PDA

View Full Version : Apple Gaining Acceptance in Government?




MacRumors
Aug 28, 2003, 04:24 AM
MacWorld.co.uk (http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/main_news.cfm?NewsID=6797) reports that Linux and Mac OS X have been added to the list of computer platforms officially supported by the US Federal Government.

The document ultimately referenced is version 1.1 of The Technical Reference Model (TRM) (http://feapmo.gov/resources/fea_trm_release_document_rev_1.1.pdf) (PDF).



arn
Aug 28, 2003, 04:26 AM
Page 2'd because... I'm not familiar with this document... nor the implications.

Is this is broad an implication as implied in MacWorld.co.uk?

I skimmed through the document, but it wasn't clear to me. Is there anyone with more familiar knowledge about this to be able to explain it's impact?

arn

KershMan
Aug 28, 2003, 05:12 AM
This is a good start for OS X to break into the Government. However, the really big item to watch out for is if OS X gets certified under the Common Criteria. Especially if it is certified at Level 3 or higher.

IBM in conjunction with SuSE just had collaborated to have an IBM Server with SuSE certified under the Common Criteria. Red Hat is working with Oracle to certify the Red Hat server version with Oracle 9i. These are huge steps because Common Criteria certifies a particular level of security that the systems maintain.

This is big because the Government is not supposed to buy commercial products like operating systems, firewalls, etc. that ARE NOT on the Common Criteria approved list.

The TRM is a good step because it shows OS X has the technical merit to make the ref model, but the real step is to get the security evaluation and certification. Then it *could* be adopted in mass.

10 Goto 10
Aug 28, 2003, 07:10 AM
Hmm, doesn't this sound too much like " Dan Quayle, slowly gaining acceptance" to anyone else? And we know how that worked out.

Rustus Maximus
Aug 28, 2003, 07:40 AM
Come on now...Mac OSX is waaaaay more user-friendly than Danny boy. At least my Apple knows where Phoenix is ;).

I love California. I practically grew up in Phoenix. -- Dan Quayle

Scott Smith
Aug 28, 2003, 09:04 AM
I worked for NASA over the summer (still in school), and there were many macs already in use. In fact I went to several labs where there was not a single Windows computer there, just Macs and other Unix variants. Additionally, almost all of the portables where macs, and this would apply to the scientists, engineers, business, etc.
My boss was telling me a story of using Performas in the early 90s, for networking and other stuff, and currently uses a cube.

Maybe this document pertains to other departments of the government, but I had a friend working for R&D in DoD. He can't tell me much, except that there are lots of macs in his department.

I biggest area macs were laking from my experience is similar to industry, in business and management.

MrMacMan
Aug 28, 2003, 12:16 PM
Eh, they also put Linux.

They say it has interoperating abalities with microsoft products... yay, they got it right.

I doubt it means much of anything, but oh well, still good to know.

Powerbook G5
Aug 28, 2003, 05:17 PM
It can only be a good thing. If it makes the list, it shows the Mac OS X is a secure and powerful choice for them to rely on for their possible purchase.

Phil Of Mac
Aug 28, 2003, 10:27 PM
Originally posted by KershMan
IBM in conjunction with SuSE just had collaborated to have an IBM Server with SuSE certified under the Common Criteria. Red Hat is working with Oracle to certify the Red Hat server version with Oracle 9i. These are huge steps because Common Criteria certifies a particular level of security that the systems maintain.

Wait...is Windows XP certified under the Common Criteria? And for god's sakes, why?

That's the government for you.

Powerbook G5
Aug 28, 2003, 11:03 PM
Originally posted by Phil Of Mac
Wait...is Windows XP certified under the Common Criteria? And for god's sakes, why?

That's the government for you.

Scary, isn't it? Even more so that the Department of Homeland Security decided that Microsoft was the answer to their needs...

Mudbug
Aug 28, 2003, 11:04 PM
anyone else find it a little odd that this story was found on Macworld.co._UK_ instead of a publication from the North American side of the pond? Why would the British version of an American magazine have dibbs on info about an American something-or-other? Probably just me - just caught my eye as odd, that's all...

KCK
Aug 28, 2003, 11:22 PM
Last week I was listening to the radio and they had an hour on computers. A lady called up to ask a question. This lady was a Mac user who is starting a small business. She had just been to a class taught by the Small Business Administration. In the SBA class she was told that she would have to get rid of her Mac and get a PC. The person running the SBA class claimed that all business used PCs and that Quickbooks wasn't supported on Mac. Luckily the computer expert on the radio corrected these "facts" being put out by this SBA class.

