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New Federal CIO Is Former Microsoft, FCC Exec

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the maybe-he's-just-civic-minded dept.

Government 59

msmoriarty writes "The second-ever federal CIO (the first, Vivek Kundra, resigned in June) will be Steven VanRoekel, who worked with Microsoft for 15 years, running the company's Web Services and Platform Strategy and Windows Server Solutions groups. He went to the FCC in 2009, where he then advocated for open government and open platforms. VanRoekel's title on his twitter feed has already been changed to 'United States Chief Information Officer.'" According to reader dcblogs, VanRoekel is also a hefty political donor, having given $50,000 toward Obama's inauguration festivities.

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Man who knows what he is doing (2, Insightful)

zget (2395308) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990326)

A man who actually has a good history and knowledge in information technologies is taken as government CIO. I'd say that's a good thing, especially as he is promoting open government and open platforms. Really freshening actually. But true slashdot style let's get the Microsoft bashing going, not even thinking MS was probably the hottest company to work for 15 years ago. 3.. 2.. 1.. GO!

Re:Man who knows what he is doing (1, Offtopic)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990400)

But true slashdot style let's get the Microsoft bashing going

Already on it! See next post.

Re:Man who knows what he is doing (2)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990464)

I'm not going to bash Microsoft necessarily. However, I raise an eyebrow when I see that he's made non-trivial donations to politicians. I wonder if it's possible for him to bring the transparency of open government and open platforms he's advocated. If so, great. If not, well, it won't be much of a change from what we already have. I guess then that this appointment can't be any worse than a lot of people who might have been appointed. It remains to be seen if it will be better.

Re:Man who knows what he is doing (1)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990794)

He paid $50K to help elect the guy we have (an amount that is not peanuts by any stretch), and now has taken a job within the administration while in the full knowledge that the guy he supported, and the one who's been in office, have apparently 2 widely, wildly different agendas (...from "Hope and Change" while running, to "Same Old, Same Old" once in office...). And he's from Microsoft, with 15 years of Ballmer-brainwashing stored up in his noggin.

I'm not scared of what's going to come from this, but I'm sure not expecting to see much that will make me happy or keep the freedom I have now from becoming further restricted...

Re:Man who knows what he is doing (2)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992942)

And he's from Microsoft, with 15 years of Ballmer-brainwashing stored up in his noggin

Then again, he might use this as an opportunity to get back at Ballmer. Not all escapees relate that closely to boss alpha monkey.

Re:Man who knows what he is doing (2)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994852)

He paid $50K to help elect the guy we have (an amount that is not peanuts by any stretch)

TFS said it was to help fund the inauguration festivities, i.e. after Obama had already been elected.

Re:Man who knows what he is doing (2)

Rob Y. (110975) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990814)

I'd be more concerned to find out that he still has large holdings of Microsoft stock.

I fully expect another Nokia situation, where an ex-Microsofter is brought in and sees that the 'obvious' solution is to discard whatever govt agencies are working on and replace them with all Microsoft solutions, regardless of cost. Please prove me wrong.

Government is already Microsoft (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#36991102)

I've seen a lot of government server rooms. Except for older legacy systems, it's mainly Microsoft, with a bit of Sun to run Oracle or the few thin client installations. Mainframes and others make up maybe a percent if that much.

Look at government job listings, or contractor jobs working with government. It's Microsoft and Oracle for the most part, and Cisco if you're doing networking.

Re:Man who knows what he is doing (-1, Troll)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990620)

A man from Microsoft does not even know what open platforms are.

Who's Bill Hilf then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993496)

See subject line above, & this -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Hilf [wikipedia.org]

* Please, do us all a HUGE favor: LEARN a little about what you speak of, before you open your mouth, noob.

APK

P.S.=> You "Open SORES" zealots aren't even GOOD @ THAT most of the time for Pete's sake, & this is just another example of your UTTER "FUD" b.s., & uninformed noobish b.s. @ that!

... apk

Re:Man who knows what he is doing (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 2 years ago | (#36994528)

I'm not sure if parent is troll or ironic.

