back to article London's Met Police has missed the Windows XP escape deadline

London’s Metropolitan Police has missed its deadline to dump Windows XP, with tens of thousands of copper still running the risky OS. The force, on the front line against terrorist threats and criminals in the capital city, is running Windows XP on around 27,000 PCs. At last count, in May 2015, the Met had a total of 35,640 …

  1. djstardust Silver badge

    Government investment in the Police

    Is non-existent.

    We had an "open doors" day trip round our local plod station and it is archaic.

    CCTV on video tapes of such poor quality you can't even see anything, tiny 4:3 computer monitors you can't even buy on eBay any more and a building literally untouched since it was built in the sixties and falling apart.

    Seems this country needs to change it's spending priorities or nothing will change soon.

    1. Stuart 22

      Re: Government investment in the Police

      "CCTV on video tapes of such poor quality you can't even see anything, tiny 4:3 computer monitors you can't even buy on eBay any more and a building literally untouched since it was built in the sixties and falling apart."

      Well if there is a terrrorist connection then money is no object. The biggest BMW X5 you can get - oh and really snazzy machine guns and lovely camouflage clothing (bit obvious in the average London street). As for what we spend on security services - it is astronomical - go check out the earth station they built just north of Bude which would have cost more than putting a Beagle on Mars.

      But security of all the information they gather - well XP is just the magnet any self-respecting hacker would be ashamed not to penetrate. They have created the most delicious honey pot in the computing universe.

      Its unbelievable that they must have been buying perfectly good Win7 kit for years and downgrading it to XP knowing this would happen.

      1. Tony S

        Re: Government investment in the Police

        "go check out the earth station they built just north of Bude "

        You're mistaken; there's nothing there.

        Seriously; according to the authorities, there is nothing there and never has been.

        It doesn't matter what you think you see, you are definitely incorrect.

        If you give them the location, they will tell you that it is just a patch of open ground above the beach; nothing to see, please move along.

        1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

          Re: Government investment in the Police

          @Tony s

          RE: "You're mistaken; there's nothing there {Earth station Bude}"

          You're going on a list for showing interest in it, and a very special list for showing cynicism.

          1. Captain DaFt

            Re: Government investment in the Police

            And you're going on a list for talking about the lists...

            Damn! Now I am too!

            1. Mark 85 Silver badge
              Big Brother

              Re: Government investment in the Police

              Then we're all going on a list for reading about this....

    2. Ian 7
      Trollface

      Re: Government investment in the Police

      Haven't we got an extra £350million a week sloshing around somewhere now...? Ahem.

      1. Ragarath
        Coat

        Re: Government investment in the Police

        Haven't we got an extra £350million a week sloshing around somewhere now...? Ahem.

        No yet, we have to leave first, see icon.

        1. Trainee grumpy old ****

          Re: Government investment in the Police

          >> Haven't we got an extra £350million a week sloshing around somewhere now...? Ahem.

          > No yet, we have to leave first, see icon.

          And hasn't it already been promised to the NHS?

      2. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

        Re: Government investment in the Police

        Not yet.

        We voted out but we are not yet actually out.

        We will probably need that £350m per week to fight all the vexatious lawsuits brought by frustrated Remainers.

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Government investment in the Police

          Good luck with that ... look at the state of the NHS, The Police force ... compare with France or, $deity forbid, Germany ... and you will understand ... those £350m per week will be for further tax breaks for our rich friends, you would not want to make the poor poorer, would you, hey ?

          No, it is NOT meant to be funny ... call me when you're back from Wonderland, will ya ?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        Re: Government investment in the Police

        Haven't we got an extra £350million a week sloshing around somewhere now...?

        Sorry no; that's been promised to the NHS.

        1. ps2os2

          Re: Government investment in the Police

          Now the Brits are BREXIT you should have plenty of quid. Are you going to hold the pols to their promises?

      4. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Government investment in the Police

        Well spotted Ian 7.

        We really need a leopard icon.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Government investment in the Police

        "Haven't we got an extra £350million a week sloshing around somewhere now...?"

