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FAA May Ditch Vista For Linux

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the hello-Google dept.

Linux Business 359

An anonymous reader writes "Another straw in the wind: following last week's news that the US Department of Transportation is putting a halt on upgrades to Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Internet Explorer 7, today comes word that the Federal Aviation Administration may ditch Vista and Office in favor of Google's new online business applications running on Linux-based hardware. (The FAA is part of the DOT.) The FAA's CIO David Bowen told InformationWeek he's taking a close look at the Premier Edition of Google Apps as he mulls replacements for the agency's Windows XP-based desktop computers. Bowen cited several reasons why he finds Google Apps attractive. 'From a security and management standpoint that would have some advantages,' he said."

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Mommy, can I go out and kill FreeBSD? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260880)

Mommy, can I go out and kill FreeBSD?

I've got something to say.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261294)

I killed your baby today

Re:I've got something to say.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261344)

Right band, wrong song

Re:I've got something to say.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261394)

I know the song, but the rest of it doesn't lend itself to a verse per post rendition.

For instance a subject of
"Singled out the kids who are mean to me"

With a body of
"Get straight as but they still make fun"

just plain sucks.

And by the way, if you see your mom this weekend,
Be sure and tell her, SATAN, SATAN, SATAN!!!"

training (5, Insightful)

Bizzeh (851225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260882)

this isnt going to happen tomorrow, or next week, or next month. training staff to use an entirly new system takes a lot of time and money. i will be supprised if we see this take effect before this time next year

Re:training (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260926)

Yes, as everyone keeps saying. Funnily enough though I have yet to see anyone provide any figures, experimental data or case studies from non-biased sources that supports this. Now, I've no doubt that any new application deployment requires training the end users, but just how much and at what cost?

Re:training (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260936)

Can't they just employ immigrants who learned to use computers in order to get a job? We're not talking complex applications here like 3D or compositing apps, those who can't use generic email, word processor or spreadsheet don't deserve to have a desk job.

Re:training (5, Insightful)

linguizic (806996) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260940)

What's interesting though is that the FAA seems to think that the costs associated with training will in the end be cheaper than an upgrade to Vista.

Re:training (5, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260970)

"What's interesting though is that the FAA seems to think that the costs associated with training will in the end be cheaper than an upgrade to Vista."

Don't forget that they'll need to retrain people for Vista and Office-whatever anyway. So it's not like one option is free and the other costs money.

Re:training (5, Insightful)

greenguy (162630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261406)

Maybe I'm just a quick learner, but I can't see how Google Apps would require all that much training. Like everything of Google's that I've tried (with the exception of Google Ads, whose pricing structure remains mysterious), I found it had almost no learning curve whatsoever.

Am I really that much smarter than the people who work at the FAA?

They don't need to hire anyone (1)

ishmalius (153450) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261546)

Remember that this is a government agency. The training people are already on staff.

Well, Compare it to Vista (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260958)

this isnt going to happen tomorrow, or next week, or next month. training staff to use an entirly new system takes a lot of time and money. i will be supprised if we see this take effect before this time next year
Well, I'm not a systems integrator in real life but I've taken classes. One of the big things to consider here is the potential for an intermediary stage. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Google's Apps are largely platform independent. What this means is that I can think of an instantly perfect intermediary stage--instruct the employees to use Google Apps while they still have XP and old Office applications on their machines. But, you know, give them a hard date by which everyone should be using Google Apps (oh, there's always problem workers but leave that to middle management). I assume the large thing these people rely on their computers for is simply these editing suites so once that barrier is broken, install Linux and give them quick 8 hour orientation classes in how to do the same things in Linux that you used to do in Windows (pretty minimal, I assume).

Other option is just Vista & the new Office. Where at some point you just have to install the new Office (I don't think old & new can be installed at the same time) and make them use it. Now, while I'm sure Vista is more similar to XP than Linux and the Office applications are probably similar also, you know there's going to be bumps.

That said, I don't think the transition to Google Apps on Linux would be any more painful than the transition to Vista running Office. I suppose time will tell though. Hopefully my assumptions are correct and this sparks interest on this huge cost savings?