Powerbook G5
Aug 28, 2003, 11:34 PM
If I recall, Quickbooks is pre-installed on PowerBooks, isn't it? Well, my computer teacher last year insisted that Microsoft didn't make Word for the Mac and that in order to continue, I had to use a PC in order to get any work done.

PowerBook User
Aug 28, 2003, 11:46 PM
Originally posted by Powerbook G5
Scary, isn't it? Even more so that the Department of Homeland Security decided that Microsoft was the answer to their needs...
That is scary. They make it sound like Windows is more secure than Mac OS.:rolleyes:

Powerbook G5
Aug 29, 2003, 12:17 AM
If I recall, Quickbooks is pre-installed on PowerBooks, isn't it? Well, my computer teacher last year insisted that Microsoft didn't make Word for the Mac and that in order to continue, I had to use a PC in order to get any work done.

MasterMac
Aug 29, 2003, 02:02 AM
Originally posted by Powerbook G5
If I recall, Quickbooks is pre-installed on PowerBooks, isn't it? Well, my computer teacher last year insisted that Microsoft didn't make Word for the Mac and that in order to continue, I had to use a PC in order to get any work done. Double post? :p

mmmdreg
Aug 29, 2003, 02:54 AM
Someone mentioned NASA. Do they use OSX or are they like those dodgy schools that use <OSX still?

Steven1621
Aug 29, 2003, 08:29 AM
with the recent worms and the usual windows flaws, it makes one wonder why the government would use windows at all. certainly other os's have a better reputation for safety and security.

Mac Dummy
Aug 29, 2003, 08:47 AM
Hey, maybe now NASA will stop using Windows NT aboard the International Space Station!:rolleyes: :D

timman
Aug 29, 2003, 11:29 AM
This is really nothing new, the US Federal Government has used Macs in various areas since the mid 80's. There are pockets that use Macs strictly for DTP and art and then there are agencies that have historically used many OS's (like NASA). I work for a major subcontractor to NASA in Houston. NASA has HISTORICALLY used Macs and UNIX boxes quite a bit (however, these OS's are NOT the majority). I would think that the Apple's sales job to NASA should be a little easier these days, OSX is a great consolidator... you don't need two boxes anymore, your UNIX box (OSX) can now run Powerpoint, Excel and Word.

Steve

SiliconAddict
Aug 29, 2003, 11:49 AM
Why any government would use anything outside of *nix is beyond me. They have zero control over the code and zero abilities to fix a problem if found. In order of use I would say:

*nix
OSX
Amiga OS
DOS
Paper
a runner from point A to B
Anything else??!?!?!
.
.
.
Windows XP

I'd consider it criminally stupid to use windows in a federal facility. Criminal in that if data gets compromised by a hacker/cracker the person who decided to use Windows should be thrown in jail for treason ;) J/K Well sort of. If nothing they should be out of a job.
I thought I had read somewhere that the NSA has their own custom roll of BSD they use. Complete control over your OS from top to bottom. That is why many governments are going open source. The US gov isnít because they are the pinnacle of MS whoredom. I mean you HAVE to be licking Billís backside if the Department of Homeland Insecurity issues a warning about Blaster
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/08/20030814.html
and it doesnít give people serious pause for thought.

rt_brained
Aug 29, 2003, 03:34 PM
If I were the head of any government organization that decided to use Macs exclusively, I'd probably wish to keep the news quiet.

So while everyone else's computers are being attacked, my department goes about it's day-to-day business (as the Mac community does) stable, dependable and virtually untouched by outside intrusion.

There are probably a lot more departments testing or adding Macs than we think.

10 Goto 10
Aug 29, 2003, 05:22 PM
Imagine being a Fed purchasing Macs for the first time. Imagine that you have to spend your funds in the next few days or you'll lose the money forever. Imagine having your shipment yanked from under your nose today after planning to test the unit all next week. Imagine your superior advising that anyone buying Apple was a fool. Don't imagine anyone being dumb enough to order a mac anytime soon.

Happened to a friend today. Trust him to never be Jobs's b*tch again. This cancelation right around the end of the fiscal federal year was profoundly stupid and will make Mac promotion in the Gov't even more difficult.

szark
Aug 29, 2003, 07:50 PM
Originally posted by SiliconAddict
I thought I had read somewhere that the NSA has their own custom roll of BSD they use.

Actually, it's a version of Linux, and you can download it here (http://www.nsa.gov/selinux/).

coolsoldier
Aug 29, 2003, 09:06 PM
Originally posted by 10 Goto 10
Imagine being a Fed purchasing Macs for the first time. Imagine that you have to spend your funds in the next few days or you'll lose the money forever. Imagine having your shipment yanked from under your nose today after planning to test the unit all next week. Imagine your superior advising that anyone buying Apple was a fool. Don't imagine anyone being dumb enough to order a mac anytime soon.

