Roll on, Vista!

From Good Morning Silicon Valley

Open-source software proponents may end up owing Microsoft a big, ironic thank you for finally getting Vista out the door. Release of the new version of Windows has forced IT folks in the public and private sector to make some serious plans about their upgrade paths, and that could be working in favor of Linux. Among government agencies, an important market for Microsoft, the Transportation Department has already put a moratorium on upgrades to Vista — as well as Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer 7 — while it examines cost and compatibility issues and looks at alternatives, including Linux. Now, according to Information Week, the top technology official at the Federal Aviation Administration is considering grounding Microsoft software in favor of a combination of Google’s new online business applications running on Linux-based hardware. “We have discussions going on with Dell,” said Chief Information Officer David Bowen. “We’re trying to figure out what our roadmap will be after we’re no longer able to acquire Windows XP.” Microsoft still has a chance to retain the business, he said, if it could resolve the compatibility problems and make a case for its substantially higher costs.

The cost of Windows upgrades and proprietary software is also leading to some re-evaluation in Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Faced with replacing some 400,000 public school computers running Windows 98 or Windows Me (yipes!), the agency is taking a hard look at Linux and open-source software…