US State Department Thinks Firefox is Too Expensive

In the following video, a women asks Hillary Clinton why the US State Department staff cannot use Firefox, even though the browser is completely free and was approved for the “entire intelligence community.” The answer? Deploying and maintaining the browser is “too expensive.”

The only reason I can think of as to why they would give an answer like this is that the organization runs non-standard compliant applications that only work under IE. Converting those applications could cost a lot of money. But noting deployment and maintenance costs as reasons to not adopt the browser is completely ridiculous.

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10 Responses to US State Department Thinks Firefox is Too Expensive

  1. I don't think you can really say "noting deployment and maintenance costs as reasons to not adopt the browser is completely ridiculous"

    How is it ridiculous?

    If you want to keep things simple and efficient in business you try to standardise everything. Presuming they use windows as the OS, deployments, policies and updates are very easy to do. Not so with firefox

  2. I dunno deployment is something Mozilla need to work on in order for big corporations to take it on. As at the moment installing an executable on hundreds of systems is a very resource-hungry task and then then upgrading monthly.

  3. There are very real costs from deploying Firefox–the support people need to learn how to support it.

  4. How do you stop individual employees from installing however many addons and Greasemonkey scripts they want?

    Some employees might get a bit carried away and spend a lot of working time searching for cool addons and then customizing and perfecting their browsers.

    • "How do you stop individual employees from installing however many addons and Greasemonkey scripts they want? "

      It's called employee monitoring. I, like @Carl, work for the government. I installed one of those pdf printing replacements on one of my machines. Within the week, an admin lackey came by my desk, said I'd been black-listed, and sat at my desk to remove the offending software.

      Bottom line is as @nroach says: the government only wants to invest in supporting one browser. Since IE is the biggest and comes pre-bundled with our OS of choice, it's the clear winner.

      As for security, they have firewalls and a black-list of sites. If they stop EVERY system from downloading .msi or .exe or .zip from the web, AND auto-encrypt any portable media connected, AND monitor email, you're butt is officially grounded in using what they provide you and nothing else.

  5. > But noting deployment and maintenance costs as reasons

    > to not adopt the browser is completely ridiculous.

    Deployment and maintenance costs can be extreme to a level I would not have imagined if I didn't work in a large government organization. You can pooh-pooh and deride them all you like, but there do exist real concerns that trump personal or ideological browser preferences.

    If switching to Firefox became cheaper than staying with Internet Explorer then you would see it happen rather quickly. Firefox focuses on empowering users so it is by far the better browser to use. Microsoft focuses on empowering administrators and managers, so it is the cheaper option for an organization.

  6. It would be interesting to see results of a study comparing comparing the security costs / risk between running IE and Firefox on government computers.

    This reminds me of the other recent news about Orange UK fining technicians £250 for using Firefox instead of IE6: http://tinyurl.com/n3mrqs

  7. You people need to understand that development of apps for firefox cost more than IE. Most apps are already designed for IE and it makes no sense for companies to develop for a second browser. I sure that there many that would love have chrome as their choice. Employees can do whatever they want on their home machines. Just let the IT departments control running of the work environment. This not even a news worthy issue. Firefox is a great product and I use to push it to all my friends for many years…. but since ie7 and chrome…. i've kind of lost intrest in it…. Maybe ill dust it off tonight and launch it for a second or two….