By Klint Finley 09.30.13 3:22 PM
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France’s National Gendarmerie — a national law enforcement agency — is now running 37,000 desktop PCs with a custom version of the GNU/Linux operating system, and by summer of next year, the agency plans to move all 72,000 of its desktop machines to the open source OS.
GNU/Linux is now the primary means of running computer servers inside the data centers that drive the web’s biggest services, from Google to Amazon to Facebook, but it has struggled to replace Microsoft Windows on the desktop. The news from the Gendarmerie could be a sign that this is changing.
The agency claims the total cost of ownership of GNU/Linux and open source applications is about 40 percent less than proprietary software from Microsoft, according to an article published on the European Union’s Interoperability Solutions for Public Administrations website.
To make the switch less abrupt, the Gendarmerie first moved to cross-platform open source applications such as OpenOffice, Firefox, and Thunderbird. That allowed employees to keep using Windows while they got used to the new applications. Only then did the agency move them onto a GNU/Linux OS running these same applications. Continue reading
By Robert McMillan 08.06.13 6:30 AM
In 2006, John Sebes and Gregory Miller hatched a plan to rescue democracy.
At the time, the United States was pumping nearly $4 billion into new voting machines, spurred on by Florida’s 2000 presidential election fiasco. But the shift to machines built by companies such as Election Systems & Software and Sequoia Voting Systems (now called Dominion Voting Systems) had introduced all sorts of new problems.
Academics were finding deep flaws in the systems, and during every election, they seemed to fail somewhere. Earlier in 2006, voting machine problems marred primary elections in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where officials scrambled to hire temp workers to reprocess thousands of unreadable optical-scan ballots.
For Sebes and Miller, the answer was open source software. Working with Netscape in the late 1990s, they had helped usher in the internet age, and now they were eying another tech revolution. Voting machines seemed to be a perfect place for open source software to do what it does best: create standard pieces of technology everyone can freely share, review, and improve. Continue reading
Valve chief blasts PC market, promises big news is coming next week.
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