Now in a sign that the tide may be
turning in the email client war, the French army has enlisted to help
Mozilla in its fight. France's military was aided in their
decision by a November 6, 2007 directive that basically encouraged
government organizations to pursue open source software. The
government order tells the state agencies to "Seek maximum
technological and commercial independence."
that Microsoft's proprietary client did not allow open, easy to
implement extensions, the military decided to give
Outlook the boot and turned to Mozilla's client to create
extensions to improve security and bookkeeping.
Lieutenant-Colonel Frederic Suel of the Ministry of Defense
describes, "We started with a military project, but quickly
The result of their work has now been
released in part to the public. Mozilla and France claim that
the open system of extensions has allowed the new modified
Thunderbird client, dubbed "TrustedBird" to be much more
secure that Microsoft Outlook. Besides use by French military
and police, the client is also used by Finance, Interior and Culture
and is installed on 80,000 government computers in
TrustedBird code is bundled into the just released
Thunderbird 3, making for a very secure client. Besides the
French military, over 1,000 technical professionals worldwide freely
offered their time and expertise to make the client's updated
design. Describes David Ascher, chief executive of Mozilla
Messaging, "The primary changes (the military) have made allow
them to know for sure when messages have been read, which is critical
in a command-and-control organization. [The French military is]
helping build an ecosystem of specialists around the world that
provide specialized add-ons, leveraging our platform to help meet
The French are also looking to boot
other Microsoft products, opting for open-source initiatives driven
by volunteer efforts. They're slowly phasing in use of Samba
server programs (instead of Windows server), Linux distros (instead
of Windows), Firefox (instead of Internet Explorer), and Open Office
(instead of Microsoft Office). The French understand that even
"free" open-source software isn't entirely free and has its
costs. Describes, Col. Bruno Poirier-Coutansais of the
information technology team Gendarmerie Nationale. "It is never
In particular, the French are
having to pay to train new employees on how to properly use
Thunderbird, as well as to retrain existing employees. Those
costs, along with Microsoft's excellent technical support initially
caused the military to avoid Thunderbird. Microsoft has a large
headquarters in France, while Mozilla only has a remote office with
10 employees. Mr. Poirier-Coutansais admits that his
organization's reluctance was largely "because it is less
reassuring than to have a renowned company that can bring quality
As for Thunderbird 3, its new implementation
qualifies it for NATO's closed messaging system. France has
showed off the new client to NATO, and is urging NATO (which the U.S.
is a member of) to embrace the client as a whole. That doesn't
seem outside the realm of possibility as the UK
and U.S. governments, arguably NATO's two most powerful members, have
towards open source of late.
Some aren't convinced,
though, that businesses and government organizations by-and-large
will buy into open-source software. States Bernard-Louis
Roques, chief executive of Truffle Capital IT, an investment fund
specializing in software, "The professional market is showing
more resistance to open source software."
quote: Statue of Liberty? Sure, come and get it. Kind of clutters up the harbour anyway.
quote: I think the the grave yards in France full of US GIs have more than paid our debt to France many times over. So yes let's us end the French jokes but let us also pretend the US is in their debt.
quote: Americans love to give the French a hard time, only trying to distract from their own pitiful short comings I think.
quote: Viva le Thunderbird!
quote: The primary changes (the military) have made allow them to know for sure when messages have been read.
quote: Holy Crap does France actually have a military? LOL!!!
quote: Frustrated that Microsoft's proprietary client did not allow open, easy to implement extensions, the military decided to give Outlook the boot and turned to Mozilla's client to create extensions to improve security and bookkeeping.
quote: What is the major security issue in Outlook, which is simply an email client, that couldn't be fixed without switching to Thunderbird?
quote: Those costs, along with Microsoft's excellent technical support initially caused the military to avoid Thunderbird.
quote: The iPhone lets you surf the world wide web, which was created by Europeans in Europe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_wide_web#Histor...
quote: I said modern, not ancient history.
quote: extensively utilizes another American technology -- the Internet.
quote: (although not a very proud one at the moment with the idiots we have elected to run our nation lately)
quote: You forgot Whittle and the first modern axial compressor jet engine.