back to article Windows for Warships? Not on our new aircraft carriers, says MoD

Britain's new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers will be Windows XP-free zones, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed to The Register. Readers made us aware that a technician working aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth itself, which is a year away from completion, had the famous Windows XP rolling hills desktop background used by …

  1. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Joke

    Ah joke wallpaper ...

    (old enough to remember the site www.jokewallpaper.com - aliased as www.coporateexcellence.com, in case your boss was monitoring your surfing)

    Not as good as the joke BSOD screensaver I used to run ...

    1. Camilla Smythe Silver badge

      Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

      Not as good as the joke BSOD screensaver I used to run ...

      Ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha. Good One..

      Oh?

      1. Malcolm 1

        Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

        What with Microsoft buying Sysinternals some years back it's available directly from Microsoft themselves: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb897558.aspx

        1. TeeCee Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

          Fooled one of my colleagues at work. Down having a drag and he came down to impart the news that my PC was in serious trouble and throwing repeated BSODs:

          "It's a screensaver. I can't believe you fell for it."

          "No it's not, I wiggled the mouse to check that."

          "Well it wouldn't be any bloody good if it didn't disable the mouse now, would it?"

          1. Field Commander A9

            Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

            Didn't workout for me that well--

            "Who rebooted my PC?"(it was during the days that PCs still had a RESET button on them)

            "It BSODed, I saved you valuable time for having to reboot it yourself."

            "It's just a...never mind"

            1. Al Black

              Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

              I reconsidered the wisdom of installing the BSOD screensaver on our main File Server when the MD had a panic attack...

    2. Anonymous Bullard

      Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

      Not as good as the joke BSOD screensaver I used to run ...

      I thought that came with Windows?

      1. Martijn Otto

        Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

        Yes, a classic example of Redmond humor. The only problem was that one had to reboot the machine to switch off the screensaver.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

          Yes, a classic example of Redmond humor. The only problem was that one had to reboot the machine to switch off the screensaver.

          Yup. Brought to you be the company that wrote EDLIN :)

        2. aqk
          Windows

          Re: Ah! A most ROBUST wallpaper!

          You may call it a BSOD, but in Redmond, it is referred to as an extremely robust wallpaper.

    3. Little Mouse

      Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

      In the 90's there was a fad for free "comedy" screensavers, featuring badly animated sprites doing unfunny things. E.g. Bill Gates as a window cleaner - Pasta shapes dancing the "Macaroni" etc etc.

      They all had two things in common: They were always described as "hilarious", and they were all as tedious as hell.

      (Except for Johnny Castaway of course)

      1. davemcwish
        Thumb Up

        Johnny Castaway..

        ^ This

      2. JeffUK

        Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

        (Except for Johnny Castaway of course)

        Just gave me a massive wave of nostalgia, Someone's compiled the whole lot into this youtube vid:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqXIKeTVcyA

        1. dotdavid

          Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

          I think Johnny Castaway would make an awesome Android live wallpaper.

      3. PNGuinn
        Go

        Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

        Best one I ever came across was condensation running down the inside of your screen, slowly washing your desktop away.

        I think it may have been called "Leaking Roof" or something similar.

        1. chivo243 Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

          The best one was the screen washer... a woman's wet soapy breasts pressed up against glass, so it looked like she was in your CRT monitor washing the glass from the inside with her breasts ;-} def not NSFW!

      4. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

        They all had two things in common: They were always described as "hilarious", and they were all as tedious as hell.

        Mine consisted of strip tease artistes and they were far from tedious. For a few weeks at least...*

        * Footnote for the do-gooderesses: as a self-employed person I could only sexually harass myself.

        1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: sexually harass myself

          Yes, when I was self-employed that was the downside. Ended up with an arm like Popeye...

        2. Mark 65 Silver badge

          Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

          * Footnote for the do-gooderesses: as a self-employed person I could only sexually harass myself.

          I'm guessing that was what the artwork was for.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

            I'm guessing that was what the artwork was for.

            How very psychic of you ;-)

            It seems the software is still around and updated; search for:

            VirtualGirl HD Dancing Desktop 1.1.0.54

      5. Tezfair
        Thumb Up

        Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

        Ahh yes Johnny. Must remember to fire it up before new year ;-)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

      "Windows for Warships? Not on our new aircraft carriers, says MoD"

      Nope, what they actually said was "No Windows XP for Warships".

      Presumably it still run Windows as most of the MODs systems do...So maybe Windows 10 for Warships?!

      1. Jimmy2Cows
        Coat

        Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

        And you just know they unticked all the privacy invasion options on install, right?

        "To improve your combat experience, Windows 10 for Warships sends application details to Microsoft which may include usernames, passwords, armament levels, crew compliment, readiness levels, fleet size, fleet makeup, fleet location, satcom transcripts, satellite imagery, radar contact and electronic intercept data.

        Your privacy is respected at all times, but we will dump all this shit on a public server somewhere because we couldn't be arsed to secure it properly and figured we could make a quick buck off sale to carefully (yeah, right) selected third parties.."

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. AJS2010

        Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

        Of course. It's just The Register taking another opportunity to have a dig at Microsoft, this time by changing the headline, so it can suits them. Bless'em

        1. Vic

          Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

          It's just The Register taking another opportunity to have a dig at Microsoft

          Strangely, your posting history probably doesn't support your making that sort of allegation...

          Vic.

          1. x 7 Silver badge

            Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

            does his name indicate he was born in 2010?

    5. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

      "Not as good as the joke BSOD screensaver I used to run ..."

      Ah, yes, that one got me in trouble with the wife - her response when I explained it to her was "WHY ON EARTH WOULD ANYONE THINK THAT'S FUNNY?!"

      Wasn't even my fault, damn thing was part of the default Red Hat install back around 2001.

    6. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: Ah joke wallpaper ...

      There was also the flash portal that loaded a full screen browser window and a working (simplistic) GUI of Mac OS.

      Load that up in IE on a windows PC to see someone get rather confused.

  2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Pedant alert

    “The MoD can confirm that Windows XP will not be used by any onboard system when the ship becomes operational,” the spokesman added. “This also applies to HMS Prince of Wales.”

    Note the bold bit. You can almost imagine after the spokesman got off the blower with el Reg, the frantic call made to the beancounters to get approval for a quick software retrofit before the thing actually goes live.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Pedant alert

      Will these ships become operational before they are scrapped?

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: Pedant alert

        The real question is whether they'll get their aircraft before they're scrapped or sold off, given all the shenanigans that have gone on in that particular part of the purchase ordering and contracting...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pedant alert

          I visited a US Marine Corps base museum earlier in the year. The people there were against the F-35.

          'Far too heavy', 'Far too slow', etc etc

          Well, we were standing in front of a recently retired Harrier.

          My new years wish would be for BAE/Boeing to restart production of them and scrap the F-35.

          A new versio with composite mateirals etc would probably beat the F35 hands down

          I am biased because I worked on the Harrier at Hawkers.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Pedant alert

            "My new years wish would be for BAE/Boeing to restart production of them and scrap the F-35"

            You and a few others. I did read somewhere a few months back in a defence rag that the current owners of the UK's Harriers were looking for an engine upgrade, but the word on the streets was that RR had lost the instructions for making engines and ancillaries (e.g. the electronic control system, like the whole aircraft, originally designed in the 1960s).

            Be a good boy next year and Santa may sort it for you in 2016.

          2. graeme leggett

            Re: Pedant alert

            last version - Harrier II - was built with more composites replacing aluminium in the fuselage.

            Though the reason for giving the GR5 a (stainless) steel leading edge escapes me.

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: Pedant alert

              If they ARE using XP, will it EVER become operational?

              1. PNGuinn
                Devil

                Re: Pedant alert

                It's probably a very sensible financial decision to prevent a free upgrade to the soon to be announced subscription version of w 10 (support for legacy drivers extra).

                But on the other hand this is extreme political decision making /MOD procurement / porkie pies / pork barrels / the good of the country?? / etc etc, so I'm probably way wrong there.

                El Reg - we need an "It's not funny "icon.

