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Texas Senate Proposes a Budget With a No-Vista-Upgrades Rider 290

Posted by timothy
from the macro-vs.-micro dept.
CWmike writes "The Texas state Senate yesterday gave preliminary approval to a state budget that includes a provision forbidding government agencies from upgrading to Windows Vista without written consent of the legislature. Sen. Juan Hinojosa, vice chairman of the Finance Committee, proposed the rider because 'of the many reports of problems with Vista ... We are not in any way, shape or form trying to pick on Microsoft, but the problems with this particular [operating] system are known nationwide,' Hinojosa said during a Senate session debating the rider (starting at 4:42 of this RealMedia video stream). 'And the XP operating system is working very well.' A Microsoft spokeswoman said in response, 'We're surprised that the Texas Senate Finance Committee adopted a rider which, in effect, singles out a specific corporation and product for unequal treatment. We hope as the budget continues to go through the process, this language will be removed.'"
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Texas Senate Proposes a Budget With a No-Vista-Upgrades Rider

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  • by sofar (317980) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:24PM (#27437547) Homepage

    I'm sure Microsoft can pay to have that done.

    • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:31PM (#27437641)

      Texas follows different set of laws. I'm sure Microsoft can just pray to have that done.

      • Not at all (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:05PM (#27438019)
        What they tell their constituents is different from real life. Neo-cons, like Tom Delay was, LOVE to be paid to change their opinion. In fact, I would not be surprised if large amounts of funds show up in Texan pols re-elect funds, with the disappearance of that language.
        • Re:Not at all (Score:5, Insightful)

          by JackieBrown (987087) <dbroome@gmail.com> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @11:41PM (#27440685)

          Yes, because only Republicans can be bribed.

          Just turn a blind eye to the neo-libs that defened Fannie Mae and AIG until the companies were sufficently drained not to pay them anymore.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Glith (7368)
            Yeah, do you think the congresscritters will return their bonuses (contributions) from AIG?
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              In both cases, the monies involved are not actually bonuses. They're salary.

              The corporate executives take their paycheck as a 'bonus' for tax reasons. The motivations of the congressmen should not need explanation.

    • Texas BOR (Score:4, Informative)

      by mrmeval (662166) <mrmeval@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:49PM (#27437875) Journal

      If any agency already has a contract their law means diddly squat. The historical meaning of bill of attainder is to try and convict a person or group in the legislature. It may apply to a product if it can be seen as inflicting punishment on Microsoft.

      No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, retroactive law, or any law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall be made.

      Texas's constitution still has the post WWII eugenics provisions, how quaint.

      • by nog_lorp (896553)

        I don't see why any agency would have a contract obligating them to upgrade to Vista.

        Even if they do, the legislature can refuse to foot the bill.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        "If any agency already has a contract their law means [nothing]."

        You are saying that if there is a contract with a company, and the company delivers a poor product, the government can do nothing? Don't forget that Microsoft top managers deliberately and knowingly delivered an unfinished product, as court records have shown. The costs of dealing with the hassles of Vista are far greater than the price of Vista. (And Microsoft has done that before: Windows ME and DOS 4.0 are just two examples.)

        The follo
        • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:47PM (#27439279) Homepage

          Well no, in reality they should take out the Vista-specific wording and leave it as a generic, all-purpose "No buying thousands of licenses of anything without approval" rule.

          In this specific case, the gist of the message is "If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it". He has identified XP as a working product that suits the needs of the government, and does not want to see asshats blowing a fortune on Vista and associated support costs, when the benefit is nil. He's basically saying the same thing millions of I.T. people have said since Vista's release.

    • by Martin Blank (154261) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:58PM (#27437971) Journal

      It's not a matter of whether Microsoft can pay to have it done. It shouldn't be in there because it sets a bad precedent. If they can forbid Windows Vista, why not forbid any other piece of software that has, whether or not for valid reasons, gotten bad press? These decisions are much better left to those deploying the technologies.

