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Software Choice Group Tells DOD Not to Use Open Source

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the we-fear-change dept.

News 415

ducomputergeek writes "A group calling themselves the Initiative for Software Choice, backed by Microsoft and others, is recommending that the DOD drop plans for further adoption of Open Source software. This comes after MITRE, a defense contractor, published a report stating that not only does the Department of Defense use opensource, but is recommend on using it more. The article is at News.com and you can read it here."

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415 comments

NEWS FLASH (1, Funny)

unterderbrucke (628741) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775887)

People have different opinions!
Film at 11.

Re:NEWS FLASH (5, Insightful)

dzym (544085) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775904)

Yes, people can have different opinions.

You can be paid to have them, or you can have them due to some deeply held beliefs with religious fervor, or you can arrive at your opinion through a process of reasoning.

On the other hand, reasoning that it's better to move to an open source product just because said OS product is currently attacked less, is fallacious.

Re:NEWS FLASH (5, Insightful)

s20451 (410424) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776076)

you can have them due to some deeply held beliefs with religious fervor, or you can arrive at your opinion through a process of reasoning.

It's my experience that people first tend to form their opinions based on deeply held beliefs (or otherwise) and later use reasoning to give justification to their beliefs. It is extremely rare for someone to start without preconceptions and use reasoning to develop an objective opinion. It is even rarer for someone to start with a deeply held belief and change their mind based on reasoning.

For example, do most people who share files have liberal views on intellectual property because it justifies swapping copyrighted files, or do most people who swap copyrighted files do so because it validates their predeveloped liberal views on intellectual property?

Re:NEWS FLASH (1)

Spellbinder (615834) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775915)

yeah but some people have wrong opinions :p and destroy things by publishing it

Re:NEWS FLASH (1)

kingkade (584184) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775944)

Yeah, I've got one for you as well: that's what news is, it's the raising of issues with which people have differing opinions. And this article at least is unbiased as far as whcih way they are leaning.

Personally, I think open source is really not that great an idea for important software that may be related to national security etc, only because I don't believe that the number of white hats who can find, report, and patch critical security holes outnumber the baddies out there who would love to find a way into an important DoD database or system.

Actually, I don't totally disagree with it, I just believe there must be some extensive methodology put forth to audit the source code of services and applications that are used.

Re:NEWS FLASH (2)

Lussarn (105276) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776026)

Is this any different from a closed source product? If this where true there would be no issues with closed source. But there are, they are successfully attacked just as frequently as open source software, in many many cases more.

Re:NEWS FLASH (1)

Rascalson (542863) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776047)

Here is a clue for you. They can take a piece of Open Source software(GPL,BSD,APL,whathaveyou), modify it for there use and not have to disclose the source code of their changes.

Re:NEWS FLASH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4775960)

No, the real news flash is that Microsoft is campaigning for "software choice", but only when that choice is Microsoft-only.

Actually, that's not really a newsflash, they've been doing this for years under many different guises.

that's what ISC was saying (1, Informative)

Kircle (564389) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775995)

There was a link in the article to ISC's comments to the DoD. Skimmed through it and found very, very interesting quote:

ISC's main goal is to educate policymakers about the need to remain neutral with respect to government purchase of software.

So regarding to your comment that people have different options, that's what the ISC is arguing for. They don't think it's fair for the government to only consider open source software and ignore software made by, say, Microsoft.

Re:NEWS FLASH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776010)

Ah, MITRE. The joke amongst FFDRC is that MITRE is a joke.

first post? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4775898)

first post

YOU FAIL IT! (-1)

YOU FAIL IT! (624257) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775928)

No. You have FAILED. And you FAILED because you questioned yourself! [slashdot.org] You must proclaim your first posts boldly! If you FAIL, at least FAIL with honor!

YOU FAIL IT!

Surprise (1, Flamebait)

avaric3 (580446) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775907)

Because of course, Microsoft is known in technological circles as having a very secure product. After all Windows Xp is the most secure operating system according to Microsoft.

Re:Surprise (2, Funny)

NotTheNickIWanted (614945) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776035)

After all Windows Xp is the most secure operating system according to Microsoft.

I suspect that there is a noticable difference between the most secure operating system and Microsoft's most secure operating system.

Sarcasm Noted, but... (5, Interesting)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776126)

I was just forced to take my company's "Security Refresher" cdrom course, a flash presentation on what my company considers to be good security practises.

