Is browser freedom for State Department wage slaves too much to ask? Check out this laugh-a-minute exchange from a State "town hall meeting" featuring Sec. Hillary Clinton, undersecretary for management Patrick Kennedy, and Firefox-deprived worker bee Jim Finkle.
Finkle: Can you please let the staff use an alternative Web browser called Firefox? I just—(applause)—I just moved to the State Department from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and was surprised that State doesn't use this browser. It was approved for the entire intelligence community, so I don't understand why State can't use it. It's a much safer program. Thank you. (Applause.)
Clinton: Well, apparently, there's a lot of support for this suggestion. (Laughter.) I don't know the answer. Pat, do you know the answer? (Laughter.)
Kennedy: The answer is, at the moment, it's an expense question. We can—
Finkle: It's free. (Laughter.)
Kennedy: Nothing is free.
Apparently Hillary Clinton's department (perhaps alone in Obama's cabinet) has internalized the lesson that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Kenendy's right, as CNET points out, that it wouldn't be totally free to deploy Firefox at State. But surely it would be cheaper than maintaining Internet Explorer in the long run. More secure, too. Can you imagine the nerd agony over there?
Reason geeks adopted Firefox in 2004—the day after version 1.0 was released.