            2. frank ly Silver badge

              @graeme leggett re. GR5 leading edge

              Do you mean the wing root extension (about 3ft by 2ft)? If so, I understand that it gave additional lift and reduced turbulence slightly (the two effects probably assisting each other).

            3. x 7 Silver badge

              Re: Pedant alert

              " the GR5 a (stainless) steel leading edge escapes me."

              The AV-8B composite wing was designed by McDonnell Douglas and gave extended range and carrying capacity, but at reduced turn rate. The RAF would only agree to purchase the AB-8B if the turn rate matched the GR3. (Something which would have been provided by the UK designed but never built GR5K "tin wing" Harrier). As a compromise BAe designed wing root leading edge extensions which gave improved turn rate. These were eventually fitted to both the RAF and US Marine Corps versions of the AV-8B. They're metal because McDonnells refused to export the composite materials technology to BAe. They were happy to use UK technology, but would not share their own.

              There was a fair bit of blackmail about this. The "tin wing" could have been retrofitted to the existing Harrier (and Sea Harrier) fleet giving a faster, more manouverable aircraft with more lift capacity than the AV-8B, but the US Government would only buy their own AV-8B design, and would only purchase if the RAF also purchased it. Essentially we were blackmailed into buying an inferior USA design instead of our own better product. Note that the eventual AV-8B/GR5/GR7 is actually slower than the GR3/FRS1

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Pedant alert

                There was a fair bit of blackmail about this. The "tin wing" could have been retrofitted to the existing Harrier (and Sea Harrier) fleet giving a faster, more manouverable aircraft with more lift capacity than the AV-8B, but the US Government would only buy their own AV-8B design, and would only purchase if the RAF also purchased it. Essentially we were blackmailed into buying an inferior USA design instead of our own better product. Note that the eventual AV-8B/GR5/GR7 is actually slower than the GR3/FRS1

                Ah, US blackmail. Plus ça change.

                1. TRT Silver badge

                  Re: Pedant alert

                  Well there's one boat the navy won't be installing windows on and that's a submarine.

                  1. x 7 Silver badge

                    Re: Pedant alert

                    some - at least - of HM Submarine fleet allegedly run Windoze for Warships.........or thats what the press reports said a few years back

                  2. Pompous Git Silver badge
                    Joke

                    Re: Pedant alert

                    Well there's one boat the navy won't be installing windows on and that's a submarine.

                    Well not MS Windows. X-windows OTOH are a bit more "watertight" ;-)

              2. RubberJohnny

                Re: Pedant alert

                That's only to be expected as we are a subject state under a US hegemony.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Pedant alert

            I am biased know what I'm talking about because I worked on the Harrier at Hawkers

            No need for modesty IMHO. Those machines were fantastic.

      2. aqk

        Re: Pedant alert

        And are these Win-10 tubs issued using the Fast build or the Slow Build?

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Pedant alert

      Well given the comment "Software based on XP is used to run the command suites of most of Blighty's major warships" it now becomes obvious, naturally the engineers will have XP systems to confirm the new systems are giving the same results as the old ones.

      It is a shame I didn't take a photo at the time (back in the 80's) where we had a (then) modern computer suite and sitting amongst all of this were a couple of ancient frames containing obviously live valve and relay based equipment. The reason for these systems being there was because we were testing the digital-analog interfacing between the to-be installed computer system and a remote analog system that wasn't part of our upgrade project (and it would not surprise me if that interface is still being used and the ancient analog system's valves are still glowing and its relays clicking...).

      1. Citizen99

        Re: Pedant alert

        '(and it would not surprise me if that interface is still being used and the ancient analog system's valves are still glowing and its relays clicking...).'

        Of course: ElectroMagneticPulse-proof ;-)

        Ah, valves - as used in Colossus and in the 1950s HMV radiogram through which I am currently listening to music.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Pedant alert

          Ah, valves - as used in Colossus and in the 1950s HMV radiogram through which I am currently listening to music.

          Aaah, I hear the loudspeaker emitting the dulcet tones of the Harry Roy Orchestra.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjWOdVdasGM

          Isn't the Internet a wonderful thing?

    3. John Sanders
      Facepalm

      Re: Pedant alert

      """Britain's new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers will be Windows XP-free zones"""

      They will run Windows 7 instead...

      1. AndyS

        Re: Pedant alert

        >They will run Windows 7 instead

        Steady on now, you skipped Vista.

        1. The First Dave

          Re: Pedant alert

          "Steady on now, you skipped Vista."

          So did everyone with any brains...

          1. aqk
            Windows

            Re: Pedant alert But seriously, folks Vista was good EVENTUALLY

            It's fun to knock Vista- it was such a dog when it was first issued.

            Perhaps the only Win-OS that was worse in the last 15 years was Millennium. And it was only 16-bit.

            I know several folks that bought a laptop with Vista on it. And struggled and swore. But eventually MS got it to a level (SP2?) comparable to Win-7. Once I installed this on their laptops, the inevitable question was "Should I upgrade to Win-7?"

            Nah. Stay with Vista - it's as fast - and more reliable.

            But then, THEREGISTER is full of these complaining dopes/dinosaurs. "I WILL NEVER UPGRADE TO WINDOWS-10!" Or 8 or 7 or XP, etc.

            ... (Sent from my old 4GB desktop, currently running Win-10 Build 11082) ....

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Pedant alert But seriously, folks Vista was good EVENTUALLY

              But then, THEREGISTER is full of these complaining dopes/dinosaurs

              So, you wouldn't complain if MS pushed seven redundant copies of W10 onto your computers at a cost of $AU2 per megabyte. If you are so wealthy, why are you running antique computers and OSs?

              No, fortunately the law changed here in Oz to require telcos to warn consumers that they were over the limit. But I still objected to MS assuming that it was OK to waste huge amounts of my data. The only way to stop MS was to change OS to Linux.

              If MS hadn't decided to play silly buggers I'd still be running W7 on all of my computers.

      2. Peter Simpson 1
        Happy

        Re: Pedant alert

        They will run Windows 7 instead...

        No, they've just been force-upgraded to Windows 10.

        Try to keep up, won't you?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pedant alert

          "they've just been force-upgraded to Windows 10."

          I'm feeling left out. I look after a handful of Win10 systems. Some have seen this threat. The ones owned+used by me (as distinct from friends neigbours etc) haven't had this malware yet.

    4. Jonathan Richards 1
      Thumb Up

      Re: Pedant alert

      “The MoD can confirm that Windows XP will not be used by any onboard system when the ship becomes operational”

      But we don't have a direct quote to support the statement that all the on-board software will be newer. After all, Windows 3.1 is probably resistant to all manner of modern malware.

      1. x 7 Silver badge

        Re: Pedant alert

        “The MoD can confirm that Windows XP will not be used by any onboard system when the ship becomes operational”

        I'd take that as reading that the current systems are XP and will stay in place during trials, but will be replaced during refit before she becomes operational in 2020. Remember the first ship is destined to be a floating testbed/trials platform to be later upgraded to operational standard.......its quite likely that the second ship will actually be the first to become actively operational on the front line, using all the developments worked out from the first

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pedant alert

          .its quite likely that the second ship will actually be the first to become actively operational on the front line, using all the developments worked out from the first

          What, like a flight deck that won't melt under the F35's exhaust?

          The whole F35 saga has the makings of the world's most expensive mess. Can you imagine the discussion:

          "Let's build a new strike aircraft"

          "Yep - better make it strong so it will be a stable weapons platform and robust at low altitude"

          "Great idea! But lets make it capable of Mach2 as well, so it can get in and out fast"

          "Great thinking! Since it's Mach 2, we'll make it capable of air defence and interception"

          "Bingo. So double the avionics, and high altitude dog fighting to please the top brass"

          "Genius, man, genius. Don't forget stealth, you're nobody if you don't do stealth"

          "We're onto a winner here! Lets make is carrier compatible, so the Navy will buy it too"

          "Don't forget then, different wings, different undercarriage"

          "You are The Man! And I say we do a S/VTOL variant for the marines and idiot foreigners like the Brits"

          "So cool! Make sure we've got fly by wire, and incredibly advanced software to manage EVERYTHING"

          And so began the sorry tale, wherein the Yanks have committed themselves to a vastly complex programme with a current expectation of a whole life cost of $1.5 TRILLION. And meanwhile, their security services maintain the biggest threat to the US is a bunch of bearded arse wipes straight out of the middle ages. In many ways, of course, the F35 programme is like the original Harrier programme - driven by the cutting edge of what you could do with technology, rather than a practical, realistic need by the military.