The first thing it told me was, "You can introduce hostile code into your network by opening an E-Mail" and therefore intructs you not to open E-Mail from anyone you don't know. They go on to say that you can also compromise the company's security by reading your Yahoo or Hotmail mail at work. Later in the course it instructs you to keep your system up to date by installing the latest Microsoft security patches, which is ironic because a co-worker just trashed his system by installing a Microsoft security patch and is looking at 3 days downtime while the technicians reinstall the OS (Technicians have an 8 hour response time and due to the holiday they were pretty close to that time. They took his computer away but they won't be able to deliver it on Friday because no one's going to be there.)

Great. So we know we have a problem but instead of taking steps to solve the underlying problem, we're just going to tell everyone in the company to modify their behavior because if they don't, the company's network and billions of dollars of assets will be compromised. Does anyone else see a problem with this?

Frankly, with the company's assets at stake, it would be a damn good idea to roll your own client code just so you can audit the source code. I did some auditing with Data General for a while and they had it right. Every auditing test was extremely well documented and available on the network, along with the automated code generated to test each function (In the C Library in this case.) But if rolling your own clients makes sense, you could save yourself a lot of time and money by grabbing open source projects for the applicaitons you need and feeding those to your audit and programming teams. You save some money and the open source community gets free high quality auditing of their source code and any additional features you decide to add to it. Everyone wins.

I'm SHOCKED (1)

Hammer (14284) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775912)

Big Corporations telling their customers to buy their stuff rather than getting it from the competition (free or not)

Funny a group promoting choice.... (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776096)

A group promoting choice which would rather there wasn't any choice but Intel and Microsoft. May as well have called themselves Initiative for Lack of Software Choice. What next? The Initiative for National Security that donates money to Al-qaeda?

Microsoft at al? (4, Insightful)

DigitalDad (307095) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775913)

Seriously, how can a group called "Initiative for Software Choice" that's backed by major players against open source (see Microsoft) be open and objective in this?

Re:Microsoft at al? (2)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775952)

How can open source groups give a nonbiased pitch of their products/ideals/whatever? The door swings both ways.

Re:Microsoft at al? (5, Interesting)

bstadil (7110) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776028)

The door swings both ways.

Indeed it does. The beauty of this is that every time a piece of FUD like this arrives, it adds mindshare of OpenSource to the equation.

It's like the old Monty Python sketch when in the cockpit of a plane John Cleese takes the microphone and informs the passenger that "There is no cause for alarm". When asked why he did that claiming the passengers now have to ponder "What is there no cause for alarm For!

This junk by MS almost ensures an invite for OpenSource to the party.

Re:Microsoft at al? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776117)

Oh yes, because the open source community has silently been biding their time, right? The reality, of course, is that the OS fanatics have been busy yabbering to anyone who'll listen why their utopian communist way beats all, and any other method is immoral. Microsoft is hardly launching the first strike here.

Re:Microsoft at al? (5, Interesting)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776121)

Oh I totally agree. I'm all for OSS getting an equal share of the limelight with others, even Microsoft. Personally I think on an even playing field, OSS has way more pros than cons as opposed to more proprietary solutions. However the OSS community also has to realize that all they can do is showcase themselves as best they can. If an individual/company/organization/whatever decides they want Microsoft products (as an example) then that's their decision. Hopefully they've made an informed one, but if they have then they've chosen what's best for them. OSS shouldn't take that as a slap to the face, they don't have to win EVERY battle.

Re:Microsoft at al? (4, Insightful)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776141)

group called "Initiative for Software Choice"

(a) I don't see what their name has to do with this

(b) The name is pretty par for the choice for a lobbying group

(c) In this case, the name is actually deserved, as what they're fighting for is not to ban Open Source software from government contracts, but only to ensure that the US government not *require* Open Source, which would eliminate as an option most current closed software.

In other news today (5, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775917)

In other news, Microsoft reports that it has purchased the rights to the next edition of Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. Among the changes expected to appear in this edition, the word "choice" will henceforth be defined as "the act of giving Microsoft more money, esp. against one's better judgment."

Choices (3, Insightful)

aufecht (163961) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775924)

Initiative for Software Choice, just make sure you chose between Windows XP,2000 or 98.

Re:Choices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776107)

No.. You wrong.. If they are backed by Microsoft it would be just make sure to choose between XP and ME if you would like are old architecture.. and also make sure you register so you can get updates (spam) on new product. Finally please be sure to check back with us once a year so we can tell you where to go today and to upgrade to the newest microsoft system!

REMEBER you don't want to tell them where to go... they must tell you or out ocme the lawyers.

big brother (1)

derrith (600195) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775925)

big brother says: "minipax no use open-source, double-plus ungood"

Re:big brother (4, Funny)

Erpo (237853) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775961)

Minipax unuse openful computerwrite. Refs uncommercialism. Doubleplus ungood.

--The grammar police.