      • by AuMatar (183847) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:04PM (#27438011)

        It's the legislature's job to control the budget. They have every right, and even an obligation to stop it from being wasted. Yes, this can including dictating technology. Hopefully they'll discuss this with experts before voting, but its a perfectly legit rider to put on a budget bill. In this economy I'd probably go with no upgrades period unless there's a health or safety reason for doing so.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Martin Blank (154261)

          The software cost of upgrading is often effectively nil, because most large enterprise environments are on multi-year Enterprise Agreement contracts that allow for no-additional-cost software upgrades. There is the time to deploy which costs some money, but depending on how they do it, it shouldn't really be that expensive with current software management mechanisms, including those built into Active Directory which produce a lower cost of deployment.

          It's appropriate for the legislature to specify technolo

          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            by lgw (121541)

            The cost of upgrading software has very little o do with an upgrade price paid to Microsoft, and everyhting to do with support costs. Changing the OS on everyone's desktop is a major cost, as applicaitons that users count on inevitably break, and the simple differences in UI drive many helpdesk calls. And that's for a normal OS upgrade: Vista is made of fail and AIDS.

            I hate to tell you this, but governments specify oddball restrictions based on what their son's best friend's cousin's neighbor told them al

            • by Martin Blank (154261) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @09:40PM (#27439771) Journal

              I do work for a government, so I'm well acquainted with the purchasing and the oddball requirements that come with it. Generally speaking (though I've seen some significant exceptions that drew a great deal of controversy), the government bends over backwards to ensure that things are as fair as possible in the technology assessments. We listen politely to the senior leadership, including elected officials, and then go and do what the laws and policies tell us to do so that we're not held to the fire when some violation is brought up.

              I've no problem skipping Vista. I have it on on my work notebook and have since Beta 2, and while it's fine for me, my notebook is more powerful than most. We've identified software incompatibilities that will take most of a year to fix, by which time Windows 7 is due out, so the upgrade makes sense. My position is that it should be -- and usually is -- decided after proper evaluations, and not prior by uninformed elected officials.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:31PM (#27439073)

            I would wager that a significant portion of them are still running Windows XP (if not OS X) and have little or no experience with Vista aside from what their son's best friend's cousin's neighbor told them.

            Let me help. I work for a global IT firm with more than 30,000 employees. We sell a lot of Microsoft kit. And internally we have chosen to skip Vista because it's proven to be too bloody problematic in several rather extensive pilot studies.

            Apologies for posting AC here, this is one post I really would not be able to get away with.

          • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Friday April 03, 2009 @04:07AM (#27442043) Homepage

            The software cost of upgrading is often effectively nil, because most large enterprise environments are on multi-year Enterprise Agreement contracts that allow for no-additional-cost software upgrades...

            Like they haven't been already burned before [networkworld.com] by that company, at least once, by similar claims.

            Deciding that a specific product is inappropriate is out of their purview...

            Except if that product is known bad. They have an obligation to prevent further damage and / or to prevent good money from being thrown after bad. The recession is a depression in many areas, as evidenced by among other things, deflation. Regardless of recession or depression the times are harder, and not through getting harder, than has been experience for a few generations. And with that in mind, any wasted money means lost jobs. That wasted money can come through unnecessary licensing as well as lost efficiency.

            If the French Gendarmerie can reduce IT costs by 70% [www.osor.eu] through use of FOSS, why isn't Texas allowed to do so as well? Or, as the original post states, why not at least be able to avoid shelling out for MS Vista upgrades and upgrade headaches?

      • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:13PM (#27438107) Homepage Journal

        As AuMatar states, the legislators are doing their jobs. They can forbid the state doing business with Microsoft at all, if they decide that to be in the State's interest. In this case, they have refused to foot the bill for upgrading to a shaky operating system. Besides which, it is highly doubtful that very many government owned machines will run Vista's aero "features" anyway. Waiting for Win 7, IF they decide to upgrade at all, makes sense. Of course, it makes even more sense to me that Texas upgrade to open source, require that their employees get the proper training to provide their own support, and simply stop paying for proprietary software. WinXP is, and will remain, a good business operating system for quite some time, after all.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:47PM (#27438559)

        Although it would be best if a strong IT department could make that determination on their own, maybe they need some help to make it stick. There is nothing unusual about avoiding Vista. My company is very Micrsoft-centric and even THEY won't touch it. The situation to avoid is where agency X decides on their own to upgrade (especially if they get subsidized freebies), and then agency Y is pressured into upgrading to be compatible with agency X. Sooner or later, some critical piece of software refuses to run on Vista and the brown stuff hits the fan.

        There are probably a few state agencies that are either exempt (or pretend to be exempt) from the state IT dept. And they probably need more guidance than they are willing to admit. For all we know, it may have been the IT department that asked the legislature for help.

        My guess is that MS can get this language removed, but they will have to provide all kinds of freebies. The best outcome would be to leave the language intact and bag Vista. Second best would be getting all the upgrades for free. From the legislative point of view, a win/win situation.

      • Exactly. This decision is best left in the hands of the government's IT staff, not lawmakers who probably don't have a damn clue about the technology they're drafting legislation on.

        Furthermore, legislating that they don't do business with a company is just a bad idea in general... what's to stop a company from bribing lawmakers to pass legislation forbidding state agencies from buying its competitor's product?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ErkDemon (1202789)
          They're not saying don't do business with MS. They're saying, don't upgrade to this particular OS. They seem to think that XP works fine, the Vista upgrade means that government would have to spend money retraining their staff for the benefit of features that make their systems run slower, and that they probably don't want anyway, a lot of their legacy machines probably won't run Vista properly at all, and Win7 is supposed to be just around the corner.

          If the Senate are responsible for setting a tight budg

      • by sjames (1099)

        The legislature is simply taking steps to make sure the money isn't squandered. Perhaps they saw how many fell for the Vista hype and were sorry and figured they'd stop that in it's tracks.

        It could be argued that NOT banning upgrades to Vista would be fiscally irresponsible.

        Considering that MS has managed multiple felony convictions on several continents it could be reasonably argued that no government should be doing any business with them now.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by KwKSilver (857599)
        If it made VISTA mandatory; and outlawed use of BSD, Linux, Solaris, and Mac O/S by anyone with long term jail sentences at hard labor, Microsoft would be praising it as progressive, enlightened, and humanistic.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by perryizgr8 (1370173)

          If it made VISTA mandatory; and outlawed use of BSD, Linux, Solaris, and Mac O/S by anyone with long term jail sentences at hard labor, Microsoft would be praising it as progressive, enlightened, and humanistic.

          and slashdot would be enraged, shocked. completely opposite of the reaction now. whereas both situations are completely equal: bias against a specific company.

    • Everything is bigger in Texas. Even the bribes.
  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AvitarX (172628) <<gro.derdnuheniwydnarb> <ta> <em>> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:27PM (#27437579) Journal

    With Windows 7 just around the corner, it makes far more sense to wait for the first service pack of Windows 7, then to upgrade XP to a soon to be replaced OS.

  • ROFL; but stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:28PM (#27437589) Journal
    As much as I'm unimpressed by Vista(and dread the eventual move of the PC side of the operation I work for) and amused by this bill, it is a stupid idea.

    It is perfectly acceptable, indeed kind of the whole point, for legislatures to make laws, and handle budget matters, and this would give them the legal authority to do something like this; but that doesn't make micromanagement a good practice. If Texas' state IT minions are so incompetent that they need politicians to tell them what software to use, based on anecdotal evidence, then they should be fired at once. If not, then they should be treated like reasonably responsible adults, and allowed to do their jobs to the best of their expertise.