I guess if you really wanted to promote Linux, you would write tutorials on how to take advantage of this switch to Vista/Office and how to put your workers on Linux/Google Apps. When you make cheap and extremely convenient, they will come.

Re:training (3, Interesting)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260966)

I don't think training/timing is a big issue. Any time MS releases a major update like new versions of Vista & Office it requires a fair amount of retraining for non-technical people and even a lot of technical people. Since there's a retraining cost involved no matter what, then it's up to the company/organization to decide their best upgrade path, whether it's to the latest MS offerings or an entirely different platform.

Personally I find the big news to be the fact that more and more corporations, governments, and entire countries, are using Vista/Office2007 as justification to seriously consider non-MS products. Granted it's still a very small percentage of MS customers that have done this so far, but if the groundswell continues and a number of these groups are successful, then it could just be the start of a trend away from MS dominance.

Re:training (2, Interesting)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260974)

-Either way, the'll have to learn a new system, and the learning curve for Vista+Office2007 is rather steep.

-Google's online business applications look a lot more like previous MSOffice than Office 2007 does.

-Just put them a decent user-friendly distro, 3 bigs icons on the desktop to link to Gmail, one to GoogleDocs & one to GoogleSpreadsheet. Done!

=>You won't need more than 2 days to explain them everything they need to know to get started, and you'll save a *lot* of money by leaving the Vista way.

Re:training (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261028)

So how long it took you to learn word? Several months???

Re:training (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261552)

Not as long as it took you to learn grammar, apparently.

Re:training (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261382)

Would upgrading to Vista would require training staff to use an entirely new system?

Re:training (1)

stuntpope (19736) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261500)

I will be surprised if we see this take effect before the release of Microsoft's next OS. This *is* the government we're talking about. I've been waiting 3+ years for certain hardware that's been bought and been sitting warehoused. Was trained on it last year. Getting trained on it again this year. Someday...

Google Apps Appliance (5, Insightful)

codepunk (167897) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260906)

They need to bundle that up in a appliance so they can sell it to enterprises that do not wish to
store their data out of house.

Re:Google Apps Appliance (2, Insightful)

endianx (1006895) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260956)

I agree 100%. I think that is the future of software. Not applications that run on someone else's server, but ones that run on your own (but still not on hundreds of desktops).

Agree, with additional reason (3, Insightful)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261026)

Fast internet access for business customers is still somewhat expensive. Connecting to your own server in-house with a fast LAN will be cheaper in many cases.

Re:Google Apps Appliance (4, Insightful)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261144)

The 1960's called, they want their computing paradigms back. Future of software? More like the past, we're coming full circle...

Re:Google Apps Appliance (4, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261508)

The 1960's called, they want their computing paradigms back. Future of software? More like the past, we're coming full circle...

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

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

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

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

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

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

There's already lots of talk about rich clients which support "interrupted connectivity", which is, web apps that have lots of functionality even when you have no internet (i.e. with laptop on the go etc.). These apps operate by usually having a small and simple web-server or runtime and SQL database embeded in them, along with ability for rich caching of remotely downloaded assets. Examples include the upcoming Firefox 3, Adobe's Apollo, Microsoft's WinFX (aka NET3) and so on.

Re:Google Apps Appliance (4, Interesting)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261554)

Definitely. If Google started selling application appliances. Wow. Not only do you get the ease of central management, but if Google does it like they do everything else, it'd be easily scalable. I'd imagine the answer to "We need more processing power / Disk space" would be to add another appliance or so, and make a single config change. This is really exciting stuff, if it evolves to that point.

But Google's gmail has been cracked (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260910)

gmail is not secure. It routinely is trolled by bad guys. Believe it or not. And I don't mean Google itself, but crackers/hackers. Just like eBay, just like most sites. If some US Department of something wants to use gmail, google apps, I can see it now. Al Quida will just walk right in and look over anything and everything. Not that the transportation dept. has much to do about anything, but now you know.

Re:But Google's gmail has been cracked (1)

Orgazmus (761208) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261132)

Could you back this up with something showing that gmail is routinely cracked?
I use it on a daily basis, and this is interesting if true.

Re:But Google's gmail has been cracked (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261254)

Could you back this up with something showing that gmail is routinely cracked?