Not surprising... but the DOD is heading twds OSS (5, Insightful)

andymac (82298) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775926)

My company does quite a bit of work for the big defense contractors, we're involved in many big programs. These contractors are constantly asking us for Linux based software (SDKs APIs etc.) and especially for their embedded devices. These guys want to stop laying huge license fees to WindRiver for their vxWorks software... and want to spend the $$ elsewhere. Good on them I say. However I will insert the obligatory M$ comment: I'm shocked (not!) that MS would push their own agenda blah blah blah... ;-)

will they quit m$ for good? (1)

gadget junkie (618542) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775957)

the wind will REALLY change when a couple of them will quit using m$ internally for good.
how about submitting DOD bids on paper that says: " this bidding doc was NOT prepared on MSOffice"?

Re:Not surprising... but the DOD is heading twds O (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776012)

Just say no! [bbc.co.uk]

We support software choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4775931)

As long as you choose software from one of our powerful and rich members.

Comptia (2, Interesting)

tetrode (32267) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775932)

Strange, this is one of the companies behind it, and they do linux... [comptia.org]

Mark

Re:Comptia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776023)

Yes but... this is what they run, according to NetCraft:

The site www.comptia.org is running Microsoft-IIS/5.0 on Windows 2000.

Sorry, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776074)

They do less linux than MS does inhouse.

Choice (5, Interesting)

John Sullivan (234934) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775933)

A group calling themselves the Initiative for Software Choice, backed by Microsoft

This would be the Henry Ford definition of choice then? "You can choose any supplier you like, so long as it's us."

Is trhis really news? (5, Funny)

joel8x (324102) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775935)

A group backed by corporations with their own interests says their biggest threat is not a good choice.

In other news, a group called "The Darkened Lung Group" (backed by R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris) are saying that smoking isn't that bad for you and it's not really addictive.

Re:Is trhis really news? (5, Funny)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775983)

a group called "The Darkened Lung Group" (backed by R.J. Reynolds and Phillip Morris)

In this example it should be called the "Group for Health Alternatives".

Stating The Obvious (-1, Troll)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775938)

Judging from the flood of stories the past couple of days, it's obvious that Andover has replaced the editors with a bot that searches the Net for "Microsoft" and "Open Source".

It's SO insightful.

Next up... (2)

smagruder (207953) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775947)

Microsoft digs its own grave by getting more and more huffy with its customers. High-def video at 11.

Meanwhile, Linux gets more and more free press.

This makes logical sense (2)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775948)

Improve software choice by limiting the choice of options.

The same article at the register (2, Informative)

MoonFog (586818) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775950)

Here's [theregister.co.uk] an article from The Register talking about the same subjecf. News.com will probably get slashdotted now anyways =)

Re:The same article at the register (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776102)

Nice try you Register pimp daddy: When has news.com ever been Slashdotted? The reality is that it never has, rendering your bogus reasoning for whoring out the Register pretty weak.

I'd rather take news.com's somewhat reasonable approach to news than the "cater to the open source whacko conspiracy nut" editorial slant "reporting" of the Register.

Re:The same article at the register (2)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776124)

Thanks for the link, there's an interesting quote there: "...if it is GPL based, then proprietary companies cannot directly benefit from it."

I will leave the various conclusions to the slashdot readership... this out to be interesting ;)

Interesting choice of words (5, Interesting)

ryants (310088) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775955)

arguing that proprietary products are not inherently less secure.
Now, that isn't a direct quote from report itself, but rather a paraphrase from the reporter, but still...

"Not inherently less secure" is a strange way of advocating your position. Double-negatives like this usually betray a defensive mind set. Why didn't they have the conviction to say "we're *more* secure"?

Re:Interesting choice of words (2)

sys$manager (25156) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775985)

That's not a double negative. If they had said they are more secure then they would be saying Proprietary > OSS. They said they are not less secure so in fact they are saying Proprietary >= OSS.

Re:Interesting choice of words (1)

ryants (310088) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776002)

That's not a double negative
Yeah yeah, but I couldn't think of a better way of describing it.

At any rate, it is a very rhetorically weak statement.

(Maybe that's the better way?)

Re:Interesting choice of words (2)

Rik van Riel (4968) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776067)

"Not inherently less secure" is a strange way of advocating your position. Double-negatives like this usually betray a defensive mind set. Why didn't they have the conviction to say "we're *more* secure"?
Could that be because Microsoft is finally on the defense? The latest halloween document suggests that Microsoft has gotten to the point where they're behind reality, even on the field of marketing...

Re:Interesting choice of words (5, Informative)

ZeLonewolf (197271) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776134)

I work for the DoD, in a technology policy branch.