        No, because that figure was pure bullshit shamelessly used by the leave campaign to trick the voting population. What they didn't tell anyone is that a lot of that money already comes back to the UK in the form of numerous subsidies and grants and other forms of funding.

        Therefore once out of the EU, gov.uk will have to use the majority of that 350mil to fill many budget holes opened up by cuts in EU funding. Especially to the scientific community in the UK which currently gets LOTS of funding from the EU.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Government investment in the Police

        No that money is going to the NHS, Boris and Gove said so!

        Thing is there is money around but it's in different pots. It's a problem to be seen in many government departments, money available for one thing but not another and they can't be transferred across.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          350m

          No that money is going to the NHS, Boris and Gove said so!

          None of the polly tishuns ever even considered paying some of the national debt off :(

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Government investment in the Police

      Well they could start by stopping fiddling the taxman by giving the Top Brass "blue light" cars. That would give a couple of quid back.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Government investment in the Police

        But not the biggest waste of money in policing, that has to be the number of forces in the UK (over 40!) all with their own, cars, uniforms, IT, HR, high paid chief constables + deputies, etc Total utter waste. Then they complain about "cuts" to front line policing. Plenty of saving to be had.

        1. boltar Silver badge

          Re: Government investment in the Police

          "But not the biggest waste of money in policing, that has to be the number of forces in the UK (over 40!) all with their own, cars, uniforms, IT, HR, high paid chief constables + deputies, etc Total utter waste."

          Not really. Even if there was a national police force like in france (though to confuse things they have the gendarmerie too), there would still be regional divisions with a regional controller. The only difference would be the names and a few quid saved on bulk buying of uniforms. I quite like the fact than in england and wales we have seperate forces, because if there's corruption in one it generally doesn't taint any of the others.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Government investment in the Police

            regional would still be cheaper than what we have now.

            Just down here in SW there's, Devon & Cornwall, Avon and Somerset and Dorset forces. So that's according to

            https://www.police-information.co.uk/policepay.htm over £750k just in BASIC pay to the chief and deputy constables in those 3 forces. Replace with one regional chief + deputy and pay them a little bit more, ad that's just 3 forces out of 40 odd

        2. Adam 52 Silver badge

          Re: Government investment in the Police

          "...all with their own, cars, uniforms, IT, HR"

          Just to correct this bit, a large number of forces have joint arrangements - Hants and Thames Valley share cars and IT, as do the Midlands forces, for example.

          ...and some of those forces are privately funded, so we don't really care about those (CNC, the various Ports police and Universities)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: Government investment in the Police

      "Seems this country needs to change it's spending priorities or nothing will change soon"

      To right, stop spending so much on the Police and spend a hell of a lot more on crime prevention.

      Youth clubs are closing all over the place,

      Drug rehab is massively underfunded.

      Adult education services are being slashed,

      Social care is at breaking point.

      Still better to give them a X6 rather than keep 50 kids of the street for a year.

      1. boltar Silver badge

        Re: Government investment in the Police

        "To right, stop spending so much on the Police and spend a hell of a lot more on crime prevention.

        Youth clubs are closing all over the place,"

        I didn't have any youth clubs near me when I was a kid, but I didn't compensate by going around nicking cars or robbing people. I'm tired of this someone-else-is-to-blame mentality when dealing with youth crime. Some kids are just little shits. End of. Most grow out of it , other don't, but they'll be shits no matter what toys or activities you throw at them.

        "Drug rehab is massively underfunded."

        Good. Better the money is spent on people with non self inflicted problems instead. You want to take drugs? Well suffer the consequences whether that be prison or dead in an alley.

        "Adult education services are being slashed,"

        If people didn't piss about at school they wouldn't need education as adults. They've had one lot of free education paid for by the state, I see no reason why the state (read: taxpayers) should pay for a 2nd lot free for the bone idle. There are always books, assuming they can read.

        1. The First Dave

          Re: Government investment in the Police

          "I didn't have any youth clubs near me when I was a kid, but I didn't compensate by going around nicking cars or robbing people."

