The University will transfer to use these versions in order to gain the benefits of the improvements in these products, meet student and staff expectations, and maintain general compatibility with other organisations. However, there are significant implications for the timing and manner of the transitions.
ISS are recommending that a large scale transfer to Windows Vista and Office 2007 takes place in the summer of 2008, thereby allowing preparation, confirmation of software compatibility, and allowing the normal equipment replacement cycle to deal with the majority of cases of underspecified PCs.
This approach is similar to that being taken by most Universities and many other organisations.
The University has over 6,000 PCs running the Microsoft Windows operating system, mainly Windows XP with some Windows 2000.
Windows Vista is Microsoft's long overdue replacement for the PC operating system Windows XP.. Vista is being marketed as an attractive system with new features and facilities. Most PC suppliers will supply Windows Vista on a new PC unless asked otherwise.
For the University the transition to a new version of main PCthe operating system is a strategic issue, not only because of the number of PCs but also because of a set of important support issues. These include the suitability of hardware and the rate of replacement, compatibility with other University software, and internal and external support arrangements..
Microsoft has also released Office 2007 – a new version of the Office software suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, and FrontPage). The approach to the transition to Office 2007 also has significant major implications for the University, particularly in the areas of file compatibility and changes to the user interface which in turn raises issues of support and training..
This paper sets out the position of Information Systems Services as the principal central service provider butand how we will be handling the transition.
The principal aims are to move to Windows Vista and Office 2007 at minimum disruption and cost to the University. The earliest any large scale transfer will take place is summer 2008.
In the interim Windows XP will be the operating system recommended and supported by ISS..
Overview of many of the issues will be relevant to departments and other areas that support themselves.
Microsoft released Windows Vista in January 2007. Whilst mMuch of the underlying functionality hasn't changed but , there arehave been majorny changes to the Uuser Iinterface, layout of common folders, default security settings, and other aspects. etc. VistaIt also A fundamental change is that it requires a much faster and better specifiedhigher specification PC to run on. It is unlikely that it willto run well on anything more than two years older than two years without an investment in new hardware components, particularly memory and possibly a a graphics card upgrade.
Microsoft Vista is being has beingen marketed as an attractive new system and and many staff may feel that they wishmay wish to use it on their work PCs, however, it is very unlikely to the basic truth is that it won't makemake a significant difference to your individual work practices and will most likely slowreduced yourthe performance of most PC’s performance. your PC down. Furthermore, although e
Experience has shown that the second release of software, including operating systems, is generally more reliablemore trouble free thant the first.
Of particular relevance in an organisational context is the support of corporate software applications under a new operating system. Investigation to date has show that iI and it will be some time before Vista itself is a reliable product, some of the non-Microsoft software applications that you are routinely used by staff are will be not yet be fully supported under Vista and drivers for common peripherals such as printers and scanners may not work until new versions are released.
An initial report1 by Becta, the Government agency that advises schools, colleges, and local authorities, includes the principal recommendation, “The new features of Vista add value but do not justify early deployment in the educational ICT estate.”
Under the Microsoft Campus Agreementheld by the University, we are able to licensedupgrade all current and future University owned PCs to Vista at no to upgrade at no charge. We are also able to install Windows XP on any University owned PCs purchased with Vista. is licensed to
We The general recommendation therefore is therefore recommend thathat t staff you don't follow the advertising”believe the hype” and resist avoiddelay upgrading to Vista until has familiarisation is increased been out for a while and mainstream support is available. available. In particular, for PCs that access our central and corporate systems (MIS/MIS admin applications, M: drives, Email, etc), we are not in a position to provide support until such time as that University support staff have become acquainted with, and trained on, supporting Vista.
A similar approach is being taken by many universities and colleges.
An initial report2 by the Government agency, Becta, that advises schools, colleges, and local authorities includes the principal recommendation, “The new features of Vista add value but do not justify early deployment in the educational ICT estate.”
Overview of Office 2007
Microsoft introduced Office 2007 in January 2007. Office 2007 7is able to .
At about the same time, Microsoft has ve also has released a Office 2007 – a new version of the set of Office software suite. The approach to the transition to Office 2007 also has major implications.
Office 2007 will work under onwith both Windows XP and Vista.
The component applications of Office 2007: Word, Excel, PowerPpoint, and Outlook all have new features and facilities which may benefit individual users as well as the University generally. However, there a many significant differences between Office 2007 and the versions most commonly used in the University, namely Office 2002 XP (2002) and 2003.
There is a new user interface which replaces entirely the menus, toolbars and dialogue boxes with tabbed “ribbons”.
The default file formats which Office 2007 applications use are based on the Extensible Markup Language (XML) which is an open standard. These formats have new 4 character filename extensions: .DOCX (Word), .XLSX (Excel), and .PPTX (Powerpoint).
Older versions of Office applications including the versions on most University PCs (Office 2002XP and 2003) are not able to read these file formats unless upgraded with an Office Compatibility Pack.
