Your tax dollars at work: Our U.S. government has no problem spending a trillion dollars on an optional war in Iraq. Or spending many trillions bailing out rich Wall Street bankers to reward their greed and avarice. But when it comes to deploying a FREE, open-source Web browser on government computers? Now you’ve really gone too far, man!
The U.S. State Department currently uses Microsoft Internet Explorer as its one and only Web browser. At a town hall meeting led by Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, a new State Department employee asked Clinton to “please let the staff use” the Mozilla Firefox browser. The employee pointed out that Firefox had been “approved for the entire intelligence community,” and that it’s a “much safer program.” The rookie’s question was met with a chorus of applause from the audience.
Clinton couldn’t answer the question, so she deferred it to Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy, who replied that the switch to Firefox would be too expensive. Several people in the audience then yelled out, “But it’s free!” So Kennedy rambled on about IT support costs, how it would take too many “resources to manage multiple systems,” etc.
Why does our government hide an expensive thing like the “War on Terror” by excluding it from the budget and funding it solely through special appropriations, yet they turn a free thing like the Firefox browser into a major expense? If State Department employees really want to use Firefox, then perhaps they should convince Mozilla to start selling Firefox for a million dollars a copy. Our federal government can never seem to pass up a bad deal, so they’d surely jump at the chance to buy a billion dollars worth of Firefox.
Article published on July 22, 2009
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