Happened to a friend today. Trust him to never be Jobs's b*tch again. This cancelation right around the end of the fiscal federal year was profoundly stupid and will make Mac promotion in the Gov't even more difficult.

I'd have to agree that apple needs to be more reliable with their shipments before they can expect to gain any ground in government or business.

KershMan
Aug 30, 2003, 12:37 PM
Originally posted by 10 Goto 10
Imagine being a Fed purchasing Macs for the first time. Imagine that you have to spend your funds in the next few days or you'll lose the money forever. Imagine having your shipment yanked from under your nose today after planning to test the unit all next week. Imagine your superior advising that anyone buying Apple was a fool. Don't imagine anyone being dumb enough to order a mac anytime soon.

Happened to a friend today. Trust him to never be Jobs's b*tch again. This cancelation right around the end of the fiscal federal year was profoundly stupid and will make Mac promotion in the Gov't even more difficult.

Actually, it doesn't really work like this. First, very few Government offices have money this late in the year that is not obligated. Generally any money not obligated by June is consolidated at a higher agency and then spent on priority items.

If your friend had an order in, then the funds were obligated. It does not matter if they are not withdrawn until after the fiscal year ends. It only matters that they were obligated before the end of the fiscal year.

panphage
Aug 31, 2003, 03:27 AM
quote:
Originally posted by SiliconAddict
I thought I had read somewhere that the NSA has their own custom roll of BSD they use.
Originally posted by szark
Actually, it's a version of Linux, and you can download it here (http://www.nsa.gov/selinux/).

Security-enhanced Linux is a proof of concept, according to the NSA. A research project/demonstration. I don't think they use that or they wouldn't have published it. The NSA is publicity-averse.

A quote:
" This work is not intended as a complete security solution for Linux. Security-enhanced Linux is not an attempt to correct any flaws that may currently exist in Linux. Instead, it is simply an example of how mandatory access controls that can confine the actions of any process, including a superuser process, can be added into Linux. The focus of this work has not been on system assurance or other security features such as security auditing, although these elements are also important for a secure system. "

KershMan
Aug 31, 2003, 07:32 AM
Originally posted by panphage
quote:
Originally posted by SiliconAddict
I thought I had read somewhere that the NSA has their own custom roll of BSD they use.


Security-enhanced Linux is a proof of concept, according to the NSA. A research project/demonstration. I don't think they use that or they wouldn't have published it. The NSA is publicity-averse.

A quote:
" This work is not intended as a complete security solution for Linux. Security-enhanced Linux is not an attempt to correct any flaws that may currently exist in Linux. Instead, it is simply an example of how mandatory access controls that can confine the actions of any process, including a superuser process, can be added into Linux. The focus of this work has not been on system assurance or other security features such as security auditing, although these elements are also important for a secure system. "

It is used within the Government. I have worked projects that use it. The purpose of the statement is to waive any responsibility on NSA's part. The project has now migrated and is part of the Linux Security Modules project.

rjwill246
Aug 31, 2003, 10:35 AM
Originally posted by KershMan
Actually, it doesn't really work like this. First, very few Government offices have money this late in the year that is not obligated. Generally any money not obligated by June is consolidated at a higher agency and then spent on priority items.

If your friend had an order in, then the funds were obligated. It does not matter if they are not withdrawn until after the fiscal year ends. It only matters that they were obligated before the end of the fiscal year.

Absolutely true. I was about to respond to this as absolutely FUD but you've made the point. Amazing how well trolls can partly disguise themselves.

KershMan
Aug 31, 2003, 11:41 AM
Originally posted by rjwill246
Absolutely true. I was about to respond to this as absolutely FUD but you've made the point. Amazing how well trolls can partly disguise themselves.

