Not such a nice Vista

I’ve got a real problem on my hands. One which I’ve not encountered in eighteen years of purchasing machines. The Windows Vista Operating System is so increadibly not fit for purpose that at a recent management team meeting where I presented my expenditure plans  I was confronted by a group of people that were wishing to switch totally away from Wintel specifically because of the issues presented by Vista (which the laptops we buy may come installed with). The issues which are forcing people into this decision are

1. It doesn’t work with some of our OU applications in particular with my machine SPSS and the MITEL (YourAsssistant VoIP software) both fail to work. Other apps work but need to be ‘fixed’ to work and some just pretend to work then crash after a while with memory leaks (I’m having this problem with Remedy AR). This is reflected by anyone who has upgraded and believe me these are technically savvy users, I wouldn’t let just anyone upgrade so we’ve only provided it for ‘special’ users to try. We’re running Vista Enterprise version.

2. Office 2007 and other recent Microsoft tools have been less, not more easy to use. The switch in thinking that needs to take place when upgrading is not an easy one and the move to shoving things under the windows icon is, in my opinion, a poor one.

3. People have got their hands on both Asus Eee’s and MacBook (Pro’s and non-Pro’s) and they love them.

So in summary Microsoft need to do with Vista what they did with Millenium Edition, forget it ever happened and more forward quickly with something that will constitute a major leap forward in Desktop O.S. provision. I feel let down by the fact that Vista was promising much, in particular to have all the ‘network awareness’ within the O.S. I feel that it’s been rushed out. I also feel that if I was paying for Vista myself then I’d want my money back.

Open Source Barometer…

I read an interesting article in IT Week about Alfresco’s Open Source Barometer. In case you’re unaware of this it’s an attempt by Alfresco to look at the amount that Open Source tools are infiltrating at the enterprise level. It’s biased of course since it’s a study done by people who have tried Alfresco but the bits that interest me about it are the ‘snowball’ efect that is taking place in organisations, to put this simply when companies begin to realise that Open Source tools can work at enterprise level and explore this in practise they then quickly start moving a number of other services over.

This is to my mind the ‘moving out of your comfort zone’ experience. I used to be a big Mac user (not with fries) and I switched to PC’s and Wintel in 2000 when I switched jobs as I was given a PC and the organisation was exploring a ‘single platform policy’ although it was called something much less draconian than that so that you could theoretically get Macs or Linux etc. but it was discouraged. I have however maintained a portion of Macs within our unit as I see them as important for particular areas where they have always (in my opinion) excelled over Wintel PC’s. I’m happy to say that things are starting to change in the organisation and I read recently a blog post by Niall Sclater about the OU’s policy to embrace Macs again and look at ‘browser based’ rather than platform based solutions. This is at the student level of course but I see this as an endorcement that staff should also be exploring ‘appropriate platform’ use. The right tool for the job. Take those little Eee’s for example, don’t you just love them.

Seriously though when educational institutions start feeling the pinch then spending out over 1million pounds on a single enterprise tool and being tied to one company for support and maintenance can seem like a step in the wrong direction.