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What server software does your agency run?

It's good to know that the government is saving money in at least one area of procurement: Server software.

We've been running our favorite government Web sites through "What's that site running?" feature, from Internet services firm Netcraft.

The service queries Web servers for the operating system and Web server software they run. For certain sites, it also compiles uptime data.

Not surprisingly, most agencies (or, in most cases, the contractors that run their sites) stick with stable tried-and-true versions of server software and supporting operating systems, often to the point of antiquity.

The White House still serves up its home page with Solaris 8. It works for the site, though. The servers seem to be rebooted only about every 180 days or so, according to Netcraft's surveillance. (And here's an oddity, the White House Internet Protocol address is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, of all organizations).

FEMA itself runs Apache on a generic Linux, perhaps thanks to the influence of former CIO Barry West, who was a big advocate of Linux.

NASA runs Linux as well, along with an older version of Apache (version 2.0 rather than the current 2.2). Keep those puppies patched.

Not surprisingly, the National Security Administration has yet to make the move to Windows Server 2008, sticking with Windows Server 2003. And the Internal Revenue Service seems to run a few leftover copies of IBM's OS/2.

Health and Human Services uses Netscape Enterprise. The last version of that software was released in 2001, and Sun Microsystems has since subsumed the software, rebranding it Sun Java System Web Server, according to Wikipedia.

The Army, surprisingly, runs many of its homepage servers on Apple OS X and the WebStar server software, though it also keeps at least one copy of Windows 2000 and Internet Information Server 5.0 chugging along, not surprising given how the service still maintains its World War II-era Deuce-and-a-Half truck fleet.

Well, we reckon when it comes to either trucks or servers, a good mechanic can keep anything running.

Posted by Joab Jackson on Apr 10, 2008 at 9:39 AM


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