    Broad requirements like "thou shalt use only open, interoperable systems" are perfectly appropriate; but "thou shalt not use item X" is just stupid, even if I happen to dislike item X.
    • by belmolis (702863) <billposerNO@SPAMalum.mit.edu> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:43PM (#27437809) Homepage

      But are you sure that in Texas such decisions are made by competant IT professionals? I wouldn't be surprised if: (a) decisions about software purchases are made separately for different parts of the state government; (b) in at least some of them people who aren't all that savvy make the decisions. It is also possible that even the IT pros are heavily invested in Microsoft and do pretty much what Microsoft says to do. So this may not be an instance of ridiculous micromanagement.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by geekoid (135745)

      It may not be as stupid as it appears.
      For example the city counsel here ahs forbid the upgrade to Vista for anyone due to a myryiad of issue, many dealing with legacy issues. Add to that the fact that XP works fine it would be econimically stupid to implement Vista.

      And it's not really practical to think that mean Microsoft is being singled out. It's not like the users are going to upgrade to anything else.

      • Re:ROFL; but stupid (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:18PM (#27438165)

        And it prevents "upgrade by fiat", when new hardware is ordered and automatically comes with Vista and some poor local admin has to explain to his manager that no, they should _not_ accept that unwanted upgrade and stick with a consistent, existing hardware and software version. It also prevents departments from releasing Vista-only technologies: this is important for Internet Explorer and other applications.

        It also keeps the Texas paperwork pushers from playing Halo 2 or Halo 3.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TuaAmin13 (1359435)
          What I'm interested in is their XP licensing system. Where I work we have a site-license for XP, but it's only an "upgrade" site license. You must own a full copy of anything from 95 or newer for each computer. This includes new laptops with Vista. Since we purchase a laptop with a Vista license, we are eligible to install our XP site license.

          If we paid for the $99 XP Pro upgrade, we'd be in effect paying double for each computer to use our site license (it comes with Vista, you pay to also get XP, b
      • by Repton (60818)

        It might not be stupid .. because a different group did the same thing?

        You know, there's another possible conclusion we could draw...

    • Re:ROFL; but stupid (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:53PM (#27437919) Journal

      If Texas' state IT minions are so incompetent that they need politicians to tell them what software to use, based on anecdotal evidence, then they should be fired at once. If not, then they should be treated like reasonably responsible adults, and allowed to do their jobs to the best of their expertise.

      Why would they want Vista anyway when they could just go with Microsoft Mojave, which is a clear upgrade!

      Jokes aside, I agree that this bill is stupid. Why have an I.T. department if they need the state politicians to tell them what software to use? Rather than legislate a "no-vista-upgrade" rider, they should instead devote a portion of the budget to setting up a development lab so that they can test their applications against whatever operating system they want to go with.

      I had a brief three-year stint with a county government here in Northern VA and they had done just that -- they had a core group of testers test the shit out of every piece of legacy software the county used against Vista. When Vista came out, the county said "no-way" to upgrading until almost a year went by. The upgrade to Vista was definitely on their schedule, but they wanted to be sure that everything played nice together. Once their testing was done, they slowly rolled out in a beta fashion where select employees would use Vista (usually the I.T. guys within individual agencies) and then eventually upgrade everyone else.

      Anyway, that was the vision of the I.T. director and NOT the county superintendent, board of directors, Virginia General Assembly, county executive or any other politician.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Schmorgluck (1293264)

        Jokes aside, I agree that this bill is stupid. Why have an I.T. department if they need the state politicians to tell them what software to use?

        Because ultimately it's not the IT department's job to decide which policy should be followed: no matter what organisation is involved, their only part in policy-making is to provide their expertise to the people in charge of deciding (in this case, elected representatives - in the case of a company it would be appointed managers).

        By the way, how do you know if it isn't precisely the IT department's advice that made Texas Senate decide for this policy? Something like "This OS is too unstable, we advise avoi

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ErkDemon (1202789)

        Rather than legislate a "no-vista-upgrade" rider, they should instead devote a portion of the budget to setting up a development lab so that they can test their applications against whatever operating system they want to go with.

