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From "Takaoglu, Uzay" <utakao...@syscom.com>
Subject keep up the great work!
Date Thu, 23 May 2002 14:03:25 GMT
Hi All,

Below is an article I got from Washington Post. Interesting enough microsoft
is lobbying all the government agencies to quit using open source S/W. Guess
what the government agencies said. 

	Simply the translation is  "f.. off" :). 

Keep up the great work people!

Thank you all,

Article is below:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-
Microsoft Corp. is aggressively lobbying the Pentagon to squelch its growing
use of freely distributed computer software and switch to proprietary
systems such as those sold by the software giant, according to officials
familiar with the campaign.

 In what one military source called a "barrage" of contacts with officials
at the Defense Information Systems Agency and the office of Defense
Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld over the past few months, the company said
"open source" software threatens  security and its intellectual property.

 But the effort may have backfired. A May 10 report prepared for the Defense
Department concluded that open source often results in more secure, less
expensive applications and that, if anything, its use should be expanded.

 "Banning open source would have immediate, broad, and strongly negative
impacts on the ability of many sensitive and security-focused DOD groups to
protect themselves against cyberattacks," said the report, by Mitre Corp.

 A Microsoft Corp. spokesman acknowledged discussions between the company
and the Pentagon but denied urging a ban on open-source software. He also
said Microsoft did not focus on potential security flaws.

 Spokesman Jon Murchinson said Microsoft has been talking about how to allow
open-source and proprietary software to coexist. "Our goal is to resolve
difficult issues that are driving a wedge between the commercial and free
software models," he said.

 John Stenbit, an assistant secretary of defense and the Defense
Department's chief information officer, said Microsoft has said using free
software with commercial software might violate the intellectual-property
rights of companies such as Microsoft. Stenbit said the issue is legally
"murky."

 The company also complained that the Pentagon is funding research on making
free software more secure, which in effect subsidizes Microsoft's
open-source competitors, Stenbit said.

 Microsoft's push is a new front in a long-running company assault on the
open-source movement, which company officials have called "a cancer" and
un-American.

 Software is designated open source when its underlying computer code is
available for anyone to license, enhance or customize, often at no cost. The
theory is that by putting source code in the public domain, programmers
worldwide can improve software by sharing one another's work. 

 Vendors of the proprietary systems, such as Microsoft and Oracle Corp.,
keep their source codes secret, control changes to programs and collect all
licensing fees for their use.

 Government agencies use a patchwork of systems and software,  and
proprietary software is still the most widely used. But open source has
become more popular with businesses and government. 

 The Mitre Corp. report said open-source software "plays a more critical
role in the DOD than has been generally recognized."

 The report identified 249 uses of open-source systems and tools, including
running a Web portal for the Defense Intelligence Agency, running network
security for the Army command in Europe and support for numerous Air Force
Computer Network Defense tools.

 Among the most high-profile efforts is research funded by the National
Security Agency to develop a more secure version of the open-source Linux
operating system, which competes with Microsoft's Windows.

 The report said banning open-source software would drive up costs, though
it offered no specifics. Some government agencies have saved significantly
by using open source.

 At the Census Bureau, programmers used open-source software to launch  a
Web site for obtaining federal statistics for $47,000, bureau officials
said. It would have cost $358,000 if proprietary software were used, they
said.

 Microsoft has argued that some free-licensing regimes are antithetical to
the government's stated policy that moneymaking applications should develop
from government-funded research, and that intellectual property should be
protected.

 Microsoft also said open-source software is inherently less secure because
the code is available for the world to examine for flaws, making it possible
for hackers or criminals to exploit them. Proprietary software, the company
argued, is more secure because of its closed nature.

 "I've never seen a systematic study that showed open source to be more
secure," said Dorothy Denning, a professor of computer science at Georgetown
University who specializes in information warfare.

 Others argue that the flexibility provided by open-source software is
essential, enabling users to respond quickly to flaws that are found.

 "With open source, there is no need to wait for a large software firm to
decide if a set of changes is in its best interests," said Eugene Spafford,
a computer-science professor at Purdue University who specializes in
security.

 Jonathan Shapiro, who teaches computer science at Johns Hopkins University,
said: "There is data that when the customer can inspect the code the vendor
is more responsive. . . . Microsoft is in a very weak position to make this
argument. Whose software is the largest, most consistent source of security
flaws? It's Microsoft."

 Stenbit said the debate is academic and that what matters is how secure a
given piece of software is. To that end, the Defense Department is now
prohibited from purchasing any software that has not undergone security
testing by the NSA. Stenbit said he is unaware of any open-source software
that has been tested.




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