OS Dilemma

It’s been a rather busy couple days on the Ohio Technology Coordinator Listserv as the state’s tech coordinators have debated various strategies around Microsoft Vista. While there’s certainly no consensus, there do seem to be three schools of thought among those who are entrenched Windows users:

Keep using XP: Windows XP does everything we need it to do. Vista doesn’t offer any compelling reasons to upgrade. It’s certainly not worth the extra time and money needed to implement it. So we’re staying with XP as long as it does what we need.

Upgrade: Everyone’s doing it. Eventually you’re going to have to. Besides, we need to prepare our students for the future, and the future is Vista. Never mind that our graduating seniors were using Mac OS 7 in elementary school. The world’s not going to change that fast for our current students.

Skip It: Vista is just like Windows ME. Microsoft has realized that it’s never going to be the success that XP was. They’re going to release Windows 7 (not sure how they came up with that number) as soon as humanly possible, and Vista will just be a bad dream.

Where are we on this? Right now, we’re going to keep using XP as long as we possibly can. I’m not opposed to skipping Vista (we skipped 2000, after all), but I also think it’s a mistake to put all of our eggs in the Windows 7 basket (it could be worse, impossible though that may sound). In the meantime, we’re looking at alternatives. Alvin has recently confirmed my contention that Linux isn’t ready for the desktop. My experiment with it last fall only lasted about a month, and I have a pretty high tolerance for OS anomolies. For limited use machines, it may make sense. But it’s not going to replace Windows as our standard OS any time soon.

Where does that leave us? Sadly, with Leopard. We can’t legally run that on our current non-Apple hardware, and I don’t see license changes coming any time soon. Switching would be monumental for us, since we’re just now completing the transition to an all-Windows district standardized on a single computer manufacturer. It would put us into a decade or more of dual-platform issues. We’d be paying substantially more for hardware. We’d be locked in to a single vendor. Those options aren’t attractive either.

So what happens when you’ve eliminated all of the possibilities? For now, it’s status quo for us. We keep an eye on Microsoft, and hope they do better with Windows 7. We keep an eye on Linux, and hope they continue to make the improvements that have been coming for years now. And, reluctantly, we start paying attention to what they’re doing over in Cupertino.

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Author: John Schinker

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1 thought on “OS Dilemma”

  1. That’s why you start buying new machines from Apple and then you can put whatever OS you want on them, be Leopard, Linux, Vista, or XP (sadly, you can’t run Me or older on them). I’m putting minis in the classrooms with 17″ widescreens for $740, so there isn’t really a difference price wise (add $56 for a license for XP). My only complaint with minis is out of the 100 or so that we have, I’ve had 2 hard drive failures. 😦

    I’ve been sitting out on the Vista discussion because, frankly, it’s not something I need to worry about for at least another year. We’re rolling out Linux thin-client labs and OS X 10.3, 10.4, and 10.5. (probably dropping 10.4 next year as I get leopard licenses). No Windows though. 🙂

    Apple switching to Intel was probably the second best move they ever made (the first being OS X).

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