Right. I've gone on and on about the awfulness of Vi$ta. But only today something far more sinister about it crept into the very small conscious bit of my mind: Vi$ta in schools.
For decades now, schools and universities have tried to keep up to date by installing the latest version of Window$ software, and teaching their students how to use it.
So, this means that they will probably install it on the computers at my varsity-to-be. Which means I'll be forced to use it. But the fact is, this is unnecessarily expensive, pointless and risky to the University.
Firstly, the computers that they already have in the open computer centres where all the students go onto Facebook and pretend to work are barely coping with Window$ 2000. So, to be able to "upgrade" to Vi$ta, they'd have to buy about 100 new computers for that room alone. Not to mention the library, classrooms, and all the other computers in the university. Which will cost a lot of money.
Then, they have to actually buy Vi$ta, and the licenses needed to run it on each and every machine. Which is also a lot of money.
Then, they need to train their staff (lecturers, secretaries, the works) on how to use Vi$ta. Which will cost them money in terms of hours it will take to get used to the change, and be able to do things properly. In this transition period, the risks of losing supposedly secure information are doubled, and the staff will lose some of their motivation because face it: no one likes to feel stupid looking for menus in the logical places and not finding them because Window$ has moved them onto stupid little ribbons that make no sense.
These all add up to lots and lots and lots of money and time that could be put to better use.
The solution is the same as ever: switch to opensource software and operating systems. Using Ubuntu, for example - even Edubuntu, which is specially designed for schools - would be free to install. The computers themselves don't have to be replaced with more expensive models, the functions in OpenOffice software are much the same as in Window$ XP and the menus are all exactly where you would look for them. Which means that the staff don't need to be retrained.
Security-wise, any holes found by the Tech support team can be easily patched, and there are guaranteed to be fewer than those in Window$ Vi$ta, which, sadly, cannot be patched by us, but instead offers patches for download that don't solve the problems we might have found in the first place.
Also, in terms of networking: A Window$ network is very, very unfriendly. Ubuntu machines are frequently kicked off, and you can forget about getting your MacBook to work on it. However, with an Ubuntu network (or any other Linux networks) anything different, including Window$ machines, is welcomed. I don't mean that any bru with his laptop can hook up and steal everything. I just mean that it's easier to create a secure and functional network with Window$ and Linux machines. Hell, I've done it and I'm a High School student with no experience and no training in doing so.
So really, is it too hard to switch to something free?
And if they really, really can't bear to abandon Window$ but, like me, have found that Micro$oft Office 2007 is sorely lacking in common sense, OpenOffice is available in a Window$ compatible version! Seriously, you can download it for free and use it on your machines. The download is available from this
But that just makes me feel dirty. I mean, if you're going to do it, do it properly. Make an educated decision - there are other, better options out there. You just need to look for them.