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

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the ok-but-only-if-you-pay-nicely dept.

United Kingdom 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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Second post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46667953)

Second post!

well then! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46667957)

so... what the rest of the XP users need is a mole within... to distribute the windows update's!

I work with so many people as a Tech and so many cant afford a system upgrade (and I have tried to strip Vista/7/8 down to work)... ahh, the old and the young and dumb!

Re:well then! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46667991)

They're Microsoft customers.

They'll stay locked, in bent over a barrel, arses in the air ready for their masters. And they'll like it.

Re:Re:well then! (-1, Flamebait)

gasher19 (2932551) | about 5 months ago | (#46668111)

Why do you think switching to linux would be much more simpler? Every one says they should use linux. I have yet to seen a good reason why they should switch. I love MS i really do. I think there IDE software is a 100x times above any thing open source can produce(Eclipse is a fucking joke). There documentation is 100x better than any other language or API i have ever seen. Every time i look at the android api it makes me fucking cry. Its pathetic. Every one hates MS but Linux is no better. There is no documentation there is no real help for new users. People dont want to use linux cause ppl on this site see them as lesser ppl The differance between linux and MS is price. How many of you ppl actually contribute to linux? I doubt many if any of you do a damn thing for linux. Yet your all here to bitch how MS is so fucking evil. They are doing what linux will never do. That is called market share. It will always be Mac or windows. There is no community for new ppl for linux and it will fail. Fuck it i love Microsoft cause it will do things things that you linux butt buddys will only wish it could do. Its called market share and usability. Nothing linux can do till they work together and make one or two gui and work as one. Till then keep bitching. There is a reason in the last 20 years linux has done shit on consumer market... beside linus

Re:Re:well then! (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668225)

The only thing windows does that linux doesn't is directX and better gaming support, which will soon change if valve is sucessful, people will switch because they don't want to pay $200 a year just to browse the internet

So you're advocating ReactOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668241)

Dont understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668283)

I can't believe in what you are saying. My feelings are exactly opposite.
Exceptionally bad microsoft documentation and visual studio ide is in very .... shape.
In the other hand linux has support, each stuff is very well documented from kernel to any user space app.
Manual pages are very good stuff, as well as much easier begin with development, etc.
You do not need any additional stuff in Linux. You can develop right now. It is major difference between Windows where you need M$ stuff, you can't just start.
Lot of GB, neverending installations, .NET ... crap.

I am running Linux on all PCs in our company for 12 years! Without one issue and only benefits. Of course, it is my opinion ;)

Re:Dont understand (1)

Whiteox (919863) | about 5 months ago | (#46668379)

I agree with the poor MS documentation. IMHO most of the relevant docs are by 3rd parties. There is a huge document gap between "How To...." and technical reference. You really need to be MS trained in the MS ecosystem and even then you are forced into some form of specialty. Trying to get to grips with MS speak is another issue. Mind you, YMMV - but there are quite a few entry points that promise a lot in introductory documentation, but fail to deliver specifics or solutions, forcing the user to scrounge forums etc.
I'm reminded of Monty Python, describing how to play the flute (paraphrasing) "Blow into one end and move your fingers up and down on the outside."
Not all MS programs are that bad, but what saves it is the knowledgebase that develops for it, until it goes critical, too large and complex to be of practical use.

Re:Re:well then! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668329)

You mad bro?

Why not use GNU/Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46667959)

Seriously, why not go with a stable and boring distribution like Debian on these machines? What does XP offer that they so desperately need? I can't think of anything that the GNU/Linux community hasn't implemented themselves.

What debian lacks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668015)

Is the ability to run Windows programs well

Re:What debian lacks (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 5 months ago | (#46668383)

Last time I checked, the MSO 2003/2007/etc (and old Windows software in general) runs very well under Wine.

Wine has problems with the newer software. But the old one runs fine.

Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668017)

My guess is hardware and software.
There is a shit load of hardware and software that is XP only, your obvious narrow view of the world needs to be broadened.

