Vista, wireless kept off core Olympic IT roster

Microsoft's Vista operating system has been placed on the sidelines of the 2008 Olympic Games, while wireless networking won't even play a reserve role.

Microsoft's newest OS, Vista, has been relegated to waterboy status at the 2008 Olympic Games, while wireless networking won't even play a supporting role in Beijing.

Windows XP was chosen to run on all PCs handling chores vital to the Olympic Games, and has been installed on most of the PCs delivered by Lenovo. Vista will only be used on PCs in Internet lounges set up for athletes to use during the games.

The Olympic Games require mature, stable technologies, said Yang Yuanqing, chairman of Lenovo, during a briefing in Beijing. The Olympic Games aren't a place to try new technologies due to the size and importance of the event, he said. Everything must work smoothly.

"If it's not stable, it could have some problems," he said.

That's why all the Olympic Games' vital PC-related tasks, including games management systems, the results systems, commentator information systems, and the staff and scheduling systems, are all running on XP.

Wireless networking has also been deemed too risky for the 2008 Olympics. There will be no wireless used among the core systems of the Olympic Games, said Leon Xie, director of Olympic Technology and Sponsorship at Lenovo. All networking will take place over wirelines, including the backup system.

"At the Olympics, we need the most reliable and stable system," he said.

The 2008 Olympic Games, which officially open August 8, is a massive event. It requires four times as much IT hardware as the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, said Xie.

Lenovo, the official computing sponsor of the games, has already delivered 12,000 desktop PCs and 2,000 printers to the organizers in Beijing, in addition to 800 laptops and 700 servers. Another 5,000 PCs were sent over for the athlete's lounges and other hospitality and marketing purposes.

The desktop systems include mainly Lenovo ThinkCentre M55s, while the laptops include both Thinkpad T60s and Zhaoyang 680s. The server systems include SureServer models T350, R630 and R520.

All software and other IT choices made for the 2008 Olympic Games came from The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, Xie said.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
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