Subject: NetBSD US Government Certified?
To: None <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Mike Cheponis <mac@Wireless.Com>
Date: 08/05/2003 03:29:16
Does NetBSD have a US Government security certification like Linux and
2 Companies to Announce U.S. Clearance for Linux Security
By STEVE LOHR
August 5, 2003
In a step to help the Linux operating system gain popularity among government and corporate users, I.B.M. and SuSE Linux plan to announce today that they have security certification for Linux from the United States government, a first for the free system.
The government, under the direction of the Pentagon's defense information agency, has revamped its certification process in the last year to improve the security of computer systems as part of the effort to strengthen homeland security.
The program, called Common Criteria certification, posed a potential hurdle to the use of Linux in government data centers because such certification programs are costly and time-consuming. Linux, a variant of the Unix operating system, was created and improved by a network of programmers who freely share the code.
I.B.M. and SuSE Linux, a German distributor of Linux, made the investment to go through the process. The certification expected to be announced today applies only to the SuSE Linux distribution of the operating system running on I.B.M. server computers. Analysts expect Red Hat, the leading American distributor of Linux, to gain certification for its Linux version soon. Hardware companies like Hewlett-Packard are expected to offer support for certification of that version.
Companies distributing Linux typically charge for the operating system when they have added software features to it, and they also charge for service and technical support. Hardware companies like I.B.M., Hewlett-Packard and Dell have supported Linux because it helps them sell more server computers. Linux is an increasingly strong competitor to the server versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system and to Unix, which is marketed in different versions by several companies.
The government's security standard, analysts say, may well also influence corporations as a kind of seal of approval as they look to make new technology investments.
"This starts to take Linux to a higher level, and gives government and corporate customers a greater level of comfort," said Nicholas M. Donofrio, a senior vice president of I.B.M.
Computer security is an increasing concern for corporations, not only because of fears that information may be lost or stolen but also because of the cost of combating computer viruses and installing software patches to fix security flaws.
"This is a step in one of the areas that needs to be addressed for Linux to move further into the mainstream," said Stuart Cohen, chief executive of the Open Source Development Lab, a supporter of Linux that is backed by a group of technology companies, including I.B.M.
Microsoft has already gained the government's security certification under the Common Criteria for its Windows 2000 operating system.