Why? I see no reason not to take the word of an AC on faith and stop using gmail based only on his/her (unsigned) opinion. I'm sure the AC has no interest in any of Google's competitors.

Re:But Google's gmail has been cracked (1)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261290)

What's wrong? Don't you trust someone with an ip address of 64.523.21.HOTMAIL?

Re:But Google's gmail has been cracked (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261338)

The only hack I ever remember seeing is one where someone was able to log back into someone else's account on a public terminal even after the cache had been wiped, but that was quite a while ago and IIRC it was fixed rather quickly.

Hunting for a discount? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260916)

From the article: If Microsoft can satisfy his concerns over compatibility with the agency's existing applications and demonstrate why such a move would make financial sense given Google Apps's low price

Sound familiar? It seems like the tried-and-true tactic of publicly looking into Linux so Microsoft will rush in and offer support and discounts. Hopefully, they are seriously considering Linux regardless.

Re:Hunting for a discount? (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260934)

Yep noticed that they are doing a little "Price Phishing"....

$75 (2, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261288)

The problem is that even at $75 for Vista and Office 2007 combined, the problems still don't go away. WinXP with Office 2003 was also overpriced, but at least it worked reasonably well.

Re:Hunting for a discount? (1)

berwiki (989827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261336)

That, or more likely, candidates will begin switching over to these applications, just to find they are as error-prone and buggy as any Windows application. I'm no fan of DRM or Microsoft licensing, but when the shift to Linux/Google starts to take place, I can see a lot of companies falling back after a few months.

Re:Hunting for a discount? (1)

sabernet (751826) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261528)

But why? If the company has already switched and have a staff capable of running the possibly equally buggy Linux software, why invest much more money into using an apparently equally buggy software and retrain again?

Already there (4, Informative)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261458)

"Hopefully, they are seriously considering Linux regardless."
FAA is outsourcing the whole flight services infrastructure to Lockheed. A rep from Lockheed gave a presentation to our local EAA chapter on the new system and it's rather cool. Each person gets a multi-head display and all the software is running on Linux. I don't recall the distro. So when you call in for a weather report or to check if there are TFRs in your flight path, you will be talking to a guy running Linux. It makes sense for the FAA to switch because they will likely want access to the same software. The only downside is that there will be fewer of these people, so you may be talking to someone far away who doesn't know the local area and local weather.

Don't count on it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261524)

Sound familiar? It seems like the tried-and-true tactic of publicly looking into Linux so Microsoft will rush in and offer support and discounts. Hopefully, they are seriously considering Linux regardless.


But isn't that the only thing Linux is really useful for?

I'll feel better with the FAA on Vista/IE7: at least then we'll know some hacker can't get r00t on my next flight.

Google apps/security? (4, Interesting)

brennanw (5761) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260922)

...

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

I'm not saying that google makes lousy software, I'm just saying that I would be nervous if I couldn't actually directly manage the servers that were responsible for creating and storing the information.

Re:Google apps/security? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261042)

Aren't google apps accessed from google servers? Doesn't that mean this government agency would be running applications from and storing data on servers they aren't maintaining?

Then there is the obvious issue of having documents stored in a repository that is by nature openly accessible on the internet. Users already do a massively lame job of creating/maintaining/securing passwords. Now that, admitidly sometimes weak, physical barrier is gone, I can see major issues. Of course that's an easy fix by forcing users to have strong passwords, but at least before you had to have a way of physically getting on to the network even if you were to use social engineering to get the passwords (BTW, that's gonna be even easier now, "ring, ring, yes, this is Chuck at Google Apps, I need your password to reset your documents, yeah, thanks", at least before when it was "Chuck in IT", there was a small chance of you saying "I don't know any Chuck in IT").

Another thing (I should turn on the Andy Rooney tag), I don't know if I'd be all that excited about being a part of ANY FAA computer plan. Their track record absolutely sucks when it comes to IT and technology. But since it's anti-M$, I guess it doesn't matter.

Oh, and I can't wait til ad's start popping up as users start entering data using the Google office apps. I can just see an accountant working in the spreadsheet and an ad for "Bankruptcy Liquidators" suddenly pop up.