I am a Mac user, but run XP in a VM for various tasks such as PCB design, EPROM/PAL/uProcessor programming. We also have XP for instrument controllers (centrifuges, spectrophotometers , STM (scanning tunnelling microscopes), NMR/MRI, etc etc etc) and yes we run linux where appropriate.

This "Holy war" that some people have with regards to Operating systems is pathetic, what you run as an OS has as much relevance to anyone else as what my next door neighbour had for lunch 3 weeks ago.

Get over it and yourself.

Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (1)

aheath (628369) | about 5 months ago | (#46668097)

The Linux desktop environment holy wars are almost as bad as the operating system holy wars. Linux Users Have a Choice: 8 Linux Desktop Environments [howtogeek.com] A lot of companies have adopted Linux in the data center but don't use Linux on the desktop. 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.

Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 5 months ago | (#46668167)

What uncertainty?

Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 5 months ago | (#46668337)

It takes them so long in the morning to decide whether to use an LXDE session or Gnome, or KDE, that by the timne they have made upo their minds, its time to go home (or a new desktop has ben released).

Should have stuck with the original sh(), and not had a choice of csh, bash, etc, thats what I say.

Gert off me lawn

@aheath - Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (4, Insightful)

nukenerd (172703) | about 5 months ago | (#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.

That's also a good reason to switch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668271)

to React OS [reactos.org]

Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 5 months ago | (#46668157)

I would say that as far as the U.K. government goes, the OS is about £5.5M/year worth of relevant.

That's a lot of relevant.

Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (5, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 5 months ago | (#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?

Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668297)

Even with office suites, there are a lot of organisations that have invested heavily into macros and macro compatibility between office suites is terrible.

Proprietary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668373)

So why they choosed proprietary solution? Why they want vendor lock-in?
It is always choise of some very clever manager.

Still, they can switch. One investition for switching could cover one upgrade process to latest microsoft software.

Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668389)

You cant get many Duck Houses for £5M you know.

---

Panic now, before its too late

Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (2)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 5 months ago | (#46668255)

what you run as an OS has as much relevance to anyone else as what my next door neighbour had for lunch 3 weeks ago.

Three weeks ago your neighbour had packed lunch which was overpriced , had an attractive wrapping but tasted average, he had to buy salt and spices seperately ( overpriced ) . The nutrition profile was so unhealthy that he'd need to be an Arnold Schwarzzenegger to digest it. After three weeks of eating that meal your neighbour started sending junk messages to all the people he knew and doing other strange things.

Now he wishes he'd just RTFM and cook his own meal.. Or maybe just eat some Ubuntu

Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (1)

aheath (628369) | about 5 months ago | (#46668051)

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.

Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 5 months ago | (#46668171)

Sure, but at this point, an OS change is inevitable for any organization running on XP. Why jump right into the next trap?

@aheath - Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (1, Insightful)

nukenerd (172703) | about 5 months ago | (#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.

Re:@aheath - Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 5 months ago | (#46668347)

I have a "How to Press the Left Mouse Button" CBT video that I got when we upgraded from PS/2 mice to USB ones - you have have for a modest^H^H^H^H^H^H payment if you want.

Re:Why not use GNU/Linux? (2)

biodata (1981610) | about 5 months ago | (#46668107)

My guess is that the government cuts to the NHS have led to a situation where they do not have enough skilled engineers with time to support any change to the status quo. The current governing party is ideologically opposed to the NHS and is unlikely to support anything that would improve matters.

TCO (4, Interesting)

kevingolding2001 (590321) | about 5 months ago | (#46667973)

I wonder if these sorts of figures will be mentioned in the next "Total Cost of Ownership" study done by Microsoft.

RE: TCO (3, Insightful)

Mr_Plattz (1589701) | about 5 months ago | (#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."

Re: TCO (0)

rtb61 (674572) | about 5 months ago | (#46668089)

Especially seeing as a government can and reasonable do so, demand that if a software companying refuses to support software already purchases it should by law be required to open up the source of that software so that it can be supported by others or warrant that the support is now finally free of all bugs and security flaws.

