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(Network World)   Free, open source software is cheaper to adopt than big, bad, greedy Microsoft, right? Think again   (networkworld.com) divider line 75
    More: Interesting, Microsoft, CIO, open source software, commercial software, Red Hat, data dependency  
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3233 clicks; posted to Geek » on 02 May 2014 at 9:04 PM (29 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-05-02 09:08:56 PM  
Thanks Obama!
 
2014-05-02 09:09:09 PM  
For end-user machines?  Sure, I'd believe that.

For servers?  Not so much.
 
2014-05-02 09:12:20 PM  
FTA: "Microsoft has been flexible and helpful in the way we apply their products to improve the operation of our frontline services..."

So Microsoft's support is more helpful than a bunch of 13 year old trolls on IRC calling you a moron because you accidentally messed up your fstab file and now your computer won't boot? No way. I call shenanigans.
 
2014-05-02 09:20:47 PM  

China White Tea: For end-user machines?  Sure, I'd believe that.

For servers?  Not so much.


On the other hand, he is leery of depending on a small firm, and Red Hat aside, there aren't that many large, financially solid firms in open source like Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft. Smaller firms often offer the greatest innovation, but there is a risk in agreeing to a significant deal with a smaller player.

"There's a huge dependency for a large organization using a small organization. [You need] to be mindful of the risk that they can't handle the scale and complexity, or that the product may need adaptation to work with our infrastructure," said Creese.


And this is exactly why what he said is true.  Microsoft's enterprise support is top of the line.  SAP will take on any project(they fark up most of them, though, honestly).  In the Linux/BSD world you do not have nearly as many capable businesses.  I work in the public sector for a software company and the mindset from the biggest agencies basically is that they won't invest in you if they don't believe around long enough to support the product for the time they're going to use it(and they're going to use it for 20+ years because that's what public sector does).  These places don't attract too many top notch Linux people.  They don't pay well enough.  They're magnets for certified folks, like MCSE, CCIE, etc, though, because their pay scales are more in line and they have replaceable skills(a good Linux admin simply isn't replaceable), even if the quality is less.
 
2014-05-02 09:21:57 PM  
Here is my 2 cents worth after being in the business for many years. So there a valid uses for both in any large enterprise.  For standard "busiiness process machines" running an office suite, e-mail client, etc that you want to keep in lockstep and manage pretty tightly, Microsoft is better. For some servers Microsoft makes sense.  Microsoft has some kick-ass development tools and environments, too.  For server farms or visualization platforms, 3rd party software on open source makes sense.  Open source also gets used in the "appliance" space: servers with dedicated specific jobs that have been customized by a vendor.  Finally, open source makes sense if YOU are the one wanting to implement some sort of custom solution not built on standard software. G
 
2014-05-02 09:23:28 PM  

bhcompy: China White Tea: For end-user machines?  Sure, I'd believe that.

For servers?  Not so much.

On the other hand, he is leery of depending on a small firm, and Red Hat aside, there aren't that many large, financially solid firms in open source like Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft. Smaller firms often offer the greatest innovation, but there is a risk in agreeing to a significant deal with a smaller player.

"There's a huge dependency for a large organization using a small organization. [You need] to be mindful of the risk that they can't handle the scale and complexity, or that the product may need adaptation to work with our infrastructure," said Creese.

And this is exactly why what he said is true.  Microsoft's enterprise support is top of the line.  SAP will take on any project(they fark up most of them, though, honestly).  In the Linux/BSD world you do not have nearly as many capable businesses.  I work in the public sector for a software company and the mindset from the biggest agencies basically is that they won't invest in you if they don't believe around long enough to support the product for the time they're going to use it(and they're going to use it for 20+ years because that's what public sector does).  These places don't attract too many top notch Linux people.  They don't pay well enough.  They're magnets for certified folks, like MCSE, CCIE, etc, though, because their pay scales are more in line and they have replaceable skills(a good Linux admin simply isn't replaceable), even if the quality is less.


To finish my thought.. you pay more in licensing up front for MS, but it costs you less in basically every other category over the life of the product, and the same goes for supporting enterprise software on the platform.
 
2014-05-02 09:24:49 PM  
No obvious tag?
 
