from an already-deployed Exchange environment to Google Docs; that seems somewhat backwards.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

ajs (35943) | about 5 years ago | (#29339869)

maybe, just maybe, DC civil servants have a good reason for not using Google aps.

Well, I don't think they're going either way... and that could be the problem. Right now, they're paying a lot of money for two solutions. Granted the Google solution is cheaper, but both are costing the taxpayers money. Hopefully they'll be making a decision soon and not continuing to cost the taxpayers for indecisiveness....

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

omeomi (675045) | about 5 years ago | (#29340075)

Well, I don't think they're going either way... and that could be the problem. Right now, they're paying a lot of money for two solutions. Granted the Google solution is cheaper, but both are costing the taxpayers money. Hopefully they'll be making a decision soon and not continuing to cost the taxpayers for indecisiveness....

So call it a phased roll-out? We went through pretty much the same process at place where I work. We used Exchange when I started there. Then there was the option of switching over to Gmail. Then, when things seemed to be going smoothly, there was a forced deadline for when everybody had to switch.

Give it time. (0, Troll)

twitter (104583) | about 5 years ago | (#29340703)

Yes, this article is a troll, typical of the Slog Against Google [slashdot.org] [2 [boycottnovell.com] ]. I'd prefer them to have switched to Kontact on GNU/Linux, but I would not expect the transition to that or Google in less than a year.

M$ people have a lot of never to complain, considering how difficult it is to "upgrade" any of their junk. Vista Failure [slashdot.org] springs to mind, but so do the number of companies still using IE 6, ancient versions of Outlook and Office. Given the slow speed of transition to any new M$ program, we can and should conclude that they are all failures before we judge Google Docs and Gmail a failure because one highly political institution has not made the transition overnight.

Re:Give it time. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29342719)

"I'd prefer them to have switched to Kontact on GNU/Linux"

Why should you prefer such a nightmare? Kontact is literally ages away for any decent corporate-grade solution (just to name the most obvious you can't delegate subdomains: each Kontact stanza live as alone in the world; good for a corporate environment).

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

briareus (195464) | about 5 years ago | (#29339977)

Since when is resistance to change a good reason?

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about 5 years ago | (#29340047)

Resistance to change by itself is not a good reason. But I have seen enough of the installations from hell to know that when end users do not adopt a proposed changed they often have very good reasons for staying with the old system. We are not there, we don't know their reasoning.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 5 years ago | (#29340459)

And from what I've seen end users tend to have no reason at all for never changing. Theyll use Internet Explorer 6 forever and complain about how slow it is, and if you suggest chrome / firefox and they see that its faster they will begin using that, and stick on that forever. People will use what theyre given, and will do their jobs without giving the IT stuff a second thought in most cases.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 5 years ago | (#29340349)

Or they have no particular reason to use Exchange, except that its Exchange, and that hasnt changed yet. That doesnt mean one solution is better than the other-- ive seen people migrate away from Google Apps because they used gmail IMAP into outlook and wondered why it was awful.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

baegucb (18706) | about 5 years ago | (#29339751)

I would say inefficient at a minimum. 38,000 employees? That's almost as much as my entire state government has.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

MrZaius (321037) | about 5 years ago | (#29340055)

Did you even bother reading the article summary? It is plainly a Google problem if they're misrepresenting the level of adoption by the local DC government. Off to RTFA.

Re:This is a DC problem, not a Google problem (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 5 years ago | (#29342793)

I'm sorry, but many forget that most people expect e-mail to work just like plain post.

I for example was putting up with all bugs and weirdness of Thunderbird 1.x simply because it was easier for me to stay with it than to migrate anywhere. (Doubly so as I was Netscape Messenger user for many years). Only after I have learned that Tb 2.x is going to drastically improve all the bugs and bring more of the Outlook Express craziness to the boat, when I have finally made decision to start trying out alternatives. Not sooner.

The point here is as long as Outlook/Exchange would work for the people - they are going to use it. End of story.

If moving around whole address book isn't scary enough (all the incompatibilities of different optional fields presentations) think about moving the e-mail archive. My current personal archive now reached about 3GB (while my past mailbox is about 250MB archived). I know that import/export mostly works, but there is no simple way to verify that some e-mail will not get botched during migration. And not once on me during migration some important e-mails went missing and some attachments went missing/broken.

Changing e-mail client is a red herring. Real story in how migration is done.

ATTENTION SLASHDOT READERS (0, Troll)

Fanboy Fantasies (917592) | about 5 years ago | (#29339535)

Today, I had a post containing the word "nigger" get moderated to +5. My life is now complete.

Re:ATTENTION SLASHDOT READERS (0, Offtopic)

hedwards (940851) | about 5 years ago | (#29339625)

You do, of course realize, that it's spelled "Nigerian," right?

Apps (1)

XPeter (1429763) | about 5 years ago | (#29339593)

Are all Google needs for Android to take off in the mobile market. From what I've seen Android is superior to IPhone OS, BB OS, and WinMobile so once it takes off with the mainstream non-geek market, It could possibly become the next big thing.