Re: TCO (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 5 months ago | (#46668127)

Sorry, thats a load of bollocks - the NHS has had over half a decade to do something about their situation and they failed, so its not the software operator thats at fault here, and any attempt to do as you say could be seen as undue and unwarranted restraint of trade, and open the country up to WTO issues.

UK law requires that a purchase be fit for a reasonable period of time (depending on the item involved, but the maximum time is typically six years), and XP is well past that test - saying the government could force them to open up the source code is laughably incorrect and completely unreasonable, as that would take an act of Parliament itself and be subject to public ridicule.

Plenty of things go out of warranty and support without the requirement that the creator allow anyone to replace them as supporter.

The government is to blame here, not Microsoft, so its only right that the government pay the fine, not Microsoft.

Re: TCO (1)

Deviate_X (578495) | about 5 months ago | (#46668175)

Especially seeing as a government can and reasonable do so, demand that if a software companying refuses to support software already purchases it should by law be required to open up the source of that software so that it can be supported by others or warrant that the support is now finally free of all bugs and security flaws.

Lol. It would be interesting to see what the UK government would do with that source code..

Re: TCO (4, Funny)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about 5 months ago | (#46668269)

Leave it on a train, probably.

Re: TCO (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 5 months ago | (#46668247)

Still running Exchange 2003? Really? That's just straight negligence.

While I agree with that (even the name tells you what should be done with it - swap it with something else) you seem that have missed that "cutting waste" is the way people associated with government services get promoted. Improvements are seen as an unfair burden on the taxpayer.
Oddly enough people who talk of "running government like a business" are the first to NOT run it like a business which would see upgrades as spending necessary funds to make improvements that drive better savings/profits in the long run. Instead they try to run it like a doomed business given to the idiot son of the founder of a business.

In the long run having people wait around for their computers instead of working becomes more of a burden to the taxpayer than an upgrade.

Re: TCO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668259)

Sounds like the NHS simply thought, "well, it's not our money."

Right. It's Microsoft's money.

Re:TCO (1)

golodh (893453) | about 5 months ago | (#46668341)

I think they will. And it may well turn out to be a very cheap option compared to the alternatives.

When you think of it, paying 6 million pounds to postpone the conversion of a few million XP boxes (which the UK government isn't yet ready to do) for a year or risk even greater vulnerability than XP has now, isn't expensive.

Of course considerations like these are usually lost on Open Source advocates whose mental horizon is limited to the idea of installing Open Source operating systems on PC's without ever considering what those machines are supposed to do. I.e. what applications they must run and who the people are that must use them (and their training and learning ability ... or the lack of it).

Dear UK gov, please move to Linux/FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46667975)

Dear UK gov, please move to Linux/FOSS and stop wasting taxpayers money on that crap they call Microsoft.

Re:Dear UK gov, please move to Linux/FOSS (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46667989)

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

Re:Dear UK gov, please move to Linux/FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668085)

Which venbdor locks customers into their .NET 4 spec?

Re:Dear UK gov, please move to Linux/FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668303)

The vendors that meet the project specifications and requirements at the lowest price.

Re:Dear UK gov, please move to Linux/FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668263)

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

ReactOS [reactos.org]

Re:Dear UK gov, please move to Linux/FOSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668315)

ReactOS doesn't run .NET 4 applications. You're like a stuck broken record, just repeating the same mindless shit.

UK Taxpayers (1)

w-wright (3525625) | about 5 months ago | (#46667979)

What I would like to know is how much would it have cost to upgrade to Linux? As a UK Taxpayer, I would prefer my money to be invested in Linux systems instead of Microsoft.

Re:UK Taxpayers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46667997)

So what you're saying is that you're fine with money going to Red Hat but not Microsoft?

@AC - Re:UK Taxpayers (1)

nukenerd (172703) | about 5 months ago | (#46668245)

So what you're saying is that you're fine with money going to Red Hat but not Microsoft?

Definitely. Microsoft are douchebags.

Re:@AC - Re:UK Taxpayers (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 5 months ago | (#46668361)

As another UK tax payer, I fully support the Honorable gentleman above, In fact, as a victim of MS software, i would prefer it to go on "fact finding missions" "consultancy" from "Miss I Cane" (or Ms Whiplash) and duck houses than to MS.

