NOAA likes Linux for the Web

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chose to use Linux for

its new NauticalCharts.gov Web site because it wanted a system that was

reliable and had strong remote management capabilities. The site links authorized

NOAA sales agents with customers interested in buying maps of the world's

waterways.

"We knew from the beginning that it was going to be a self-contained

system, not on NOAA's infrastructure and not tied to their back end," said

Gregory Palmer, a software engineer at Software Performance Systems Inc.,

the vendor building the site.

SPS outsourced the Web aspect of the system to an Internet service provider

that it knew could support the Linux environment, Palmer said.

All in all, the final score on Linux is mixed, in Palmer's opinion.

The Linux security features are "not any better or worse than with [Microsoft

Corp.'s Windows] NT or Unix," but anything that will make Linux even more

secure would be welcomed, he said.

Also, Palmer said Linux needs to be easier to integrate with other back-

office applications, the way Microsoft products are now. But those strikes

don't disqualify Linux as a candidate for many important jobs. "In environments

where applications are Internet-based and not highly integrated with back-

office systems, Linux is a good choice," Palmer said.

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