With regards to the humorous post about running Firefox, it is amazing to see that certain parts of the government are savvy enough to run it while others aren’t. However, I can’t really disagree with the point that installing / running Firefox on the State Department’s network isn’t free. You see, the real problem at the core of this issue is that the government’s procurement process and staff are, by and large, broken and incompetent. I do not mean this in a disparaging way to any individual.
Follow me here: pressure mounts from savvy end users for an alternative web browser (since Microsoft STILL can’t get a web browser right even after trying to claim that it was integral to the Windows operating system and couldn’t be separated). In response to the pressure, some government program manager gets up the guts to propose adding Firefox to the baseline applications on the network. The contractor running the IT support desk waves their hands claiming that this is a change in scope to the contract and demands an ECP (Engineering Change Proposal). After the government spends thousands of dollars authoring a terrible RFP (Request For Proposal) for this change, the contractor spends thousands of dollars authoring a response to the RFP. The government contracting office then spends some more money evaluating the technical and cost aspects of the response. The proposal contains management reserve, engineering SWAGs (Seriously Wild Ass Guesses) as to the extent of the effort required, etc. And let’s be honest, there are security issues identified periodically with Firefox and upgrades to apply, so some amount of work needs to be accounted for somewhere. So the evaluators (who mostly didn’t know about Firefox or think about putting it on the network in the first place) think, “hey, this proposal is pretty good.” Bam. Firefox 5.3 shows up on the State Department’s network in 2012.
So, yes, the government should be more savvy about OSS (Open Source Software) like Firefox. But until other problems such as the procurement process and the suckling at the government teat without stringent program-level oversight by federal contractors, we will continue to encounter interviews such as this. It does provide for some good entertainment. And seriously, for anyone working for Microsoft who reads this: (1) Gazelle better not suck after years of Internet Explorer and (2) read up on the web standards like XHTML and start adhering to it.
GorT is an eight-foot-tall robot from the 51ˢᵗ Century who routinely time-travels to steal expensive technology from the future and return it to the past for retroinvention. The profits from this pay all the Gormogons’ bills, including subsidizing this website. Some of the products he has introduced from the future include oven mitts, the Guinness widget, Oxy-Clean, and Dr. Pepper. Due to his immense cybernetic brain, GorT is able to produce a post in 0.023 seconds and research it in even less time. Only ’Puter spends less time on research. GorT speaks entirely in zeros and ones, but occasionally throws in a ڭ to annoy the Volgi. He is a massive proponent of science, technology, and energy development, and enjoys nothing more than taking the Czar’s more interesting scientific theories, going into the past, publishing them as his own, and then returning to take credit for them. He is the only Gormogon who is capable of doing math. Possessed of incredible strength, he understands the awesome responsibility that follows and only uses it to hurt people.