Not only is proprietary softare inherently insecure, it's inherently more expensive, inherently doesn't work as well, and inherently causes the government to be screwed if the company goes out of business or decides to stop supporting the software. In fact, the government got screwed by using HP-UX when HP decided not to make new versions of the OS backwards-compatible with the older HP processors being used in most of our submarines...now, wisely, half of the computers in the NEXT generation of subs are running Linux (the rest are running Solaris...)

Utopian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4775956)

Yes, in a utopian society every big company and government agency would have a master white hat hacker, able to secure systems with leaps and bounds, apply patches and updates with a single finger....Oh wait, this is why we have closed source systems....

GPL FUD again? (5, Insightful)

debest (471937) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775958)

FUD: You have to open up all your code if you use GPL code in your software.

Fact: You have to open up all your code if you use GPL code in your software and then distribute it!

I don't think the DoD distributes very much of the software it writes, so why should it care if it uses GPL code? It shouldn't care! But let the FUD fly!

Re:GPL FUD again? (2, Informative)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776014)

Even more importantly the DOD can clasify something after the fact so while it might have to release source code but only if you have need to know as defined by the DOD.

Re:GPL FUD again? (1)

ThinWhiteDuke (464916) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776051)

I don't think the DoD distributes very much of the software it writes, so why should it care if it uses GPL code? It shouldn't care! But let the FUD fly!

Don't you think defense contractors distribute the software they write to DoD? Now, are they allowed to care?

Re:GPL FUD again? (1)

Jettamann (25050) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776052)

This leads me to ask "What is the GPL definition of 'DISTRIBUTE' or 'DISTRIBUTION'"?

Re:GPL FUD again? (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776094)

Furthermore, you only have to open up your code to those who you distribute your software to...

Which means Army can give software to the Navy, and they'd only have to give the code to the Navy, not to the general public.

Re:GPL FUD again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776153)

Plus the army has more hardware than us, so they can give the binaries to whoever they want and they haven't got to explain themselves to anybody! (Well, perhaps the RIAA, but thats only fair!)

What about a GPL binary? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776108)

My employer just bought a $50K software package from a vendor that's turning out from the onset of the project to be an adversarial relationship with that vendor, but the contract is already signed and we're stuck with them for 5 years. The vendor has distributed to us a cdrom with their label on it, that contains some third-party commercial software that I betcha they don't have the rights to re-distribute in such a manner. The third party product has a couple of GNU binaries included in it. I opened them with "strings" and a hex editor and sure enuff, they're the real thing, complete with GNU copyright notice, etc. There are absolutely zero copies of the GPL text on the disk, or provided on hardcopy, and there is no mention whatsoever that GPL code is used as a component in the product(s) and I'd betcha if you asked, the vendor(s) will deny that they've used any. There is also no sourcecode whatsoever for *any* binaries on the disk, nor is there any available for download anywhere.

I want to blow the whistle on these people really badly, just for matter of principle, and also because of a bit of revenge towards an arrogant vendor who doesn't understand the "customer is always right" principle and who has lied to us on numerous occasions and repeatedly refuses to follow our instructions and many of the terms of the contract. I think I'm going to wait until the project is complete and the system is in full production use before suddenly discovering this GPL license breach and blowing the whistle to the FSF. I think it will hurt the evil vendor the most then. Anyone have any further comments or advice here?

Re:GPL FUD again? (1, Troll)

dirk (87083) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776118)

FUD: You have to open up all your code if you use GPL code in your software.
Fact: You have to open up all your code if you use GPL code in your software and then distribute it!
I don't think the DoD distributes very much of the software it writes, so why should it care if it uses GPL code? It shouldn't care! But let the FUD fly!

This bring up a question I've asked before and no one seems to have a conclusive answer for. Technically, by the GPL rules, anyone who gets the binary has to be able to get the source. Now the DoD employees are certainly getting the binary, so they should have access to the source as well, correct? And if they have access to the source, the GPL gives them full legal rights to redistribute it as they want, correct? So the problem seems to be that any DoD employee can legally distribute the code if they want (there may be other rules that apply, such as NDAs and things like that, but based just on the GPL). This seems to be a big hole to worry about, since it would put the DoD on possible shaky ground if an employee did release the software (it would be the rights the GPL gives you versus the NDA or other constricting contract).

Re:GPL FUD again? (5, Informative)

deander2 (26173) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776132)


It's important to make clear the difference between:
1) using OSS code in your software
2) using OSS code to write your software, or to deploy your software, or to distribute your software, or to hang your software out to dry on your clothesline, etc...

Only #1 requires you to make your software open source.