2014-05-02 09:28:59 PM  
The thing for me about open source stuff, even though they may work well, the UI is normally terrible and the documentation is ornamental.
 
2014-05-02 09:38:22 PM  
I could have sworn those startup guys at what was it called, IBM? did Linux consulting.

I program software that moves millions of dollars daily. On an Open Source platform. From a MS windows works station. I guess I'm getting a kick...
 
2014-05-02 09:42:54 PM  
Partnering with Microsoft never ends well, and many companies learn the hard way.   They treat their partners like complete garbage and their salespeople deliberately torpedo the deals they want to take direct.
 
2014-05-02 09:53:34 PM  
Wouldn't it really depend on if you have a per seat vs. per server license?
 
2014-05-02 09:57:36 PM  
If you have a job that uses nothing but open-source software, for which you had to be specially trained, and you do that job for a few years, and then you want to get a job elsewhere... what are you going to tell them?

"I have no idea how to use any of the industry-standard software, but I'm willing to learn."

Yeah. Good luck with that.
 
2014-05-02 10:04:30 PM  

a particular individual: If you have a job that uses nothing but open-source software, for which you had to be specially trained, and you do that job for a few years, and then you want to get a job elsewhere... what are you going to tell them?

"I have no idea how to use any of the industry-standard software, but I'm willing to learn."

Yeah. Good luck with that.


Perl, Python etc. can't be used in a Windows shop?
 
2014-05-02 10:04:30 PM  
In before someone accuses the UK CIO of working for MS!
 
2014-05-02 10:05:00 PM  

rustypouch: The thing for me about open source stuff, even though they may work well, the UI is normally terrible and the documentation is ornamental.


I used to work for a major electrical retailer in the UK, sorta like Best Buy, and all their in store PCs ran Linux with their retail software on top. That retail software would be no different if it was a Windows machine. In fact the sales guys whose job was to sell PCs had no clue they were using Linux at all.
 
2014-05-02 10:10:01 PM  

Flint Ironstag: rustypouch: The thing for me about open source stuff, even though they may work well, the UI is normally terrible and the documentation is ornamental.

I used to work for a major electrical retailer in the UK, sorta like Best Buy, and all their in store PCs ran Linux with their retail software on top. That retail software would be no different if it was a Windows machine. In fact the sales guys whose job was to sell PCs had no clue they were using Linux at all.


Was it the guy who hated Apple but hated Linux even worse that used an Android phone?
 
2014-05-02 10:10:07 PM  

bhcompy: To finish my thought.. you pay more in licensing up front for MS, but it costs you less in basically every other category over the life of the product, and the same goes for supporting enterprise software on the platform.


It really depends upon your admins. If you're lucky enough to have knowledgable Linux admins that are both aggressive in their continued learning and aren't assholes to others, I've got to think Linux servers are still much, much, much cheaper in TCO. That or your server count is massive.

I guess what I'm trying to say is if you have a very talented and knowledgable cast that are mature and nice, even Microsoft knows there's know way they'll ever be a better buy. If you're an asshole, or your cast are assholes and/or morans, MS is insanely cheaper.
 
2014-05-02 10:11:23 PM  

Flint Ironstag: rustypouch: The thing for me about open source stuff, even though they may work well, the UI is normally terrible and the documentation is ornamental.

I used to work for a major electrical retailer in the UK, sorta like Best Buy, and all their in store PCs ran Linux with their retail software on top. That retail software would be no different if it was a Windows machine. In fact the sales guys whose job was to sell PCs had no clue they were using Linux at all.


This is a prime example of what I'm talking about. If you're a Linux advocate, but also a well-known asshole, no one cares.
 
2014-05-02 10:12:24 PM  
The idea with OSS is that people are diligently going through the code looking for bugs. Everyone has sort of had faith that this is going on even though they weren't doing it themselves.

OpenSSL is a critical piece of security infrastructure - yet the code is a mess and it took the community several years to figure out that the bug that lead to heartbleed was present in the code.

So while the ideal is "we'll have open code and people will donate their time to doing all the boring bug and security testing stuff" - the reality is that people aren't doing the serious bug and security testing stuff.

They probably would if they were paid to do it (which is what some of the new initiatives are about).

