Well at least not for now.
InformationWeek is reporting that the FAA in the U.S. has “placed a moratorium” on upgrades to Windows Vista, Office 2007, and Internet Explorer 7. This comes hot on the heels of InformationWeek reporting last week that the DOT placed a similar ban on Microsoft products.
The reason for the temporary ban is to examine the feasibility of using Linux-based systems with Google Apps, a big victory for Google, and I think a great idea. There would be some huge cost savings not having to buy Windows or MS MS Office. However, there are a few disadvantages as well: first, since the FAA deals with air travel one might assume that their employees fly a fair bit, (I’m not sure how true this is), and right now there is very little internet access on airplanes, and second, this is the FAA, they deal with pretty important information that should be kept safe. Can they trust Google to do that? Or, can they at least trust Google to keep the data as safe as it was before?
There is one thing I don’t agree with in this ban on Microsoft products. Why ban upgrading to IE7? It’s free and it’s way better than IE6. I know that there will be some issues with upgrades that will require some technicians’ time but really, I think it’s worth the effort. IE7 is being adopted very quickly and if the FAA forces all their 45,000 users to stick with IE6, just because in a 18 months, (or whenever), they’ll be using Linux those users will suffer. Really, everyone should be upgrading to IE7, or something else, as soon as possible. Forcing your workforce to stick with out-of-date software that can’t do its job properly is not the way to go about this.
That said, I think it is a good plan to go for Linux. Tax-paying Americans will benefit, as will the flying public in general.