(btw, I work as a contractor for the DOD. we do #2 constantly, and I can promise you it's the much more common activity)

"Defending" my own computer (2, Informative)

j_dot_bomb (560211) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775967)

I know at least one thing. I feel much better about the "defence" of my own computer from viruses and hackers with a stripped down linux that runs few services. I know exactly what programs/services are running. The stripped kernel code is small enough that I probably could audit it over say a year. The "Defense" Department could certainly allocate some resources to audit a stripped distribution.

Re:"Defending" my own computer (1)

j_dot_bomb (560211) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775989)

And with that NSA secured linux distribution, maybe they already did.

Boo on Moft... (3, Informative)

pVoid (607584) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775971)

I actually went and check out their list [softwarechoice.org] of partners, and this thing is just Microsoft plus a list of roughly a hundred small shops (probably moft shops)... No other big names (like Sun, which I was expecting to find mind you).

Anyways, a funny highlight, one of their members is: "Open Solutions" =)

Summary... (2)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775974)

Companies say that Customers should pay for their products rather than using cheaper or even free alternatives.

In related new DoD announce "War is good".

Who makes the choice? (3, Insightful)

Cap'n Canuck (622106) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775977)

Proprietary software companies such as Microsoft have labeled open-source software as a serious threat and have begun to oppose its use by governments. At the same time, however, nations such as France and Germany have begun to encourage open-source software to limit their dependence on proprietary vendors and to stimulate local software development.

As a community of Open Source users, there is often a "ram-it-down-your-throat" style of preaching your brand of OS religion. Sure, a free OS is great, but it's not for everyone. Ultimately, a group of knowledgable professionals within the DoD will make a choice. You can agree or disagree with that choice, but they are entitled to it. Besides, their criteria are different from yours, which are different from France's and Germany's.

Having said that, Microsoft, along with Cisco & Intel, have taken what I feel is the low road. It is one thing to advocate your product, but what they are essentially doing here is mudslinging. While this seems to be a fine tradition in American politics, I'm not sure that it's an ethical business practice, even for Microsoft (OK, I may have said that tongue-in-cheek).

Karma: Basking in the warm afterglow of post-coital whoring.

heh (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4775979)

A group calling themselves the Initiative for Software Choice, backed by Microsoft and others, is recommending that the DOD drop plans for further adoption of Open Source software.

That's kind of a contradiction in terms isn't it? Initiative for Software Choice recommending that we drop open source software.

Intel a two faced demon? (5, Insightful)

Diabolical (2110) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775981)

It's a pitty to see Intel's name as one of the companies opposing OSS. Strangely they reach out at one side and then at the other side they slap you in the face. It is not that Intel should choose sides.

I can understand fully that it is in Intels best interest to have support from both camps but this is really something they should watch out for. It may well be that more OSS developers and users will buy the products of their competitors if these kind of things become normal practice for them.

Re:Intel a two faced demon? (1)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776038)

especially when Linux is helping Sale of intel dual processor servers against solaris or HP/UX. I guess there is no INTELligence in INTEL. AMD here I come ....

Re:Intel a two faced demon? (2)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776044)


It's a pitty to see Intel's name as one of the companies opposing OSS. Strangely they reach out at one side and then at the other side they slap you in the face. It is not that Intel should choose sides.


It's called hedging your bets. Intel really has no interest in what operating system you buy, as long as it runs on their hardware. Since both Microsoft and Linux run on Intel hardware (a fact which is not going to change), why shouldn't Intel support both sides? As long as one of them wins, Intel wins.

Re:Intel a two faced demon? (2)

max cohen (163682) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776144)

I mostly agree, except I can't help but think Intel would rather Linux win out in the long run. After all, MS has applied lots of pressure in the past to suppress technology Intel was developing that could've hurt MS. Getting out from under that would be in Intel's best interest.

Thanksgiving... (5, Funny)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775982)

... And I am grateful for the Microsoft marketdroids, for spewing such ridiculous, transparent FUD.

The more they do this, the more exposure Open Source gains, and the more people are going to stop buying Microsoft products.

Seriously, though, imagine a PHB in those difficult times: you have to do more with less $$$. And right there and then, comes this PR FUD from Microsoft, saying: "Stop using this cheap Open Source! It's BAD for your health and for the environment!!".

PHB brain, of course, only registers the word cheap. He immediately goes to his techies and says: "Linux is cheap!! Start using it NOW to save money!".

*Collective sighs of relief from said techies*

Let us all give thanks for Microsoft Marketing, and for the FUD for which it stands. With upgrade paths and expensive licenses for all.

Amen.

