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United Kingdom Government Microsoft Upgrades Windows IT

UK Government Pays Microsoft £5.5M For Extended Support of Windows XP 341

whoever57 (658626) writes "The UK Government has signed a contract worth £5.5M (almost $9M) for extended support and security updates for Windows XP for 12 months after April 8. The deal covers XP, Exchange 2003 and Office 2003 for users in central and local government, schools and the National Health Service. The NHS is in need of this deal because it was estimated last September that 85% of the NHS's 800,000 computers were running XP."
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UK Government Pays Microsoft £5.5M For Extended Support of Windows XP

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 05, 2014 @03:42AM (#46667989)

    Which Linux/FOSS distro is fully compliant with the .NET 4 spec?

  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @04:02AM (#46668047) Homepage

    Okay, smartarse.

    You have a lab microscope that costs £100,000. It's been working for 10 years and does exactly what you need. Attached to it is a PC to do image processing. That PC is supplied as part of the machine and includes one-off software to operate the microscope.

    Now you say, of course, just ask how much it costs to get the equivalent software for 7, eh? Simple. But the microscope manufacturer hasn't sold anything to you in ten years. So they'll sell you a Windows 7 version. They'll charge you £90,000 for it. Or for £95,000 they'll sell you it attached to a new microscope worth £90,000 on it's own.

    What do you do?

    Well, actually you work for the NHS. Which had fuck-all money as it pisses it away on management consultants. So instead of either option, you get fuck-all. Now when the attached PC dies, you need to hope your IT guys have an image. When your IT guys move to Windows 7 for the central system, you better hope it can connect to it to store the images. You can't virtualise it because the DRM on the interface cost the manufacturer at least £10,000 to implement to stop you doing precisely that.

    Now you're screwed. You can't put your lab slides into the national health system without a lot of manual pissing about. You can't justify buying just the Windows 7 version of the software / drivers (because you might as well just buy a new microscope, and that would come under buildings budget or medical equipment, not IT upgrades). You can't negotiate them down anywhere near sense. You can't replace the machine and - eventually - it's going to die.

    And every year the microscope manufacturer puts up their prices by £10,000.

    Now multiply by every hospital in the country.
    Now multiply by every piece of large equipment (genetics machines, blood samplers, X-Ray machines, ECG's, MRI's, etc.).

    Soon, it just becomes better to leave it the fuck alone and wait until you NEED to do something. Then you can justify it, now that it's broken and you need it. And then you can get the government to step in and negotiate a deal. That's what's happened. And the government have said "For fuck's sake!" and gone to MICROSOFT rather than the multitude of equipment manufacturers.

    Think I'm exaggerating? My girlfriend is a geneticist in an NHS hospital. The machine she works on is 15 years old, dog-slow compared to the state of the art, and runs off Windows XP embedded. When it dies, the IT team has to track down an old IDE hard drive to fit into it and image it back. And she has to manually transfer images to the "real" integrated system to put them on patient records.

    And the NHS haven't even BEGUN to get off Windows XP on the desktop where she works. Precisely because of, and a contributing factor to, this shit.

  • RE: TCO (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr_Plattz ( 1589701 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @04:02AM (#46668049)

    No, why would they be mentioned? The [in]competence of governments (or any customers) should not factor into this calculation.

    What should be happening here is the people responsible for technology at the NHS should be getting fired for leaving operation systems in such a state. Still running Exchange 2003? Really? That's just straight negligence.

    My company is going through this same problem, but lucky we have been half competent enough to at least use the business risk as a mean for operational change. Sounds like the NHS simply thought, "well, it's not our money."

  • by BradMajors ( 995624 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @04:42AM (#46668153)

    I have a perfectly functional laptop that is running Windows XP. The reason I haven't upgraded is that Windows 7 will not run on it. I am not interested in Windows Vista or Windows 8.

    And, it isn't 13 years old. Vista was available when I purchased the laptop, but I preferred Windows XP.

  • Cheap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SQL Error ( 16383 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @04:58AM (#46668193)

    £5.5M for a year's support for hundreds of thousands of of XP systems is extremely good value, and far cheaper than any other option.

    Of course, they'll still be in the same position a year from now. But in government, if you pass the buck for long enough, it becomes someone else's problem.

  • by nukenerd ( 172703 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @05:10AM (#46668223)

    I suspect that the uncertainty around the future of any given Linux desktop environment is a good reason for companies to stick to Mac OS or Windows.

    So ........ please tell us more about the certain future of the Windows desktop.

  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {}> on Saturday April 05, 2014 @05:15AM (#46668231)

    And that relevance pales into insignificancy when you consider what you would have to replace application wise, as in the real world people dont just boot to a desktop and then sit and stare at it for their working day.

    Office applications might be easy to replace, but how about certified xray or MRI viewers, medical record viewers etc?

  • by nukenerd ( 172703 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @05:16AM (#46668235)

    I suspect that the training costs alone would be an enormous part of the project budget.