Yep, I agree. As long as the purchase order is done before the end of the fiscal year, the funds are considered obligated. Doesn't really matter if what you bought is not delivered before the end of the fiscal year. I have worked on a contract that the funds were 2 fiscal years old, and that didn't matter either because the GSA obligated the funds before the end of the fiscal year.

michaelperez1
Sep 1, 2003, 01:45 PM
Originally posted by coolsoldier
I'd have to agree that apple needs to be more reliable with their shipments before they can expect to gain any ground in government or business. Just Consider that Apple is a Small Company in overall to microsoft even if Apple works out with shipment problems there will always be problems even with windows but consider that if they can ship over 1000 units to Virginia then in 2 months thats pretty good for a large order as for there small structure I think that was one of the reason's of the Apple Store instead of sending 100 units per week in California they can send current shipments in The Apple Stores in the Are and Shipments will arrive Faster but thats just my Idea and sorry on type errors just tired

John Q Public
Sep 1, 2003, 03:18 PM
Originally posted by Powerbook G5
Scary, isn't it? Even more so that the Department of Homeland Security decided that Microsoft was the answer to their needs...

nothing good can come of this...personally I'd rather see the government stay with Micro$haft product...if the Feds go to MacOS X and Linux for prime function...that means virii for the rest of us...the more people that switch (especially government) the greater the chance of script-kiddies shifting their focus toward Mac...remember that the first virus was for Unix...

10 Goto 10
Sep 2, 2003, 09:32 PM
Originally posted by KershMan
Actually, it doesn't really work like this. First, very few Government offices have money this late in the year that is not obligated. Generally any money not obligated by June is consolidated at a higher agency and then spent on priority items.

If your friend had an order in, then the funds were obligated. It does not matter if they are not withdrawn until after the fiscal year ends. It only matters that they were obligated before the end of the fiscal year.

I don't know where to begin. First, obviously you don't know the situation I'm discussing, so you can't prove it false. I'm not dumb enough to include details describing the agency or the individual as that could lead to quite a bit of difficulty for the players involved. If you aren't aware of the situation, you shouldn't say it isn't true. Nor is it trolling. Generalities from your experience or what someone told you while having a beer at the Big Hunt logically don't cover all situations. Waiting for someone to bring up Nazis.

As for already spending the funds, it depends entirely on when funds where distributed and what percentage of funds are for consumables, etc. Research, development, and other flexible or responsive needs require not spending everything months in advance. Also, funds were released this year in May, giving little time to order. Depending on the agency, some require outside approval of over $2500, while others at $5000. Purchases below this amount are at the discretion of individuals with funds and must be spent, not just obligated, by a certain date. This can very from agency to agency.

As for little funds be available at this point, I can point out a Washington Post article "Thriving on Government's Rush to Spend" published today in which Sept sales are at 20% of yearly sales for GTSI. Feel free to look it up and challenge the facts with a letter to the Post. Or do you call them trolls as well?

If you need to spend so many dollars and the product isn't there, you will cancel and go to another vendor. This is what happened. If those who don't know the situation wish to pontificate, I guess that is what this board is about.

End of discussion. Feel free to continue.

Phil Of Mac
Sep 2, 2003, 09:39 PM
Originally posted by 10 Goto 10
Waiting for someone to bring up Nazis.

Why? Did they make it difficult to buy new equipment mid-year? I'm confused.

Originally posted by 10 Goto 10
End of discussion. Feel free to continue.

LOL!!!

Physiognome
Sep 9, 2003, 01:27 AM
Originally posted by SiliconAddict
I thought I had read somewhere that the NSA has their own custom roll of BSD they use.

Well, I read they were interested in sponsoring OpenBSD not long ago. Theo de Raadt (infamous for being a... character, to say the least) accepted their offer, then spent the grant money before he got it and published a vicious rant about the war-mongering Bush administration. It was promptly canceled, and who was at fault is a matter of debate.

Phil Of Mac
Sep 9, 2003, 01:32 AM
Did he sue? Is this a hot court case?

manzanita
Sep 15, 2003, 11:28 PM
As for already spending the funds, it depends entirely on when funds where distributed and what percentage of funds are for consumables, etc. Research, development, and other flexible or responsive needs require not spending everything months in advance. Also, funds were released this year in May, giving little time to order. Depending on the agency, some require outside approval of over $2500, while others at $5000. Purchases below this amount are at the discretion of individuals with funds and must be spent, not just obligated, by a certain date. This can vary from agency to agency.


This is true in my experience. This is also where lots of govt employees can get Macs even though they are not (have not?) been on the list of approved OS's.

Anyway, that aside, I don't believe this rumor at all. There was a freeze on buying any hardware not on the approved list this year (separate from the spending freeze b/c of the lack of a budget), at least in the DOI (Dept of the Interior), even if they came under the $2500/$5000 limit - everything from Macs to external drives to firewalls... Lots of scientists use Macs, Suns, etc., and in order to circumvent this they have to prove that they could not get their work done with a Windows machine.

Like I said - there was (maybe still is, I'm not sure) a freeze on buying Macs in the DOI. There was a lot more talk about even more Orwellian measures regarding computer purchasing, but those haven't been instituted yet so far as I know. Very scary, though.