Google could eventually do something like this:

1. Make Chrome a browser OS
2. Established cloud computing services on Android mobile devices
3. ???
4. Profit!

-P

Re:Apps (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 5 years ago | (#29339617)

And how much "corporate control" can you exert over an Android phone? Encryption? They have a central management server you can install?

I really doubt an offering from Google is ready for the government scene. They may be perfect for home consumer markets, which is fine, but not government or 'secure' corporate.

Re:Apps (1)

XPeter (1429763) | about 5 years ago | (#29339729)

And how much "corporate control" can you exert over an Android phone? Encryption? They have a central management server you can install?

I really doubt an offering from Google is ready for the government scene. They may be perfect for home consumer markets, which is fine, but not government or 'secure' corporate.

People in the "secure" market have phones. The thing all phones have in common is that they can all be hacked; doesn't matter whether its an IPhone or a BB if someone wants your information, they can get it. It doesn't matter who writes the encryption, there's always someone better who will crack it.

Re:Apps (1)

nxtw (866177) | about 5 years ago | (#29339867)

People in the "secure" market have phones. The thing all phones have in common is that they can all be hacked; doesn't matter whether its an IPhone or a BB if someone wants your information, they can get it. It doesn't matter who writes the encryption, there's always someone better who will crack it.

No, the difference is there might be someone who can crack a BlackBerry with encryption enabled, but there's no widely known attack that doesn't require 256-bit AES to be cracked... whereas anyone who wishes to crack an iPhone with encryption enabled can do so without too much trouble [slashdot.org] .

But none of the other smartphone platforms have had an exploit quite as bad as the Android's root console bug [zdnet.co.uk] .

Re:Apps (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29340009)

People in the "secure" market have phones. The thing all phones have in common is that they can all be hacked; doesn't matter whether its an IPhone or a BB if someone wants your information, they can get it. It doesn't matter who writes the encryption, there's always someone better who will crack it.

Riiiight. Unlike the iphone and other POS phones, the blackberry has been audited from end-to-end [blackberry.com] and is certified to a number of different standards. The blackberry platform has been audited by:

NATO
Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology (Germany)
Communications Security Establishment (Canada)
Communications Electronic Security Group (United Kingdom)
Center for Secure Information Technology (Austria)
Defense Signals Directorate (Australia)
Government Communications Security Bureau (New Zealand)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (United States)
Turkish Standards Institute (Turkey)

Who audited the iphone? Nobody, because Apple can't do security.

Re:Apps (1)

growse (928427) | about 5 years ago | (#29340621)

GP's general point is right, but he was wrong to suggest that it 'can be cracked'.

The general point is that if someone wants your data badly enough, they'll get your data. Whether it's worth it for what it'll cost is a completely different question. Using a BB over an iPhone just closes off one of the many vulnerabilities that exist when humans try to handle confidential information.

Re:Apps (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 5 years ago | (#29340175)

No there isn't someone better who can crack it. Encryption really does work.

Re:Apps (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 5 years ago | (#29340619)

Theres an option called "Content protection" in blackberry options. Turn it on, and all your data (optionally including contacts) is encrypted-- this can be either 3DES to AES, set by the BES. I am unaware of some magical way of getting past AES encryption short of bruteforcing the password.

Additionally, if your blackberry is stolen and you are worried, theres a nifty "wipe handheld" option in the BES, as well as the ability to remove redirection. Additionally, if your WinMobile or iPhone is stolen, your activesync details are on that phone waiting to compromise other areas (such as OWA). Blackberries dont use activesync, so once the account is removed from the BES, the thief wont be able to recover any login details (unless they break the encryption and find an email or memo with that info in it).

And if what youre saying about encryption is true, then I certainly hope you dont use online banking, or Amazon, or Ebay, or do any sort of online purchases whatsoever.

Re:Apps (1)

cmdrbuzz (681767) | about 5 years ago | (#29340809)

You do realize that ActiveSync allows the admin and / or the user to remotely wipe the device? Supported on both Windows Mobile and the iPhone....

And consumers with a MobileMe subscription can wipe their iPhone (and other stuff like locate it / display messages etc) from www.me.com?

Re:Apps (1)

Alphanos (596595) | about 5 years ago | (#29339967)

I really doubt an offering from Google is ready for the government scene. They may be perfect for home consumer markets, which is fine, but not government or 'secure' corporate.

You're right! Anyone who needs real corporate or government-level security uses Microsoft. Oh wait...

Re:Apps (2, Insightful)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | about 5 years ago | (#29340399)

Consider this:

I've seen lots of companies using local authentication for their linux boxes, along with a supposedly secret root password configured in every machine. There are a lot of centralized directory and authentication options for linux. But, how much people use it? But, they do know how to setup Microsoft's Active Directory and setup clients to use it.

Linux has ACLs for some time know, something that is way better than the old permission schemes. But, again, I've never seen it widely deployed across a large network. ACLs are the default file permission scheme on Windows.

No to mention that lots of linux and servers desktop out there are not configured with a password on GRUB to avoid people booting into single mode and getting root credentials.

So, while linux is as corporate-security capable as windows under a administrative point of view, most corporations and system administrations are not aware of that. And even when they are, the tools for managing such things are not as straightforward to use as Active Directory;

Being less sucetible to exploits is not the whole game in security. It doesn't matter what is your operating system, a badly configured operating system is insecure no matter which kernel do you use. And at this point, ease of management becomes very important.