    Yes, I paid thousands to be trained to find that KDE start button, and thousands more to find that "Libre Office Writer (Word Processor)" entry in the menu. Then I needed to be shown where all the letter keys were again. Then that Ctrl-s to save what I'd done - took me months on courses to get the hang of it.

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @05:34AM (#46668285)

    And what's the excuse for still using Exchange 2003

    The new version still does not deliver the promised features from ten years ago so why not keep the one with the bigger theoretical feature list :)

    To be honest, the 2003 version is far less of a piece of shit than earlier ones. I did a bare metal recovery drill with an earlier version which demonstrated very clearly that it was a shambolic pile of barely communicating different programs as fragile as glass, slow as a dead dog, and only truly reliably backed up with just about all of it shut down. Open relay by default after one patch and some options were only available with registry hacks - it should never have been released in such a state. The only sane way to operate it for only 100 mailboxes was two servers (for when one went down, which happened every couple of weeks due to a memory leak, and for enough speed at peak times) and a real mail transfer agent in between it and the wild internet.

  • Re:Re:well then! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cwix ( 1671282 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @06:39AM (#46668443)

    A couple of things.

    1) White space is your friend.
    2) Don't abbreviate the word people. It makes you look like an 16 year old. Oh, and capitalize the word "I".
    3) Take your meds, you are obviously having some kind of breakdown. Calm down.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @07:32AM (#46668587)

    The only thing windows does that linux doesn't is ...

    This is just completely wrong.

    The biggest thing that windows provides to the NHS is continuity. The second most important feature (a corollary) is a trained user base - one that knows the in's and out's, bug, vagiaries and shortcuts of the existing system. Following on from that is a known, compatible set of hardware that interfaces with all the other systems (after years of development, testing and debugging) and importantly: is reliable in a life-or-death environment where patients wellbeing is at stake.

    which will soon change if valve is sucessful

    Valve? Seriously? you're talking about playing little computer games in a hospital environment?

  • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @07:37AM (#46668601)

    Switching to a new operating system is simple in theory but difficult in practice. I work at a company that delayed an upgrade to Windows 7 for several years because critical applications would only work with Internet Explorer 6. Linux is free but there are other costs associated with switching to Linux. I suspect that the training costs alone would be an enormous part of the project budget.

    The training costs for switching to Windows 8 would be an enormous part of the project budget, too.

    That's what's really killing MS. They've gotten to the point where it's just as expensive to keep riding the MS train as it is to bite the bullet and switch to Linux.

    What gives Linux the competitive avantage there is that Linux doesn't have to look and feel different in major and minor ways every time you upgrade it, thus requiring expensive retraining. They're not driven by a marketing department. What do they call the "Network Neighborhood" in this release???

  • Re: TCO (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {}> on Saturday April 05, 2014 @09:18AM (#46668955)

    I'm afraid its actually *you* who is full of shit in this case, as the Sales of Goods Act 1979 and its amendments are precisely what I am referring to, and as I have intimate knowledge of that act and its various legal successes, I can safely say that you are full of bollocks.

    The Sales of Goods Act is not meant to cover a product for all eternity, for an indefinite period, until the product actually wears out or for any other purpose than to require a manufacturer to provide a reasonable life span for the product in question. The Sales of Goods Act is not even intended to require a manufacturer to fix bugs or issues past the reasonable period of support, just provide a reasonable period of support.

    So lets see what other Operating Systems have endured longer than Windows XP...

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1 - released in mid-2002, died in mid-2009.
    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 - released in late-2003, died at the start of this year.
    Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 - released in early-2005, dies at the end of this year.

    Ubuntu 6.06 LTS - released mid-2006, died mid-2011.
    Ubuntu 8.04 LTS - released mid-2008, died mid-2013.

    OSX 10.1 - released late-2001, died mid-2002.
    OSX 10.2 - released mid-2002, died mid-2003.
    OSX 10.3 - released late-2003, died mid-2005.
    OSX 10.4 - released mid-2005, died late-2007.
    OSX 10.5 - released late-2006, died late-2009.
    OSX 10.6 - released mid-2009, died late-2011.
    OSX 10.7 - released mid-2010, died late-2012.
    OSX 10.8 - released mid-2012, death TBD.

    Hmm, I can't see any other consumer or corporate desktop OS that has been supported as long as XP has.

    So out of all other reasonable time periods for Operating Systems, XP's support length is definitely an outlier and you would get laughed out of court if you tried to force Microsoft to support it beyond its current and well known EOL date.

    If you are giving any sort of legal advice based around the Sales of Goods Act, please fucking stop as you have proved that you know shit about the topic.

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Saturday April 05, 2014 @09:40AM (#46669061)

    Or maybe just eat some Ubuntu

    Ahhh, yes the Ubuntu meal analogy.

    Where the cooking instructions are vague, wrong and refer to an early beta version of "grub" and only work if you have exactly the same cooker as the inventor. Where you have to spend half a day growing your own ingredients, just so's it is "free". Where the size and shape of the plate you need changes every 6 months and none of the cutlery matches. As for the list of contents, all it says is:

    may contain nuts

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