Cottage Industry Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668061)

You'd be surprised the level of proficiency evident in software used in the Health sector. While you have companies like Phillips, GE, Honeywell, etc. doing things at the amazing end of the spectrum, you are quite likely to find fragmented silo'd business units running critical services using Microsoft Access 97 off a shared drive.

There would probably be a fair amount of work building replacement systems, transitioning functions across, and training staff.

Health is an area where unfortunately spending on IT may seem large, but in proportion it's not really. Certainly not from what I've sen.

Re:Cottage Industry Software (1)

Phroggy (441) | about 5 months ago | (#46668113)

"...We recommend that Microsoft Access be used solely for development purposes and not for production." - Microsoft

Re:Cottage Industry Software (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 5 months ago | (#46668367)

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard of someone that has used a Microsoft product (Access included) for the wrong thing (or used the wrong Microsoft product) I would probably have enough money that I wouldn't need to work for such people anymore (to be fair, the last job I had was a job replacing an Access based system with a much better VB.NET/SQL Server system (my part was converting reports from Access to SQL Server Reporting Services)

Re:UK Taxpayers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668065)

Let's see:

Training for everyone who uses a computer.
More advanced training for everyone in the IT departments.
The time it takes to install Linux on all of the computers, and sorting out drivers.
The cost of getting support from Red Hat or whoever handles it for the distro they go with.

Plus all the prep into picking a distro, picking the software to replace what they already use, and getting new versions of the custom made software.

Considering what government budgets are usually like, paying Microsoft for extended support seems pretty cheap.

Re:UK Taxpayers (2)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 5 months ago | (#46668365)

sorting out drivers.

If you were an actual IT person, you would know the pain of finding/installing Windows Drivers far exceeds that for doing it in Linux (Its easy to find Linux NVidia drivers - they just dont work very well).

Re:UK Taxpayers (3, Interesting)

Shimbo (100005) | about 5 months ago | (#46668073)

What I would like to know is how much would it have cost to upgrade to Linux? As a UK Taxpayer, I would prefer my money to be invested in Linux systems instead of Microsoft.

Much more than that, obviously. You don't replace the operating system, reinstall and develop specialist applications for £5 a PC. Of course, paying for extended support doesn't move you forward, so you have to some sort of migration next year.

And really, as a taxpayer (IMHO), you (and I) should be wondering how the NHS managed to piss £10 billion away on a failed IT project, and how we can avoid them doing it again. £5 million across the whole of government is fairly small beer to keep existing systems going, compared to the amount you could blow on a load of migration projects.

  It sucks that some departments are going to miss the deadline but the questions I'd like to know the answer to are 'what are their migration projects for next year?' and 'are they on track to be completed before the extended support runs out?'. Have they got a credible plan, and it's just slipped a little, or is it a total fuck up? That, to me, is the big money question.

Re:UK Taxpayers (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 5 months ago | (#46668141)

In the NHS? A huge amount, since its basically run on third party applications developed for Windows. The last lot that tried essentially what you are suggesting (rewrite the entire NHS infrastructure so its unified) ended up spending well into the tens of billions of pounds before the project was cancelled.

Also, as a UK taxpayer, id prefer my money get spent on solutions that work rather than solutions that play to the idiosyncrasies of the geek/nerd population.

Very interesting (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46667981)

If someone redistributes the patches, Windows XP would get another year for everybody.

Re:Very interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46667987)

Good news, someone! You just volunteered.