        But if they're already using XP, and know that it works, then they can save that money on your suggested development lab, by simply telling people to keep using XP. Why squander money on testing al your ancient legacy systems against a new OS that doesn't give you anything new that

    • by Anonymous Coward

      As an IT manager for a small govt org in Texas, it would not surprise me one bit if this was not actually requested by some of my more politically influential colleagues.

      I and my group are avoiding Vista like the plague, mostly because of the unnecessary expense of the hardware upgrades it'll require, but also additionally because of the additional end-user training it'll require.

      We're having a hell of a time just getting our users to recover their productivity after the Office 2007 mess that was rammed dow

    • A well-advised legislature might make better technical decisions than IT departments. In this case, I strongly suspect they have.

      Senior IT managers are highly susceptible to being advised, wowed, flattered and bribed into going with whatever $BigCompany tells them is most cost-effective. Given that MS is about maximising their own profits, they have a major conflict of interest when giving advice. Basically, while IT managers might be competent to manage IT, it is not necessarily efficient to have them

  • Not uncommon (Score:4, Insightful)

    by squidfood (149212) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:29PM (#27437623)
    Several/many Federal agencies already have done this as a agency-wide policy, i.e. "XP is fine, we're not officially approving or allowing Vista purchases". (Though I approve in general I'd prefer if it was left to IT in agencies to make the choice, not legislative mandate).
  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:33PM (#27437665) Journal

    ...but the problems with this particular [operating] system are known nationwide,' Hinojosa said...

    Looks good so far, reasonable, tech savvy-- he just wants to ensure everyone uses stable, functioning software, and---

    (starting at 4:42 of this RealMedia video stream).

    *facepalm*

    • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Funny)

      by PhxBlue (562201) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:27PM (#27438297) Homepage Journal

      *facep -- Buffering -- alm*

      There, fixed that for ya.

    • by fm6 (162816)

      So tell me, please, which streaming media stack should they be using? Yes, Real sucks, but so does Windows Media, Move Player, and Quicktime. And there's nothing else, not off the shelf.

      You can always roll your own (as Netflix had the wisdom to do) but not everybody has the resources for that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        There are some flash-based players which are freely available. You could also just upload them to youtube if you're not trying to prevent access. I think that's probably a more logical decision.

  • Why Bother (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alvinrod (889928) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:38PM (#27437755)

    Why bother upgrading to Vista at all. Just wait another two years or so until Windows 7 comes out and either upgrade machines at that time or purchase new machines which will come with Windows 7 installed.

    If it would cost a lot to upgrade from XP to 7, then it's time to either switch to Linux or at least start talking about it so that Microsoft will help make the transition available for a more reasonable cost.

    Considering that we're at a point where computational power is considered to be sufficient or in excess for normal, non-power users, in two years this should allow the government to purchase some low-end machines that have more than enough power to take care of the work that will probably be done on most of them.

    • by XorNand (517466) *
      Who's to say that Windows 7 is going to be much better than Vista? Sure, we can hope that MS learned from that misstep, but this is also the same company that also brought us Bob and Windows ME.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Real1tyCzech (997498)

        .....

        Because there have been numerous betas that have blown both Vista and even XP out of the water?

        http://content.zdnet.com/2346-12554_22-278706-34.html [zdnet.com]

        [] ...or that it is even improving as it progresses through beta:

        http://content.zdnet.com/2346-12554_22-278706-35.html [zdnet.com]

        Yeah, I know....someone backing up their statements on Slashdot with actual results? What was I thinking?

        • by PRMan (959735)

          With the same hardware and software?

          Speed is not the only measure of an Operating System. If it were, we'd all still be using command lines.

        • I really don't get it. One of the major problems with Vista was the new driver model. Drivers sometimes were unavailable, and at other times were buggy as hell and caused the OS to crash. Windows 7 uses the SAME driver model. Why will this be any better?(it's not MS's fault either, but rather buggy, immature drivers.)

          I admit, I have never tried either Vista or Windows 7, but from what I have read, Windows 7 is Vista with a new UI. The foundation is still very much the same. I'm not saying that either
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by magamiako1 (1026318)
            Well, most of the technologies that are found in Windows 7 were introduced in Windows Vista. Vista's problems weren't necessarily faults of the OS--they were simply growing pains.