Re:Google apps/security? (2, Interesting)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261136)

He didn't say that Google was more secure. He only said that there would be advantages when it comes to security and management. The FAA like the DOT are two agencies that usually operate in the public eye. Unlike the DOD, they really don't have much to hide. So if an FAA document was compromised by hackers, there wouldn't be much damage as it would have been public anyway. I'm thinking that's what he meant.

Re:Google apps/security? (3, Informative)

gkhan1 (886823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261516)

They not only operate in the public eye by convention, they do so by law. Has nobody heard of the Freedom of Information Act? Virtually all data that the FAA would store on those servers would be public anyway, and promptly available on request from anyone in the general public.

I agree. This is a _HORRIBLE_ idea (5, Insightful)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261206)

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

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

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

As others have said, this would only be a good idea, IMO, as a "GApps Appliance" that can be properly audited and approved by US Government security experts.

Re:I agree. This is a _HORRIBLE_ idea (2, Interesting)

gkhan1 (886823) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261474)

Of course it's legal. Why wouldn't it be legal? The government can use contract private enterprises to do anything they need, whether it be data storage or building a house. Also, ever heard of the Freedom of Information Act? 99% of the stuff stored on those servers will be open to the public anyway (I suppose air-port security stuff and on-going investigations and the like would be the exceptions), so there is not like there is a pressing need to hide it.

I would also like to point out that it is not necessarily true that this will be stored on googles servers. It might very well be that the databases are maintained in-house and the google apps access those. Or it might very well be that google simply sells their apps to the FAA so nothing is run on google servers.

As for google/microsoft lock-in, the only thing that I guess would make google better is that it's cheaper and it is automatically backed-up to central servers, without any hassle. Also Microsoft == Evil and Google == Good. Where have you been the last half-decade? ;)

Re:I agree. This is a _HORRIBLE_ idea (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261548)

I've read many hints that Google allows comanpies to host their own google apps. While it may seem silly, its something that could be done.

Re:Google apps/security? (1)

eMbry00s (952989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261216)

It's not more secure, but security issues are placed in somebody elses hands and mind. If something goes wrong it's Google who will take the (financial) fall. In essence, they are outsourcing security to Google.

Re:Google apps/security? (1)

heffrey (229704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261314)

This is what's known as bargaining. It's amazing what price reductions you can extract from MS with a spot of Sabre rattling like this!

Re:Google apps/security? (3, Insightful)

EMeta (860558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261392)

If I had to leave important FAA information on a server, I'd feel safer with Google than from either the lowest bidding or highest bribing IT company for the FAA.

No real difference (1)

rumith (983060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261444)

Do you think that use of proprietary software, and especially an operating system is any more secure? That damned Windows XP computer may be uploading all your documents through your Windows 2k/2k3 server to Microsoft HQ, and you'll never know.

Ditching the monopolistic... (2, Funny)

BigBadRich (849128) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260938)

Great to see someone thinking about ditching software made by a monopolistic behemoth in favour of the little guy!

Oh wait, Google apps? never mind.

I hate to step back a second (5, Insightful)

bconway (63464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260944)

But the article fails to mention why the XP systems need replacement. Any organization as conservative as the FAA no doubt waited a year or two before rolling out XP, so even the earlier systems are only a few years old, and probably far from slouches. Why does the release of Vista necessitate an upgrade, especially if you aren't going to be upgrading to Vista?

Why does the release of Vista necessitate an upgra (1)

vasanth (908280) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260976)

so that they can bargain some discount from microsoft..

Re:I hate to step back a second (1)

Chris whatever (980992) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260984)

i'm not pro Mac nor linux but would it not be just simpler to swicth to one of these two other option instead of looking at puting your trust to outside storage?

Specially for the security of the Data

Re:I hate to step back a second (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261000)

IT probably wants to support a single OS, and Microsoft will eventually discontinue sales of XP so they'd end up with a mixture of XP and Vista boxes. Also, everyone knows you have to upgrade everywhere to the latest edition of MS Office or you won't be able to read all the docs. Maybe that's part of what the negotiation will be about.

Re:I hate to step back a second (4, Insightful)

Iphtashu Fitz (263795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261002)

But the article fails to mention why the XP systems need replacement.

