"Government institutions are often maligned for their spending
habits, especially when it comes to computer hardware and software.
With the increasing popularity and reliability of open source
software, more and more government institutions are looking to
Linux to help reduce their computing costs. But can Linux really
live up to all the hype? The National Weather Service (NWS) thinks
so. In fact, the implementation of Linux based solutions within the
Service has not only helped decrease costs, but has also helped
"Paul Kirkwood, Branch Chief of the Dissemination Enhancement
Team at Southern Region headquarters, says, 'I do see the future of
the weather service moving towards the Linux environment.'
"Kirkwood was a part of the team that, in early 2001, brought
Linux to the attention of the NWS. They looked at staying with
their current HP-UX servers, but also studied the Linux
alternative. 'This was a group effort,' he explains. 'We put
together a team and asked 'Where do we need to go in the future of
the weather service? Where do we need to be?'' They found that they
got a two-to-one performance advantage by moving over to Linux on
Intel hardware, according to benchmark tests, and received approval
for the transition from both the CIO and the Director of the
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