Qld snubs Vista, Linux in 100,000 PC refresh

Legacy Windows XP SP2 mandated for desktops and portables over next three years

Talk about new desktop operating systems may be at an all-time high, but the Queensland state government has no intention to progress from the six-year-old Windows XP for more than 100,000 computers to be purchased over the next three years.

Queensland Purchasing, part of the state's Department of Public Works, has released a standing offer arrangement for the provision of desktop personal computers, portable computers and servers, which will allow some 26 agencies - everything from health to police and transport - to purchase a standard operating environment.

There are three specifications for the PCs: a "corporate" desktop, a "corporate" portable, and a "corporate" tablet. All three must be supplied with the Windows XP SP2 licence and media.

The tenders for the contract will close in April and the delivery period will commence in July 2007 and end in June 2009 with a possible extension for a further two years.

A spokesperson for the department said the Windows XP SP2 tender is for a hardware refresh in the state's "rolling replacement process".

The department estimates some 35,000 PCs, 6000 portable computers, and 1000 servers will be purchased every year for the next three years.

"Value depends on price [and] agencies negotiate within that arrangement for things they want or don't want," the spokesperson said.

Based on an April 2006 annual audit of Microsoft software licences, the total installed base of desktop and portable personal computers in Queensland is approximately 82,500.

When asked about the possibility of new machines being shipped with OEM copies of Vista as Microsoft withdraws OEM XP sales as early as January 2008, the spokesperson said some departments may have to buy Vista licences and "downgrade" to XP which is "okay for some time".

"We don't have an enterprise arrangement with Microsoft for Vista [and] we don't have an upgrade process to Vista at all," the spokesperson said.

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