The goal of the US Army is to move from Windows to Linux. In the meantime, the Army has to find ways to make the two work together. It's turning to Red Hat to do so and to a group of internal IT professionals to create a "Battle Command" that will explore how to move the Army from 20th-century Windows to 21st-century Linux.
In the case of the US Army, integration is a matter of life and death. The Army is "talking about taking the battle command applications [they] are building and combining them with the battle command capabilities that are in the Air Force, Navy and Marines, making sure they work together and draw from the same data." The US Army didn't turn to Microsoft for patent-approved Linux but rather to Red Hat:
At the moment, Linux-based operating systems can communicate only to a limited degree with Microsoft-based systems, according to an Army official familiar with the summits.
"Red Hat 5 will link Linux with Microsoft and allow FCS forces to link with other brigade combat teams," the Army official said. "This will be an interim solution because over the long haul, eventually all of the Army's networks will be Linux-based.
Funny that. The US Army apparently understands that interoperability and integration are technical, not legal, issues. And it's responding accordingly by integrating the two.
I suspect that the military will find plenty of value in Windows and will not end up scrapping Windows for Linux. At least, not wholesale. Instead, the two will sit side by side. Hopefully the private sector will benefit from this integration. That's the promise of open source.
At any rate, this is exciting news. The US Army is deploying Linux in a truly mission-critical context. If it's good enough for the US Army, it's good enough for running an ERP system, database, etc.