US DOT, FAA ban ‘upgrading’ to Windows Vista, Explorer 7, Office 2007; looks at Macs

“Citing concerns over cost and compatibility, the top technology official at the federal Department of Transportation has placed a moratorium on all in-house computer upgrades to Microsoft’s new Windows Vista operating system, as well as Internet Explorer 7 and Office 2007, according to a memo obtained Friday by InformationWeek,” Paul McDougall reports for InformationWeek.

McDougall reports, “In a memo to his staff, the DOT’s CIO Daniel Mintz says he has placed “an indefinite moratorium” on the upgrades as ‘there appears to be no compelling technical or business case for upgrading to these new Microsoft software products. Furthermore, there appears to be specific reasons not to upgrade.'”

“Among the concerns cited by Mintz are compatibility with software applications currently in use at the department, the cost of an upgrade, and DOT’s move to a new headquarters in Washington later this year. ‘Microsoft Vista, Office 2007, and Internet Explorer [7] may be acquired for testing purposes only, though only on approval by the DOT chief information officer,’ Mintz writes,” McDougall reports.

McDougall reports, “The memo is dated Jan. 19. In an interview Friday, DOT chief technology officer Tim Schmidt confirmed that the ban is still in effect. “We’re analyzing different client software options and also integration issues,” says Schmidt. Among the options the Transportation Department is weighing as a possible alternative or complement to Windows Vista are Novell’s Suse Linux and, for a limited group of users, Apple’s Macintosh hardware and software, he says.”

“The DOT’s ban on Vista, Internet Explorer 7, and Office 2007 applies to 15,000 computer users at DOT proper who are currently running the Windows XP Professional operating system. The memo indicates that a similar ban is in effect at the Federal Aviation Administration, which has 45,000 desktop users,” McDougall reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “There appears to be no compelling technical or business case for upgrading to these new Microsoft software products. Furthermore, there appears to be specific reasons not to upgrade.” If the government can see it, anybody should be able to; Ballmer ought to be packing his golden parachute very carefully about now.

See, what you do is you get Macs from here on out and you run Mac OS X and Windows on them while you transition your apps and workflows from Windows to the reliable, productive, and secure Mac OS X over time. Take the money you save on support and apply it to software alternatives/coders who can write cross-platform apps… Oh, wait, this is the gov’t we’re talking about here! Silly us. Okay, so pick the stupidest, least reliable, most expensive option and overpay for it (don’t forget the kickbacks!) while implementing it haphazardly and illogically because that’s what you’re probably going to do anyway, no matter what. But good luck! Maybe lightning will strike twice!

MacDailyNews Notes: The FMCSA Moratorium on Microsoft Windows Vista memo here: http://infosys.fmcsa.dot.gov/VistaMemo.htm

The latest FMCSA IT Development Division release list (source) includes the following software:
Aspen 2.8.2: For FMCSA border auditors only. Driver/vehicle safety inspection system enables law enforcement agencies to perform roadside safety inspections and to transfer those inspection results into the State and National data systems.)
CAPRI 6.5.1: The Compliance Analysis and Performance Review Information (CAPRI) system provides a standardized method for conducting reviews on motor carriers, HM shippers, and cargo tank facilities. It is also used for Safety Audits on new carriers and Mexican carriers seeking to operate in the United States.)
CaseRite 3.7.2: Designed to automate and improve the quality of the enforcement case preparation process. It is part of FMCSA’s suite of investigation software and shares data with CAPRI, UFA, and Aspen.
CDLIS Access 3.4: The Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS) Access is a network of state driver license systems linked via a central site, which enables national access to any driver license status or history of safety violation convictions.
eFOTM 2.0: The electronic Field Operations Training Manual presents investigation procedures and techniques in an electronic format. The manual is a tool to help you plan and complete simple, unusual, unique, and/or difficult investigations.
ISS 2.11: The Inspection Selection System (ISS) enables screening of vehicles based on DOT number, MC/MX number, State number, or carrier name. ISS returns the carrier name and address, an inspection value, and other decision indicators to help measure the value of conducting an inspection.
PIQ 2.8: The Past Inspection Query (PIQ) accesses a national database of recent inspection reports. This database contains inspection reports for the previous 180 days. PIQ retrieves an exact facsimile of previous inspection reports stored in the database.
ProVu 3.1.1: A viewer which allows Federal, State, and private industry users to electronically analyze standard motor carrier safety profile reports.
SAFER 5.1:Deals with vehicle registration data.
SAFETYNET 3.3: No description.
UFA 2.6.3: No description.
• Firebird 1.5.1: Firebird (sometimes called FirebirdSQL) is a relational database management system offering many ANSI SQL-2003 features. It runs on Linux, Windows, and a variety of Unix platforms.