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Pedant alert

            Reminds me for some reason of the lyrics to one of the tracks on "Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters", an album that was all about the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter (aka widowmaker)...

            1. x 7 Silver badge

              Re: Pedant alert

              " the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter (aka widowmaker)..."

              Interestingly if you compare the F-104G (the European ground attack version of the Starfighter) with the Harrier (in all its variants) then the crash rate is roughly the same at around 50% of airframes. I don't know if the pilot loss rate is also similar.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Pedant alert

              "Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters"

              Catch a falling Starfighter

              Put it in the pocket of your jeans

              You can use it as a cigarette lighter

              Or as an opener for a can of beans.

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                Re: Pedant alert

                Lyric from Lucky Lief and the Longships seems appropriate here also:

                "Sleek, swift, streamlined ship,

                shield-clad and shining,

                tell to me the tale of your trip

                when the limpest of men were your lining

                O I know you were a ship of fools

                O I know you were a ship of fools"

          2. Vic

            Re: Pedant alert

            Great idea! But lets make it capable of Mach2 as well, so it can get in and out fast

            They failed there, then. It goes nowhere near Mach2 :-(

            The current-era Lightning II is quite a bit slower than the 1950s Lightning...

            Vic.

          3. Fatman Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Pedant alert

            @ Ledswinger,

            Your quote:

            <quote>And so began the sorry tale, wherein the Yanks have committed themselves to a vastly complex programme with a current expectation of a whole life cost of $1.5 TRILLION. And meanwhile, their security services maintain the biggest threat to the US is a bunch of bearded arse wipes straight out of the middle ages. In many ways, of course, the F35 programme is like the original Harrier programme - driven by the cutting edge of what you could do with technology, need to impress local voters with the pork you have brought home, and the defense contractors whom you have enriched, rather than a practical, realistic need by the military.</quote>

            needs some editing, note the changes.

            I hope you will find them illuminating.

            1. x 7 Silver badge

              Re: Pedant alert

              "is like the original Harrier programme - driven by the ......need to impress local voters with the pork you have brought home, and the defense contractors whom you have enriched"

              please don't tar the designers of the original Harrier/Kestrel/P1127 with that statement. Hawkers and Bristol-Siddley were genuinely trying to resolve a real military problem: how to launch aircraft in the event of a Soviet strike destroying the fixed runways of Europe. Their intended solution: the supersonic P1154, never flew due to technical issues (in part due to the need to use plenum chamber burning in the hover - which would melt the landing pads and also give severe reingestion problems), but the subsonic Harrier / Sea Harriers that were eventually produced were a useful successful technology spin-off.

              The decision making process which led to the Harriers has no similarity to that of the F-35 series

  3. Uberseehandel

    Not all versions of XP are called XP

    Is XPe (XP for embedded systems) XP?

    I think it is, but in MOD-speak?

  4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    So, instead of XP?

    It'll be Vista then?

    1. Mint Sauce
      Go

      Re: So, instead of XP?

      Came here looking for this comment, was not disappointed. Trebles all round :-)

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: So, instead of XP?

      And here I was thinking "Vista for Varships".

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: So, instead of XP?

        The maritime version of Windows? - Portholes.

  5. Arctic fox
    Windows

    But have they installed Service Pack 1 yet?

    I think we should be told.

  6. Yugguy

    Screen capture was the best

    Capture the screen, set that as the background then stop the explorer process.

    "Why aren't my icons working???"

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Screen capture was the best

      Or as I once did (*) implement a timer that randomly rotated the desktop through 180 degrees.

      (*)Back when I was young and stupid. I'm not young anymore.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Screen capture was the best

        Not to mention the fun that can still often be had with ctrl alt + arrow keys when people wander off leaving their machines unlocked...

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Screen capture was the best

      "Why aren't my icons working???"

      I used to do something similar on the school acorn network. a quick bbc basic program to logout and fake the prompt as if still logged in, returning fake but plausible error messages on any input.

      Retreat to a safe distance and watch the teacher try to log the machine out...

  7. Richard Wharram

    F35b

    I wrote to my MP about the rip-off catapult-fitting cost quote but got fobbed off with a standard non-reply.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: F35b

      It looks like you're writing to a constituent. Would you like help with that?

  8. jake Silver badge

    OK, I'll bite.

    If not XP, what OS? Inquiring minds want to know.

    (We'll find out anyway, so why hide it?)

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: OK, I'll bite.

      Windows ME

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. eJ2095

      Re: OK, I'll bite.

      They have bought that french airports win3.1 machine

    4. TeeCee Gold badge
      Facepalm

      Re: OK, I'll bite.

      I'd bet on Win 7.

      It wasn't obsolete when they started the project........

    5. DJV Silver badge

      Re: OK, I'll bite.

      Looking at the other screens to the right of the XP one - with the blue background, white window borders/title bar and hints of red/orange... yay, they've upgraded to Amiga Workbench 1.3!

  9. Stretch

    nah its the VM that's doing all the real work, running on top of whatever they said they would replace windows with.

  10. Ian Emery Silver badge

    XP screen is a cover up.

    To hide the fact they actually installed VISTA, but are too embarrassed top admit it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This sort of thing really makes me tear my hair out in frustration. We are spending £6.2 billion on these aircraft carriers and probably about the same on the Trident replacement. If just 1% of that money was diverted to paying a shed load of UK software developers to create "UK Linux" we'd have a hardened OS which we could maintain ourselves without being beholden to a US company. Yes, it would take time to port over all the applications but you'd only need to do it once. "UK Linux" could also be used by Government, councils and the NHS making savings all around. I'd be prepared to bet that the project would pay for itself within a year of launch.

    Considering how well most Government IT projects go though perhaps we should just let MS fleece us...

    1. Spender

      Yes, it would take time to port over all the applications

      Ah, the old "just make it work like the old one" brief. In my experience, that's the kind of project that just runs and runs. A real risk that would probably outweigh the risk of Windows in terms of cost.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Yes, it would take time to port over all the applications

        " that's the kind of project that just runs and runs."

        Where the Government is involved, there seem to be no other type.

        Has there been a successful IT project initiated by government in the last couple of decades (the failures keep getting reported, but not the success stories (if any). Iit just seems like really poor P.R. work for them to not blow trumpets about a success, given all the abject failures and complete disasters.

        It's not even 'unlike them' to blow their own trumpets, even when it's undeserved...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Then why not an EU OS and split the costs further and access a larger pool of talent...

      1. TRT Silver badge
        1. Pseu Donyme

          >EUNIX?

          EUNUX?

    3. Uberseehandel

      I've given you a thumbs up, but I fear you have a touching faith in UK software developers, not supported by current evidence, well any evidence, really! It will become a government project, it will be run by incompetent but high charging project managers. It will be expected to fail.

    4. linicks

      "...makes me tear my hair out in frustration".

      And me. I wonder how much the NHS spends wastes on MS crap when all they need is simple email, word processor/spreadsheet and web browser stuff on 100,000's of machines?

      1. x 7 Silver badge

        "And me. I wonder how much the NHS spends wastes on MS crap when all they need is simple email, word processor/spreadsheet and web browser stuff on 100,000's of machines?"

        sorry, but you are absolutely wrong.

        The NHS uses a large number of database applications, required by all users, which are virtually all Windows-only.