Open Source is great - but you need to pay people to do the boring crap so that something like OpenSSL doesn't happen again (and given it was in a critical piece of code related to security and no one noticed for a long time, it will happen again). The challenging thing is to come up with a revenue model that allows the code to remain open, but to have people paid to do the boring crap.
 
2014-05-02 10:19:10 PM  

a particular individual: If you have a job that uses nothing but open-source software, for which you had to be specially trained, and you do that job for a few years, and then you want to get a job elsewhere... what are you going to tell them?

"I have no idea how to use any of the industry-standard software, but I'm willing to learn."

Yeah. Good luck with that.


Let me change the statement slightly:
You have a job that uses nothing but  proprietarysoftware, for which you had to be specially trained, and you do that job for a few years, and then you want to get a job elsewhere... what are you going to tell them?

Substitute that and you will see that any sort of "proprietary" line of business software "limits" you, open source or not.  The assumption, however, is wrong.  Let's for the sake argument say you are well versed in the control software for a injection molding machines.  You have written automation surrounding it.  Your usefulness as an account rep who has to use a CRM may be very limited, but you are damn near priceless to the shops that use this particular injection molding solution.

Long story short: specialization makes you more valuable, not less.  You are limited in where you can work, but you can make a shiatload in the places you can.  The ideal is to strike a balance, with enough deep knowledge + skills that can translate.  So even though (in my example) you  built those skills around this injection molding solution, maybe, just maybe, they can be translated to another manufacturing automation system.  Replace injection molding software with CRM, video transcoding, chemical titration, etc and you see that specialization can actually be a good thing.
 
2014-05-02 10:21:05 PM  
It's a self fulfilling prophecy; windows has more money and backers, therefore Linux/Unix OS's suffer and get worse... so more people go with Windows and spend more money on it... et voila!

Govt/ Uni's should invest more in Linux/ Unix/ Programming skills/ courses/ classes; and then more highly trained people would be in the job market for supporting businesses/ writing Linux apps.

The nice proof of this is the success seen in Android/ Iphone (IOS) and how these two are supplanting and then replacing MS crap~tastick software in small business/ medium business/ and now enterprise use... ( not even counting the death of Nokia and Blackberry)... well, cheers to non-winblows software!

/running Koppix on a nice salvaged Dell
//admin RHE for work
///yeah Internet Explorer, management won't let us change over to 100% Chrome/FF
/Vyeah XP, still have over 1,000 desktops running this piece of swiss cheese.
V trying to get my daughter to write iPhone apps to pay for my golden years!
 
2014-05-02 10:24:21 PM  
The only time Microsoft is cheaper overall in on end user machines where you can pay a college kid peanuts to do level 1 helpdesk and phone-monkey duty, clearing paper jams and resetting passwords and such. Windows low-level support is easier to find than STDs at Tila Tequila's house party and even cheaper.

Real support gurus for proper servers and high-end network engineering/DB work are hard to find and fairly expensive. They're also mostly really, REALLY good.

I can walk outside and piss on the lawn and hit two guys who can VBScript and call themselves 'programmers'....script kiddies are everywhere. That's the only way Windows machines and their software are cheaper, it's that you can drive 8 or 9 people to suicide trying to support them and still come out ahead in TCO for the bean-counters in Accounting.
 
2014-05-02 10:37:19 PM  

narkor: OpenSSL is a critical piece of security infrastructure - yet the code is a mess and it took the community several years to figure out that the bug that lead to heartbleed was present in the code.


Meanwhile in Redmond, a well know software publisher announces a zero-day exploit that is present in the last 6 major versions of their web browser

/and we ain't talking Firefox versioning rates either
 
2014-05-02 10:40:06 PM  

narkor: The idea with OSS is that people are diligently going through the code looking for bugs. Everyone has sort of had faith that this is going on even though they weren't doing it themselves.

OpenSSL is a critical piece of security infrastructure - yet the code is a mess and it took the community several years to figure out that the bug that lead to heartbleed was present in the code.

So while the ideal is "we'll have open code and people will donate their time to doing all the boring bug and security testing stuff" - the reality is that people aren't doing the serious bug and security testing stuff.

They probably would if they were paid to do it (which is what some of the new initiatives are about).

