Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Glimmer of Hope for Desktop Linux?

In the last week or so, I have read three different articles that talked about different government agencies that are banning Microsoft's Vista operating system, along with other Microsoft products in some cases. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the latest, and this follows the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

So, what makes this a glimmer of hope for desktop Linux. Well, at least in one of those cases, the FAA, is seriously looking at a combination of Linux desktops with Google's new enterprise applications as a replacement for Windows and Microsoft Office! When you combine this type of interest with other government initiatives to adopt open standard file formats, you can see a glimmer of hope that the Microsoft lock is being broken by some large government agencies.

You could say, so what! It's only some public sector organizations! What makes this a glimmer of hope, in my mind, is the carry over affect it could have on the private sector.

If enough government agencies start adopting open technologies like Linux and ODF, then the private sector companies that have to do business with them will have to adopt technologies that inter-operate. This in turn loosens the grip that Microsoft has on a larger portion of the market.

I sincerely hope that these government organizations aren't just bluffing to get concessions out of Microsoft. With large scale adoption of open technologies, such as Linux and ODF, we will all be better off. True competition on the market for desktop operating systems and applications could become a reality someday.

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