          I didn't either, and I _did_ ...

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: Government investment in the Police

            "I didn't either, and I _did_ ..."

            Then you were an anti social little tosser who needed a good kicking. Hopefully someone gave you one.

            1. The First Dave

              Re: Government investment in the Police

              Sorry, did i forget the humour flag?

          2. ps2os2

            Re: Government investment in the Police

            This sounds eerily like the US and Afghanistan back in the 1980's. Lot's of money for the "police" but not enough for the schools.

        2. John G Imrie Silver badge

          If people didn't piss about at school they wouldn't need education as adults.

          And if their jobs didn't get off shored they wouldn't need retraining either.

        3. VBF
          Thumb Up

          Re: Government investment in the Police

          At last - someone who tells it like it is!

          "Some kids are just little shits. End of."

          You forgot to add that some parents ought to take their responsibilities seriously too!

        4. Patrick R
          Holmes

          Re: Government investment in the Police

          " You want to take drugs? Well suffer the consequences whether that be prison or dead in an alley."

          People don't go in prison for taking drugs, most the time they go for things they've done because of taking drugs, you forgot those consequences in your phrase. Maybe those are the consequences you'd prefer not to see.

    5. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      XP upgrade

      Sam Tyler's going to fix it, of course Gene Hunt will bitch about the whole upgrade thing so Sam will do it while Gene's down at the pub on his smoke break.

    6. Nolveys Silver badge

      Re: Government investment in the Police

      Government investment in the Police Is non-existent.

      At least taxes and government debt in the UK are exceptionally low.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Government investment in the Police

      Former plod here - to record interviews we used cassette tapes... yep... cassette tapes.. that was back in 2008... I'm sure they still use them. You want to type up your arrest reports on computer? Nope, you hand write them. Their single sign on was the best... you could tell it was a cobbled together copy/paste function since as you were logging into CRIS or CRIMINT or whatever application you had to use, you could see the pop up screens for authentication being populated with username/password... I imagine NTLM wasn't available at the time. Maybe in a few years....

      1. Graham Dawson

        Re: Government investment in the Police

        There is actually a sound reason for using cassette tapes. They're robust, they're simple and they're reliable. Digital recording can still just magically disappear (the more general magical disappearing properties of evidence contrary to a case notwithstanding), whereas a tape is bloody difficult to wipe effectively.

        It's the same reason solicitors still tend to use fax machines for important legal documents, and why hansard is printed on vellum.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          fax machines

          It's the same reason solicitors still tend to use fax machines.

          dont get me started . Tradition , stubbornness amd an unwillingness to change is why people still use them. Particulalary in finance depts

          I still see people printing stuff out , then faxing it - when eFAX IS AVAILABLE!!

    8. MotionCompensation

      Re: Government investment in the Police

      For a moment I thought you were talking about the police in my country. A third world country in a deepening economic crisis.

  2. bcollie

    Shows officers are spending too much time with paperwork when they need a desktop for nearly every officer and back office worker.

  3. DailyLlama
    FAIL

    Windows 8.1 is NOT an upgrade...

    Best to go to 7

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 8.1 is NOT an upgrade...

      Windows 7 only has 3.5 years of extended support left.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Windows 8.1 is NOT an upgrade...

        If you want timely and reliable patches, 10's the only version getting any attention and only the bleeding edge anniversary edition at that. MS never were terribly good at supporting anything except the very latest version of any given product. They are now officially not even doing that, since everything is now "rolling release" (or "beta as a service").

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Windows 8.1 is NOT an upgrade...

          And anyone who doesn't subscribe to that model are BAAStards?

          1. Simon Harris Silver badge

            Re: Windows 8.1 is NOT an upgrade...

            "BAAStards"

            BaaS - Bugs as a Service?

        2. MAF
          Linux

          Re: Windows 8.1 is NOT an upgrade...

          "MS never were terribly good at supporting anything except the very latest version of any given product."