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

If the DOT/FAA goes with linux they'll likely go with a vendor like RedHat or Novell who will offer full support services without arbitrary drop-dead dates for support, much easier upgrade paths, etc.

Re:I hate to step back a second (2, Interesting)

SixFactor (1052912) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261022)

Like some (maybe most) corporations, they probably have a hardware life cycle. It could be that, like where I used to work, the XP rollout was done on Celerons (well at least they were Socket 478). Instead of having to upgrade hardware to the semi-bleeding edge because of Vista, the FAA may be opting to go low-end, hence the seeming interest in a thin-client strategy. This is a smart move for them to look ahead; for budgeting purposes, and the possible downward effect the effort will have on Vista prices.

Re:I hate to step back a second (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261200)

Any organization as conservative as the FAA no doubt waited a year or two before rolling out XP

And any organization as conservative as the FAA will begin evaluating their options and planning their next steps at least a year or two before they implement anything.

Here's how the government REALLY works! (1)

purpleraison (1042004) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261446)

bconway makes an astute observation, in that the timing of this announcement is rather coincidental.

I have dealt with upgrading equipment for a government agency, and decisions like this do not happen quickly. First, an IT manager needs to provide a reason why an upgrade needs to occur. Then if an upper manager agrees, it needs to be demonstrated that there is money available for the upgrade. Should these two criteria be met, then it needs to be researched as to what equipment/software best suits the needs of the situation.

Once the needs and solutions have been established, the solutions will be proposed and discussed further.

The federal government (in this case the FAA) deals with the fiscal year planning, and unless using 'windfall' money at the end of the fiscal year, needs to appropriate the money into the next years budget plan.

All this takes a long time.

If this were me, I would have had Microsoft come in and provide a test set-up, then we could have researched critical aspects of this operating system. However, my experience has been that the more critical the task, the more likely it would be that we would use Linux and build a custom kernel -- similar to the one that the NSA has.

Ultimately, the testing of Vista would require months of evaluation and possibly preliminary application development/porting. It is unlikely that this has occurred since the time from proposal, to approval to test, to establishing availability of funds, to actual testing takes over a year in most specialized government cases.

This would lead me to believe that this is a media ploy to bring Microsoft to the table so they CAN get the price to meet the agencies budgetary constraints, and begin the process of testing. If they were going to use Linux, nobody would have heard anything.

I think I've seen this movie before. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18260960)

1. Some CIO flirts with the idea of migrating to a different platform in order to get a better deal on licenses.
2. Vendor with monopoly rushes in with truckloads of licenses at "discount rates" to secure their position.
3. CIO returns with whitepaper indicating a TCO in favor of monopoly.
4. ???

If the "ditch" occurs, then that would be news.

Re:I think I've seen this movie before. (1)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261504)

As bad as that may sound, eventually, if the competition is fierce enough, the rates that a monopolist can charge to keep clients from switching will drop to a point that they won't make sense business-wise for monopolist. I expect a good number of businesses to switch to Vista using the above technique to get a bigger discount and I don't think MS has much to worry about, yet. But I wouldn't want to be in their shoes in, say, 3 years from now.

Oh yeah, another nail in the coffin (0, Troll)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260964)

for Small Business USA. Fantastic, lets worship another "overlord" and move everything we do to a REAL "black-box" company. "all your datas are belong to us"!

At least with Microsoft Products i can still sell my services, support, licensing, hardware and services. Google? I can sell a short contract to replace myself.

Google? Meh

Re:Oh yeah, another nail in the coffin (1)

cloudkiller (877302) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261076)

So let me get this straight... we stop a good product because you can no longer make money selling your services to companies? If there truly no longer is a need for the services you offer, why should we support you?

Re:Oh yeah, another nail in the coffin (0, Offtopic)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261218)

Its not just me. There are over 550,000 businesses that support Microsoft Products and 0 that support GOogle (unless your bought out and incorporated into the Google Borg.

See unlike google, microsoft created this channel program called "VAR" where i can resell services, support, maintenance, hardware and software and dedicate myself to making it work for my clients.

Sure, i can sell a google service and turn into a support person or end up working for google to stay in the IT sector.