Open Source is great - but you need to pay people to do the boring crap so that something like OpenSSL doesn't happen again (and given it was in a critical piece of code related to security and no one noticed for a long time, it will happen again). The challenging thing is to come up with a revenue model that allows the code to remain open, but to have people paid to do the boring crap.


Are you really prepared to argue that the proprietary model is, on average, outperforming open source, vuln-wise?  Because unless you can successfully do that (and good luck, with a new major IE vuln every other week, including this week's which, IIRC, goes all the way back to IE 6...), all you've really done here is conflate "anecdote" and "data".
 
2014-05-02 10:57:44 PM  

haterade69: bhcompy: To finish my thought.. you pay more in licensing up front for MS, but it costs you less in basically every other category over the life of the product, and the same goes for supporting enterprise software on the platform.

It really depends upon your admins. If you're lucky enough to have knowledgable Linux admins that are both aggressive in their continued learning and aren't assholes to others, I've got to think Linux servers are still much, much, much cheaper in TCO. That or your server count is massive.

I guess what I'm trying to say is if you have a very talented and knowledgable cast that are mature and nice, even Microsoft knows there's know way they'll ever be a better buy. If you're an asshole, or your cast are assholes and/or morans, MS is insanely cheaper.


And this guy is talking from a public IT perspective.  Public IT doesn't generally have those resources.  Hell, 2/3 of my customers contract their IT.  Big business has those resources because they'll pay the premium those people ask for(and deserve).

Yea, if you're highly experienced it's cheaper to implement, but you have to pay the people to do it and you have to hope that what they did is thoroughly documented, because there is way more than one way to skin an open source cat(which goes back to my statement about linux admins being irreplaceable).  The end result is unless you have a dedicated, reliable resource for the life of the product, you'll end up paying more down the road in other ways than just licensing costs
 
2014-05-02 11:19:21 PM  
I recently had to put a call in to Microsoft at 11:30 at night to get help with a tricky domain controller deployment. Someone called me back within an hour.  We had actually solved the problem right before he called so he spent the next hour and 45 minutes reviewing logs and checking everything out and at the end the call was free because we solved the problem ourselves.

I was impressed.
 
2014-05-02 11:21:37 PM  

China White Tea: Are you really prepared to argue that the proprietary model is, on average, outperforming open source, vuln-wise? Because unless you can successfully do that (and good luck, with a new major IE vuln every other week, including this week's which, IIRC, goes all the way back to IE 6...), all you've really done here is conflate "anecdote" and "data".


At the end of the day, is this what decides everything?
 
2014-05-02 11:42:26 PM  
I'm guessing that at least Microsoft has paid an employee or two to check the software's source code for errors every now and then, just so, oh let's say, a massive security flaw doesn't go unnoticed for 2 farking years.
 
2014-05-02 11:48:49 PM  

cyberspacedout: I'm guessing that at least Microsoft has paid an employee or two to check the software's source code for errors every now and then, just so, oh let's say, a massive security flaw doesn't go unnoticed for 2 farking years.


You mean the code flaw that's been in place since IE6 was new? That was just reported and landed an out of cycle AND out of support patch from MS?

Care to check your calendar year totals again there, chief?
 
2014-05-02 11:53:10 PM  
everything counts...
 
2014-05-02 11:57:17 PM  

rogue49: everything counts...


Yea.

Well, for our challenged friends that can't look ...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/microsoft-releases -s ecurity-update-for-explorer/2014/05/01/8059f508-d14e-11e3-a714-be7e7f1 42085_story.html?wpsrc=AG0003336

Just as an FYI for the mouthbreathing tardballs:

Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) is the sixth major revision of Internet Explorer, a web browser developed by Microsoft for Windows operating systems. It was released on August 27, 2001, shortly after the completion of Windows XP.
 
2014-05-03 12:01:20 AM  

Your Hind Brain: a particular individual: If you have a job that uses nothing but open-source software, for which you had to be specially trained, and you do that job for a few years, and then you want to get a job elsewhere... what are you going to tell them?

"I have no idea how to use any of the industry-standard software, but I'm willing to learn."

Yeah. Good luck with that.

Perl, Python etc. can't be used in a Windows shop?


Nope, because you might leave and then anything you wrote we can't support or developed further by the rest of the team without a lot of extra hassle. If that is all that is on your CV at our place, it wouldn't even make the first cut.
 