But the donor part is interesting - did he buy his position? Politics looks more and more like the ancient feodal system where you could purchase yourself a title like Baron of someplace.

Same diff? (0)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990340)

Federal government and Microsoft. Somehow, they both bring up the same not-so-positive images in my mind...

Re:Same diff? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 2 years ago | (#36991942)

Federal government and Microsoft. Somehow, they both bring up the same not-so-positive images in my mind...

The revolving door from business to government back to business, repeat, just goes to show you that this is not the united states of America, but the corporate states of greed and corruption. Once again showing the need for the separation of business and state as there is a separation of church and state.

So? (3, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990356)

There are several former Google employees working in the administration as well. Eric Schmidt even serves as one of Obama's technology advisers.

Re:So? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36990570)

So, give the president money, you get a job. It's called corruption.

The Chicago Machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36990634)

It's called being a Democrat from Chicago.

Re:The Chicago Machine (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36990712)

Those are different in what way?

Re:So? (2)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990750)

My point is that this story was posted because of the Microsoft connection, not the presidential donation. People in government are actively involved in politics, which often involves donations to candidates they support. That's just common sense and is hardly scandalous.

If you want to complain about trading money for power, Obama personally attended a fundraiser at Marissa Mayer's house a week before the FTC dropped its inquiry into Google's Street View data-harvesting.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36991342)

if it was one person on his administration it could be hardly scandelous. But how many does it take to form a pattern?

who was the ex-fcc commish? solicitor general? now this?

I think when Obama preached Hope, he was actually speaking to large businesses.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36991552)

You have admitted [slashdot.org] to lying. You will continue to admit it with every subsequent post you make.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36991882)

Pardon me, but are you 12 or something?

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993396)

Just because one takes corruption and bribing (e.g. campaign contributions) for granted doesn't mean it isn't corruption and bribing.

Re:So? (2)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990868)

So, give the president money, you get a job. It's called corruption.

At least he has some experience in the field. Unlike, say, Brownie [wikipedia.org]

Experience is lacking even at the top (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37000762)

For the current crop,
.
Clinton had no diplomatic experience (no, First Lady doesn't count)
Panetta had no defense experience
LaHood's transportation experience was very thin
Napolitano was (and is) pretty clueless on security issues
Obama himself had never held an executive position (the thinnest experience for an elected president in scores of years)

But he does have a few people who I must admit had the background, such as Holder, Rice and Geithner.

Then experience or lack thereof is not necessarily an indicator. Holder is royally screwing everything up, while Panetta has been doing a pretty good job.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36994992)

But it is the default modus operandi in the US government. Have a look at the provenance of the US ambassadors to all the pleasant countries (Caribbean, Mediterranean, Western Europe). No career diplomats, all fumbling amateurs who donated to the campaign - whether it's the Obama regime, or Bush the lesser, or Clinton, or Bush the elder - it's always been thus.

(Of course the hard jobs in third world countries and Russia and China go to competent people - the diplomatic corps is corrupt but not that stupid...)

Revolving Door (1, Redundant)

cosm (1072588) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990416)

I'd like to stay positive and believe this man will bring us the transparency that was touted during the election, but precedent shows this will probably not happen. Current admin is just as bad about denying FOIA request, holding secret meetings, passing bills and resolutions (house and senate responsible too) without giving anybody time to read them, keeping things secret as a matter of 'national security', sending national security letters to keep people from discussing their interactions with the gov't, etc. The demicans and republicrats never cease to let me down. We get the worst politicians the largest donors can buy!

Re:Revolving Door (2)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990726)

What's your point? The government is broken? We know that. As long as people think that democrats and republicans are in any way interested in actually fixing what is broken and keep voting for the liars then it'll will not only stay broken but continue to get worse. Get used to it because it's going to get a lot worse.

Re:Revolving Door (2)

cosm (1072588) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990850)

What's your point? The government is broken? We know that. As long as people think that democrats and republicans are in any way interested in actually fixing what is broken and keep voting for the liars then it'll will not only stay broken but continue to get worse. Get used to it because it's going to get a lot worse.