(Yes, I am being sarcastic, people. Go back to your turkeys instead of pointing these flamethrowers at me now...) ;)

Alert: Dot Heads Up In Arms Over MS Lobbying (0)

nemski (587833) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775986)

INTERNET (Nov 28): In a surprise move, the readers of Slashdot got in a tither over the latest lobbying efforts by Microsoft.

"Seriously, how can a group called "Initiative for Software Choice" that's backed by major players against open source (see Microsoft) be open and objective in this?" said Digital Dad.

Throughout the thead dot head used disingenuous remarks to show their anger. "Because of course, Microsoft is known in technological circles as having a very secure product. After all Windows Xp is the most secure operating system according to Microsoft," said avaric3.

Some have predicted that the dot heads will get into a new tither when Microsoft's Office 11 is released. Stay tuned.

If the DOD ignores them (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775987)

the only way they'll be able to get a share is by releasing something Open-Soucre not Shared-Source, and hey everybody would get a piece of the action wouln't they.

Microsoft screw ups (5, Interesting)

infractor (152926) | more than 11 years ago | (#4775988)

Well I'm sure the DoD remember their dead microsoft NT sub. The radar which doesn't work etc. The missing nukes because of SQL server? Microsofts admission and then retraction.. it is all documented out there..

A quick search of slashdot digs up this:

navy unhappy with microsoft [slashdot.org]

Even the average man in the street thinks of windows as less secure. I can't believe something like this would really fool people...

Re:Microsoft screw ups (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776087)

Interesting. Last I heard, the Navy was going to standardize on NT/2k workstations for practically everything but weapons. Then again, the article is almost three years old, Microsoft might have given the Navy a few discounts, vague promises, and FUD since then.

In Soviet Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4775997)

OSS use miltary to stop Microsoft.

definition of choice? (1)

BiggyP (466507) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776000)

Initiative for software choice, yeah, nice one bill, you can choose any software you like, as long as it's ours.
are they advising that the DOD avoid chunks of Windows based on OSS as well?

It's a front. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776005)

Iowans for a Better Future, Americans for Progress, and so on and so on . . . political parties have been setting up groups like this for years, to provide a front. Perhaps Microsoft has learned something from its political involvement, that being, of course, that people are more likely to believe things if they hear them from multiple, apparently unbiased sources.

To find out what an organization's motives are, it's best to look at who owns it, runs it, or stands to profit from it.

I certainly hope that the Department of Defense doesn't fall for this, lest a terrorist organization start a group called "National Security Consortium" and start publishing reports. . .

ahurd@iastate.edu

Microsoft argues they are as good as open source (2)

dagg (153577) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776007)

"This week, the Initiative for Software Choice counterattacked, telling the Defense Information Systems Agency that the Pentagon should not "openly promote the use" of open-source software, arguing that proprietary products are not inherently less secure."

That emphasis is mine. Nothing in the article indicates that Microsoft said their products were better than open source. In this particular case... Microsoft is arguing that their software is as good as open source software.

I think its funny that Microsoft didn't say that their stuff is better. They can only argue that their stuff isn't worse.

--

The more they fight it the bigger it becomes... (1)

JonnyCalcutta (524825) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776009)

I think all this fighting on behalf of the oligopoly is the best thing that could ever happen to open source and 'free' software. Its not like OS has the finances to fight a major PR campaign on its own so the more MS and friends fight against it the more PR they give it.
There's no such thing as bad publicity, as they say, and the more the oligopoly bad mouths it the more people who never really thought about open source actually get to hear about it and in the end, no matter how evil Microsoft makes it out to be, people will realise there is an alternative they can at least look at.

Talking about OSS is what is important (2)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776015)

A year or so ago we would have been thrilled that the discussion was even happening. There will be debate one way and the other - the more the better.

The point is that the longer and more high profile the debate, the more people become aware of OSS and come to realise that it is not a flash in the pan. ``Gee, they are still talking about Linux, my M$/... salesman told me it would be forgotten by the Autumn. Hmmmm, maybe I ought to find out some more.''

To an extent, any publicity is good publicity.

The closed source vendors have a problem: they either shut up about Linux/OSS and have it gradually move into their territory; or they generate loud FUD and bring it to decision makers' attention.

Things will get really interesting when widespread adoption of OSS grows from operating systems, systems utilities and universal applications to business sector specific applications.

Too Late (2)

core plexus (599119) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776018)

Aside from the semi-interesting doublespeak ("Initiative for Software Choice", while being against open source), we've been working with NSA for quite a while now on the SeLinux Project. One of the big players in the commercial software (I forget the name now) tried to muck up the works by insisting they had some right to a portion of the code, but their complaints have fallen by the wayside.