2014-05-03 12:17:51 AM  

haterade69: It really depends upon your admins. If you're lucky enough to have knowledgable Linux admins that are both aggressive in their continued learning and aren't assholes to others, I've got to think Linux servers are still much, much, much cheaper in TCO. That or your server count is massive.


Yet another problem with managing open source at a large enterprise.  People leave.   You have to replace them quickly and seamlessly with the the available on the market.
 
2014-05-03 12:31:16 AM  

rustypouch: The thing for me about open source stuff, even though they may work well, the UI is normally terrible and the documentation is ornamental.


Uh. So you've obviously never used Visual Studio or looked up methods on MSDN.

/Thank the lawd for Stack Overflow
 
2014-05-03 12:41:34 AM  

cyberspacedout: I'm guessing that at least Microsoft has paid an employee or two to check the software's source code for errors every now and then, just so, oh let's say, a massive security flaw doesn't go unnoticed for 2 farking years.


...really? Pay any attention at all to infosec news this week?
 
2014-05-03 12:43:11 AM  

InmanRoshi: haterade69: It really depends upon your admins. If you're lucky enough to have knowledgable Linux admins that are both aggressive in their continued learning and aren't assholes to others, I've got to think Linux servers are still much, much, much cheaper in TCO. That or your server count is massive.

Yet another problem with managing open source at a large enterprise.  People leave.   You have to replace them quickly and seamlessly with the the available on the market.


I think as karmic punishment for this statement, you should have to run "mission critical components whose source code was lost due to bankruptcy or negligence" through a decompiler and analyze the results with an impatient C-level demanding answers.

Then we'll see how you feel about how quickly and seamlessly you can swap proprietary versus open source.
 
2014-05-03 12:44:31 AM  
yum install coolthing
 
2014-05-03 12:47:18 AM  

andyofne: China White Tea: Are you really prepared to argue that the proprietary model is, on average, outperforming open source, vuln-wise? Because unless you can successfully do that (and good luck, with a new major IE vuln every other week, including this week's which, IIRC, goes all the way back to IE 6...), all you've really done here is conflate "anecdote" and "data".

At the end of the day, is this what decides everything?


Everything? No. But when someone presents a, "hurfblurf heartbleed!!! 1! 1" argument, that's the context they have chosen, so the natural followup question is, "Is proprietary more performant in that context?"
 
2014-05-03 12:49:31 AM  

MusicMakeMyHeadPound: rustypouch: The thing for me about open source stuff, even though they may work well, the UI is normally terrible and the documentation is ornamental.

Uh. So you've obviously never used Visual Studio or looked up methods on MSDN.

/Thank the lawd for Stack Overflow


Not taking a side in the debate but
'this' for stack overflow.
 
2014-05-03 01:13:49 AM  

sotua: I could have sworn those startup guys at what was it called, IBM? did Linux consulting.

I program software that moves millions of dollars daily. On an Open Source platform. From a MS windows works station. I guess I'm getting a kick...


That's cool.  I do budget processes that consider millions of dollars a rounding error.  For actuals we use a lot of Oracle stuff that calcs down to the 13th decimal and even then with the number of transactions we have, I've seen millions fall out as the rounding piece.
 
2014-05-03 01:23:00 AM  
If OSS advocates spent one hundredth as much time checking code for vulnerabilities as they do talking about how superior the process was on forums, the code would be bulletproof.
 
2014-05-03 01:24:05 AM  

MusicMakeMyHeadPound: rustypouch: The thing for me about open source stuff, even though they may work well, the UI is normally terrible and the documentation is ornamental.

Uh. So you've obviously never used Visual Studio or looked up methods on MSDN.

/Thank the lawd for Stack Overflow


IN-FARKING-DEED. MSDN Library entries look like they were written to discourage you from using .NET, and if you do a search on MSDN the best results are links to Stack Overflow.

FYI: Working on my MCSD: Web Applications.

My $0.02 about the article: Microsoft works well for businesses because MS has always been about software for business. It's always seemed to me that open source is about sticking it to MS and companies like them; if you can't join them, beat them maybe (?). No clue, really. What I really don't understand is why every guy I've ever worked with that was a Linux / open source guy had such a shiatty attitude towards everything that wasn't Linux / open source, and everyone that didn't embrace it. I mean, they couldn't have a conversation without biatching about MS. I dunno, I just always found it strange.
 
