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"Microsoft's push is a new front in a long-running company assault on the
open-source movement, which company officials have called a cancer and un-
American."    (01)

Microsoft fights Pentagon's software
Jonathan Krim, Washington Post, Friday, May 24, 2002
C2002 San Francisco Chronicle    (02)

/BU45851.DTL    (03)

Washington -- Microsoft Corp. is aggressively lobbying the Pentagon to
squelch its growing use of freely distributed computer software and switch
to proprietary systems such as those sold by the software giant, according
to officials familiar with the campaign.    (04)

In what one military source called a barrage of contacts with officials at
the Defense Information Systems Agency and the office of Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld during the past few months, the company said open source
software threatens security and its intellectual property.    (05)

The effort may have backfired. A May 10 report prepared for the Defense
Department concluded that open source often results in more secure, less
expensive applications and that, if anything, its use should be expanded.    (06)

"Banning open source would have immediate, broad and strongly negative
impacts on the ability of many sensitive and security-focused DOD groups to
protect themselves against cyberattacks," said the report, by Mitre Corp.    (07)

A Microsoft spokesman acknowledged discussions between the company and the
Pentagon but denied urging a ban on open-source software. He also said
Microsoft did not focus on potential security flaws.    (08)

Spokesman Jon Murchinson said Microsoft has been talking about how to allow
open-source and proprietary software to coexist. "Our goal is to resolve
difficult issues that are driving a wedge between the commercial and free
software models," he said.    (09)

John Stenbit, an assistant secretary of defense and the Defense Department's
chief information officer, said Microsoft has said using free software with
commercial software might violate companies' intellectual- property rights.
Stenbit said the issue is legally murky.    (010)

The company also complained that the Pentagon is funding research on making
free software more secure, which in effect subsidizes Microsoft's
open-source competitors, Stenbit said.    (011)

Microsoft's push is a new front in a long-running company assault on the
open-source movement, which company officials have called a cancer and un-
American.    (012)

Software is designated open source when its underlying computer code is
available for anyone to license, enhance or customize, often at no cost. The
theory is that by putting source code in the public domain, programmers
worldwide can improve software by sharing their work.    (013)

Vendors of the proprietary systems, such as Microsoft and Oracle Corp., keep
their source codes secret, control changes to programs and collect all
licensing fees for their use.    (014)

Government agencies use a patchwork of systems and software. Proprietary
software is still the most widely used, but open source has become more
popular with businesses and government.    (015)

The Mitre report said open-source software "plays a more critical role in
the DOD than has been generally recognized."    (016)

The report identified 249 uses of open-source systems and tools, including
running a Web portal for the Defense Intelligence Agency and running network
security for the Army in Europe.    (017)

Among the most high-profile efforts is research funded by the National
Security Agency to develop a more-secure version of the open-source Linux
operating system, which competes with Microsoft's Windows.    (018)

At the Census Bureau, programmers used open-source software to launch a Web
site for obtaining federal statistics for $47,000, bureau officials said. It
would have cost $358,000 if proprietary software had been used, they said.    (019)

C2002 San Francisco Chronicle   Page B - 2    (020)