          Sadly though, that also applies to hardware - hence some of the problems with legacy kit and win 10 Anniversary Edition (or A&E)... Not to mention drivers for associated peripherals such as printers & scanners. Before long the hardware bill can spiral more out of control than an ecstasy-fueled joy-rider :-(

          (Obligatory Linux icon ahead of massed cries to ditch MS )

        3. King Jack
          Stop

          Re: Windows 8.1 is NOT an upgrade...

          Windows 10 is spyware. Do you really want plod to give details of people, crimes, etc to M$? Remember every keystroke and search is logged and sent back home.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Windows 8.1 is NOT an upgrade...

        "Windows 7 only has 3.5 years of extended support left."

        better 'go Linux' instead, then. it will save money, allow local companies to support regional police departments, and NOT send a bunch of money to Micro-shaft.

        I'm sure cops are smart/savvy enough to switch over. The pain is limited by certain distros, like Mint with Cinnamon. And you probably won't need to buy 'all new hardware' either.

        (more money left over to keep cops on the street catching bad guys)

        1. soulrideruk Bronze badge

          Re: Windows 8.1 is NOT an upgrade...

          I hear this all the time, left and right about magically saving money by switching to Linux, but no one ever explains how expensive it can be, or how hard it can be, to find replacements for professional software on Linux for a serious creative computer user, a company or public entity.

          https://linuxmusicians.com/viewtopic.php?t=10679

          The thread above points out the very pertinent fact that there isn't the consumer demand for my 'high end kit' on Linux, so the chances of that ever being supported was slim to none. That was 3 years ago, and there is still no Linux driver for my hardware. I've had the hardware for 6 years now, and there is absolutely no reason to replace it.

          There is also no Linux DAW like Sonar, which I currently use, or even old Cubase, which I used to use. While there is no cost on Linux to replace the software, there is no single fully functional DAW on Linux, most audio studios are made up of a multitude of modular options. That's all well and dandy, but I like a single monolithic does it all interface, which is why I pay for one.

          Unity also is still in Alpha testing with it's editor, moving my games to an alpha editor is not really an option, but of course, over time this issue should be resolved when unity gets a proper Linux release.

          There are lots of reasons why moving to Linux can be very costly, especially when professional systems are involved. It's not always as easy as, an older relative who is a facebook user and can view it in any browser on any OS.

          A lot of specific and dedicated hardware and software was created windows only and it is not always easy to find a drop in Linux replacement, despite it getting much better.

          I do run Linux on a laptop, and looked seriously at swapping my main, but I cannot justify it yet from the Audio/Unity aspects, nor cutting easy access to my huge game collection, which only a small percentage is Linux compatible.

    2. Gray
      Devil

      Re: Windows 8.1 is NOT an upgrade...

      1. XP works... and keeps on working. That's evil?

      2. MS has defeated Win7 security patch updates by destroying trust in the content.

      3. Untrusted security patching: 7 = XP. Welcome to the wilderness!

      4. Windows 8.1? What's that?

      5. Windows = HIV. Practice safe sex.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows 8.1 is NOT an upgrade...

        If by "keeps on working" you mean "lets man+dog gain unauthorised access" then yes, you're right.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows 8.1 is NOT an upgrade...

      Best to go to 7

      The best thing would be to do what the French Gendarmes did which was to completely change to Linux everywhere in the country.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        what the French Gendarmes

        French security - doesn't seem to have worked out too well recently.

        Paris - even she isn't going to France this year.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows 8.1 is NOT an upgrade...

        "The best thing would be to do what the French Gendarmes did which was to completely change to Linux everywhere in the country"

        Most business need to run a version of Office that actually works and have application requirements that are more complex than just filling in web browser based forms though...

  4. RIBrsiq
    Trollface

    Anyone want to bet that by the time they're done migrating, the OS they'd have migrated to will be out of support...?

    Where's a hamster wheel icon when you need one?

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      Coat

      Well, if I was going to be cynical, I'd point out that the outside contractors that are doing the upgrades would quite like to have some work after they finish upgrading to 8.1. So if they then have to upgrade everything a second time then that would be just great for them eh?