Re:Apps (1)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | about 5 years ago | (#29340469)

Not to mention companies that spend a lot of money with VPN solutions with two factor authentication, and at the same time leave ssh outgoing unmonitored on their firewalls.
In this scenario having remote access to your network is just a matter of issuing

ssh2 -R 1234:localhost:23 username@host

And now, all traffic which comes to port 1234 on the server (host) will be forwarded to port 23 on the client (localhost).

So, again, there's a lot of people out there using linux without actually knowing shit about security and how linux works. These people like to boost how secure they are just because they are using linux (even if their boxes and networks are badly configured and full of holes). Those people are lamers.

Re:Apps (2, Interesting)

dlgeek (1065796) | about 5 years ago | (#29340311)

How much do you want? Android isn't some take-it-or-leave-it system like iPhoneOS, it's a flexible platform the manufacturers and carriers can build on. TMobile released the G1 with pretty much a stock android system, but Palm took an android kernel and ran a completely new userland/frontend (WebOS) on top. AT&T is talking about releasing the HTC Lancaster with an android kernel but with a standard locked down AT&T userland with all the crappy "BUY STUFF" apps on the desktop you can't delete.

There's no reason a company can't use Android as a starting point to build a custom locked-down environment with central management, encryption, etc. and a lot of reasons TO do this, since they have all the Linux security stuff already available to tie in, meaning less in-house work.

Re:Apps (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29340509)

Palm took an android kernel and ran a completely new userland/frontend (WebOS) on top

Do you have any evidence that Palm took the kernel from Android, as opposed to a stock ARM Linux kernel? Actually, reading the rest of your post, do you know what 'kernel' means?

Re:Apps (1)

dlgeek (1065796) | about 5 years ago | (#29340651)

Ah, it appears I was misinformed about the Pre having an android system, I'm not sure why I had that misconception. Yes, I do know what a kernel is. I was trying to simplify my comment. For a more accurate view: the rumors are that the HTC Lancaster will be using an android kernel, android systems/phone software, but the user interface parts of the userland and such will be replaced by custom components to give the phone a purely AT&T user experience.

Re:Apps (2, Interesting)

Poobar (1558627) | about 5 years ago | (#29339675)

Playing with my girlfriend's new Android we managed to freeze it utterly within a minute of playing with the piss-poor camera*, and after connecting to my wifi once successfully it won't do it anymore, for no reason we can see.

The rest of the phone is shaping up to be awesome (especially when available on such cheap contracts and with google apps fully intergrated), but it needs some improvement to get the non-geek majority away from thier shiney iPhones.

*(The camera broke when trying to take a photo of my face, so it might not be an issue with the phone...)

Re:Apps (1)

XPeter (1429763) | about 5 years ago | (#29339703)

*(The camera broke when trying to take a photo of my face, so it might not be an issue with the phone...)

Like the rest of us, your a nerd. How dare you blame the phone?

Anyway, wouldn't the camera breaking be more of a hardware problem?

Re:Apps (1)

Poobar (1558627) | about 5 years ago | (#29339779)

Anyway, wouldn't the camera breaking be more of a hardware problem?

Sorry, to clarify I meant that the phone froze while trying to take the photo, possibly because the lighting was bad. It also takes a bloody age to autofocus and then take the picture. Maybe the combination of my horrible nerd face and the rictus grin you get after 5 seconds of waiting for a photo to be taken was too much for the poor software? I'd still probably buy one though, as for everything else (apart from the wifi connection problem) it's top notch so far.

Re:Apps (2, Funny)

Nadaka (224565) | about 5 years ago | (#29340063)

Wait a second, you and your girlfriend were testing out a new camera...
And you decided to take a picture of your face?

In the same situation, my girlfriend would have been nude within seconds.

Re:Apps (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29340143)

I thought blow up dolls came nude....

FTC should be involved (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 5 years ago | (#29339609)

If Google used this 'news' to help their stock prices or increase sales, id call it fraud. And they might too.

Re:FTC should be involved (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 5 years ago | (#29339633)

Umm, the FTC doesn't have jurisdiction over that kind of thing. You mean the SEC might call that a violation.

Re:FTC should be involved (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 5 years ago | (#29339913)

Yes, that is what i meant, donno why i typed FTC.. but was closer then FCC :)

Re:FTC should be involved (3, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | about 5 years ago | (#29339895)

If Google used this 'news' to help their stock prices or increase sales, id call it fraud. And they might too.

1) You're assuming that Google had any idea. They got an agreement from DC that they could use them in advertising (I'm fairly certain, since no one trumpets a customer without such an agreement) that that's it. They don't get to tell DC how to use it.

2) There's nothing false in saying you made a large sale when you did. Your claim of fraud is similar to claiming fraud when Ford touts a giant sale of a fleet of cars to the military when the military is just putting them into bunkers and never driving them.

3) Do you really think an apps sale to DC affected Google's stock price? I dare you to find a blip on their chart.

Re:FTC should be involved (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 5 years ago | (#29339925)

If Google used this 'news' to help their stock prices or increase sales, id call it fraud. And they might too.

