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PureEdge, make way for Lotus <Hijack: Linux for the Army>
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USAR Career Counselor
Picture of Daddy Warcrimes
posted
From APD:
quote:
The Army is transitioning to the Microsoft Vista Operating System. As a result of compatibility issues between PureEdge forms software and Vista, the Army is migrating to Lotus Forms Viewer 3.5 along with the latest version of ApproveIT digital signature software. The estimated timeline for restoring forms viewer support to Army users is July 2009 as part of the Army Gold Master (AGM) July release. We apologize for any inconvenience to Army users and are working this effort as a top priority.


Lotus is by IBM; IBM is a traditional supporter of Linux. Could this be good news for Daddy Warcrimes?


<<<Topic renamed to reflect it's new direction>>>

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Daddy Warcrimes,
 
Posts: 2864 | Location: 13th BN ARCD, AZ | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of AutobahnSHO
posted Hide Post
DOUBT IT. Smiler

I just got an email today from someone adding me to their forms tracker with this same notice.

Crazy they don't just make a version of Puredge that would work on Vista. That company is going to lose money..


Be Proud of what you do- and do it Well! ~me
 
Posts: 5281 | Location: Ft Gordon (Again!!!) :-| | Registered: 22 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post


USAR Career Counselor
Picture of Daddy Warcrimes
posted Hide Post
Looks like PureEdge was bought by IBM, so they're going to come out ahead of the deal.

I think the better solution would be to not transition to Vista.

To me it defies all logic that the military doesn't primarily use a Unix compatible OS. M$ has way too much influence over us.
 
Posts: 2864 | Location: 13th BN ARCD, AZ | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of AutobahnSHO
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Daddy Warcrimes:
To me it defies all logic that the military doesn't primarily use a Unix compatible OS. M$ has way too much influence over us.


They also have too many ears in congress...

I agree with you- a military-specific Linux could be unbreakable, since we could keep the specs secret, and not release it to the general public.


Be Proud of what you do- and do it Well! ~me
 
Posts: 5281 | Location: Ft Gordon (Again!!!) :-| | Registered: 22 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post


USAR Career Counselor
Picture of Daddy Warcrimes
posted Hide Post
quote:
since we could keep the specs secret, and not release it to the general public.


Not exactly. The source code for GPL software must be made available. We could make non-GPL security software to work with it, but the source code is not really the issue.

What we keep secret are the encryption keys.

I'm not even saying we should use Linux (even though I like it). BSD, Solaris, or Unix proper could do the trick. Linux would probably be the easiest, and we could build a custom distribution for military use.

Security problems are much less prevalent on *nix systems, and the operations tend to be more stable.

With a universal '.Milnux' (copyright 2009 Daddy Warcrimes) we could distribute all the required software to every service member, and spend a lot less time worrying about compatibility issues. Have the distro preloaded with office productivity and forms software. Build in CAC functionality. Shoot, we could even include internet filtering to reduce the need for all those proxy servers down in Arizona.
 
Posts: 2864 | Location: 13th BN ARCD, AZ | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post

posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Daddy Warcrimes:
I'm not even saying we should use Linux (even though I like it). BSD, Solaris, or Unix proper could do the trick. Linux would probably be the easiest, and we could build a custom distribution for military use.

Security problems are much less prevalent on *nix systems, and the operations tend to be more stable.

With a universal '.Milnux' (copyright 2009 Daddy Warcrimes) we could distribute all the required software to every service member, and spend a lot less time worrying about compatibility issues. Have the distro preloaded with office productivity and forms software. Build in CAC functionality. Shoot, we could even include internet filtering to reduce the need for all those proxy servers down in Arizona.


The problem is that the majority of DoD members do their work on MS systems--because the majority of DoD members are not in any regular component. It's simply a matter of the overall environment driving the decision.

By using a custom OS, you nearly eliminate the ability of RC members to do their work (unless they are using a variation of the OS already or have multiple computers,) not to mention those soldiers like me who, because of the nature of our jobs, do not use DoD systems.


"What we see from our tower is for us to know and for you to find out."--The S-2
 
Posts: 599 | Location: Minnesota | Registered: 21 September 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post

posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by IntelSergeant:
quote:
Originally posted by Daddy Warcrimes:
I'm not even saying we should use Linux (even though I like it). BSD, Solaris, or Unix proper could do the trick. Linux would probably be the easiest, and we could build a custom distribution for military use.