... really 13 years to update? (0)

gasher19 (2932551) | about 5 months ago | (#46667995)

It really annoys me when i hear of ppl not updating. It has been 13 years since windows xp came out. The fact that windows xp was out of support isnt new news. We had windows Vista then windows 7 then windows 8. At no point you thought you need to updated? I find it hard to believe that it cost that much to update your systems. I know nothing of exchange but for christ sakes later versions of office supports older format. I just dont get this type of crap. OMG we are on windows xp and they no longer supported what were we supposed to do for the last 13 years... There were no updates or alternatives at all. When i read this crap its a joke. I doubt its the IT problem more of a Bureaucrat problem. Windows, Linux, or OSx don't matter a bit. Same problem would happen. I only know how to use one version lets not upgrade cause i say so. Then there forced to update and it cost money. OS option doesn't matter. No reason they couldnt upgrade OS/software... they didnt want to. Now they have to suffer from skipping versions they didnt want to upgrade to. Kind of like a tax. Didnt upgrade to next version waited 10 years fine pay 3x more for that version. Dont know how to say this linux wise. But if you waited 10 years on a distro update since it would cost a litte. would you be suprised that a 10 year update cost money? I doubt it. No a real story here. Would cost the same to migrate from a 10 year old linux to a current version.

Re:... really 13 years to update? (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 5 months ago | (#46668003)

It's actually worse than that. We have a number of systems where I am which was just recently upgraded to XP, including the main security system for the buildings. It ran on Windows 2000 up until a year ago or so.

Re:RE... really 13 years to update? (1)

gasher19 (2932551) | about 5 months ago | (#46668021)

the problem is no microsoft... its the fact that no matter what company your with.. they dont update. The cost would probably be the same if you waited that long. File formats change and other things change.

sorry drunk (1)

gasher19 (2932551) | about 5 months ago | (#46668033)

sorry im really drunk but my post was about the fact if you wait 10 or 11 years to upgrade your system..... well it will cost you.... alot... I think that cost is OS independent. Just the way the world works. They had more than enough time to know that updates would stop.

Re:... really 13 years to update? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668031)

A fair few of these are probably single purpose machines running custom software by some contractor that moved on ages ago. No one bothered to budget for a migration and no one who knows how to handle one still works there. So long as these machines don't face the public in some way there isn't a whole lot of reason to update them so long as they can perform the functions required of them.

Re:... really 13 years to update? (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about 5 months ago | (#46668047)

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:... really 13 years to update? (0)

mobby_6kl (668092) | about 5 months ago | (#46668057)

So they have 800,000 machines all running microscope software? And what's the excuse for still using Exchange 2003? They're using some special x-ray carrier pigeons?

Re:... really 13 years to update? (4, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about 5 months ago | (#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.

.... Would of happned if it was linux (0)

gasher19 (2932551) | about 5 months ago | (#46668069)

The question is do you really thing said company would change if it was running with linux software?? if there charging that much for a driver do you not think they would charge just as much for linux kernal?

Re:... really 13 years to update? (1)

_Ludwig (86077) | about 5 months ago | (#46668101)

Shouldn’t these negotiations happen between the government and the vendor before the original contract is ever signed, instead of between the government and Microsoft in sudden death overtime? It’s just as negligent to lock yourself into a rapacious business relationship as it is to put off necessary upgrades until vendors have you over a barrel.

Re:... really 13 years to update? (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 5 months ago | (#46668377)

"Negotiations" were completed on the basis of a thick brown envelope handed to a party now living in a warm climate. Documentation relating to "performance criteria" were handed to the police sone years ago, but have since been "accidentally" shredded. News at 10.

Re:... really 13 years to update? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668221)

> Soon, it just becomes better to leave it the fuck alone and wait until you NEED to do something.

You DO NEED to do something.

The opportunity costs associated with risk, overhead and work-arounds compel it,.

Re:... really 13 years to update? (1)

smash (1351) | about 5 months ago | (#46668289)

You isolate it from the general users production network and the internet and move on. From the sounds of it, that device should be running an embedded OS and should be treated as such.

You no longer have support for bugs, etc. deal with it.

However, you have had better learn for next time that when you purchase a device worth 100k pounds there sure as shit better be some sort of support contract in place. Or you're going to end up in the same situation next time.

Re:... really 13 years to update? (1)

smash (1351) | about 5 months ago | (#46668301)

Also... it is a cost of doing business. We all have the same issues. If you're not going to be bloody careful to isolate it, you are running the gauntlet and need to do a risk assessment and come up with a contingency plan for when it all goes pear shaped. Once you've done the risk assessment, you make the call on what to do. That may be upgrade, it may be isolate until the equipment goes end of life.