1) You're assuming that Google had any idea. They got an agreement from DC that they could use them in advertising (I'm fairly certain, since no one trumpets a customer without such an agreement) that that's it. They don't get to tell DC how to use it.

2) There's nothing false in saying you made a large sale when you did. Your claim of fraud is similar to claiming fraud when Ford touts a giant sale of a fleet of cars to the military when the military is just putting them into bunkers and never driving them.

3) Do you really think an apps sale to DC affected Google's stock price? I dare you to find a blip on their chart.

OF course they knew. They are just trying to save face ( and their butts ) by claiming ' we didn't know'.

It's illegal if you knew the statement was bogus and used it to prop up value. I have seen other things like that happen.

I don't care if it was effective or not, if the intent was there, its illegal.

Re:FTC should be involved (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 5 years ago | (#29340187)

Cite statue and case law, or GTFO my intarnets.

User Inertia (5, Insightful)

WED Fan (911325) | about 5 years ago | (#29339635)

I work in government. Not DC.

The problem is user inertia, it always has been, it always will be.

We deployed SharePoint years ago. Did that improve anything? No. User's still send attachments in email, still use network drives for collaboration, and still use spreadsheets to gather data.

The spreadsheet thing is really funny. The boss finally put the spreadsheet up on SharePoint and sent a link to it. But you still see people downloading the spreadsheet from the site, filling out their portion, then uploading it with a new name. Then yelling over the cubicle wall that they are done with their tasking. We've gone through training and tried to get them to do it the more efficient way. Impossible task.

Trying to get users to switch off of software and methods they've used for years is a near impossibility.

Re:User Inertia (3, Interesting)

duffbeer703 (177751) | about 5 years ago | (#29339765)

You're very right.

As someone who has managed a few mail migrations for government agencies, and I probably could guess the reason why GMail isn't in use in DC: Calendaring. I've seen hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted over this bs.

Typical problem: you cannot instantaneously migrate GB's of email. But once you migrate the accounting department, they won't be able to see free/busy status for the garbagemen, which is essential for some reason. Or worse, the conference room!

So instead of using the secretaries to actually do something (government office still have them), they wait for a magic, half-baked technical solution.

Re:User Inertia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29339773)

The spreadsheet thing is really funny. The boss finally put the spreadsheet up on SharePoint and sent a link to it. But you still see people downloading the spreadsheet from the site, filling out their portion, then uploading it with a new name. Then yelling over the cubicle wall that they are done with their tasking. We've gone through training and tried to get them to do it the more efficient way. Impossible task.

That's ... strange. If my boss at work said "we have this new process and from now on, you must start doing it this way" then my options are pretty clear. I can follow his instructions or I can be fired. I would not expect to be able to defy such a direct request for very long before he gets tired of it and finds someone else who can listen. I take it that at the place you describe, the problem is managerial.

I work in government.

That would explain a few things.

Re:User Inertia (2, Interesting)

WED Fan (911325) | about 5 years ago | (#29339849)

If my boss at work said "we have this new process and from now on, you must start doing it this way" then my options are pretty clear.

I understand and have worked in that environment, as well. But, it is also clear from your statement that you have never worked in government and especially in government with a union.

All it takes is one guy filing a "Change in work environment" complaint with the union and the boss's "new process" becomes not only moot, but it will become a forbidden choice for all time and eternity.

In government, you will rarely hear bosses try that.

Re:User Inertia (2, Insightful)

qbzzt (11136) | about 5 years ago | (#29339781)

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Having a theoretically more efficient way to do the job is nice, but having a way that works now is priceless.

You have to show value before people will care about a new technology.

Re:User Inertia (1)

rainmayun (842754) | about 5 years ago | (#29341229)

The value isn't to individual employees, it's to the organization as a whole. You'll never be able to show them the value, unless they care about broader organizational goals. And sometimes, those goals are to do whatever the department is doing at the same capacity with less staff. In those cases, the staff will be actively antagonistic to your goals.

Re:User Inertia (1)

crispytwo (1144275) | about 5 years ago | (#29341923)

You completely missed the point...

The process IS broken and it makes WAY more work for people. Using collaborative software is superior than you make it sound.

On top of that, in many cases, getting people in a group and saying raise your hand if X would do better than sending a f**n spreadsheet to the masses.

Re:User Inertia (4, Funny)

slim (1652) | about 5 years ago | (#29339811)

We deployed SharePoint years ago. Did that improve anything? No.

Could that be because (from my experience at least), Sharepoint is as user friendly as the lost luggage desk at Franz Kafka International Airport?

Re:User Inertia (1)

Danathar (267989) | about 5 years ago | (#29339877)

I've come to the conclusion that if you want people to change in an organization you have to TAKE AWAY the methods they did it before.

Re:User Inertia (1)

WED Fan (911325) | about 5 years ago | (#29340291)

Or take away the people...oops.

Re:User Inertia (2, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#29341021)

I've come to the conclusion that if you want people to change in an organization you have to TAKE AWAY the methods they did it before.