            Microsoft made a LOT of changes to the OS and to the way both developers *AND* users used the operating system.

            But all of these changes were really good changes that needed to be done.

            UAC? It was necessary. Could it have been implemented better? Not really. What it does is provide a good gray area between "running as a standard use
      • Who's to say that Windows 7 is going to be much better than Vista?

        All of the beta testers for Windows 7 I've heard says it is better than Vista.

        Falcon

    • Why bother upgrading to Vista at all. Just wait another two years or so until Windows 7 comes out

      You don't have to wait two years until Windows 7 comes out. If the RC will be available in May [geek.com], then we should definitely see the release by the end of this year one way or another - and probably sooner rather than later.

    • we're at a point where computational power is considered to be sufficient or in excess for normal, non-power users

      Saying that is like saying "Nobody will ever need more than 640 kB RAM [cdfreaks.com]". In 2 years software will require more power.

      Falcon

  • singles out a specific corporation and product for unequal treatment

    If they consider that they single them out, they should have a discussion about their monopoly... changing the language would be simply "not to upgrade their uperating system with a newer one" and by not buying Vista they are saying the exact same thing...

  • MOLP? (Score:4, Informative)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:41PM (#27437785) Homepage Journal

    If they are enterprise, they most likely have a MOLP, which if its current they paid for Vista anyway.

  • We're surprised that the Texas Senate Finance Committee adopted a rider which, in effect, singles out a specific corporation and product for unequal treatment.

    I'm surprised that they would single out a specific corp/product by name. Not so much that they would "in effect". I thought that was the standard way they did things -- don't name a company or product, but specify the product requirements so specifically that there was precisely one product that met them all. Then when they wanted to change their

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:02PM (#27438001)

      But I guess it's harder to disallow a specific product via the same method.

      No texas government agency shall install an operating system that has a name starting with a "V" and ends in "ista," from a company that rhymes with "schmicrosoft."

  • Oy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tridus (79566) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:43PM (#27437811) Homepage

    So, does this person actually know anything about operating systems? Or is this "my friend heard from a friend heard from that friendly Mac guy" type of silliness?

    I mean, where I work we're not upgrading to Vista either. But that was a decision made by IT, after actually looking into it. I highly doubt the politicians have any idea of what they're talking about.

    Remember, next month they could just as easily say "no upgrading to Linux, everyone knows that's socialism!" It'd have just as much research behind it as this legislation does.

    • Re:Oy (Score:5, Informative)

      by benjamindees (441808) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:10PM (#27438089) Homepage

      There is no IT dept for the entire State of Texas. So, first of all, your analogy is flawed.

      Secondly, the legislature writes the budget for the state's OS upgrades. It is certainly within their purview to forbid an especially worthless OS on a cost/benefit basis, regardless of technical considerations.

    • Re:Oy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gadlaw (562280) <gilbert@@@gadlaw...com> on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:16PM (#27438139) Homepage Journal
      Yeah well, legislatures don't know anything about highway construction or job creation or stem cell research but they still seem to be able to 'represent' the people that elected them and vote for things by and large that numbers of people support and would like to see addressed by the legislature. They don't have to be 'IT' people to pass a law. Hasn't stopped them before, that argument won't stop them anytime in the future.
      • Re:Oy (Score:4, Interesting)

        by EvolutionsPeak (913411) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @09:31PM (#27439689)

        They don't pass laws saying "you can't buy this companies' asphalt" or "you can't upgrade your microscopes to this particular one" either. Their lack of expertise means that they shouldn't be making technical decisions that require expertise.

        Saying "we need a road from A to B" or "stem cell research can/can't be funded" doesn't require expertise.

    • by tukang (1209392)
      Politicians are not going to be experts in every field they pass laws for. Ideally, they get advised by experts and this may have been the case here.
      • Ideally, they get advised by experts and this may have been the case here.

