VNU Net: Major deals boost Linux community
Jul 12, 2000, 18:11 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kris Sangani, Liesbeth Evers)
Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame
By Kris Sangani and Liesbeth Evers, Network News
The open source movement received a massive boost last week
as high profile users, including the Pentagon, Norwich Union and
retail giant MVC, signed to use Linux for mission critical
The three rollouts are among the first where Linux has been
placed in the front line, and the move is widely seen as
reinforcing the open source software's credibility as a serious and
secure business operating system.
The Pentagon has opted for an as yet unnamed flavour of Linux
for its first software-based radio application, the Joint Tactical
Radio System. The $500m (£312.5m) project will enable troops
to carry video and data transmissions onto the battlefield.
While remaining tight-lipped about the reasons for choosing
Linux, the Pentagon said that it had been a keen exponent of the
advantages of open source since it funded the development of Unix.
A Pentagon spokesperson said: "Open system architecture enables
technology to be added later, either through evolutionary
acquisition or pre-planned product improvement."
Linux evangelist Eddie Bleasdale, director of Netproject
Consultancy, said: "The US military's experience with Unix taught
it that open source was secure and cheap."
Hill House Hammond, Norwich Union's retail subsidiary, said that
cost was a key issue in selecting Linux. The company is installing
Red Hat Linux across more than 250 remote sites in the first
full-scale financial sector rollout.
Neil Turner, Hill House Hammond's IT director, said: "We looked
at Windows NT and other commercial versions of Unix, but the cost
of these systems made it difficult for us to justify."
Retail music chain MVC said that cost was also a factor in its
plan to roll out Linux throughout its 87 stores, but it had also
found that the operating system was faster and more reliable. Steve
Jarvis, store systems manager at MVC, said: "The system proved to
be very robust and very fast."
However, Ahmed Patel, a lecturer in computer networks at
University College Dublin, warned that the wide availability of
information about open source technology would make such systems
vulnerable to hacking attacks.
"In the case of the Pentagon project it's possible to eavesdrop
on a radio system through radiation monitoring. Hackers could
detect passwords and confidential information if they were familiar
with the architecture and knew what they were looking for," he
[ First published in Network News ]
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