        Just to start, the three biggest-selling GP clinical systems (Emis, SystmOne, Vision) are all Windows-only. Docman, the main document control program, is Windows only. Specialist software for processing blood and other tests is Windows only.....the list is endless

        1. linicks
          FAIL

          No wonder the NHS is in a fucking mess.

        2. WolfFan Silver badge

          I always stand in awe of those who downvote people when they state the absolute bleeding obvious:

          (ALL CAPS so that it'll sink in. Maybe.)

          PEOPLE BUY COMPUTERS TO RUN APPLICATIONS. THEY DO NOT BUY OPERATING SYSTEMS. THEY WANT TO DO A JOB OF WORK ON THEIR COMPUTERS.

          If the applications they need to run are Windows-only, then they will buy Windows-based systems as they need to do their jobs. Anyone who wants people to stop using Windows-based systems needs to deliver applications which will do what people need to do at least as well as the Windows-based systems they are already using. In addition, the new applications MUST be able to read the existing data; users are not going to re-enter all their data unless they have a very good reason indeed.

          There are a few Linux-based general office productivity applications. So far as I can determine they do NOT import the more complex MS Office files (I seem to recall specific mention of tables in MS Word) without the users doing some massaging of the files. I'm sure that Microsoft doesn't go out of their way to assist 3rd parties in their efforts to be able to read/write MS Office files, but it still remains a fact that one of the problems affecting users is moving their files out of MS Office. If it is difficult for them to move, they just will stay right where they are. Your typical user will have thousands of files, possibly tens or even hundreds of thousands. If it takes ten seconds to massage each file so that it displays properly in the new, open-source, application, that will cost the users hours or days or more (1000 files, 10 seconds each, 10,000 seconds, or just under 3 hours) and you know that it's going to take more than 10 seconds each. Even if the new open source software is totally, completely, utterly, free, without even a service contract or anything, it will still cost money to make the conversion, as someone will have to pay for all the time wasted.

          x 7 mentioned applications which exist on Windows and which do not exist for Linux systems. So, are those who downvoted him willing to volunteer to write applications which can do what those applications do, which can read the data created by those applications, which can deliver the output required by the users of those applications, which have an UI sufficiently similar to those applications that the users will need minimal, if any, retraining? I'm pretty sure that there must be a document-management system available for Linux that can do what DocMan does. I'm less sure that such an application can read Docman databases, has a UI at all similar to Docman's, or can deliver exactly the results required. It is entirely possible that the UI and the results can be modified to an acceptable degree. How long will that take, how much will it cost? And then there are other applications for specialist duties. He specifically mentioned bloodwork. Bloodwork is very finicky and requires close adherence to very specific rules. The users simply aren't going to use replacement application unless those replacements can demonstrate that they do everything the Windows apps can do, and can do it at least as quickly, and can do it in a way that the users can access without major retraining. If there are incorrect results, or, worse, correct results which were misinterpreted for whatever reason, including user error, then people can die. The users are going to be very conservative. They are NOT going to change unless they KNOW that the new apps do what is necessary.

          She Who Rules has to use specific software at work, and it's all Windows-based. She'd really rather not, but non-Windows based software that does what she needs simply does not exist. If anyone wants to change her industry, or many other industries dominated by Windows-based systems, they need to start creating applications for the people who work in those industries. That's how it is.

          1. x 7 Silver badge

            @WolfFan

            one of the most lucid and well-thought-out posts I've read in years.

            Thanks and well done. I agree totally.

          2. David Roberts Silver badge

            Sadly only one upvote to give.

            Industry is locked into Windows because it is the platform with the most users.

            So new desktop software targetted at commercial users is developed for Windows. There is not yet any cost/benefit model to justify producing and supporting another version.

            One of the reasons I still use Windows is that I am a T2 diabetic and the software which comes with my Blood Glucose monitor only runs on Windows.

            My TomTom Go is also managed by Windows software.

            Unless/until major manufacturers of hardware (medical, navigation, anything specialised) routinely produce drivers and management software for e.g Linux as well as Windows and major software suites are developed to be OS agnostic then Windows will always win.

            Double (at least) the cost of software development and support? Who is going to pay that extra cost?

            1. Chemist

              Re: Sadly only one upvote to give.

              "Who is going to pay that extra cost?"

              Well Mozilla ( Firefox & Thunderbird), Google (Chrome, Google Earth) Gimp, LibreOffice , VLC, Skype, VirtualBox, Apache, MPLab (PIC dev/programmer) and a number of others.

              1. x 7 Silver badge

                Re: Sadly only one upvote to give.

                "Well Mozilla ( Firefox & Thunderbird), Google (Chrome, Google Earth) Gimp, LibreOffice , VLC, Skype, VirtualBox, Apache, MPLab (PIC dev/programmer) and a number of others."

                None of which have any practical use in a medical environment. No clinical database system. No patient arrivals system. No patient messaging system. No document management system. No medical diagnostic testing system. No interface with ECG machines, Spirometry machines, diagnostic results databases. No integrated dictation software or speech-to-text (with medical dictionary). No automated text messaging system. No prescribing or prescription dispensing system.

                The NHS uses windows because it HAS to: the applications it needs are windows only.

                The programs you cite are all generalist non-specialist programs, which can be made to work in a simple small office environment. But in any type of specialist environment they are next to irrelevant.

                And its no good bleating about how manufacturers "should" provide non-windows alternatives. The simple fact is that the market isn't big enough to support multiple development and support streams. There isn't enough cash in the pot to allow companies to offer multiple competing products (which is what Linux versions of the existing windows products would be). And the medical tech support teams - the CSUs - certainly don't want to increase their support costs with alternative support options.

                1. Chemist

                  Re: Sadly only one upvote to give.

                  "And its no good bleating about how manufacturers "should" provide non-windows alternatives"

                  I didn't but there again I didn't mention anything about medical environment either.

                  On the other hand a quick Google suggest that most areas of specialized medicine that involved detailed analysis of MRI, CAT etc does use software that is often available for Windows, Mac & Linux. It seems to be in the areas of databases and messaging that Windows is used solely.

                  If you want specialist areas I know of dozens of scientific programs only available for Unix/Linux some of them are eye-wateringly expensive. I'd also point out that MPLab is highly specialized.

                  1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                    Re: Sadly only one upvote to give.

                    If you want specialist areas I know of dozens of scientific programs only available for Unix/Linux some of them are eye-wateringly expensive. I'd also point out that MPLab is highly specialized.

                    The Git remembers drooling over a Silicon Graphics Indigo machine running Irix and some interesting mathematical/graphical software.

                    1. Chemist

                      Re: Sadly only one upvote to give.

                      "The Git remembers drooling over a Silicon Graphics Indigo machine running Irix and some interesting mathematical/graphical software."

                      We used to use SGI with 3D graphics and a lot of backup horsepower (compute servers & Linux farms) for protein modeling etc - around ~~2003 we changed to Linux/Dual Xeons and saved a large amount of money on hardware - although the 3D graphics card and LC spectacles added a lot to the cost. Some experiments were done with porting some of our in-house software to Windows (W2000) but it almost always crashed. (We ran on SGI or Linux at ~100% CPU for 2-4 days or more so we gave it some stick. Once we had a 2048 core Linux farm it became a lot easier to do more speculative runs very rapidly )

              2. Pedigree-Pete

                Re: Sadly only one upvote to give.

                As with all things, the consumer will pay, even on the free apps. Money only comes from consumers/citizens. PP

          3. Pompous Git Silver badge
            Pint

            ALL CAPS so that it'll sink in. Maybe.

            It won't, but have an upvote anyway. And a cold one...

          4. Kiwi Silver badge

            Anyone who wants people to stop using Windows-based systems needs to deliver applications which will do what people need to do at least as well as the Windows-based systems they are already using.

            Slight flaw in your logic. People buy orifice. Wordpad would suit most of them just as well. Even opens office docs.

            In addition, the new applications MUST be able to read the existing data; users are not going to re-enter all their data unless they have a very good reason indeed.

            And how often has changes to office (etc) broken such things?