        Experts are ideal, but state governments are more likely to go off half-cocked.

        I don't know much about the Texas legislature specifically, but many state legislatures are relatively unprofessional compared to the national equivalent. Some state legislatures even operate on a part-time basis.

    • Pretty much (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)

      We aren't upgrading to Vista either, but we aren't preventing it. More or less if a new system comes with Vista, that's fine. We have two reasons for this:

      1) XP works well. We see nothing for most uses that Vista offers an improvement on. That isn't to say it's worse, just that it isn't better by enough to warrant an upgrade.

      2) Vista wants more RAM. If you are buying a new system, it should have plenty of RAM for Vista and then some, RAM is cheap. Old systems may not, and may not be so easy to update. Thus

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by locofungus (179280)

      I mean, where I work we're not upgrading to Vista either. But that was a decision made by IT, after actually looking into it. I highly doubt the politicians have any idea of what they're talking about.

      Some large number of years ago I worked at a very large company that deliberately decided not to upgrade the office suite. (Think it was probably the upgrade to office 97, possibly the upgrade after that).

      There were procedures in place to handle the handful of cases where things were coming from outside the co

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:44PM (#27437827) Homepage Journal

    The problem is that there's really no reason to "upgrade" to Vista, and at twice the price for slower speeds and performance, not to mention the mandatory RAM and video card costs, this is a wise budgetary precaution.

    Just don't mandate netbooks - they have a tendancy to walk away.

    • by Foo2rama (755806)
      exactly.
    • by Toonol (1057698) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @07:01PM (#27437995)
      Plus, there's a potentially harmful network effect. A particular department might need new pcs, and upgrade to Vista with no particular cost or problem... but then, they're on a network with, swapping documents with, and have different support and training requirements than other XP users. All of a sudden, other XP users might feel a need to upgrade, generating unnecessary expense.

      Even more importantly, do not EVER let anybody in your company or government upgrade to a newer version of Office, because the moment that lid is opened, there's no going back.
  • budget stuffs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @06:49PM (#27437883)

    It's not a micromanagement choice when he's responsible for a government that has perhaps 50,000 workstations, each needing a $200-300 license. Conservatively. I have no idea how many workstations the entire state educational system has, but I'd bet 50,000 is a lowball estimate. But still, that's $10 million, minimum, for an upgrade. For an educational agency's budget, that's not small potatoes. That could pay for the salaries of 57 primary school teachers for the next 5 years. The fact that the upgrade has questionable value for the educational agencies in the state is a supporting point! Why spend that much money for something with no real return on investment? Or, we could just ignore the huge economic question here and cry "evil microsoft!" or "how dare they single out a single company!" Yes... Those arguments make so much more sense than it's uneconomical.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cdrguru (88047)

      If the government is paying retail prices for licensing 50,000 computers they are complete idiots and deserve to be flogged and burned at the stake for utter waste.

      I do not know what the bulk licensing price would be to an organization with 50,000 computers but I suspect it would be less than $5 each for Vista. Add on Microsoft Office 2007 and I suspect you might be talking about $50 per machine. Yes, that would be $2,500,000 dollars. But nowhere near $200 per machine.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ErkDemon (1202789)
        But how much more would need to be added to your budget for for staff retraining costs?

        If you have 50,000 staff using XP, who've been trained on XP, and you want to migrate them to Vista, you'll have to budget retraining them to use the new tools you're issuing them with. Are you going to send 50,000 people on a "Moving to Vista" training course?

  • I thought Texas was supposed to be conservative? I guess they don't mind picking winners and losers in markets.

  • I went on slashdot and I saw an article about texas doing something right for once. I then woke up in a fit of panic because I knew it wasn't real.

  • by jaavaaguru (261551) on Thursday April 02, 2009 @08:36PM (#27439129) Homepage

    We're surprised that the Texas Senate Finance Committee adopted a rider which, in effect, singles out a specific corporation and product for unequal treatment

    Okay, let's remove the bit where they say your best selling operating system is "working very well".

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