University of Denver Recommends Against Vista, Office 2007

I received this email today from the University of Denver. The essence of it is: Don’t upgrade to Vista or Office 2007. I thought I’d repost it here, with my own emphasis added for flavor:

To: University of Denver Students
Fm: Ken Stafford, Vice Chancellor for Technology
Re: Microsoft Vista and Office 2007

As most of you know, Microsoft has now distributed the new Vista operating system. Vista has a completely new and different look and feel than Windows XP. It has been designed to look much more like the Apple Mac interface. UTS has been testing Vista for several months. At this time, UTS is recommending that you NOT upgrade to Vista. UTS is NOT supporting Vista at this time. There are many incompatibilities and many computers are not able to run the program. Currently, Vista does not work with the following:

Symantec Antivirus
The Wireless VPN
Blackboard
DU Webmail
Pharos public printer system

There are many other programs that will not work with Vista without updates if available. If you install Vista, you will not be able to use the DU wireless network, Blackboard, the public printers and other systems. We are working with the Vendors of these systems to get compatible drivers, but at this time, we strongly recommend that you not upgrade.

Office 2007

Office 2007 has a completely different interface. There are no longer drop-down menus. Menu choices are offered in “ribbons of information” on several rows at the top of the screen. Office 2007 files are also not compatible with previous versions of Office. While there are patches of Office 2003 that will allow people to read 2007 files, you will probably need to save files created by 2007 as 2003 files before you send them to faculty or others who do not yet use Office 2007. At this time, there is no patch for Mac users, so if you are sending a document to a Mac user, you will need to save the file in the 2003 format.

At this time, we see little advantage to installing either of these products.

Please see http://www.du.edu/uts/software/newsoftware.html for more detailed information.

Couple of things. First of all, this illustrates the uphill battle that Microsoft faces in convincing people to upgrade. The features are generally all there for the average to advanced user, so a few extra bells and whistles for some exorbitant sum of money is not going to convince a lot of users to upgrade.

The comment about Vista being more “Mac-like” was just hilarious, especially in the context of how self-concious and testy Bill Gates got when this issue was pointed out.

And here’s one for the University. How long do you think they can hold out on this recommendation. What about all the new machines that students will be buying on their way to school in the coming quarter, all pre-loaded with Vista and Office 2007?

Finally, here is yet another glaring example of why any organization should absolutely without fail focus on building their enterprise architecture on open standards. Things change. The only way to be prepared for such changes is to base things on open, widely-accepted standards, so that when you decide to change your VPN system or everyone upgrades to a new operating system or web browser, things will continue working. The incompatibilities for web sites are inexcusable in this day and age – standarads-based web design is cheaper and easier to implement than bloated, junky, proprietary markup practices of the days of yore. Fix it. Stop paying people to build non-standard websites that will break in a few years.

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