Security problems are much less prevalent on *nix systems, and the operations tend to be more stable.

With a universal '.Milnux' (copyright 2009 Daddy Warcrimes) we could distribute all the required software to every service member, and spend a lot less time worrying about compatibility issues. Have the distro preloaded with office productivity and forms software. Build in CAC functionality. Shoot, we could even include internet filtering to reduce the need for all those proxy servers down in Arizona.


The problem is that the majority of DoD members do their work on MS systems--because the majority of DoD members are not in any regular component. It's simply a matter of the overall environment driving the decision.

By using a custom OS, you nearly eliminate the ability of RC members to do their work (unless they are using a variation of the OS already or have multiple computers,) not to mention those soldiers like me who, because of the nature of our jobs, do not use DoD systems.


OpenOffice.org, it runs on damn near every OS and for most purposes is completely compatible with ms office. It has no outlook replacement, however why do we have AKO and local exchange accounts? AKO is POP3 and IMAP compatible, so any email client can make full use of them. Hell Thunderbird and Firefox are also open source and could be tailored to fit the DoD. There really is no justification for continued use of MS, if we switched to *nix then you'd eliminate a lot of windows script kiddies from dicking around with security settings on their windows machines.
 
Posts: 82 | Registered: 26 December 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post


USAR Career Counselor
Picture of Daddy Warcrimes
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by IntelSergeant:
The problem is that the majority of DoD members do their work on MS systems--because the majority of DoD members are not in any regular component. It's simply a matter of the overall environment driving the decision.

Are you referring to service members doing military work on their home computers?

It's not at all hard to repartition a hard drive and set up a dual boot. If we own the OS, distributing it to service members wouldn't incur additional cost.
quote:
By using a custom OS, you nearly eliminate the ability of RC members to do their work

I am an RC member. I need MS for PureEdge (because it was designed to work in Windows) and IE (because certain DoD websites that I use are designed poorly). Everything else can be done with alternative software.
I don't see why it would be difficult to install this on RC unit's computers.

quote:
not to mention those soldiers like me who, because of the nature of our jobs, do not use DoD systems.
If you don't use a DoD system, why does it matter what OS is installed on DoD systems?
 
Posts: 2864 | Location: 13th BN ARCD, AZ | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of AutobahnSHO
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Daddy Warcrimes:
What we keep secret are the encryption keys.


Which are always expired before they're even issued... Roll Eyes Smiler

They use one of the other commercial softwares you mentioned at the Nominally Superbig Animal next to Ft Meade. I had two machines on my desk, one was winblows. Cool


Be Proud of what you do- and do it Well! ~me
 
Posts: 5281 | Location: Ft Gordon (Again!!!) :-| | Registered: 22 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post


USAR Career Counselor
Picture of Daddy Warcrimes
posted Hide Post
Perhaps "encryption" was not the right term. What ever authentication, certification sort of things we do (e.g. CAC logon to AKO) were my intended reference.

Scary enough, the NSA has released security software for use with Linux. They have gone so far as to GPL it.

A major OS conversion would obviously be a monstrous undertaking that would require tons of preparation, but it is practicable idea.
 
Posts: 2864 | Location: 13th BN ARCD, AZ | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of AutobahnSHO
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Daddy Warcrimes:
A major OS conversion would obviously be a monstrous undertaking that would require tons of preparation, but it is practicable idea.


However it would be a ginormous busine$$ lo$$ to our friends in Washington State, so I doubt it will EVER happen...


Be Proud of what you do- and do it Well! ~me
 
Posts: 5281 | Location: Ft Gordon (Again!!!) :-| | Registered: 22 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post


USAR Career Counselor
Picture of Daddy Warcrimes
posted Hide Post
Nah, they'll just get a bailout.

Hmmmmmmmm..... government running Microsoft....... might actually be an improvement Big Grin
 
Posts: 2864 | Location: 13th BN ARCD, AZ | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post

posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Daddy Warcrimes:
Are you referring to service members doing military work on their home computers?

It's not at all hard to repartition a hard drive and set up a dual boot. If we own the OS, distributing it to service members wouldn't incur additional cost.


Home and work computers. You and I can partition hard drives, but I'm not sure how many people would be able to. Not to mention, with work machines, most people would be forbidden from making such invasive changes.

quote:
I am an RC member. I need MS for PureEdge (because it was designed to work in Windows) and IE (because certain DoD websites that I use are designed poorly).