My point is: business as usual. Sorry for apparently not adding anything worth mentioning my friend. And no, don't get used to it. The more you raise these sorts of issues in public forums, the higher the chance that somebody unaware of these sorts of things gets exposure. If I can at least get one person to open their eyes to at least research our county's issues, then I am helping out at least, in a little way, but better than staying silent, don't you think? I stay politically active in the real-world; being politically vocal and wanting to have these conversations in person vs. online are not mutually exclusive activities.

This system isn't going anywhere soon (2)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#36991018)

It will be a two-sided coin for the foreseeable future.

The only hope is in changing the existing parties. At the very least I would suggest supporting those within their own parties with a strong penchant for fighting against those parties. Not that I like these people, but here are two good examples of the concept.

Dennis Kucinich, someone liberals adore. He is single-minded in his pursuit of his issues even when it doesn't agree with his party. He has no problem speaking out about the hypocrisy in his party.

Sarah Palin, a Republican who built her career on knocking corrupt encumbent Republicans out of office.

Ron Paul: A good disruptor, a thorn in everybody's side.

Obama was not a good example, having voted party line almost every single time. Despite the "maverick" hype, so does McCain (less than Obama, but still 90+%)

Re:This system isn't going anywhere soon (1)

someSnarkyBastard (1521235) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992188)

I readily agree with Paul and Kucinich but not Palin. Palin did not get famous for knocking out encumbants, she got famous for being a ditz.

The media created that picture (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#36995988)

They came down on her as an idiot even when she was right and they were wrong. Half the people still probably think she said she can see Russia from her house.

In my country... (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 2 years ago | (#36992876)

We have the concept of "third parties". Or, indeed, fourth, fifth and sixth parties. Rather than the practicalities of the political system forcing everyone into the R/D camps, why not splinter out these people/groups who represent a difference of opinion? It's not like the US hasn't had multiple/different parties in the past, so why is it that the "Tea Party" operates within the Republican party? Why not go out and say that they're an entirely separate party that represent a different-yet-still-conservative point of view?

US government struct inherently favors two parties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993764)

If the 'tea party' went out and formed a conservative third party, it would split the conservative vote, giving the seat to a Democrat, which in the Tea Party's eye, would be worse. Thus, there are caucuses, and bitter struggles within the respective Conservative and Liberal parties.

I am inclined to think of the 'Tea Party' as a backlash against "compassionate conservatives" like George W Bush and John McCain. The Tea Party candidates, and supporters, lacking much political experience, will be less refined, and a significant percentage of their candidates will be eliminated.

The tea party is a good example. (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#36996284)

Another party just isn't viable with our system. The federal system and the system in all of the states is set up to favor the two parties. You can even check a box for "straight ticket" voting in many states.

The electoral system with "winner takes all" in most states ensures two-party in presidential elections. Money won't necessarily do it. Ross Perot threw millions into his campaign, got a good chunk of the popular vote, and not one single electoral vote.

The system of the federal and state governments would have to be seriously altered to allow a successful third party.

The tea party doesn't operate in the Republican party. The Republican party aligns more closely with tea party thinking, although not by too much. A tea party activist running as a separate party, independent, Libertarian, or as a new party, wouldn't likely get voted in. The manufactured Democrat message is that tea partiers are evil racists (it's amazing that "racist" label stuck, but their spinners are that good, with the help of a complicit media). So tea partiers tend to run as Republicans.

And this is what I was talking about: changing the party from the inside. The tea party struck a chord among a significant number of Americans, and if the Republicans want their vote they'll have to go in their direction. Right now I bet the Republican leadership is thinking "We made a show of standing up for fiscal responsibility, now maybe we'll get the tea party vote in 2012."

The Democrats can do the same on the other side. Their party pays lip service to supporting the little guy, and somehow they believe them while the party completely panders to corporate interests, especially the MAFIAA. Get a platform, change the party. Kucinich is pretty much going it alone right now. I disagree with almost everything he does, but I'm talking about the principle here.

Re:Revolving Door (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#36991504)

Government is not broken. The Electorate is. WE get exactly who we deserve, because we fall for stupid slogans "Hope Change" and think that is going to fix everything.

