FAA Ponders Switch to Linux, Premier Apps

    March 9, 2007

Growing consumer disappointment with Windows Vista, coupled with the need of major businesses and government agencies to begin assessing long-term computing needs, seems to be forcing IT professionals to consider non-Microsoft alternatives for their operating system and office suite applications.

Fans of the open-source Linux operating system have had a lot to chew on over the past several weeks, beginning with rumors that Dell is possibly exploring the option of offering Linux as one of the operating system choices to users that purchase new PCs through the online store.

Follow that up with today’s revelation that the Federal Aviation Administration is moving forward with an exploratory effort to gauge whether or not a switch to Linux would be in its best interests when Windows XP no longer becomes a viable option.

“We’re considering the cost to deploy [Windows Vista] in our organization. But when you consider the incompatibilities, and the fact that we haven’t seen much in the way of documented business value, we felt that we needed to do a lot more study,” says FAA spokesperson David Bowen in a TechNewsWorld article.

Along with considering a move to Linux, the FAA is also studying the feasibility of switching its office applications to Google’s new Premier Apps – a move that would most likely become a necessary consequence of an all out switch to the Linux operating system.

All told, the FAA will need to completely replace its fleet of 45,000 PCs within the next several years. Considering not only the cost of the hardware, but also of securing licenses from Microsoft for both Windows and Office for all of the machines, the alternative of implementing low-cost, open source software begins to look more and more appealing to organizations looking to tighten up the bottom line figures.

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