France's military choose open source software

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A new email client unveiled by Mozilla this week contains code from an unusual source — the French military, which decided the open source product was more secure than Microsoft`s rival Outlook.

The story of how the French government became involved with the open source movement, which has transformed much software around the world from proprietary to free, goes back six years.

France’s military chose open source software after an internal government debate that began in 2003 and culminated in a November 6, 2007, directive requiring state agencies “Seek maximum technological and commercial independence.”

 

The military found Mozilla’s open source design permitted France to build security extensions, while Microsoft’s secret, proprietary software allowed no tinkering.

“We started with a military project, but quickly generalized it,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Frederic Suel of the Ministry of Defense and one of those in charge of the project.

The Gendarmerie Nationale police, which was part of the military at the time and did the design, released some of its work to the public under the name “TrustedBird,” and co-branded it with Mozilla.

The military uses Mozilla’s Thunderbird mail software and in some cases the Trustedbird extension on 80,000 computers and it has spread to the ministries of Finance, Interior and Culture.

 

[Via Yahoo News]

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