Courts office leaps onto Linux

Linux operating systems continue to gather steam in government information technology circles, with officials at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts announcing they would support the open standard as the basis for mission-sensitive applications.

The courts agency awarded PEC Solutions Inc., based in Fairfax, Va., a contract worth up to $9 million to help migrate the administrative office's existing Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris/Intel Corp. server infrastructure to the Linux platform. The agreement is initially for one year with an option for four more years.

According to officials, the Linux systems will back several critical applications supported at court locations throughout the United States, including court and probation/pretrial services case management, finance and accounting.

The switch of operating systems was "necessitated by product support announcements within the industry that precluded further deployments using the existing Solaris/x86 platform," said Karen Redmond, a spokesperson for the courts agency.

Sun's Solaris support for the Intel platform has been mixed, with preference in the past given to its servers and workstations that use Sun's Sparc processor. Its Intel support has grown lately as sales of Sparc systems have declined, although industry reports debate the company's long-term commitment to the Intel platform.

Linux on Intel's X86 processors was selected as the best value replacement based on the operating system's open standards, marketplace acceptance and cost-performance ratio, Redmond said. The Linux/X86 combination may also provide opportunities to reconsider the way applications are deployed and run, which could result in operational savings, she added.

The administrative office's migration to Linux will occur over the next few years mostly as part of a planned replacement of nationally supported application servers.

Brian Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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