Don't Use Vista: UK Government Warns

Dennis Faas's picture

There are no "must-have" features in Vista. It's a "high-risk strategy" to get it early. Installing the operating system within the next twelve months brings about a set of "technical, financial and organizational challenges."

That harsh critique of Vista comes from an unlikely source: an agency of the UK government. The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) "strongly recommends" schools to stay away from Vista for at least a full year.

"There is not a case for schools to deploy it unless it is mission-critical stable," Becta technical consultant Tom McMullan stated to the ZDNet UK website. "There are lots of incremental improvements, but there are no must-haves that justify early deployment," McMullan added during his speech at the BETT education trade show. (Source:

Ironically, even though Becta is warning against Vista, the government agency negotiated with Microsoft to secure cheaper fees for UK schools -- between 20 and 37 percent, to be exact.

Despite that, most organizations in the country don't consider Microsoft's licensing agreement a good value -- according to a Becta report. (Sources: and

Naturally, Microsoft has taken a different stance on the matter. "Customers should evaluate Vista and test it and decide 'Is this good for learning?'" said Steve Beswick, the company's director of education for the UK. "Rollout shouldn't be stopped if it aids learning." (Source:

Several ZDNet UK users have already posted their opinions on this hot button topic:

"The government point of view here is so blindfolded," criticizes 'KFASheldon'. "In a school environment I would think one should be empowering children with the skills required for the workplace once they progress from school. To this end it is essential that they have the awareness of new and upcoming software. When a child in senior/high school leaves in a 2-4 years time Vista is likely to be the OS they are confronted with in the workplace and so too Office 2007. By suggesting that schools hold [off] on Vista and Office 2007 the government is withholding this opportunity for children to acquire skills and be prepared for the workplace, indeed even hold an advantage in the workplace."

But ZDNet reporter Richard Thurston disagrees: "It is very early days for Vista and there will be plenty of time for pupils to learn how it works. Schools don't have the budgets (usually) to pay for immediate upgrades, especially when their current software currently enables them to teach as they require. As with any new software, it's prone to change -- and a few security holes -- and just because it's available, it doesn't mean you have to buy it."

However, 'gcallard' -- who claims to be an IT professional -- sees "no reason for a business organization to move to Vista." (Source: - 1, 2, and 3)

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