I've come to the conclusion that if you want users to change their methods you have to provide them with a new method that is both learnable and better for them, not just for you. In my experience, sharepoint is generally harder to use than e-mail attachments, makes for a slower workflow, and has a learning curve, especially as it is usually implemented. Seriously, sending an e-mail with an attachment is easier than uploading a file and sending an e-mail with a link to the file. If you want users to have a better method, set up something easier, like a CMS repository that automatically sends an e-mail to the selected users with a short message, using the same interface as the e-mail system.

The problem with migrating users away from e-mail based workflows, is creating workflows that are actually easier for the user than the e-mail based workflow. Mark my words. Provide users with something better and easier, potentially something like Google Wave with an application editing plug-in and (if they do it right) you won't have to force your users to change workflows because they'll be lining up to do it. Users are like a river, following the path of least resistance. Sharepoint is like a pipeline in the river with the IT department as the pump constantly working to try to make users follow a harder workflow.

Re:User Inertia (1)

Danathar (267989) | about 5 years ago | (#29341871)

My prior response was a half-truth humor remark. I agree though. The problem is that email is REALLY easy. Anything that replaces it has to be just as easy.

Re:User Inertia (3, Insightful)

FatherDale (1535743) | about 5 years ago | (#29340135)

Huh? Let's see.... I have a fast Exchange server and a bulletproof client with all sorts of fun add-ons. Sure, I'll trade that for a web-based service! If that's inertia, I have tons.

Re:User Inertia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29340147)

You might have better luck switching to software that doesn't totally suck. We use Sharepoint at work, and it's a huge pain in the ass, so most people avoid it.

It only works in Internet Explorer, and even then not very well. It's difficult to navigate. It's difficult to integrate with any non-Microsoft software. It has confusing error messages. It changes in random ways between versions. It's not even clear what problem it's trying to solve.

I don't know why your coworkers avoid Sharepoint, but those are just a few of the reasons we don't use it at work.

Re:User Inertia (3, Informative)

WED Fan (911325) | about 5 years ago | (#29340245)

It only works in Internet Explorer

You don't really work with SharePoint, do you? I mean, this isn't even true and hasn't been for some time.

It's difficult to integrate with any non-Microsoft software.

We have a number of 3rd party apps that are very SharePoint aware. You see, if you really worked with SharePoint, you'd understand that out-of-the-box MOSS/WSS is a very basic product that will do small or simple office needs. SharePoint has a fairly powerful and open API. It did have problems with documentation but most of that is in the past. If you want integration, go with a company that provides SharePoint awareness, or you can write your own stuff (Isn't that what geeks do? Isn't that what the Linux guys like to say? "If it doesn't do what you want it to do, write your own plug-in/module/web part/feature.")

If you are going to make a point, use talking points that don't come from SharePoint 2001.

Re:User Inertia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29340441)

Well, if it's so fucking great, why can't you get people to use it?

You don't really work with SharePoint, do you? I mean, this isn't even true and hasn't been for some time.

Lying doesn't help your credibility. I can say with 100% certainty that as of Friday afternoon Sharepoint 2007 didn't work in any of the non-IE browsers I tried. I know because I've fucking tried it. Nothing some butthurt IT admin can say is going to make me forget my actual experience trying to use Sharepoint in Opera.

We have a number of 3rd party apps that are very SharePoint aware. You see, if you really worked with SharePoint, you'd understand that out-of-the-box MOSS/WSS is a very basic product that will do small or simple office needs. SharePoint has a fairly powerful and open API. It did have problems with documentation but most of that is in the past. If you want integration, go with a company that provides SharePoint awareness, or you can write your own stuff (Isn't that what geeks do? Isn't that what the Linux guys like to say? "If it doesn't do what you want it to do, write your own plug-in/module/web part/feature.")

Wow, that's awesome, "If we just buy all new software, we can buy software that works with Sharepoint..." That just strengthens my argument that most existing software doesn't work with Sharepoint...

Maybe your users aren't using Sharepoint because when they have a problem you tell them to STFU because it isn't a problem...

Re:User Inertia (1)

WED Fan (911325) | about 5 years ago | (#29340875)

Well, if it's so fucking great, why can't you get people to use it?

Inertia...oops, I put that in the title.

Opera

I have a feeling the only browser you used that choked on SharePoint was Opera. You definitely didn't try FF.

Firefox handles SharePoint wonderfully. But, remember, SharePoint makes use of JavaScript, so if you are blocking JavaScript, you have a problem.

In my office, we have a mix of FireFox 2 - 3.x, and IE 6 through 8 (IE 6 is thanks to EDS and NMCI for being behind the curve).

The only time FireFox chokes on SharePoint is because of a non-SharePoint problem, we make heavy use of card based certs and log on, and FireFox doesn't like passing card based authentication, but, there is a U.S. Navy developed open source FF plug in for that. Works fine, lasts long time. In fact, for you open source types, FF plug ins are great way to add functionality to SharePoint sites and make it work even more wonderfully with SharePoint unaware applications.

Most of SharePoint is exposed by web services, and most of the SharePoint feature systems can be modified by some DOM stuff.

I never told a user to STFU. Maybe you are having issues with your company? If your IT folks regularly tell you to STFU, then 1) they aren't worth anything, or 2) you are in need cranalanalectomy.

Re:User Inertia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29340695)

What the heck is a MOSS/WSS?

