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Should Governments Move to Windows 7, Linux or Wait?

 What's the best strategy regarding upgrades to your desktop and netbook operating systems? Should governments move to Windows 7, Linux or wait for Google's ...

by / October 26, 2009

 What's the best strategy regarding upgrades to your desktop and netbook operating systems? Should governments move to Windows 7, Linux or wait for Google's new Chrome OS?

 Everyone is talking about Microsoft's recent launch of Windows 7. In describing the benefits of their new operating system, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer called Windows 7 "simpler, faster and more responsive" than Vista. Annoying prompts and frequent pop-ups have now been eliminated, and Windows 7 offers better security and fewer resources - actually running smoothly with less memory. Windows 7 can sleep and wake up faster, and if you are still running XP, the overall improvements that you experience will be even more significant. 

Analysis from around the world has been generally positive, with global experts proclaiming that Windows 7 is like Vista but good. Here's an interesting quote from the United Kingdom:

"All round, then, Windows 7 is generally good, and some Windows fans reckon it's better than Apple's Mac OS X. It's certainly easier to use than Mac OS X if you are already familiar with the Windows way of doing things. Also, Windows 7 - released to companies on August 6 - has so far proved to be a lot less buggy than Apple's Snow Leopard, which has even lost users' data....

Windows 7 is simply the best version of Windows you can get."   

 So what's a government technology manager to do at this point? Are you planning to upgrade?    USA Today's Byron Acohido writes that Despite Windows 7, Linux raps harder at company doors .

"IBM, whose Lotus Symphony programs work well on Linux, for years has pushed to get companies to dump Windows for Linux. More recently, Google has promoted Google Docs, a Microsoft Office-like suite of programs delivered over the Web. And Google's Android smartphone uses Linux technology....

Still, of the 655 information technology buyers recently surveyed by Forrester, 66% said they expect to move to Windows 7 computers. 'Users have historically voted for Windows above Linux," says Charles Smulders, tech industry analyst at Gartner.'"Information Week ran an article saying that Uncle Sam Mulls the Move to Windows 7, but despite the fact that many government agencies participated in the Windows 7 beta, the public sector is expected to trail the private sector in early adoption.

"Of federal IT managers with plans to move to Windows 7, 60% plan to make the move in six months or more.... Among the factors influencing Windows 7 adoption by federal agencies are the time required for management approvals and any related IT upgrades. According to Dell, 60% of federal agencies with Windows 7 migration  plans will make the move as part of their normal PC and laptop refresh  cycle...."

  The article goes on to describe current Microsoft deals. "Microsoft is ramping up its Windows 7 push in the public sector. It's offering 15% discounts on Windows 7 professional edition for small government customers, will host a Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 virtual event on Nov. 10, and is preparing a Windows 7 e-book for government customers."

  In Michigan, we are one of the governments still using XP desktops and laptops. Like many others, we have very few users of Vista. We have traditionally waited for service pack one to be released and/or to migrated to a new OS as a part of the PC and laptop refresh cycle. We have not made a decision regarding Windows 7 at this time. 

However, I do use Vista on my home (family-owned) desktop PCs and laptops. (With a family of six, we have two desktops and two laptops. One of my daughters also wants a new laptop for Christmas.) I plan to migrate one of our home laptops to Windows 7 to check it out. I'll let you know my thoughts over the holidays. 

So what are your thoughts and/or plans regarding on Windows 7?     

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Dan Lohrmann Chief Security Officer & Chief Strategist at Security Mentor Inc.

Daniel J. Lohrmann is an internationally recognized cybersecurity leader, technologist, keynote speaker and author.

During his distinguished career, he has served global organizations in the public and private sectors in a variety of executive leadership capacities, receiving numerous national awards including: CSO of the Year, Public Official of the Year and Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader.
Lohrmann led Michigan government’s cybersecurity and technology infrastructure teams from May 2002 to August 2014, including enterprisewide Chief Security Officer (CSO), Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) roles in Michigan.

He currently serves as the Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Chief Strategist for Security Mentor Inc. He is leading the development and implementation of Security Mentor’s industry-leading cyber training, consulting and workshops for end users, managers and executives in the public and private sectors. He has advised senior leaders at the White House, National Governors Association (NGA), National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO), U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), federal, state and local government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and nonprofit institutions.

He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry, beginning his career with the National Security Agency. He worked for three years in England as a senior network engineer for Lockheed Martin (formerly Loral Aerospace) and for four years as a technical director for ManTech International in a US/UK military facility.

Lohrmann is the author of two books: Virtual Integrity: Faithfully Navigating the Brave New Web and BYOD for You: The Guide to Bring Your Own Device to Work. He has been a keynote speaker at global security and technology conferences from South Africa to Dubai and from Washington, D.C., to Moscow.

He holds a master's degree in computer science (CS) from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and a bachelor's degree in CS from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Follow Lohrmann on Twitter at: @govcso

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