Exactly my point...read on...

quote:
Everything else can be done with alternative software.
I don't see why it would be difficult to install this on RC unit's computers.


Do you mean units, members, or both? Unit machines are simple. Members' machines, not so much. I just don't think that the average soldier is computer-literate to the point of being able to run different OS on the same machine without substantial assistance.

quote:
If you don't use a DoD system, why does it matter what OS is installed on DoD systems?


For the same reason you just mentioned: PureEdge, and the MS suite. I would be pulling my hair out (if I had hair) if either DoD or the entity to which I am assigned were to change OS. Instead of being able to do all my forms electronically, I would, at a minimum, have to do the forms, scan them, and email them in a graphic format; most likely I would have to deliver them in paper format. As it is, I can use my work machine to do an electronic form, digitally sign it, and email it to my ops section.

If DoD were to develop an emulator for applications for this hypothetical OS to run on an MS box, and distribute the applications, then I think that would be a better solution--the interface would be almost transparent.


"What we see from our tower is for us to know and for you to find out."--The S-2
 
Posts: 599 | Location: Minnesota | Registered: 21 September 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post


USAR Career Counselor
Picture of Daddy Warcrimes
posted Hide Post
Intel, I'm not sure where our miscommunication is, perhaps I can elaborate.

My proposal is to use a Unix-like OS on Army Computers.

I would eliminate for the most part Windows on Army computers.

In order to accomplish this, we would need to replace the the software for which there is currently no alternative (e.g. PureEdge) with one that is Unix compatible. This is no more of a problem than purchasing PureEdge, FormFlow, or Lotus forms. We'd just be purchasing it for a different OS. The XFDL form format need not even change. The XFDL format itself is nothing more than a regular XML file in a 64 bit Gzip compressed archive.

Interesting enough, people have reported success running PureEdge in Linux through the Wine emulator.

Software currently in use that has Unix compatible alternatives, would be replaced with those alternatives (e.g. MS office with Open Office; IE with Firefox)

As far as training, we could save time and money by simplifying the OS. We can eliminate software that they do not need, remove options that are potential security threats.

If you have never used a modern Linux interface, you may be surprised. Compared to the operating systems I've used (DOS, Win 3, '95, '98, ME, NT, 2K, XP, Mac OS 9 and OS X), Ubuntu with a Gnome desktop environment is by far the most intuitive for me. At worst, it is no more difficult to figure out than Windows.

Musical equipment company Ernie Ball eliminated Microsoft and found increased productivity when they eliminated the internet browser from terminals that did not require it. You can't remove IE from Windows.

Properly designed web pages display properly in Firefox. The reason many Army sites don't is because they were specifically designed to display in a flawed browser. IE 5-7 have consistently shown sub-par performance in the Acid tests. As the overall population becomes more computer literate, they are moving away from Windows and IE. The government as a whole would be wise to design it's websites in accordance to the actual web standards instead of how a poorly designed program interprets it.

Most MS office formats will open in Open Office. I haven't found a replacement for Access yet (for my uses) but I'm sure there's plenty out there.

The home computer use is easily addressed with currently available technology:
1. Dual boot. If you have a machine you're willing to experiment on, download Ubuntu 8.04. It will have a fairly simple install wizard that will repartition your hard drive and set up a multi-OS boot loader (select your OS on start up from a menu)

2. Live CD. There are a couple of full featured operating systems that run on a CD ROM. Damn Small Linux and Puppy are some good examples (DSL fits on a 50MB mini-CD, I have Puppy on a 256 MB thumb drive). Simply drop in the disk, and restart (maybe bring up the BIOS boot menu, but most are set by default to boot from CD first).

3. Virtual Machine. This is emulator you were talking about. Typically it loads Linux under Windows (I've done this with DSL once just to show I could), but I bet it wouldn't be to difficult to set it up to where it just loads the Army specific programs.


Wow, this has definitely gone off topic. Oh well, I'll allow it Smiler
 
Posts: 2864 | Location: 13th BN ARCD, AZ | Registered: 15 February 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post

Picture of fire.for.effect
posted Hide Post
I'm an Ubuntu fanatic and everything works fine for me. I know this post is old but I just wanted to put in my .02


"Acknowledge what your replacement might do and own up to why you're not willing to do it yourself." -memorable quote
 
Posts: 11 | Location: JSS Salaam, Baghdad, Iraq | Registered: 18 October 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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