Re:User Inertia (1)

WED Fan (911325) | about 5 years ago | (#29340943)

MOSS: Microsoft Office SharePoint Services (This is the for pay SharePoint with extra features. WSS: Windows SharePoint Services (This is included in Windows Server 2k3 and 2k8.

Re:User Inertia (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#29340793)

It only works in Internet Explorer

You don't really work with SharePoint, do you? I mean, this isn't even true and hasn't been for some time.

I do believe you are correct, sort of. I had the misfortune to use SharePoint at a software development company a few years back. Some new management folks brought in implemented it as a company wide solution to all our problems, and did not consult any of the engineering staff, which was the majority of the company. They wanted it to be a surprise. "Surprise! We wasted a lot of money licensing and building a SharePoint solution to solve all our company's problems." Of course the people talked into implementing it by some MS salescreep did not even know what Firefox was or that half the company was using OS X and another quarter using Linux or a BSD on the desktop. SharePoint worked in Firefox, sort of, with lots of random brokenness and in a completely slow and painful way. Of course the default permissions made everything hard and since the people running it had no clue our workflow for posting shared documents became horrible. Where at one point we e-mailed a doc to a few people, or dragged into a network share, it instead became e-mail the file to one of the people who had permission to upload files, then wait for them to start a remote Windows session on VM and upload the file, then e-mail everyone telling them where it was and then wait for the inevitable requests from people for copies of the file since getting it from the SharePoint server was so hard.

Things lasted like that for about a month while they promised to get all the cross platform problems worked out, and then there was a silent revolt. Everyone stopped obeying the corporate directive to use it. Engineering hacked the main page for engineering in SharePoint to be a frame with our internal wiki on it and everyone in the company except a few execs who had implemented it went on with our lives ignoring the crap while the CTO tried to figure out how to get rid of the new dead weight at the top.

So my assessment of SharePoint (as of a few years ago) is it only theoretically works in multiple browsers and OS's and if you actually try using them you;re in for a lot of pain. Further, it is an inferior solution to a decent CMS or even a wiki+network storage. Within engineering it is a watchword for clueless technocrats that will suck your productivity. If a company is using it, look for a job somewhere better and you'll probably be happier.

Bad Integrators and Oversell (1)

WED Fan (911325) | about 5 years ago | (#29341045)

I'm not too familiar with OS X platforms that work or don't with SharePoint. The problem with some Linux installs, and we have a few, are that dependencies aren't well documented. Your best bet is to use the .net plug in for FF.

The other problem is that a lot of companies are told about all the wonderful things that SharePoint does, except, most of the integrators doing the selling are telling you about things that have to added on to the system.

SharePoint workflow sucks donkey balls. Don't sell it to your users, its out-of-the-box and not worth the time they put into. Go with Nintex or K2 for SharePoint workflow.

Also, we have had a major issue with an integrator and then asked them to set up Performance Point, Google Earth, and CorasWorks. They have yet to get it working right. I really wish I could tell you their name so you could avoid them, but I can't. But, I do know the USMC and USAF have similar farms that are well integrated and working fine. We got screwed by the "partner" we went with.

I've gone to a lot of code camps, seminars, and other functions, and anectdotal evidences seems to indicate that most companies that have problems with SharePoint is because they went with a crappy integrator, or they handed the install manuals to someone in their IT department and said, "Go" without sending them to training.

Re:User Inertia (1)

salgiza (650851) | about 5 years ago | (#29342593)

Although it's Firefox are Safari are supported in the latest version of SharePoint, you can't edit documents directly from the portal (and probably Excel Services won't work either, but I haven't tried it). Taking into account that document libraries are the most useful part of SharePoint, and they only work in IE, well, yeah, it works, but you wouldn't use any other browser unless in an emergency.

Moreover, I pity the poor programmers currently involved in SharePoint. Have you seen the HTML that it generates? It was written for IE6, in quirks-mode, and it continues that way. That means that everything having to do with HTML and CSS has to be written at least twice, because padding, :hover events (on non-A elements) and many other things we now take for granted are either not available in quirks-mode, or work differently across browsers.

And if you develop anything on top of SharePoint, well, you don't have the option to use valid HTML, so welcome back to the year 2000! In the end, the overhead cost of developing for multiple browsers in this mode means that most customers are quite fine if their custom apps (that work on top of SharePoint) only work on IE. In fact, many useful third-party addons (ej. Nintex) only work in IE.

Hopefully, SharePoint 2010 will fix this, and I'm quite sure that SharePoint is going to be a great product some day. But just right now, it sucks in too many areas, and it has a major handicap to overcome: shared folders are easier and faster to use.

What does this say about Vivek Kundra? (2)

zuhaib (1089275) | about 5 years ago | (#29339789)

"This all seemed rather strange to Nagesh, considering how much attention former DC CTO and current Federal CIO Vivek Kundra has received for implementing Google Apps for District employees." This part looks very interesting to me as in the past few weeks a lot of things Mr Vivek Kundra has been claiming he done in the past have turned out not true and has opened a lot of questions about his experience and expertise. You just had the John C.Dvorak blog bring up a lot of questions and day by day it seems he is more right http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2009/08/12/special-report-is-us-chief-information-officer-cio-vivek-kundra-a-phony/ [dvorak.org] I am starting to wonder if this selection was not some kind of political pay back for something Vivek Kundra did in the past or people around him.