            1. x 7 Silver badge

              "Wordpad would suit most of them just as well. Even opens office docs."

              It doesn't offer proper styles / templates / macros / team working / database linking........etc etc etc

              You clearly haven't a clue how a modern electronic office works, with teams using central document repositories linked to backend databases.

              "And how often has changes to office (etc) broken such things?"

              Changes which are fixed with trivial checks. Compared with (for instance) moving a surgery's clinical database from Windows to Unix/Linux where you could be faced with rekeying the entire medical history of all 10-20 thousand of the sites patients. Keying ACCURATELY with NO errors all 20,000.

              Could YOU do that?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                "Could YOU do that?"

                Why would you have to ? That's what computers are for. Are you suggesting that it's not possible to migrate a database from on environment except by re-typing everything - Good Grief !

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Are you suggesting that it's not possible to migrate a database from on environment except by re-typing everything - Good Grief !

                  A decade or more ago, the Australian telephone directories were all rekeyed in each year and the data sold on CD. The businesses had access only to the dead tree directories and OCR was less accurate than Asian typists.

                  I've done quite a few translation/merges of data using Excel and Word for partial automation, but manual fine-tuning was required. Unless the dataset was very large, manual rekeying was often cheaper albeit with some loss of accuracy.

                  1. Chemist

                    "I've done quite a few translation/merges of data using Excel and Word for partial automation,"

                    We routinely moved 1-2 million records between databases - due to mergers of companies.

                    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                      We routinely moved 1-2 million records between databases - due to mergers of companies.

                      Small business buys up a competitor who used a different system and OS. Let's say purchase kept names and addresses etc in a Word table and the purchased business used Excel on a Mac. Some ASCII characters such as the ones for the three commonest fractions 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 don't exist on the Mac; they do exist on the PC, DEC Alpha, Lotus and Commodore that uses "Windows" ANSI. One database has dates as dates, the other dates as text. One has some entries in all Caps. Luckily I never had to merge data from a Linux system where the character set was ISO 8859-1.

                      I know that big iron databases can have issues too. A colleague said he was having fun merging several state government databases. They didn't even agree on the number of sexes!

              2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                  Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                  Once again, from the top, for the IQ-deficient...

                  Wordpad would suit most of them just as well.

                  Few people use even those features you listed.

                  Enjoy blowing smoke, Kiwi? You wouldn't have a clue what you are talking about. A few examples.

                  You send out a thousand newsletters six times a year. You want to avail yourself of the savings AusPost gives you for Print Post. That means you need to sort your mailout by Postal Sorting Centre. There is a relationship between Postcode and Postal Sorting Centre, but it's as complicated as hell.

                  Excel allows you to store a code of your choice for each address using the lookup function to query a lookup table. While you might like to while away a few hours doing a manual sort, a merge of the data in Excel in Word will have your mailing labels printed out sorted by Postal Sorting Centre making bundling them a trivial task of only a few minutes.

                  While you create one invoice manually in Wordpad, an automated invoice created in Word can automatically calculate GST as well as the total of the invoice while you are reaching for the four function calculator. Instead of 10 minutes per invoice, I might spend 10 seconds or so.

                  Automated forms in Word are fun too. You lock the form so that the person filling in the data can only enter information in the selected spaces. For example, with a patient's information for the doctor form, you can restrict which parts of the form are visible based on user input. Let's say you click the checkbox for male, then you will never see the questions related to pregnancy.

                  Rather than most users being able to do their job just as well with Wordpad, most users are actually using automated document creation at work. I know because I used to train users in how to create such systems for themselves as well as creating more sophisticated systems for my clients.

                  I know who the "fuckwit" is...

                  1. Kiwi Silver badge
                    WTF?

                    Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                    Enjoy blowing smoke, Kiwi? You wouldn't have a clue what you are talking about. A few examples.

                    You send out a thousand newsletters six times a year.

                    You missed the point as well. How many people send out thousands of newsletters to Ozzies? How many users of Word etc even read newsletters these days (especially in print form!)?

                    While you create one invoice manually in Wordpad, an automated invoice created in Word can automatically calculate GST as well as the total of the invoice while you are reaching for the four function calculator. Instead of 10 minutes per invoice, I might spend 10 seconds or so.

                    Ah, an example close to my heart. Got a friend who tells everyone how great she is at using office and spreadsheets and so on. She still uses the calculator for GST, only it takes her about a minute. Me? I got a spreadsheet in LO that does the job for me - I put in the part name, price, set any GST/markup changes, put a number in the hours field etc, and it spits out the invoice. I know bugger all about spreadsheets but it took me only a few minutes. Spent longer finding out how to remove tax costs.

                    But what % of the users of Word etc send out invoices?

                    Rather than most users being able to do their job just as well with Wordpad, most users are actually using automated document creation at work.

                    Really? So my uncle and aunt, when they write a letter to someone, they're using automated document creation? Even though my aunt still insists on using pen and paper? Most who do flyers for lost pets or local galas or a complaint to the council or letter to their newspaper or message to family/friends on their OE (or home from OE) etc are using "automatic documentation creation"?

                    Seriously. You really believe that?

                    Hell, I doubt most office users have even used any part of it outside of Word and Outlook, and then only the most basic functions of each - probably most only click the "new/create", "send" buttons and "close" buttons in Outlook, and "new", "save", "print" and "close" in Word. With the odd bit of changing to bold or italics or size.

                    My customers are home and small business users, with a few in the offices/admin of larger manufacturing firms. A small few use spreadsheets for data and invoices, and some use templates. Those who do mailouts are doing them to a couple of dozen people, not thousands or even hundreds. And I know enough to know that my users are closer to average then those who are send out 6k newsletters/year, generating invoices or filling in forms.

                    I know who the "fuckwit" is...

                    Doubt it's me.. (And a long way from saying it's you as well ;) )

                    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                      Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                      I know who the "fuckwit" is...

                      Doubt it's me.. (And a long way from saying it's you as well ;) )

                      Well my customers must have been fuckwits then. Mostly small businesses such as law firms, credit unions, trade unions, university departments, real estate firms and so on.

                      I note that one of my primary resources, Word 97 for Law Firms is now at Word 2013 for Law Firms.

                      http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Word-2013-Law-Firms/dp/1935462881

                      I imagine that you believe that all the purchasers of that book are fuckwits, never mind the law firms that save thousands of man-hours per year using the document creation automation described therein.

                      Then there are the documents created by multiple authors. Why would you want to see which revisions were made by which writer while you all work on the same document simultaneously? Instead of six people creating a document in a month you could have them take six months or more!

                      1. Kiwi Silver badge

                        Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                        Well my customers must have been fuckwits then. Mostly small businesses such as law firms, credit unions, trade unions, university departments, real estate firms and so on.

                        Eh? What the hell is wrong with you?

                        Are they representative of the most common users of Word etc?

                        I imagine that you believe that all the purchasers of that book are fuckwits, never mind the law firms that save thousands of man-hours per year using the document creation automation described therein.

                        What have I said that makes you believe that?

                        Then there are the documents created by multiple authors. Why would you want to see which revisions were made by which writer while you all work on the same document simultaneously? Instead of six people creating a document in a month you could have them take six months or more!

                        And again, is that representative of the most common users of Office products? Yes or no, do you believe that most office users (which, as far as I am aware, are home users) use any of those extra features? From your arguments you believe that most users of Office are in law firms with a couple of dozen people simultaneously working on the same document!

                        Is that really based on reality, and if so what is your basis?

                        Oh, and a very quick couple of minutes faffing around with Google found this (among maybe many - I'm too busy doing other things like wiping out "Prophets of Zei" and watching "The A-team" (hey, I did say last night I felt IQ points dropping!) to look much further) :

                        http://www.techworld.com/news/security/microsoft-office-applications-barely-used-by-many-employees-new-study-shows-3514565/

                        "The firm carried out a 3-month analysis of Office suite use in 51 global firms representing 148,500 employees, revealing that seven out of ten employees weren’t using any single application heavily, launching them only for viewing or light editing.

