Sunday, May 14, 2006

Canadian census and Linux

I was originally going to write a short rant about the Federal government supporting only Windows based computers with JVM (Java Virtual Machine) for online entry of our 2006 census. When I first saw the notes on the web I thought that they were kidding. My machine is up-to-date and has Java running without a problem on a number of sites. This is a fully secured computer and the hack attempts so far have not succeeded. The banks and insurance companies don't have any problems with Linux hosts accessing their systems. All they are looking for is a browser with the proper encryption, O/S is not relevant to them.

On Saturday I tried to enter the census system and it told me that the environment was not supported, which from my viewpoint was total bullshit. The government, when they allow their citizens access to services should not dictate the O/S in any way. If they were concerned about security then they should be banning the use of Windows as it is the O/S of choice for viruses, trojans and spyware.

On Sunday I saw a short note on the Yahoo SCOG forum that the Feds updated the system to allow access for Linux based systems and when I tried it the site worked! One more small victory for Linux. I hope that the Federal government realizes that they would be better off designing systems that meets standards (not Microsoft's version) that are O/S independent. I realize that it makes testing more difficult, but, it will allow anyone with the proper secure protocols access to the system.

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