Well gee... (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776020)

Of course they're worried. If their corporate customers start saying "Hey, if the DoD is using it, it must be good and secure enough for us too!"

Oh and the GPL doesn't really stop the DoD at all, as you only have to release source code to those you provide with a binary. Unless DoD starts handing out binaries to others, they can keep every change to themselves (but I imagine they'd rather stay with the main branch than running their own solo run, but they are one of the few who could).

OSS is no magic cure against bugs though, and QA is important. In my experience bugs show up faster & get fixed faster in OSS, so in the short run you have more *known* bugs than commercial software, even if there aren't really any more bugs in it. In the long run though, if enough people use it and find bugs, it is more stable and bugfree.

Kjella

My take (1, Troll)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776040)

I support what Software Choice are saying.

Before you mark me as a troll, here me out.

The "Sincere Choice" group (Bruce Perens et al) are pushing for greater adoption of Open Source. "Software Choice" is (as far as I can tell) pushing for, what appears to be, the best solution for the problem - irrespective of it's licence.

This, to me, seems to be the most sensible thing. You don't go and purchase a TV, Video or DVD system without doing the research and finding out what suits you. You look at the facts, you look at what you want and you pick what is best for the situation.

So, if a closed source solution is the best one, then hell why can't they go for it? I don't know many people who deliberately pick an inferior product unless they have very strong moral or cash-flow problems.

Sure, people will point out that people should be using open file formats, the ability to look at the code and the freedom (as in speech) of it all.

They are right. But even when you apply the ideals of Software Choice to Open Source - it should (unless it's really really appallingly bad) still come out smelling sweeter BECAUSE OF THESE VERY FREEDOMS THAT IT GIVES.

I was always told, use the best tool for the job. If OSS advocates are getting worried about a group of companies advocating picking the best tool for the job, then I would like to know what they're worried about. OSS stuff should be able to stand up to this sort of criteria.

If a product still looks crap (even after all the benefits that come with OSS licencing) against something closed and propriatory, then maybe it's time to realise that it quite well could be crap?

(if of course, Software Choice have changed their tack - then feel free to mod me into oblivion)

Re:My take (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776079)

You really are a retard. From sincerechoice.org:

--

[snip]

Range of Copyright Policies
We include the supporters of a broad range of different copyright policies, from Public
Domain through Open Source and Free Software to Proprietary. We support use of the GPL
and LGPL licenses when appropriate. We assert that Open Source and Proprietary models
can be used together effectively.

[snip]

We seek to provide a fair market in which Proprietary and Open Source software can compete
solely on their merits.

[snip]

--

How much simpler did it have to be?

Re:My take (2)

bstadil (7110) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776080)

the best solution for the problem - irrespective of it's licence.

You can not do this. The license does not exist in a vacuum relative to the problem that the SW is trying to solve.

Military logic (1)

SunPin (596554) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776043)

The media spotlight and the activist drumbeat should be enough to convince the Department of Defense to keep moving towards Open Source Software.

The comments from the article (i.e., "not inherently insecure") show that the Initiative for Software Choice is losing this battle.

Since nobody is getting a DoD Linux distribution or any copies of GPL software that they might tinker with, the military has no need to be concerned about inherent security when they can get free access to any security related code.

While the government gets access to the source of whatever software they buy, they have to pay for access to proprietary code.

proprietary products are not less secure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776048)

This week, the Initiative for Software Choice counterattacked, telling the Defense Information Systems Agency that the Pentagon should not "openly promote the use" of open-source software, arguing that proprietary products are not inherently less secure.

It's right of course... Only Microsoft stuff is less secure, everything else is fine!

proprietary software can never be secure (2)

primus_sucks (565583) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776055)

You can never be sure what kind of spyware proprietary software contains. How does the DOD know that some terrorist didn't slip some spy code into Windows or other proprietary product? The only way they can be sure of this is to use only open source software and analyze/compile the code themselves.

OSS can't be used everywhere (2, Insightful)

enos (627034) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776060)

I was at a talk once where a guy from Lockheed was saying how they were using more and more commercial off-the-shelf systems to reduce costs. They were moving away from specialized systems custom developed for each plane, to a more general system that didn't need as much work.

He started out with an animation of someone punching bill gates, so that eased my fears. But he said that even though Linux would be great, they could not have a foreign national have control over their system. Sure, they could see exactly what they have, but any changes to the kernel would have to be checked out completely (expensive), so they would be right back at having a specialized system. Politics maybe, but they ended up with a proprietary OS.

I gotta say though, the redundancy systems they have on those things, amazing.