The web editing application, Frontpage, has been removedis not be included in entirely from OOffice 2007 as it is being replaced by two applications Sharepoint Designer (for use in a Sharepoint environment) and Expression Web. The Web Support Unit will be evaluating these together with possible alternatives for web authoring...
What will we do about this? Go for Microsoft Expression Web, DreamWeaver, or something else?
It is important for planning of academic and administrative work that the position on the adoption of Vista for a wide range of ISS services is clear. The current position is given below in relation to these services.
The general position is that ISS will migratetransfer PCs under its management to Vista when the following of conditions are met.
Iit is clear that Vista is robust, stable, and has no significant security flaws; and stable; ,
thethe bulk of our applications software has been proved to be compatible and work satisfactorily with Vista;;,
mostthe bulk of of the ISS managed PCs stock is capable of running Vista. T this will happen through the routine replacement cycle.
For Office 2007, we wish to achieve a large scale transfer in the summer of 2008 but will install the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack on all PC lab, Library, and AV PCs in the summer term 2007 and make the Pack available for installation on all University owned PCs.
Student Lab PCs
We are investigating suitability of Vista against the specifications of of all lab PCs for running Vista but based on the do not feel that it would beon thethe preliminary analysis of the current mix of specifications wise sensiblewe will not to upgrade before sSummer 2008. By this time, we will have replaced all most, if not all, the older PCs that wouldn't unlikely to be able to run Vista adequately. It is important that we run the same software base in all our PC labs and therefore we don't intend to upgrade some sooner than others.
Office 2007 will be installed at the same time as – with Vista in Summer 2008 but, as noted above, will installthe Office 2007 compatibility pack that allows Office 2002XP/ and 2003 to handle the new formats will be installed in the Summer Term 2007..?
PCs in AV installations will be upgraded at the same time as the student PC labs. We believe that laptops running Vista will be compatible with data projectors in AV installations. AV service loan laptops will not migrated to Vista before summer 2008. For Office 2007 the
AV PCs will be treated the same as PC labs.Office 2007 – as Labs?
Video editing suites will not be upgraded to Vista until the suppliers release new versions of the editing software. This is estimated to be at least 6 months to a year from now.
As the iLabs (Colchester and Southend) are used for very specific purposes by fewer people, we will consider converting one or both iLabs to Windows Vista in advance of other facilities.
Where computers are under a maintenance contract, ISS will not normally purchase replacement PCs or deliver > or upgrade any PC to Vista until . free of additional charge. We will announce the arrangements about how this will be managed by Easter 2008.; will we do upgrades under the maintenance scheme or as a chargeable “extra”>
Any PC on the on maintenance scheme and running Vista will be subject to a “best reasonable endeavoursefforts” approach to fault-finding and fixing. We may recommend reverting to Windows XP.
ISS will not provide any IT training for the staff or postgraduate development programme on, or using, Windows Vista or the Office 2007 applications until the academic session 2008/09. when using Vista courses will be offered.
Our commercial systems suppliers have not released Vista versions of PC software and we don’t anticipate they will provide support for systems under Vista in the near future.
MIS will need to complete a thorough assessment of compatibility before admin systems users switch to Vista. In particular, this means that anyone accessing any MIS central administrative applications (e.g. Finance and Student Records) should not attempt to do so from a Vista PC. It might work, but if it doesn't, we will be unable to do not want to troubleshoot any problems that might arise. Similarly, the compatibility of Office 2007 software with MIS applications will need to assured before adoption.
A programme of upgrades will be established for MIS managed PCs.
The Computing Service will not order PCs to be configured with Vista and will continue to install Windows XP and Office XP2003 until a switchover date which is likely to be in the summer of 2008.
PCs purchased from October 2006 will normally have be of a specification recommended by the Computing Service as suitable for running Vista.
Upgrading to Vista will be possible under the University's Campus Agreement, i.e. there will be no additional licence costs.
HIT Helpdesk support for individual student and staff PCs
OnlyUntil staff are suitably experienced in best efforts support of Vista and Office 2007, assistance will be offered on a reasonable endeavours basis. We expect that Help desk and other support staff will be proficient in both Vista and Office 2007 by the Summer Term 2008.(staff not yet trained or experienced in using Vista and problem solving).
Any transition schedule to Microsoft Vista that accelerates the replacement of PC has a financial cost and also an environmental cost. PCsIT equipment are has significant environmental impact being energy and materials intensive to manufacture and with a variety of toxic or damaging chemicals to deal with on disposal. Despite mitigating factors such as newer models having lower power consumption, it is better from and environmental standpoint to delay replacing PCs.ccelerating the
Microsoft will continue to provide full support including security updates (patches) for Windows XP until April 2009 and limited support until 2014. Office 2003 has the same support arrangements and timetable. Office XP has limited support until July 2011..
1 Becta report: Microsoft Vista and Office 2007: Interim report with recommendations on adoption and deployment.
Available at: http://publications.becta.org.uk/display.cfm?resID=28199
2 Becta report: Microsoft Vista and Office 2007: Interim report with recommendations on adoption and deployment.
Available at: http://publications.becta.org.uk/display.cfm?resID=28199