                        The average employee spent only 48 minutes per day using Office, largely the Outlook email client, which consumed about 68 percent of that activity. Excel was in second place with 17 percent, or an average of 8 minutes per day, leaving Word and PowerPoint trailing with only 5 minutes and 2 minutes per day each.

                        And :

                        "For Word, that sort of rationalisation gets harder to explain. Five minutes a day was a poor showing for an application Microsoft would like enterprises to believe is essential to the work day.

                        Apple Insider has another article on the same research :

                        http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/05/03/most-office-workers-arent-actually-using-microsoft-office

                        This hardly seems like the "power users are normal" point you seem to be arguing. That is my argument, that most users only need basic tools most of the time. Can you give anything to suggest otherwise?

                        (No, I never heard of "Softwatch" before although TechWorld is one I have seen. They are simply the first link I clicked on in the results page)

                        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                          Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                          Kiwi, I'm beginning to suspect you are a crank. Using document templates is a requirement at most businesses because they require consistency. Templates do not exist in Wordpad. Using a template is what the peons do; nobody in their right senses would describe using required corporate templates as "power users".

                          It may not have occurred to you that the receptionist at a doctor's surgery for example, spends most of her day answering the telephone. This limits the amount of time she is generating correspondence. Similarly, the doctor who also uses templates spends most of his day talking to his patients.

                          Neither the receptionist, nor the doctor wants to have to create every document from scratch using Wordpad, or using a pre-existing document and have to remember to do a File, Save as...

                          Most home users have MS Works bundled with the PC. Why the fuck they'd then bother purchasing Office I have no idea and I don't know of any among my acquaintances that has. Anyone who needs that kind of power at home usually uses Libre Office. Including me these last three months. Mainly because I couldn't be bothered cutting and pasting for hours on end when a few mouse clicks and drags in the Outliner (MS)/Navigator(Libre Office gets the job done in seconds.

                          I notice you haven't addressed Access*, the most popular desktop database on the market. Most small businesses use Access because you don't have to be a power user to create a workable database. And don't tell me that you can use Wordpad to create a relational database, or access one using it. It would be a rare business that didn't need a database of some sort and most discover the limitations of simple flat-filers created in Word, or Excel.

                          I believe you have had little if anything to do with the needs of small business and suggest you stop pontificating.

                          * My small business, correspondence, cheque record, customer database etc was all done with a home-rolled FileMaker Pro database. I could have done it with Access, but then I'm a dinosaur; someone is digging my bones ;-)

                          1. Kiwi Silver badge

                            Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                            Kiwi, I'm beginning to suspect you are a crank. Using document templates is a requirement at most businesses because they require consistency. Templates do not exist in Wordpad. Using a template is what the peons do; nobody in their right senses would describe using required corporate templates as "power users".

                            I think you have missed the point. Badly.

                            I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT BUSINESSES, I AM TALKING ABOUT THE AVERAGE/MOST COMMON OFFICE USERS, IE HOME USERS

                            Can it be stated more clearly than that?

                            Also, in recent times I have had to spend a lot of time watching my Dr write letters. Every one he has written for me has been from scratch. Now, prescriptions and all sorts of other things follow set forms, that's fine.

                            But he is still not the most common type of office user.

                            MS Works has not been bundled with home computers for some time, and in 4 years directly working with home comptuers and more than 20 working elsewhere, I am yet to come across even one with Works or a full Office "bundled". I have not seen a bundled trial version of Works ever.

                            A very quick look over Google will tell you very quickly that MS Works has been discontinued, pre-Win8 (and I do mean quick). So, you cannot buy Works and it does not come pre-bundled. A lot of people are sold on the idea of using Office (why was Office released to home users in the first place? ISTR that it was something to do with people wanting what they had at work on their home machine as well). So there's your why...

                            As to people using Access, all I can say is that there's a common complaint on El Reg and elsewhere about people using spreadsheets where a database would do a good job. With the business customers I deal with they are using the likes of MYOB (it has been 10 years since I supported that so I cannot recall what the DB backend is, but IIRC it was some sort of proprietary one but ICWBW).

                            Where I can I try to sell people on LO instead of MSO, simply because it does what most people need, is mostly compatible with MSO for most peoples needs, and is free.

                            But the point still hasn't been addressed. You've gone on about some business users, you've claimed that home users don't use office (must tell MS that - they could save all sorts of money on their Home & Student etc versions since no one uses them!), you've (rightly) said that LO is great for most people.

                            But what is it that most office users do that requires anything more than Wordpad?

                            Oh, and btw.. with your forms and automation etc.. HTML forms are great for that. No need to load up a 200Mb office application when a 10 50 er, 199Mb web browser can do the job! Which, btw, is what my Dr uses when he is filling in forms. I've watched him do it.

                            1. x 7 Silver badge

                              Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                              "I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT BUSINESSES, I AM TALKING ABOUT THE AVERAGE/MOST COMMON OFFICE USERS, IE HOME USERS"

                              and thats where you're blowing smoke out of your anus, because Office is used in .....wait for it.........OFFICES, mainly.

                              The name kind of gives it away...........

                              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                                Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                                The name kind of gives it away...

                                Indeed! I haven't been able to find any home users with MSO among my many neighbours and acquaintances. Those using MSO are using it because it's a requirement of their employer who also owns the licence. Home users around here don't do much beyond web browsing, email through their web browser, Skype, manage their photographs and games. My farming neighbours have MSO, but that's because they use farm management tools built with Excel, so it's still business use.

                                I really can't think of what an average home user would want MSO for... even Home and Student which appears to be the rather expensive replacement for MS Works*. Most have kids using that product on their laptops, but they are provided by the school so the licences belong to the Education Dept.

                                * Yes, I'm a dinosaur alright. Works used to cost significantly less than $AU10 which is why companies like Dell used to bundle it for free.

                              2. Kiwi Silver badge

                                Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                                and thats where you're blowing smoke out of your anus, because Office is used in .....wait for it.........OFFICES, mainly.

                                1) Out of interest, any cites for that? Other than the "MS sells mostly H&S but it's really offices that use that version (I would also be interested in a cite or two for that one).

                                2) That still doesn't counter my main point, which I did back up with a citation to the first survey results I saw in an epic 10 second Google session - that Wordpad would do for what most users do with Office. And ok, for those places that use forms, maybe something web-based. Although as far as I recall most workers are employed by small businesses and most small businesses just don't go that far. I am happy to be corrected..

                                Really, what do most people use office for? What is it that most people use it for that can't be done with wordpad and HTML forms?

                                1. Mark 85 Silver badge

                                  Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                                  Most people that use Office for home use have been trained that way. MS sells Office to colleges and the profs push it so that everyone is "compatible". Then we have businesses.. people go home and want the familiarity. A lot of folks use to use Works when the PC's came on them, until they got indoctrinated into Office.

                                  My using Office at home is minimal and only for working with docs that someone has sent to me.

                            2. Pompous Git Silver badge

                              Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                              Well Kiwi, I am unable to find any support for your contention that most users of MSO are home users. True, 85% of retail sales of MSO in the US are for the Home and Student Edition, but the majority of these sales are to small business users, a matter of considerable concern to MS. MS considers business use of this product to be piracy. So it goes...

                              1. Kiwi Silver badge

                                Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                                Well Kiwi, I am unable to find any support for your contention that most users of MSO are home users.

                                I know. It's so rare that MS would never even consider having a trial version bundled with new PC's out there these days (and according to Mr Google all of their tablets). Strange that I've seen a number of machines with trial versions of Office from Win7 and on (mainly HP I believe but I could be wrong)

                                Sarcasm aside.. I see it often. Not on every machine but probably a good 50%. How many are legit versions and are in use rather than the above-mentioned bundled trial-ware.

                                True, 85% of retail sales of MSO in the US are for the Home and Student Edition, but the majority of these sales are to small business users, a matter of considerable concern to MS.

