BECTA (the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) released a study this weekend that represents a study of how Microsoft’s Vista and Office 2007 should be deployed (or not) in British schools. For both products, the general advice appears to be to wait and see.
The report indicates that most British school computers are underpowered and wouldn’t be able to run the software to begin with. I would suspect that that observation would be appropriate world-wide. Unless your strategy involved replacing everything on a grand scale, you’re bound to have a mixed platform of Windows XP, 2000, and Vista should you make these types of purchases. Support by an IT Department in the school system is difficult without adding another layer to the mix and so the report could probably have been predicted.
Life isn’t always that simple though. There will come a time when you cannot purchase XP licenses any longer. What then? You’ll need a plan to move to the new platform. What of the Office product? By the time that the machines have the horse power, how many more iterations of the Office Suite will there be? How do you make sure that you can move quickly? Both products are pricey and may be prohibitive for schools to adopt. Ironically, there are free solutions in Linux and OpenOffice that are available right now. With all things, the more powerful the computer, the better they will perform. Is Microsoft shooting itself in the foot?
Probably not. There will always be those who just love to spend money on products because of the ability to pay for support.
In the meantime, what of the home user. It’s pretty common to walk into your favourite computer store and see variations of Vista running on new computer. Here in the bunker, I’ve been running Vista and it does what I need it to do. I need to be in a position to help folks at home with their challenges. It’s been quite a job because virtually all applications that are Ministry of Education licensed were developed in an XP world and for an XP environment.
But, industry goes on. Computer manufacturers have to sell boxes and software vendors have to sell software. And, do need a quad-duo-core-overclocking CPU to run Kixpix?
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