All i'm saying is i find it almost ironic that there is this infallable support for Google yet no one questions their motives.

Maybe google will allow me to resell there services, sell bolt-ons that can be certified and re-write the world to work around there products and be all fine and dandy - but is that ultimately any better from where we are today where there is still choices no matter what you use but those choices are more expensive, inferior and less integrated than what google will ultimately have even putting a dead end on open source alternatives because "what will be the point" if "all mighty google does it all?"

just asking since no one else does.

Google Enterprise Professional Program (2, Informative)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261320)

Perhaps you should consider the Google Enterprise Professional Programme...

Google Enterprise Professional partners are product experts who provide value-added services or products to Google customers. As a Google Enterprise Professional, you'll have the ability to reach Google's rapidly growing customer base. We'll also provide you with either your own Google Search Appliance for development or a set of Google Apps Premier Edition user accounts for your own use. Plus you'll receive in-depth product training.

Link (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261492)

I forgot to add a link [google.com]

Re:Oh yeah, another nail in the coffin (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261088)

Your whining sounds exactly like all the seamstresses who were replaced by looms, all the assembly line workers who were replaced by machines, all the telephone operators who were replaced by automated switching, all the freight train job losses due to the advent of the superhighway and freight trucks, etc. Changes happen. Get used to it.

Re:Oh yeah, another nail in the coffin (5, Insightful)

vivaoporto (1064484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261116)

At least with Microsoft Products i can still sell my services, support, licensing, hardware and services.

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

In the meantime, Free Software and co. will continue as if nothing had changed, their product continues free, revenue (for whoever is aiming for it) continues coming from the same sources.

Re:Oh yeah, another nail in the coffin (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261188)

What does google have to do with free software? My question is a serious question. Even though you may hate Microsoft, it created jobs.

Google - they don't have a VAR channel or partner program - They own the entire supply chain almost end to end.

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

Re:Oh yeah, another nail in the coffin (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261340)

What does google have to do with free software?

Well, they fund some of it and they'll host anybody's OSS project for free.

Re:Oh yeah, another nail in the coffin (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261488)

True, but so does every other company out there. Are they charming you to blind you to there own intentions? after all thats the famous line against novell/microsoft.

Re:Oh yeah, another nail in the coffin (4, Insightful)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261224)

Fantastic, lets worship another "overlord" and move everything we do to a REAL "black-box" company.

I have to admit, this is what scares me.

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

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

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

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

Re:Oh yeah, another nail in the coffin (1)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261428)

I am the only one who is nervous about that??

No. No you are not. :|

Re:Oh yeah, another nail in the coffin (2, Interesting)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261532)

At least with Microsoft Products i can still sell my services, support, licensing, hardware and services. Google? I can sell a short contract to replace myself.

I can see where you are coming from because for the past 10 years I have made my livelihood because of the massive spread of Microsoft products... Rather the massive failure of Microsoft Products.

However, I have always been aware that if either Microsoft fixed their products, made them easier to use out of the box, or a competitor did it for them and gained market dominance then I would be out of a job.

So in truth I have made a living for the past 10 years because a large company has broken products, but I have always been looking for alternative work or something more or less social. (*coughs* Music *coughs*)

So my suggestion to all of those who are MSCEs or anyone support Microsoft Boxes/Networks/Applications...

Diversify now!

Learn a new programming language... Get into robotics... Learn a foreign language... Start using OS X or Linux...

Because as the Anti-Virus companies have realized, times change and your bread and butter may just go away one morning.

Who is to say that Microsoft won't just copy Google's application method anyways?

Outsourcing Responsibility (5, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260988)

You can't outsource security [e.g. oh look google is so much better at keeping our documents secure] any more than you can outsource responsibility. Why isn't this guy simply looking at Open Office, or hell the other free tools like AbiWord, Gnumeric, etc.

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

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

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

Tom

Re:Outsourcing Responsibility (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261090)

"what does it matter what OS you run?"

Two words: Licencing Fee

Re:Outsourcing Responsibility (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261122)

So they ditch msft and shovel the money to Google instead? Doesn't make sense. If they truly wanted to cut costs they'd use OSS office tools instead. To me this sounds like someone gave a *wink* *wink* *nod* *nod* to someone in charge.

