As announced in February 2003, Red Hat Linux Advanced Server was the first Linux platform to achieve the Department of Defense (DoD) Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Common Operating Environment (COE) certification. COE is a DoD software security and interoperability specification recognized as a critical computing standard within the U.S. government.

Red Hat joins several other COE-certified operating systems:

  • Microsoft’s Windows NT
  • IBM’s AIX
  • Sun’s Solaris 8
  • Hewlett-Packard’s HP-UX

About COE certification
According to a CNET news article, the COE certification is required for any OS to be considered for deployment on Command and Control, Computers, Communications, and Intelligence (C4I) systems. The Defense Information Infrastructure (DII) COE-Kernel Platform Compliance (KPC) program is administered by the Defense Information Systems Agency and certifies that operating systems will:

  • Provide services to applications software through required application programming interfaces (APIs).
  • Present specific appearance and behavior (look and feel as well as functionality).
  • Execute government custom code with desired behavior.
  • Demonstrate interoperability and services for data interchange.
  • Provide security features and security configuration checks.

Predictions for the future
Gartner predicted that the certification would mean progress for Red Hat—and for Linux in general—because becoming part of the COE program removes a key barrier to the use of Linux in DoD systems. “By building on the security enhancements for Linux developed by the National Security Agency and other government entities, Defense Department use of Linux will likely drive broader use of more secure versions of Linux.”

Further, Yankee Group analyst Laura DiDio told NewsFactor that the certification might help Linux sales. “If you’re a corporate end user, you’re going to say, ‘Well, if it’s good enough for the government, then it’s going to be rugged enough, robust enough, secure enough, for me.'”

What do you predict?

Do you agree with Gartner that the U.S. government will increase its use of Linux for DoD-related initiatives? Why or why not?
Do you believe the COE certification will increase trust in the Red Hat product and ultimately result in greater use of Linux in the enterprise?
Has the COE certification of Linux spurred you to invest in certification training for the Red Hat Certified Technician or Red Hat Certified Engineer?
Send us an e-mail or post your thoughts to the discussion below.