How Linux reads your fingerprints, helps national security

Then you get this one $26 million contract to put Linux on a Firescout, which is like an insignificant dot, right? The thing we were talking about in the session was, "when do we get to stop talking about open source in government?"

What I said was: "Every time we talk about open source being a big deal in government, that's us not winning". We want open source to be totally unremarkable. It should just be part of the infrastructure.

And so when someone is surprised that the US government is using Linux... you know, governments have been using Linux for a very long time. The government has been contributing to the Linux kernel since at least 2000. It's kind of funny to see people say "Ooh, Linux is in the Firescout". It's as if it's going to force cataclysmic changes in the GPL. No! It's not a cataclysmic event, it's a contract.

LXF: Are there any particularly awesome Red Hat adoptions in the US government?

GH: Sure. The FAA, their traffic flow management system, since 2001 has been running on Linux. So, every time you take a civilian flight in the United States, there's a Linux workstation managing it. US Census is a Red Hat user.

Every week, the government puts out employment numbers. If they are even five minutes late announcing it that is an apocalyptic event on Wall Street. They're running Linux.

The Patent and Trademark office, what else... the national weather service, every weather forecast comes off a Linux box.

Oh, the FBI, this is kind of fun. Every time you see a fingerprint check or a background check on somebody, that is all going back to a system that is running on... I think they're using every Red Hat product that there is.

They have 16 million records, and they run every background check, every fingerprint, all the biometric data, and when you crossed the border they took a fingerprint, right? That fingerprint went back to a data centre running all that stuff and came back in under 15 seconds to make sure that you weren't flagged. That's all Red Hat.