2014-05-03 01:25:02 AM  

xaks: The only time Microsoft is cheaper overall in on end user machines where you can pay a college kid peanuts to do level 1 helpdesk and phone-monkey duty, clearing paper jams and resetting passwords and such. Windows low-level support is easier to find than STDs at Tila Tequila's house party and even cheaper.

Real support gurus for proper servers and high-end network engineering/DB work are hard to find and fairly expensive. They're also mostly really, REALLY good.

I can walk outside and piss on the lawn and hit two guys who can VBScript and call themselves 'programmers'....script kiddies are everywhere. That's the only way Windows machines and their software are cheaper, it's that you can drive 8 or 9 people to suicide trying to support them and still come out ahead in TCO for the bean-counters in Accounting.


Nice thing about MS products, most problems are level 1 fixes.  With Linux you need a guru just to know why the screen flipped or a drive isn't mounting.
 
2014-05-03 01:42:26 AM  
Is this the thread where is post the smug? 5 person engineering company; redhat server. Open office customized for our use with wordperfect macros; All i have left to do is to make the time to get the alladin key for SKM to run on the linux box along with Poet so my co-workers don't have to wait for my random resets (maybe once a week) when I get an SKM crash.

Microsoft can suck it. I refuse to pay for software i do not have to so our overhead is less and software front end stays relatively static.

/company's end product is a study/report and has been for over 30 years
//been therefor only 15...
///learning curves are not THAT long to train someone to use a word proccessor
 
2014-05-03 01:44:37 AM  

narkor: The idea with OSS is that people are diligently going through the code looking for bugs. Everyone has sort of had faith that this is going on even though they weren't doing it themselves.

OpenSSL is a critical piece of security infrastructure - yet the code is a mess and it took the community several years to figure out that the bug that lead to heartbleed was present in the code.

So while the ideal is "we'll have open code and people will donate their time to doing all the boring bug and security testing stuff" - the reality is that people aren't doing the serious bug and security testing stuff.

They probably would if they were paid to do it (which is what some of the new initiatives are about).

Open Source is great - but you need to pay people to do the boring crap so that something like OpenSSL doesn't happen again (and given it was in a critical piece of code related to security and no one noticed for a long time, it will happen again). The challenging thing is to come up with a revenue model that allows the code to remain open, but to have people paid to do the boring crap.


This is precisely why we need to keep developing new code at the kernel level. Linux is great but I've watched it become even more difficult to keep tabs on what's going on, despite it becoming easier for newbies to get in.

It all comes down to keeping spaghetti out and thoughtful, small, and concise code as not only your base but also as philosophy. Consider the "everything is a file" paradigm... ohh wait tty only looks like a file.

/leaning more and more towards OSX and plan 9.
//I love my G5
 
2014-05-03 02:01:28 AM  
"No one ever got fired for buying Microsoft." - CIO, 2014
"No one ever got fired for buying IBM." Data Processing Director, 1984
 
2014-05-03 02:01:51 AM  

narkor: If OSS advocates spent one hundredth as much time checking code for vulnerabilities as they do talking about how superior the process was on forums, the code would be bulletproof.


I repeat my previous question: Does proprietary software actually outperform OSS with respect to security?
 
2014-05-03 02:30:26 AM  

rustypouch: The thing for me about open source stuff, even though they may work well, the UI is normally terrible and the documentation is ornamental.


It's "free" if your time is worthless.
 
2014-05-03 02:57:26 AM  
Open source software does certain niche things very well.  For smaller projects where the up-front licensing costs are the major expense, they tend to do well.  On large projects dominated by training and maintenance costs, the added levels of support you'll get from a paid product generally justify the costs.
 
2014-05-03 03:52:43 AM  
People who point to heartbleed as a reason not to use open source have not concept of how software is written or maintained.  Even when the source code is readily available, it took two years for anyone to spot the bug.  With closed source, no one is looking.  Management isn't going to authorize the budget for someone to "poke around and see if anything turns up."  So serious bugs *cough* Internet Explorer *cough* only turn up by accident or when an exploit is used to break into systems in significant numbers.
 
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