Sitting on your hands and whining "waaah it is too expensive" is a cop out - not an action plan. You need an action plan.

Re:... really 13 years to update? (1)

Malc (1751) | about 5 months ago | (#46668325)

An organisation the size of the NHS can demand better prices, which we see in what it pays for drugs.

This is political... now the problem has been pushed until after the next general election, so this government has successfully delayed a big expense whilst trying to slash the funding to the NHS.

Re:... really 13 years to update? (2)

thogard (43403) | about 5 months ago | (#46668151)

When a hammer works, you don't get a new one just because there is a new one. Upgrades cost a fortune for most businesses and upgrades nearly always break some part of the business process. Most businesses have been burned by the upgrade process in the past and when they start putting a dollar figure on the upgrade vs the cost of not doing the upgrade, it is often cheaper to not do the upgrade.

Re:... really 13 years to update? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 5 months ago | (#46668197)

Hammers don't start hitting your thumb more often if you let the support contract lapse.

Re:... really 13 years to update? (1)

smash (1351) | about 5 months ago | (#46668307)

No, but XP isn't a hammer. It's a much more complicated piece of equipment than that. To use a workshop analogy - it's say, a bandsaw or hydraulic press that no longer meets any current safety standards. It is end of life and either needs to have safeguards installed (in XP's case, isolation from the internet and the rest of your production network) or be replaced.

Re:... really 13 years to update? (4, Insightful)

BradMajors (995624) | about 5 months ago | (#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.

Why not upgrade to Chromebooks? (0)

aheath (628369) | about 5 months ago | (#46668029)

The UK government should follow the example of the London Council and upgrade to Chromebooks and Chromeboxes. London Council Dumping Windows For Chromebooks To Save £400,000 [slashdot.org]

joke? (2)

gasher19 (2932551) | about 5 months ago | (#46668041)

From what i know chromebooks is a joke... They are all online... Even google online services have proven to not work 100%. You need a physical storage system. Not some cloud storage crap. Cause it will go down and it will go down at the worst time. Ohh you want to access that bill you wrote sorry google services are dont try back in a hour. Just wont cut it. For that reason London council is stupid. I would never trust my important data to a cloud service cause when i need it most it wont be there.

Re:Why not upgrade to Chromebooks? (4, Informative)

ReeceTarbert (893612) | about 5 months ago | (#46668095)

The UK government should follow the example of the London Council and upgrade to Chromebooks and Chromeboxes. London Council Dumping Windows For Chromebooks To Save £400,000 [slashdot.org]

Let's see: the summary mentions that "last September 85% of the NHS's 800,000 computers were running XP" which translates to 680,000 computers. A Chromebook is like $200 a pop, so migrating all of them would cost $136,000,000. Not such a big saving, is it?

Not to mention that being tied hands and feet to [insert any company here] is no better than being tied hands and feet to Microsoft, you'd have a ridiculous amount of local storage and no control whatsoever over how (and where) your other data is stored. And I can easily imagine that they also have lots of custom-made applications that wouldn't run in Chrome OS anyway.

RT.

Re:Why not upgrade to Chromebooks? (1)

aheath (628369) | about 5 months ago | (#46668147)

Switching to Chromebooks might not be the best plan for the NHS but it was the best plan for the London Council. The conversion from XP to a new operating system is more likely to be driven by business requirements than it is to be driven by FOSS ideology. Large organizations may prefer to be bound hand and feet to Apple, Google or Microsoft if it meets their business requirements. It's the modern day version of "No one was ever fired for buying IBM."

Re:Why not upgrade to Chromebooks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668199)

Google the company has access to all the content of documents etc. edited on a Chromebook. Why does Google need to know my Social Security Number, should it happen to be contained in a GoogleDoc? Ditto for email sent via gmail.

Google scans everything that traverses through them in order to advertise to you better. They basically admit this.