                                Do you have any stats or cite or anything for this? I at least supplied one (and changed some of my posts when I couldn't quickly find something to back up what I said)

                                For the most part, and considering the survey I linked to, the point remains. For most users what is there that cannot be achieved with things like Wordpad (and html for the forms you mentioned)

                                MS considers business use of this product to be piracy

                                These days MS seems to consider using legitimate versions of their products to be piracy, or at least dodgy behaviour that has to be monitored closely... (and let's not forget the number of Vista users who had MS revoke their licenses and tell them they had to buy new because, well, stuff happens...)

                                1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                                  Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                                  http://www.computerworld.com/article/2484127/enterprise-applications/office-revenue-smells-sweet-even-as-pc-sales-stink-it-up.html

                                  Fortunately for Microsoft, sales of the suite to businesses offset the consumer decline. On the commercial side, which generated almost 88% of the division's sales, revenue was up 7%, said Microsoft. Much of that came from a double-digit increase in annuity payments, another way of referring to Microsoft's Software Assurance programs, which give volume license customers -- mid- to large-sized companies -- free upgrade rights as long as they keep paying.

                                  ....

                                  Consumer subscriptions to Office 365 thus accounted for only 7% of all Office 365 revenue.

                                  http://betanews.com/2009/08/07/office-home-and-student-accounts-for-85-of-us-office-retail-share/

                                  So, I wonder: Who buys Office Home and Student? It's not like Microsoft or retailers check student IDs. That "Home" could apply to pretty much anyone. If someone runs a business out of the home, doesn't he or she technically qualify for a cheap copy of Office?

                                  Microsoft doesn't talk about Office Home and Student or Student and Teacher editions piracy rates, but they have to be fairly high at retail if either version accounts for the bulk of sales. The company considers the purchase of software meant for one channel bought from another as piracy. Example: OEM Windows versions sold separately from new PCs.

                                  According to current US Census Bureau statistics, there are about 25.4 million business firms in the United States -- 26.9 million when adding operations with single locations. Among both categories, there are 19.5 million non-employer businesses, with the majority being sole-proprietorships. Out of the 5.9 million employer firms, 3.8 million have 1-9 employees. So, in the United States, out of 25.4 million firms, 23.3 million have fewer than 10 employees. Where do these smaller businesses buy software? For the majority, it's brick-and-mortar or online retail stores.

                          2. x 7 Silver badge

                            Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                            Pompous Git

                            +1 for the Krimson reference

                            Did you realise the next line is especially apt for Kiwi?:

                            "ignorance has alway been something I excel in"

                            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                              Re: basic english comprehension @ X7

                              "ignorance has always been something I excel in"

                              Actually that's true of me; I rather revel in my ignorance. It means there's always something new for me to learn. I have always been suspicious of know-it-alls.

    5. PNGuinn
      Linux

      UK Linux

      Or tip a few quid towards the Devuan fork....

    6. DougS Silver badge

      Shed load of UK software developers?

      Why do you need so many, when Linux is already available? I guess this was what you referred to by "hardening" it, but there are hardened versions of Linux as well. Do you plan to have all these programmers take stock Linux and reinvent the wheel by re-hardening it, assuming that us crafty yanks (and of course the head Fin in charge of it all) have deliberately left a few backdoors in it?

      All you really need to produce a UK Linux is to decide on a distribution and set to "UK English" mode and there you go. If you find things to harden, hopefully you feed that back upstream, and you can pay your programmers to be part of the "many eyes" that review everything that changes. Good luck on that, despite all the eyes security problems slip through all the time.

      The only other alternative is to pick a version and stick with it, patching only security holes and bugs that you can't work around. Probably a good idea for a ship, but not for a government where servers and desktops will be constantly refreshed to newer hardware that will require newer versions to support...

    7. annodomini2
      FAIL

      Given the £14Bn IDS has wasted on Universal Credit, really?

      1. Vic

        Given the £14Bn IDS has wasted on Universal Credit, really?

        I always read "IDS" as "IBS", and it makes no difference whatsoever to the meaning...

        Vic.

        1. annodomini2

          I call him Irritable Dick Syndrome for a reason.

  12. James 29

    Of course XP isn't being used, they're still on Windows 2000!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Type 45 documentary

    An hour-long documentary on the first Type 45 included much detail about Windows for Warships. The experts explained why it was inherently reliable and essentially crash proof.

    It crashed within seconds of entering the first exercise. Took several minutes to reboot. A famous incident documented on that video.

    'BAe' = billions above estimate

    1. x 7 Silver badge

      Re: Type 45 documentary

      "It crashed within seconds of entering the first exercise"

      "First exercise" - the words should give you a clue. Why do you think they have exercises? To find the problems and eradicate them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Type 45 documentary

        @x7

        Before the exercise, the SME's stated how inherently reliable Windows for Warships was.

        Hubris.

        1. x 7 Silver badge

          Re: Type 45 documentary

          "Before the exercise, the SME's stated how inherently reliable Windows for Warships was."

          Agreed, that wasn't a bright thing to do..........

  14. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

    Tor

    The XP screen is a well-known disguise for the Tor browser system.

    But what was the guy using Tor for?

  15. Quortney Fortensplibe
    Mushroom

    I See You're Trying to Launch a Missile at a Wedding Party...

    ...would you like some help with that?

  16. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Oh Paul, you couldn't resist. But making remarks about BSODs on XP and later MS Windows systems only shows you to be hopelessly out of touch. The only time I saw a BSOD on my work workstation was due to a chip going nails-up. I did see one on my home system when the Symantec AV nagware turned out to be unfit for purpose.

    BSODs are rare animals now, and have been for more than a decade. Waving them in people's faces just says "I have no idea what I'm talking about right now".

    Other than that, nice follow-up.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      BSODs are rare animals now, and have been for more than a decade. Waving them in people's faces just says "I have no idea what I'm talking about right now".

      Somewhat less than a decade ago, I visited Melbourne (Australia) to stay with my mother and sister. Everywhere I went around the city, there were these new-fangled, computer-driven advertising billboards. Nearly all of which were displaying a BSOD!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bah!

        All showing the output of the same one computer?

        Could it have been having trouble working with the graphics cards driving the billboards? Wasn't that a common cause of BSOD.

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Bah!

          Yep, that was one source of angst in the days when card manufacturers were less than timely with the drivers. MS got more aggressive about the issue and gradually, it went away.

          Like I say, I've seen exactly two XP bluescreens since 2000. My Win7 laptop has NEVER bluescreened.

          But then, I don't fit it with any old crap I can find free on Teh Intarweb. I only run mature software that is ready for primetime (or as ready as it will ever be). Yes, a couple of these have crashed unexpectedly in use, but significantly they didn't take the OS with them.

          Even crappily-written games don't take the OS down the rabbit hole like they used to in the pre XP days.

          I don't doubt if you are in the business of driver writing you will stand a good chance of seeing the OS crash, but sitting in your living room working? Nah.

          The BSOD is now something for Linux software vendor-owned techs who don't know any better to trot out into an embarrassed audience silence.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Bah!

            Like I say, I've seen exactly two XP bluescreens since 2000. My Win7 laptop has NEVER bluescreened.

            I saw a BSOD on my old Toshiba laptop immediately after installing WinXP SP3; several times in a row. Until Win7 came out, it remained at SP2. Since installing Win7 it never blue screened, but MS don't want me to run Win7 and have rather pointedly wasted my Internet bandwidth to drive that home.

            If MS could brick my old Toshiba with an update, they could certainly brick any other machine I own in future. Unlike with the Toshiba and WinXP where I could choose not to install SP3, MS inform me that all future updates for W10 will be compulsory. W10 on my current main machine was not stable and required at least one reboot per day to be at all workable. (Graphics issue).

        2. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Bah!

          All showing the output of the same one computer?

          Tullamarine airport is 25 km from Melbourne CBD so unlikely to be connected to the same computer. Also doesn't explain why some of these billboards were displaying ads for products other than MS Windows. That's how I knew they were advertising billboards. It struck me as funny that MS would want to advertise BSODs.

  17. vincent himpe

    better than 28 backspaces ...

