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US army dumps NT for MacOS, us.gov going open source?

Hacked Army Home page switches to 'more secure platform'

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Grim news for Microsoft indeed - the US government seems to be tilting towards open source software, while the US Army's ArmyLink News claims the US Army Home Page has switched from NT to "a more secure platform" (MacOS and WebStar) following a nasty hacker invasion. ArmyLink quotes Christopher Unger, web site administrator for the US Army Home Page, as saying that the switch to MacOS had already happened. And what do you know - a quick Netcraft query reveals that www.army.mil is indeed running WebStar 4.0 on MacOS. This follows an intrusion to the site on June 28 where a Wisconsin man, who was arrested last month, broke into and modified the site. Says the ArmyLink story: "Unger says the reason for choosing this particular server and software is that according to the World Wide Web Consortium, it is more secure than its counterparts." For the record, we note that ArmyLink itself is running on Netscape and Solaris, which can't cheer Microsoft particularly either. But there's more. According to Federal Times, the US National Security Council is concerned about the security of Microsoft software, and is planning to diversify the types of operating systems the government buys. The NSC intends to create a new software assessment office "to assess the ways federal agencies could make greater use of open source, or non-proprietary, software that is freely available to anyone and has codes that are not secret." The Federal Times quotes an unnamed White House official as saying that the office will identify US government agencies and programmes for the initial trials of open source software. Humorously, the story also quotes Microsoft Federal Systems manager Quazi Zaman (clearly a man under some pressure) as saying that "Microsoft has been considering making some of its software products open source for two years." Oh really? More likely though is his claim that Microsoft would likely be willing to give the NSC access to its source. But will that be enough to stop a federal landslide? ®

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