Student Aid: GNU/Linux users need not apply

Or: The U.S. Government’s curious definition of ‘Free

There is a website called Free Application for Federal Student Aid run by the U.S. Government which you have to use if you want to make an application for federal student financial aid.  But you have to run a proprietary operating system, either some version of windows or a version of Mac OSX, to access the site.  It is especially ironic because the compatible browser page says:

Your Web browser is not supported by our Web site. You must use a Compliant Web Browser – Standard* to view our site properly. We recommend you upgrade to the latest version of your browser according to your Operating System….

[….List of many browsers follows, none running on GNU/Linux.…]

*Compliant Web Browser – Standard
For the past few years, every major Web browser released has been built around a set of open standards designated by the World Wide Web Consortium, a non-profit organization charged with overseeing the continuing development of the Web. What this means is that one piece of code now looks the same on every modern browser, whether it be Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, or others. The majority of our users are using these modern browsers, so we can present content which is optimized for them.

Here is the incompatible browser page and below the fold find a copyclip of what that page says today, January 06 2011:

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Student Aid: GNU/Linux users need not apply