French military helps out with Thunderbird 3

For at least twelve years, various government, military, and civilian organizations have been struggling with and to break free from the shackles of Microsoft software. In 1997, the USS Yorktown, on sea trials off Cape Charles, Virginia, famously became the victim of a "Divide By Zero" database error, causing propulsion systems to fail.

However, the French military has been more pro-active in recent years. In 2003, an internal government debate began with a directive requiring state agencies "to seek maximum technological and commercial independence". The recently released Mozilla Thunderbird 3 email/news client contains code from the TrustedBird application, partially developed by the French Ministry of Defence.

Key features of the TrustedBird application are as follows:

  • Deletion Receipts - Message Delivery Notification (MDN)
  • Delivery Receipts - Delivery Status Notification (DSN)
  • Encryption / Signing, with triple wrapping
  • RFC 2634 Security Labels + Signed Receipts
  • Address Autocompletion - With Several LDAP Directories
  • CRL Download from LDAP Directories
  • Manage Out of Office Settings from Sieve Server

The French military chose open source software after finding the possibilities of developing their own security extensions, whereas Microsoft's secret, proprietary software does not allow for modifications.

According to Reuters, David Ascher, Chief Executive of Mozilla Messaging states that "the primary changes (the military) have made allow then to know for sure when messages have been read, which is critical in command-and-control situations." This is also a pre-requisite for NATO's closed messaging system.

In addition to the above software developments, other French government departments are being encouraged to use other open-source software, including Linux and OpenOffice.

Special thanks to Robert Jubb for the tip!

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34 Comments

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You wouldn't mind all the anti-French sentiment posted here, if it was written by people who actually knew what the FUQUE they were talking about.

well the french inspired the Agatha Christies Poirot, so they haven't failed to give us any...actually no, he's a Belgian detective. Nevermind :P

DKcomputers said,
well the french inspired the Agatha Christies Poirot, so they haven't failed to give us any...actually no, he's a Belgian detective. Nevermind :P

LOL

Lechio said,
They do, and it's very well equipped. They even have nuclear capabilities, go figure...

It's a shame their tests had to be done near NZ. Useless French.

Here in France we're not big shots (besides myself) but as you can see we do good work as well. French Dept. of Defense is rather discreet in terms of PR, but nonetheless active :)
Long live France, long live USA, long live Earth!

Open source is good but its just not as good as microsoft products and even good linux distros like Redhat and Suse for the server environment you have to pay for now.

Some open source products are way better than the ones sold by Microsoft. Just look at this situation, Microsoft closed source products could never be an alternative here.
Think about "mission critical" applications, clustering...

LOL you can get "good" costless distros for server environment. Think about Debian, for example. There are even costless versions of RHEL and SUSE Linux...

mattbiernat said,
there is a french rifle from World War II for sale. the seller says that it was dropped once and never used.

HAHAHA Ouch.

Lechio said,
And us to benefit from their contribution. (y)

Maybe you, but not I.. I'll never let myself be tied to a mail client on a specific computer.. I use gmail/google apps mail for all my stuff, anywhere, any computer, all the flexibility I need.

Ryoken said,
Maybe you, but not I.. I'll never let myself be tied to a mail client on a specific computer.. I use gmail/google apps mail for all my stuff, anywhere, any computer, all the flexibility I need.

I use gmail too, but nothing beats using it with an e-mail client. Kmail is my client of choice BTW, not Thunderbird.

Ryoken said,
Maybe you, but not I.. I'll never let myself be tied to a mail client on a specific computer.. I use gmail/google apps mail for all my stuff, anywhere, any computer, all the flexibility I need.

Actually you will need GMail or some other mail server to connect too to use a mail client. It's not tied to the computer at all. Why not give it a go before you post nonsense?

Lechio said,
I use gmail too, but nothing beats using it with an e-mail client. Kmail is my client of choice BTW, not Thunderbird.

i've tried to using Tbird 3, and i find one thing annoying. Syncing with Gmail/GCal is rather rough. If i want to add a new filter, the filter can either be done on the client only, or require me to log into the site so its effective everywhere. Creation of new labels and all that also.

Im kinda hoping Google releases a mail client

...have been struggling with and to break free from the shackles of Microsoft software.

That sentence makes no sense.

Actually, it makes perfect sense. They are both struggling with Microsoft software, and struggling to break free from the shackles of Microsoft software. Perhaps a couple of commas would make it more readable though:

...have been struggling with, and to break free from the shackles of, Microsoft software.

Its just typical FOSS Bolshevik nonsense, they don't feel happy writing an article about free software without using at least one opportunity to troll Microsoft. (for the record I am talking about the original author of this article not the Neowin newsposter that posted it)

Frank Fontaine said,
Its just typical FOSS Bolshevik nonsense, they don't feel happy writing an article about free software without using at least one opportunity to troll Microsoft. (for the record I am talking about the original author of this article not the Neowin newsposter that posted it)

Yeah, it's a shame that everything becomes anti Microsoft... It's getting a bit tedious...

interesting .... while i can see both arguments for pro/con ms/open source, divide by zero is funny :D

i am hoping they are not saying linux based databases do not crash .. but i agree, open source can be moded ti better suit your needs

zeta_immersion said,
interesting .... while i can see both arguments for pro/con ms/open source, divide by zero is funny :D

i am hoping they are not saying linux based databases do not crash .. but i agree, open source can be moded ti better suit your needs

Yeah, I never thought about it, but the Add ons supported by Mozilla are probably very useful for governments that need to change functionality to suite policy or domestic / international requirements... Interesting.