    Let's all bash windows cause linux is so secure cause we have the source.

    Now if we only could be bothered to actually read and understand it.

    How many more back-space-doors are there ?

    coat please .

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: better than 28 backspaces ...

      And how many in Windows? And OSX?

      There's no way of knowing how many accidental bugs or deliberate back doors exist in any closed-source software.

      It is at least theoretically possible to find and fix them in open-source.

      Both of them will contain bugs - they're written by people.

      1. Dadmin

        Re: better than 28 backspaces ...

        Precisely! Plus, as a Linux/Unix/Solaris professional, I saw that article yesterday and yawned a great yawn, and took a nap while my servers ran without issue. Give me the "must have physical access, must be at the keyboard alone", Grub vuln rather than the thousands of available exploits on sad, GUI Windows hosts and I'm a happy admin! OS X is unix, but it's a desktop heavy user Unix, not a "data center, we're behind quite a few firewalls and in separate functional subnets, good luck getting in here!" Linux/Unix, so it seems to be attackable mostly via human engineering. The problem with Windows is that some idiots think it belongs in the data center, and also running web front ends, as if they are securable from remote exploit in any sense of the word. Windows and OS X are best kept on the desktop. There are already many more capable, securable Linux/Unix variants for data center use. Truth be told, when I see an organization that is Windows heavy in the data center and on their front-facing machines, I head the other way. There is nothing but easily fooled management that took the blue pill and repeats their mantra; no one ever got fired for purchasing Windows. no one ever got fired for purchasing Windows...

        Windows on the front end, or anywhere in the data center, is bad enough, but then stack the ever popular "we don't have any dedicated computer security staff" on top and you have a breach waiting to happen. These companies always think they are too small, or don't present an interesting target to hackers. It most cases I'd say it's already too late for them, they are probably already hacked and won't find out for many months, or ever. Sounds like a good way to save using the "pay me now, or pay me later" terms, at least in the upfront cost of hiring a dedicated computer security staff member of some sort.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: better than 28 backspaces ...

      I had the updated version of grub notified through the usual Debian upgrade channel and installed on my laptop before I even got round to reading the article on el Reg. No waiting until patch Tuesday. Downloaded and installed in a fraction of the time I've ever seen any Windows patch arrive and no attempt to force a multi-gigabyte OS ?upgrade onto it.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: better than 28 backspaces ...

        Downloaded and installed in a fraction of the time I've ever seen any Windows patch arrive and no attempt to force a multi-gigabyte OS ?upgrade onto it.

        Three months now since my move to Mint [time flies]. Ran the updater this week and twenty minutes later all done. No reboot needed.

        1. Kiwi Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: better than 28 backspaces ...

          Ran the updater this week and twenty minutes later all done. No reboot needed.

          Really want to put it to the test? Get the latest Windows installer and a year old Linux installer. See which is finished doing updates while the other still has "checking for updates" for another 40+ minutes.

          Oh, wait.. Maybe you can't. Do you even get to tell 10 to check for updates ahead of time or is it a "You must wait until we say it's time, no matter that there's a whole pile of new patches for serious security flaws, you are not due to update your system until Tuesday after next!"

          (Sorry, I just love how Mint does updates in minutes... :) )

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: better than 28 backspaces ...

            I suspect I've done more OS installs than you over the decades. But yes, I love Mint's speedy and accurate install as well as updates. I'm hooked :-)

  18. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Joke

    A joke screensaver would have been...

    Clippie saying something like "I see you are trying to bomb Syria. Can I help?"

  19. Tubz

    To launch nukes, hit the any key ............. are your sure .......... sorry an error has occurred, would you like to send details to Microsoft .......... BSOD .......... reboot ........... Congratulations, we are now upgrading you to Windows 10 BAE Sunk Edition, please note, until you register and deposit £6.2billion, your warship can only go around in circles !

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's simply amazing...

    ...that any government or military would be so foolish as to use any Microsucks O/S or software in mission critical applications with the tens of thousands of known defects and security vulnerabilities. This has to constitute gross negligence and incompetence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's simply amazing...

      Last time I looked, geeks were just as much a minority in the military as in civilian life. They probably don't want personnel in the field you could blow over.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: It's simply amazing...

        Last time I looked, geeks were just as much a minority in the military as in civilian life.

        My dear departed brother was an engineer and he worked for the Australian Dept of Defence some years back. When he needed a computer for some calculations, he was asked why he couldn't use a four function calculator to do his sums.

        He was sent from Canberra to Sydney for several weeks to use a computer there. When he mentioned he was going away to a friend in Stores, the friend showed him a room full of brand new PCs that he wasn't allowed to distribute to staff.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's simply amazing...

          "...a room full of brand new PCs that he wasn't allowed to distribute..."

          That is *so* common. I've seen that in various military and corporate offices. Dozens of brand new PCs being stored for YEARS while the IT drones formulate a roll out plan. Daft idiots.

  21. EJ

    US Navy & Windows

    Back in 2000 I had the chance to tour the USS Hue City when it was docked in Boston Harbor, as part of a special millenial Tall Ships weekend. We eventually headed down to the "war room" on the ship. This place was really impressive to me because of all the computer equipment. It was equally exciting to see Microsoft Windows NT logon screens on several monitors (I had read an article in Computerworld that the Navy was going to use NT on missile cruisers, and we had made several jokes about re-booting in the middle of a battle and dealing with blue screens when things were going hot and heavy). At the Vanguard Security Expo later that year, Bill Murray (of IBM & Deloitte & Touche fame, not the actor), a recognized national expert in secure computing issues, had stated during a presentation that he would leave the country if the military ever began to rely on Microsoft technology for anything of a strategic nature. I could hardly contain my excitement to point out I'd already seen it in use on a US Navy ship. "God help us..." is all he could mutter to the audience.

  22. x 7 Silver badge

    does BSD have BSODs?

  23. rtb61

    Most likely a switch to FOSS. Problem is that might not be to well received for use on a killing machine, so they are remaining tight lipped. Military all over the world are likely developing an extreme phobia of closed source proprietary software. One hack and the armaments controlled by the software could be actively used against the end users or simply be shut down.

    Electronics, any one part fails and the whole system goes down. A single capacitor with the ability to receive coms from it's power supply and could be triggered to short, board after board replaced, only to fail in the exact same fashion.

    The professionally paranoid must be going nuts trying to secure those systems. I can not understand any country that does not force the manufacturer of it's own electronics in it's own government controlled and audited factories to ensure there are no embedded hacks because guaranteed all new military hardware produced for export will contain built in hack points and there ain't no such thing as allies in those hacks.

  24. Pompous Git Silver badge

    Message for Kiwi

    Back in 2013, MS's revenue from sales of MSO broke down to almost 88% corporate with a tad over 12% of sales being Office Home & Student. Over half of the latter were to business users breaching the T & Cs of the EULA ("pirating" the product according to MS). Consumer subscriptions to Office 365 accounted for only 7% of all Office 365 revenue. So, if you are correct that most users of MSO are home users, that means they are purchasing far more corporate product than businesses do! Presumably including Software Assurance programs. What a strange world this is...

  25. Glenturret Single Malt

    Windows for warships?

    I thought they were called portholes.

  26. DrBobMatthews

    As this carrier is well over budget the MOD have a tender out for 386 based PC's using Windows, 311 probably a lot more secure than the current MS sieve Windows 10.

    1. annodomini2

      386's are more radiation tolerant that modern processors.

  27. RedCardinal

    Surely it doesn't matter anyway given the lack of available aircraft for these white elephants *cough* sorry, aircraft carriers.

  28. The Clerk

    Sirs,

    Just can't be BOTTOMED reading through others comments,

    so if someone else has SPOTTED the great flaw before then so be IT:

    So:

    Q: If there are no WINDOWS in the boat, how do you persuade matelots to look for the golden rivet?

    Yours, straight faced,

    Captain Birdseye.

    1. x 7 Silver badge

      " how do you persuade matelots to look for the golden rivet?"

      well traditionally they had to bend over and feel it...........

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