Re:What does this say about Vivek Kundra? (1, Informative)

TheLink (130905) | about 5 years ago | (#29340541)

Dvorak? Isn't he famous for trolling[1] people to get more ad hits?

He makes insinuations that Vivek might not have the degree he claimed to have. But he doesn't do a thorough investigation, and just shoots his mouth first.

Maybe the UMD newsdesk is wrong (they could be after all), but they did say that:

"Vivek Kundra moved from chief technology officer of D.C. to being the first federal chief information officer, working in the White House. Kundra holds an undergraduate degree from UM in psychology and a master's of science in information technology. "

See: http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/facts/mm/08-09/mar.cfm [umd.edu]

Perhaps the UMD newsdesk was sloppy, but given the other stuff I see, it just looks like Dvorak is trolling again.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMQv0j29WHA [youtube.com]

Billions in ad revenue buys you BILLIONS IN PR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29339791)

It's all P.R., folks. For the foreigners in the crowd, that means B.S. For this dumasses in the crowd, that means, oh never mind.

Keep in mind that you're talking about DC (2, Interesting)

bfwebster (90513) | about 5 years ago | (#29339793)

While I was living in DC (in the District itself, mind you) and working for PricewaterhouseCoopers, I met with the CIO of the DC Public Schools to see about doing some pro bono work to help with their information technology problems. She spent an hour describing just how wretched, disjoint, and underutilized their IT infrastructure was, and we came to the joint conclusion that there wasn't a lot that I could do to help.

This was about 10 years ago, and I was looking just as the DC Public Schools system, not the District as a whole. But as anyone (else) who has lived in the District for an extended period, particularly as a private citizen, can tell you, the District of Columbia is a profoundly dysfunctional government.

That said, I'm not sure Google should be going around touting their adoption in the District as a success story, since -- as per the original post above -- any effort to check out what's actually going on is likely to be quite disappointing. ..bruce..

Don't be a girlie man, flip the switch (5, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | about 5 years ago | (#29339993)

The spokeswoman added that Gmail could potentially replace Microsoft Exchange, 'but this decision has not been made yet.'"

Quit dorking around the flip the switch already. We did and it was the best move we ever made. It was a little rocky at first, then smooth sailing ever since. We've noticed two outages in the last year, I think there have been three total. Only the recent one generated any calls. Overall that makes it more reliable than Exchange.

Not sure what holds companies back from making the change. I've heard the arguments, they don't hold up to reality. Google doesn't spy on our email and if it's something really sensitive we can add a password to the document or encrypt the content. I've done that exactly once in the last year. Your company email passes unencrypted through dozens of relays, regardless of what email provider you use. Any one of those relays could be copying and storing those messages. So what would make Google any bigger risk than any one of them?

Backups are the other thing I hear about a lot. If it's that important, you can set up Gmail to auto-forward some or all of your messages to another account or you can use any number of tools in Windows, Linux and Mac to keep backups, if you feel the need. So far email backups have been a big waste of time and drive space, but I suppose it's better that small waste than a big loss if something bad did happen.

That change freed up a lot of money. We didn't need an Exchange admin and we saved a bundle on license fees.

Re:Don't be a girlie man, flip the switch (1)

Poobar (1558627) | about 5 years ago | (#29340873)

Not sure what holds companies back from making the change. I've heard the arguments, they don't hold up to reality. Google doesn't spy on our email and if it's something really sensitive we can add a password to the document or encrypt the content. I've done that exactly once in the last year.

"Hmm, wonder which one of his emails holds the Top Secret Data...".

"Maybe the one that's encypted?"

"Nah, it's probably one of the others!"

Seriously though, if you need to rarely send sensitive data, isn't it far more secure if you encrypt everything you send, and for very little extra effort?

Re:Don't be a girlie man, flip the switch (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 years ago | (#29342263)

3 times in the last year? My mail server hasn't been unavailable outside of a short scheduled maintaince window 3 times in the last 10 years.

You can put your email on someone elses servers, thats fine, I won't. My internal email doesn't pass over anything unencrypted, our servers require SSL or TLS.

Doing backups on the client side? Have you ever dealt with more than 3 PCs before? Are you nucking futz? My email backup is an rsync command line. It may be hard for someone who is clueless, but anyone with a few years of experience and a head on their shoulders can make backups pretty easy. Hell, now that we're using zfs for the backing stores, we have daily snapshots of the entire system.

You, or whoever was managing your email systems is just a shitty admin, thats what gmail is better for you. Those of us who actually do our jobs have plenty of reasons why its far more cost effective to keep it internal, even if you pay for a dedicated 60k/year admin.

If you're a small company, gmail is fine. If you're of any size at all, outsourcing your email just makes you retarded.

Re:Don't be a girlie man, flip the switch (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29342567)

I've heard the arguments, they don't hold up to reality. Google doesn't spy on our email ...

How the fuck would you know?

Re:Don't be a girlie man, flip the switch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29342809)

Just because it's accepted as part of the terms and conditions of using Gmail doesn't change the behavior.