Related articles:
Gates: ‘Windows Vista’s had incredible reception’ – February 21, 2007
The Register reviews Microsoft’s Windows Vista: ‘Don’t buy it’ – February 20, 2007
Forbes: ‘Windows Vista utterly unimaginative, internally discordant and woefully out of tune’ – February 09, 2007
Digit: Don’t buy Vista; Microsoft may be driving millions to stick with XP or move to Apple Mac – February 05, 2007
TIME Magazine: Microsoft’s Windows Vista ‘an embarassment to the good name of American innovation’ – February 02, 2007
Microsoft’s Windows Vista: Five years for a chrome-plated turd – January 30, 2007
Digit: ‘Microsoft’s Windows Vista may be the best reason yet to buy an Apple Mac’ – January 29, 2007
Pioneer Press: Windows Vista shows ‘Apple is an innovation engine; Microsoft, not so much’ – January 29, 2007
Windows Vista disappoints, so get a Mac – January 29, 2007
CNET Reviews Windows Vista: Is that all? Clunky and not very intuitive vs. Mac OS X; warmed-over XP – January 24, 2007
Mossberg: Microsoft’s Windows Vista offers lesser imitations of Apple’s Mac OS X features – January 18, 2007
Windows Vista disappointment drives longtime ‘Microsoft apologist’ to Apple’s Mac OS X – January 17, 2007
InformationWeek Review: Apple’s Mac OS X shines in comparison with Microsoft’s Windows Vista – January 06, 2007
NY Times’ Pogue reviews Microsoft’s Windows Vista: ‘Looks, Locks, Lacks’ – December 14, 2006
Dave Winer: ‘Microsoft isn’t an innovator, and never was – they are always playing catch-up’ – December 01, 2006
Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard is 64-bit done right, unlike Microsoft’s Windows Vista kludge – August 14, 2006
Microsoft Windows Vista: If you can’t innovate… try to impersonate Apple’s Mac OS X – August 10, 2006
Analyst: Apple’s new Mac OS X Leopard sets new bar, leaves Microsoft’s Vista in the dust – August 08, 2006
Microsoft botches another copy job: Windows Vista Flip3D vs. Apple Mac OS X Exposé – June 26, 2006
Windows Vista rips-off Mac OS X at great hardware cost (and Apple gains in the end) – June 13, 2006
Computerworld: Microsoft Windows Vista a distant second-best to Apple Mac OS X – June 02, 2006

65 Comments

  1. “there appears to be no compelling technical or business case for upgrading to these new Microsoft software products. Furthermore, there appears to be specific reasons not to upgrade.”

    Ballmer’s epitaph?

  2. “while you transition your apps and workflows from Windows to the reliable, productive, and secure Mac OS X…”

    Do we know if the programs they are most concerned with run on Apple (I’m not talking about Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office, but other things I imagine are in use at the Department of Transportation)? If not, there’s a pretty big reason not to switch.

  3. From the article:

    “Schmidt says the Transportation Department hasn’t ruled out upgrading its computers to Windows Vista if all of its concerns about the new operating system — the business version of which was launched late last year — can be resolved. “We have more confidence in Microsoft than we would have 10 years ago,” says Schmidt. “But it always makes sense to look at the security implications, the value back to the customer, and those kind of issues.””

    You have MORE confidence in Microsoft now than you did ten years ago?! With statements like that, the soundness of these decisions is questionable.

  4. Prediction: Before the year is out, HP will announce a corporate desktop running a flavour of Linux or, quite possibly, a “lipsticked” version of HP/UX. This will ship with a Windows-like interface and a core suite of end user business applications including:

    – email client which will interface to Exchange, and possibly Lotus Notes & Groupwise
    – word processing client which will read and write Word formatted documents but will be simpler and have less features
    – spreadsheet client which will read and write Excel formatted files

    The client software will be bundled with the o/s. It will be immune to Windows viruses, and will be highly manageable. Its target will be those corporate users who need more than a thin client, but who do not need to run specific Windows applications.

    Dell will be forced to do something similar – but because they have no in-house software expertise they will need to buy their o/s from someone like Sun or rely on opensource…

    Lenovo will do the same – perhaps with some IBM solution…

    This will be the thin edge of the wedge as far as bringing about the collapse of the microsoft monopoly on the corporate desktop. Apple will make inroads also but it will be the low-cost, ease-of-management story offered by HP which will win over the corporate CIOs…

  5. The Wow Starts Now……LOL

    If the government can figure it out….its just a matter of time before the rest of the Windoze zombie followers get a clue too. I think MacTel is taking out WinTel.

    The tip of the iceberg is surfacing….watch out Titantic(ooops I meant Microsoft)

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