It is unfortunate that many of the organizations who might legitimately need private information in email or a shared doc are unprepared to engage in strong encryption Remember, Google can't see data printed on paper and communicated using the USPS.

"You're not paranoid if people really are trying to get you!"

Re:Why not upgrade to Chromebooks? (1)

smash (1351) | about 5 months ago | (#46668323)

Add the cost of re-training, software compatibility testing, a pilot program, etc. and those costs will blow out MASSIVELY.

Anyone in IT worth their salt knows that the software license cost is a tiny part of the TCO or cost to change. There are huge amounts of other costs involved and they are really hard to calculate. Switching platforms is a risk. Switching from XP to say, 7 is a big enough risk with big enough costs and there's a high level of application compatibility there. Switching to ChromeOS? Lol. Even if the software and hardware was FREE, it would still cost money. A lot. A very difficult to calculate number. Business decision makers do not like large, difficult to calculate $ values for risk. With good reason: being able to budget effectively goes out the window.

Business opportunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668091)

Why is no other company supporting XP?

Re:Business opportunity (1)

aheath (628369) | about 5 months ago | (#46668125)

There are lots of companies that provide tools to secure Windows XP. If I don't upgrade my work computer to Windows 7 by Tuesday the IT department will lock it down with Bit9.

Re:Business opportunity (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 5 months ago | (#46668207)

Why is no other company writing patches for an operating system they don't have access to the source code for? Gee, I wonder.

DEEP DISH COMBO MAMBO! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668121)

It's lunch time, you're hungry, we know how you feel. Your mouth wants Little Caesars and your wallet wants a deal. Four slices of DEEP!DEEP! Dish and a soda are for you. Hot-N-Ready for $5 and this is what you do. Bite bite, sip sip, that's what makes the combo. Bite bite, Sip sip, do the DEEP!DEEP! Dish Combo Mambo. For lunch!

Stupid customers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668179)

It's all the customers fault, can't they control the entire hardware/software stack and afford to stay up to date?! Great opportunity for M$, make each of your legacy customers pay millions! Stupid customers!

So, it's still being supported.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668181)

With full security patches, bug fixes, etc..... because the government here in the UK is paying for it.

Now, as that comes from our taxes, why are these service packs that keep it secure and stable not available to everyone else here who has therefore paid for it?

Cheap (4, Insightful)

SQL Error (16383) | about 5 months ago | (#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.

Re:Cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668311)

Microsoft will double the cost of support each time the contract is up for renewal, so there will come a point where it will be cheaper to upgrade to a later version of windows

Re:Cheap (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668317)

What's the difference between the fixes and security updates for UK.gov's XP computers and those necessary for everyone else's XP computers? Seeing as the support for these XP systems is paid out of the UK public purse, it's probably insane of me to imagine that those same fixes could be made available to UK tax payers for their own XP computers, let alone UK businesses and even XP systems outside the UK.

Who benefits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668275)

Anyone familiar with these types of situations?
Who benefits?

If I am a private home in the UK, am I entitled to download such updates?
If I am a private home somewhere else on Earth, will I be entitled to download such updates?

If Microsoft is making these updates, is Microsoft going to provide infrastructure to simply allow these updates to be downloaded (using the standard Windows Update mechanisms)?

Or, are these updates going to be privately-commissioned work, so that downloading them (even from a UK government building) would technically be piracy?

The UK Government used to have.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668277)

... an internal 'computer consultancy and advisory unit'. It did things similar to NIST in the US, and it was called the "Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency" (CCTA).

CCTA was where the UK Government put staff who were the equivalent of people like Alan Turing or Tommy Flowers, so they could be of general use to all government departments. It produced early 'Open Source' standards, amongst lots of other work, and was a leader in developing the current world IT Security standards of ISO 27001/2. It was HATED by the computer industry, who had to negotiate with it when proposing big government computer projects, and who found that CCTA knew what they were talking about.

They lobbied intensively against it, and in the 1990s it was closed down, with big computer consultancies taking over its position. It has now been airbrushed out of history. If it had stayed, the UK Government would have had an Open Source internal procurement standard....