Tom

Re:Outsourcing Responsibility (3, Insightful)

vidarh (309115) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261174)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Outsourcing Responsibility (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261354)

OpenOffice is not the only OSS office tool out there. AbiWord and Gnumeric spring to mind (both open way faster than OpenOffice).

And while you may think you're delegating responsibility you're still ultimately responsible. If I give company ABC my CC info to buy a product from them, then they choose to pass it off to someone else that I didn't authorize to process the payment, and eventually I learn that they did something fraudulent with it. You can be damn sure I'll hold ABC responsible, if not legally, than at least consumerably [as in I won't shop at ABC anymore].

Likewise, if they start hosting their customer data through AJAX on a Google server and it gets leaked, I won't do business with them either. The simplest way not to leak a secret is to NOT SEND IT TO OTHER PEOPLE. Even over TLS the data is stored somewhere at google, where one mishap can destroy any privacy I may or may not have had.

I use things like gmail because my personal emails are not private. i don't care if the entire world knows that I'm going to a Wii party this weekend [or whatever]. It doesn't matter.

But you can be damn sure that my private matters, technology, ideas, source code, etc, are not being hosted on free/near free web services just because it's nice and tidy.

Tom

Re:Outsourcing Responsibility (4, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261328)

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


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

That's the business of Pinkerton and all the other security agencies, and even outsourcing bookkeeping and document production, exchange and storage is old news. Every middle age town had its writers or calculators whose business was to work for the local traders who weren't able to write or didn't have the calculatory knowledge for bookkeeping. And even today you go to a solicitor if you really want your documents to be correct, authentic and secure.

seriously? (4, Insightful)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18260992)

Bowen cited several reasons why he finds Google Apps attractive. 'From a security and management standpoint that would have some advantages,' he said."
 
What about openoffice.org surely its more secure than an internet app.

Re:seriously? (1)

RKThoadan (89437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261222)

What about openoffice.org surely its more secure than an internet app.

Your documents might be more secure wit OpenOffice, but is the desktop more secure? If you are using fully web-based tools, you can install next to nothing on the desktop and lock it down incredibly tight. You don't have to worry about helping people find their files, repairing corrupted installs, etc. I guess the management bonus is probably greater than the security bonus, but it really depends what aspect of security you are talking about. For example, you might actually be better protected from internal security problems, and we all know those are the biggest risk.

Re:seriously? (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261480)

but it really depends what aspect of security you are talking about

Hey Jim Could you print that report for me on those Google Apps that were my brilliant idea? Sure thing sir....OMG the internets are down. Panic!

Pilot advisory - Seattle airspace (2, Funny)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261052)

the Federal Aviation Administration may ditch Vista and Office in favor of Google's new online business applications running on Linux-based hardware.

The FAA issued a pilot advisory for the Seattle area: Pilots should be aware of the potential to encounter flying chairs any time they are east and slightly south of Seattle center controlled airspace.

Re:Pilot advisory - Seattle airspace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261118)

More like beating a dead horse with a chair. Honestly. . does anyone find these jokes funny anymore?

Re:Pilot advisory - Seattle airspace (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261434)

Honestly. . does anyone find these jokes funny anymore?

Seeing as it was modded funny, at least one person does.

Big Discount Stick (2, Insightful)

frogstar_robot (926792) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261094)

I'd like to believe such a thing is being seriously considered but it's probably just the same-ole same-ole. Some poor MS salesdroid is going to be thwacked bloody until he comes across with big discounts and free consulting services and training for a Vista deployment. Still Linux has to be a least a credible threat for that to work. I wonder how many Aerons have come to a splintery end because of Linux induced discounting.

It's a bargaining chip (5, Insightful)

thatjavaguy (306073) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261098)

The guy is just trying to get his MS license costs down - sensible enough.

Whats the betting that after his Microsoft trip they will come up with a vastly reduced price?

They should just tell Microsoft (3, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261110)

They should just tell Microsoft - give us Windows XP for 5-7 more years OR we go Linux.

After all apparently Windows XP already works OK for them, and new computers capable of running Vista tolerably will run XP pretty well ;).