Gmail messages are parsed for advertising, therefore, Google (using electronic means, even if no Google employees do any actual e-mail parsing) spies on your e-mail.

More flash than substance to an Obama appointee? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29340125)

Say it ain't so!

And when we do find substance, it's either spouting off about "only white kids shoot up schools" or signing 9/11 Truther petitions. Can anyone imagine the coverage a Bush appointee would have gotten had he said "Only black kids do drugs"? But an Obama appointee who did both those things had to resign because nut-job Glenn Beck dug them up. WTF?!?! Glenn Beck?!?! Doing a better job than the NY Times and Washington Post? Utter whack-job Glenn Beck forces Obama to toss Van Jones under the bus?!?!

What kind of loons is Obama hiring if Glenn Beck pretty much all by himself can get one of them canned? Think about that - Glenn Beck can force Obama to fire advisors. Utter right-wing nut job Glenn Beck.

And now we find that Vivek Kundra - he of the entirely corrupt office (but HE'STHAT and I've got a bridge to sell you!) going to dump tax cheat Charlie Rangel as head of the Ways and Means Committee - the very committee in charge of things like, say, taxation?

This one made me laugh outloud, thx! (4, Interesting)

herojig (1625143) | about 5 years ago | (#29340127)

As an ex-DC resident of many years, I had to laugh out loud when I read that there even was a partnership between Google and DC gov, and I was rolling on the floor thinking about the DC DMV using google docs or calender. I think most have just mastered the Google search field...maybe. I agree with WED Fan above, DC workers are not going to embracing new tech anytime soon. They are still suffering heart attacks over the office 2007 ribbon. And about those 4,000 that have made the huge dramatic mt. Everest leap to gmail, I bet most of them just have home accounts. Even more hilarious was when I searched for a DC gov group and only found ONE. It has 3 members and ONE post. Boy, they are really using that Goog feature no? But I may have a chip on my shoulder, as when I went into south west DC to renew my driver's license right around the time of the last Clinton election, I was asked first if I was a Republican or a Dem before getting any service. I told the big bottomed woman that I was of course a Dem and not to be fooled by my Fitzgerald Bold Pinstripe from Brooks Bros. We had a laugh, but I seriously think that if I had told the truth I would not have gotten renewed in the blazing speed that I did (two hours). For sure that lady is not using any kind of cloud computing today, unless you count daydreaming at the terminal.

data theft (1)

tru3ntropy (1632547) | about 5 years ago | (#29340347)

So now you have to rely on the public servants ability to make a password that's not some ones birthday; at least in the old days you would have to wait until they left their laptop or thumb drive in the back of a cab before you could access everyone information. hmm progress

Gmail? What about the other apps? (2, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#29340415)

What I recall reading was that in 2008, DC decided to start transitioning to Google Docs for replacing Word and Excel, and as a starting point for an all web application interface going forward. There was one brief mention that Gmail would be provided as well, but nothing that said they were going to use it as the primary e-mail client/server.

So I guess my question would be, where is DC with this transition and where had they planned to be? Since e-mail was not the focus of the project, where are they with the other applications? Have they signed any new licenses for MSOffice or for a new version? Do they have any desktops without MSOffice? Do any of there users run word processing and spreadsheets with Google Apps instead of Word and Excel?

Re:Gmail? What about the other apps? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 years ago | (#29342287)

Everyone still has Office installed of course, since they actually do have to communicate with people outside the DC government as well.

Re:Gmail? What about the other apps? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 5 years ago | (#29342349)

Everyone still has Office installed of course, since they actually do have to communicate with people outside the DC government as well.

I don't understand your reasoning. Why could they not send .doc files or .xls or .pdf files generated by Google Docs and use it to read said docs when communicating with external companies and organizations? Are you trolling or do you have some rationale you did not bother to explain?

This is a common story today... (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | about 5 years ago | (#29342281)

This all seemed rather strange to Nagesh, considering how much attention former DC CTO and current Federal CIO Vivek Kundra has received for implementing Google Apps for District employees.

Anybody who has worked for a bureaucracy - corporate or government, of late - is familiar with the big whiz-bang project that is poorly thought out and only implemented half-assed, but the the project's "champions" claim success and are subsequently promoted up to another level where their incompetence is only more dangerous - yet their income is far higher.

Leaving the grunts to either make it work, or to permit it to die a quiet, ignominious death from disuse and decay. So common, is it, that the art of pitching projects makes it onto the curriculum in some "hire" education institutions - here and abroad.

Once a bureaucracy starts to function only through interwoven webs created by "networking" and the belief that "one hand washes the other", it is time to sell their stock. (Or treasuries, as the case may be.)

GMail not out to POP/IMAP users (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29342471)

GMail was only out on the web-based scene. If you use POP3 or IMAP to get your mail (which if you're using it as a replacement for exchange you would be) it was fine, and there was no outage at all.

GMail completely sucks (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29342771)

Compared to Exchange.. Sorry, the UI blows.

Outlook IMAP integration isn't remotely as close to as good as Exchange.

No alias's (no you cannot have bob and sales goto the same inbox).

On Blackberry Storm's link's with query strings don't render correctly in the GMail app.

It is mediocre at best.

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