Microsoft: Support XP users (4, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 months ago | (#46668279)

No excuses! IF the UK government can pay for continued support, that means you still have to develop and test the updates anyways.,

You should offer users (who are not upgrading anyways) continued security updates for $20 per XP seat per year.

Re:Microsoft: Support XP users (1)

tfranzese (869766) | about 5 months ago | (#46668351)

Removing hasty moderation.

Re:Microsoft: Support XP users (1)

Jumunquo (2988827) | about 5 months ago | (#46668357)

Very good idea actually. Unlike Apple, they make no money off hardware, so $20/year for every copy of WinXP is good money. Unfortunately, Microsoft had been sort of obsessed with chasing the greener grass on the other side of the field rather than use what they are actually good at. Of course, they did sign this contract, and they said they are fixing Win8 for desktop users, so maybe the new CEO sees the light. We will see! In any case, if they don't charge a $20 subscription, they would be stupid since now people have a source from which to obtain illegal updates.

OpenSource (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668333)

It is interesting government can give microsoft so much money. But they can switch to Linux and opensource freely, just one investition to develop necessary apps and thats all.
They can spend this money in pharmaceutics, etc. No, they rather use these money for microsoft support....
Very good government.

Re:OpenSource (1)

Jumunquo (2988827) | about 5 months ago | (#46668385)

Problem is - it's government. Every proprietary app they need is going to cost them 10x as much as any normal enterprise business, suck 10 times as bad, and require massive re-training. Someone above gave a great example where the manufacturer requires you buy a whole new set of medical equipment on upgrade, not just replace the software on the controlling PC or firmware. In the US, they spent like $70 million on healthcare.gov and look how they turned out. They should have required Open Source from the beginning, but since they didn't, I'd reckon L5.5M/year is a total bargain. They'd probably love to keep extending it every year it if Microsoft lets them.

Schools? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46668375)

Schools eh? That makes me wonder how many of those they're factoring into their costs!

I work in a school and we switched away from Windows XP (to 32-bit Windows 7) around three and a half years ago, with an added twist of moving to a VMWare ESXi server to host our new virtualised servers.

My job was to make all our existing software work, even the crummy old educational programs that we couldn't afford to upgrade. There actually wasn't much in the way of problems, mainly because we were going from a 32-bit XP install to a 32-bit Windows 7 image. At the time we had different build images for each department (so IT machines would have Photoshop baked into the image, the special educational needs computers would have dyslexia programs baked in etc). We moved from Office 2003 to 2010 at the same time, with Exchange also going from 2003 to 2010. We changed our licensing with Microsoft too, so we pay based on the number of staff in the school each year - that gives us access to pretty much everything, including SCCM (which we use for pushing out updates, installing programs and building PCs).

My job over the last year has been to migrate to 64-bit Windows 7. This proved more of a problem, as some software (such as Successmaker - we use an ancient version) really isn't happy in a 64-bit world, as it makes assumptions based on 32-bit directories etc. In the end Successmaker was made to work by writing some batch files and some kludging to run Java directly rather than via their wrapper. It all works, which is the main thing, and the users wouldn't even have noticed a thing.

As an added bonus, we now have one build image (pretty much vanilla x64 Windows 7) with SCCM pushing out all the custom programs depending on where the PC or laptop is going to be used. It all works very well and although it took a fair bit of fiddling to set it all up it was well worth it. We're already planning our next move, which is likely to be to Windows 9 when it comes out.

I'm sure we're not the only school who, knowing that XP was dying in 2014, decided to move over a few years in advance. Hopefully that money being paid to Microsoft doesn't include anything for our 800 or so PCs!

Virtualization? (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about 5 months ago | (#46668397)

800K PCs is a lot of stuff.

I wonder if anybody tried to calculate the costs of migrating that to a server farm with XP running in VMs?

If they use old hardware , then the RAM shouldn't be a problem.

If they use mostly the office software, then the CPU performance also shouldn't be a problem.

One can theoretically pack few dozens of those on a single blade.

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