It'll be crazy for the FAA or DoT to switch to Vista, there are only a handful of pluses for them (nope DirectX 10 support is not it), whereas there are so many minuses - trouble with drivers, trouble with compatibility, costs of retraining and support, lower performance (so far most of the benchmarks indicate that Vista is slower even for office apps) etc.

Then after 5-7 years, maybe Linux/Wine will have a decent Windows XP compatibility layer and the FAA and others can continue running their apps on a free OS of their choice (or a commercial Microsoft Windows compatible competitor ).

Re:They should just tell Microsoft (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261192)

it would be a lot shorter that 5-7 years if they were prepared to spend a bit of money getting the apps they want supported.

XP just works. (1)

Neutrino Linguino (1072502) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261450)

XP's success is Vista's [initial] downfall. If it just works, and works well, why replace it.

Microsoft has a long history of putting out buggy software, release after release, to keep the users paying.

The people there are not stupid, I'm sure they have something planned that will turn this around.

moral? (3, Funny)

blakmac (987934) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261124)

The FAA has a real problem when things crash.

I can see why the FAA dumped Vista...... (3, Funny)

8127972 (73495) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261138)

.... as they'd have to deal with this all of the time.

- A plane is about to land. Cancel or Allow?
- A plane is about to take off. Cancel or Allow?
- A transport truck is about to crash. Cancel or Allow?

You'd get sick of having to click Cancel or Allow all of the time too.

Oh wait.

This problem has already been solved! (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261210)

This was a problem in the first few days of Windows Vista at the airport, but now we just click "Allow" for everything and it seems to work fine.

Will never happen (4, Informative)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261146)

I work within the DOT, there has been no discussion of linux or Mac replacing windows, the discussions are about not upgrading to Vista and Office 2007/IE7 due to inconsistancies with the custom applications, and much of the hardware would need to be replaced, not even upgraded, but totally replaced.

Re:Will never happen (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261380)

I would suspect that is one reason that the Mac is not considered. Definitely you would have to replace all hardware. Linux is a viable alternative depending on the functions of each worker. Now if the FAA made ODF the standard format then OpenOffice and Linux is looking better.

They just want a discount (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261176)

They are only doing this because they want a deep discount from MS. They really don't have any plans to jump ship. Everyone knows that if you are a large organization and cry about the cost of upgrading to Vista, MS will cut you some $lack.

We want discount (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18261196)

I am sure its really going to ploy to get a cheaper licencing deal with M$.

"...Linux-based hardware..." (1)

Browzer (17971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261238)

WTF?

Sounds like FAA's top technology official can't differentiate between hardware and software.

The problem with these stories is... (0, Redundant)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261278)

The problem with stories like "Foo may switch to Linux" is that it is now a standard deal negotiation tactic to in fact buy new Microsoft product licences. Or not. But the fact the guy doesn't switch but rather uses publicity to say he might switch, is a subtle hint.

What's the point of Google apps? (4, Insightful)

halfdan the black (638018) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261378)

I've tried them (Google apps). The web based word processor is roughly identical to wordpad (free with Windows), or the text editor with OSX. This is a MASSIVE reduction in functionality compared to word or open office. I do not understand how this web based word processor can be used for anything more complicated than a simple memo. I suspect that if you put down any user remotly farmiliar with MS-Office and force them to use Google apps, there will be some serious revolt. Put them behind Open Office, which may be somewhat different than MS Office, but HAS SIMILAR CAPABILITIES, that user will learn to use it with possibly minimal rumblings. What is wrong with Open Office? Why would anyone choose Google apps which have I estimate 5% of the functionality of Open Office ??? So, IMO, any web based attempt at anything as remotely complex as a office suite is going to suck so freaking hard compared to a desktop application, no mater what the platform be it Linux, OSX or Windows.

laughable (1)

nerdstrap (1071916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261424)

The FAA can't even successfully roll out an update to their air traffic control systems... But they're going to successfully update multiple applications to run on Linux and Google?

Re:laughable (1)

MedBob (96899) | more than 7 years ago | (#18261542)

Nope, I think you have it wrong. Moving to Linux and Google is the right answer!
The amazing question is how did they get this management decision right?

Guess every journey along the right road begins with a single step....
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