Mitre Corp is not a Corp (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776073)

Just a side note on this story; Mitre Corp is not, strictly speaking, a corporation. It's a front for the CIA. I delivered a paper once a Mitre Corp meeting, and it was the oddest experience of my life. No business cards, no last names, and locks on every trash can. Wasn't until a week later (after some digging) that I discovered that their "campus" in Virginia was part of Langley. Really weird outift.

The lead-in is misleading. (2, Insightful)

Rip!ey (599235) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776083)

The lead-in is misleading.

They do not recommend that "the DOD drop plans for further adoption of Open Source software". They are saying that all software, regardless of the developement model, should have equal consideration if it meets the criteria for a specific purpose.

"Public entities should procure the software that best meets their needs and should avoid any categorical preferences for open source software, commercial software, free software, or other software development models."

The article itself is also misleading.

"Proprietary software companies such as Microsoft have labeled open-source software as a serious threat and have begun to oppose its use by governments."

Whilst we know this to be true re: Microsoft, the Initiative for Software Choice (whom the article discusses) expresses no such opposition.

I work for the DoD... (5, Informative)

ZeLonewolf (197271) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776085)

I work for the DoD, in a branch that plans technology policy for various projects. Over the last 5-10 years, the push for "Open Standards Architecture" (OSA) has been at the forefront. It's the stated policy of the DoD, which comes from the mouth of a former Secretary of Defense, to push for open standards, open interfaces, and in general to be as far from proprietary as possible. Proprietary software means more expense for the government due to non-competition, and it also puts the government in the hands of a private corporation.

Open Source, while not specifically targeted by the DoD, is the next logical step. Although the previous generation of nuclear submarines ran HP-UX, the next generation (due to be delivered starting 2006) will run about half Solaris, half Linux. So yes, open source is on the way in in the government. Slightly off-topic, but if you want a good example of why proprietary software is no good for mission-critical work, look up on Google the problems the USS Yorktown had with Windows NT about 5 years ago...

In related news... (2, Funny)

Tseran (625777) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776106)

the heavy metal rock band Metallica recently realized that their battle against MP3's wasn't over and that Microsoft's attempt to squash MP3 with the changes in the Windows Media Player, proved that they were a good ally. The two groups have joined forces and will now fight against free music and free software. To seal the alliance, the next version of Windows, codenamed Longhorn, will be renamed to 'Sandman' and the familiar Start button will be replaced with an 'Enter' button. When asked to comment on this recent alliance, drummer James Hetfield had this to say. "Linux bad! Windows good!"

DrinkOrDie? (4, Funny)

jhol (301546) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776109)

Strange,

I thought the warez group Drink Or Die already used Open Source software to distribute their stuff... ;-)

This is TOTAL NONSENSE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776122)

This really sounds like FUD!

Besides I don't care what their arguments are, it is TAXPAYERS' $$$$$$$$'s. If there is viable FREE software, I as a TAXPAYER, I believe that Government agencies have a responsibility to STRONGLY consider the GPL license, if it is appropriate to do so.

There is NO excuse not to.

big freaking surprise (4, Insightful)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776131)

A group comprised completely of proprietary software vendors is recommending the use of proprietary software.

In the end, it is up to those who want their government to "choose" other software to let their voices be heard. This will work as long as politicians listen to the populace they supposedly represent, instead of listening with their wallets to companies from other states.

Of course, it may be that both the People and the "Software Choice" group of mega-corps both favor the use of proprietary software in government. My vote happens to be that our tax money which buys the software that runs our infrastructure should not be used to place our infrastructure under the control of a proprietary software vendor.

mission (1)

csguy314 (559705) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776140)

From the site:

Lately, concerns have emerged that policy makers, through government procurement policies, research funding or standards policies, may seek to favor one software development model over another.

So they don't want gov'ts to favour any type of software model over another. And seeing as how there have been several announcements about gov't offices deciding to use exclusively open source software, they may campaign against the idea.
This isn't necessarily bad. If they advocate using 'the best solution' rather than 'the cheapest' or 'the most open', this could be credible. However, that's assuming the MS isn't overpowering all the other members and driving the decision making. That's a fairly big if...

That's odd (2)

quantaman (517394) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776145)

I on the other hand recommended that they do use open source software.

Did you look at ISC's members list? (1)

udif (32355) | more than 11 years ago | (#4776147)

This [softwarechoice.org] is the ISC member list.
Did you notice the high percentage of Arab members?
No wonder this group recommends the DOD to use closed source software.

Hey I agree... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4776152)

Fine, closed systems... Then just switch to using MacOS... Think of how bitchin' and intimidating our tanks, subs and planes would be in indiglo, lime green or dalmation...
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