And what frustrates me the most is a large majority of the people here don't even realize that their own views are contradictory, in that they see the solution to all of mans problems coming from government mandates, while hating those very mandates that affect them negatively. They want higher Taxes, but not on themselves. They want Universal Health Care, but then belong to Unions that get exempted from it. Basically, they want to fix everyone but themselves.

I realize I gave (D) examples above, but really the (R) are just as bad. The same idiots that were against raising the debt this year, were all for it six years ago. And those that were for it this year, were calling Bush irresponsible for raising it back then. Both just flipped flopped. And the Koolaide drinkers keep drinking.

I have no idea what the difference is between the two parties are any more.

When you use Linux, you help the Republicans (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36990500)

This guy giving 50,000 to Obama, Gates giving most of his contributions to Democrats, and Al Gore sitting on Apple's board. When you use closed source, you are helping the Democrats. When you use Linux, you are depriving money from the Democrats and therefore are helping the Republicans.

Re:When you use Linux, you help the Republicans (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36990568)

Richard Stallman's evil plan has been exposed!

Re:When you use Linux, you help the Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36995460)

un-fucking-believable....you just blew my mind!

12-year-old girl? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36990508)

12-year-old girls can program and hack anything. The CIO should be a 12-year-old girl.

Open platforms? (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990576)

Is that "Microsoft Open", "FOSS Open", or does he use some other definition?

Does he consider IIS to be "open", for example?

I clicked around in an attempt to resolve all this, but what info I was able to find was all politician-level vague.

Re:Open platforms? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990680)

It all depends on your definition of open. I'm guessing he's going to be using MicroSoft's definition. It's not like the government's going to hire Stallman you know.

Re:Open platforms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36990704)

Seeing as he's a former MS employee now working in govt, it's obvious "open" is referring to your security.

Re:Open platforms? (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 2 years ago | (#36990772)

Neither. 'Open Platform' just means the data is available through documented APIs and SDKs.

You can be completely closed source but offer hooks to the data. For instance Facebook is closed source but it's an open platform since developers can access all of the data and write their own plugins to interface with the application.

Re:Open platforms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36990948)

By that definition, closed must simply be "unusable".

Re:Open platforms? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 2 years ago | (#36991564)

Does FB allow me to pull all my data off their servers so I can have a copy of what is "me" on their site? ALL of it?

Re:Open platforms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992814)

Does FB allow me to pull all my data off their servers so I can have a copy of what is "me" on their site? ALL of it?

Not all of it, but a large portion of it. They've got an export tool available to individual users (not the same as what's exposed through their API to my knowledge)

Re:Open platforms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993154)

Well, considering he rolled out a new FCC website powered by Drupal [slashdot.org] on top of LAMP, he might be more FOSS Open than most give him credit for.

Re:Open platforms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36999670)

I like the way you put things. "Politician-level vague", that's awesome.

Just another kickback (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36991178)

This kind of payoff [telegraph.co.uk] is SOP for the Messiah.

Nearly 80 per cent of President Barack Obama's top campaign donors have been rewarded with senior United States government jobs, according to a new study.

Steven VanRoekel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36992768)

I'm disappointed it's not yet another Indian, coz we all know Indians are the world's best at IT.
I wish the United States were more like India.

Damn (1)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 2 years ago | (#36993064)

I've found that everytime I come across a CIO (or whatever title of the month the IT manager has) who's worked in Microsoft, they convert the whole set-up to Microsoft. Whether that's a good idea or not. Sometimes they don't even go through the motions of going to tender, and just start buying the licences.

Replace the '70s mantra "no-one ever got fired for buying IBM" with "no-one ever got criticised for recommending Microsoft".

Only Elop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36993858)

The only one who has ever done that is Stephen Elop when he had to choose a new platform for Nokia, noob.

APK

P.S.=> How about using some FACTS rather than just spreading "FUD" for your anti-Microsoft agenda!

... apk

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Nokia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36994806)

haven't they learnt anything from the Nokia fiasco?

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