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NewsForge: Predicting the Weather with Linux at the National Weather Service

Jan 31, 2003, 13:00 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Norbert Cartagena)

"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 increase productivity.

"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 NWS..."

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