      I won't be cynical though. I'm sure the contractors are doing their very best to give us taxpayers value for money. I'm sure that's the case.

      Ahem.

    2. MJI Silver badge

      For big organisations it is just a big upgrade cycle, continually replacing computers.

      Sounds like a waste of money to me and I work in IT

  5. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Is this a problem?

    I mean, *surely* police systems are kept behind some sort of air-gapped nuclear-bomb-proof firewall, no?

    1. Ben1892

      Re: Is this a problem?

      The police force I've worked with a few times had an air gap for their network - nothing in, nothing out with physical separation of the very few machines that were connected to the outside world.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is this a problem?

        And the forces (plural, not not country wide) including relatively central home offic organisations, have not.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not just the Desktop that's in trouble...

    I was pulled a few weeks back for a minor traffic infringement and whilst sat in the nice traffic policeman’s car he had to login to his data terminal which turned out to a Windows 2003 Terminal Services session which dragged its arse longer than a Jack Russell across a cream carpet.

    So I got a stern tell off and 3 points but decided against offering my opinion on the state of Police IT…

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: It's not just the Desktop that's in trouble...

      Catching crooks is a cost- fining motorists is a profit. Hence no investment in the former.

    2. briandavies

      Re: It's not just the Desktop that's in trouble...

      " ......which dragged its arse longer than a Jack Russell across a cream carpet."

      LOL!

  7. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Boff?

    Bastard Operator From Fulham? (unfortunately he's from Hackney!)

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Boff?

      Where I come from "boff" is another word for bottom burp.

      However this is a serious business and I, for one, welcome Cllr Phart and his scrutiny of public sector IT. There's always a commotion going on in the council chamber.

      1. Spanners Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Boff?

        It is also also a word for humanity's favourite activity!

    2. R Callan

      Re: Boff?

      Hackney? I thought it was Hamilton.

      p.s. thats the NZ version.

  8. ITBloke

    CHiPs

    Traffic cops seems to be getting new cars and mobile speed camera vans at a rate of knots as that's easy income and crime stats for plod, budgets for what really matters like officers on the beat or upgrading archaic internal systems seems to be ignored, funny that......

  9. Commswonk Silver badge

    Perhaps not entirely surprising...

    When I retired from <redacted>* at the end of 2006 there was no sign of XP coming into service, and we were still using an earlier version of Windows. This was because of security requirements, and it always took "somewhere in Gloucestershire" a long time to determine that any given operating system was secure enough for it to go into use by government departments and their various agencies.

    It is therefore unsurprising that a large proportion of an operating system's life is taken up by prolonged and comprehensive security checking before users actually get their hands on it, although whether or not the process needs to take as long as it does is debateable; I simply don't know.

    I suspect that any organisation handling sensitive material that others might try to steal would be roundly criticised if it rushed to adopt any new operating system the moment it was issued without trying to ensure that the data was safe.

    *Not the MPS!

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Perhaps not entirely surprising...

      There are now on-line guidelines to hardening various popular* OS for gov work here:

      https://www.cesg.gov.uk/eud-guidance

      Most of the advice is also sane for business users, etc, as well so worth taking 5 min to read it. And yes, they do have guidance for Ubuntu as well =>

      [*] That includes Win10, which is not so popular in these parts due to the forced upgrade policy and telemetry. But of course the guide assumes you have the most expensive enterprise edition where you still get the right to disable most of that.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Perhaps not entirely surprising...

      " it always took "somewhere in Gloucestershire" a long time to determine that any given operating system was secure enough for it to go into use by government departments and their various agencies."

      Its not just the OS either. AFAIK the police use an ecosystem of home-baked windows apps, which would all potentially need upgrading to function correctly on a newer version of Win$

      Certainly where I work, the decision to upgrade from XP to Win7 rather than 10 was driven almost entirely by the ecosystem of desktop software that has to run on top of the OS. MS Office being one of those which makes it massively complicated to upgrade 4-5 digit numbers of end user desktops. Particularly when you consider the multitude of user-built tools which use scripting features in some generation of Orifice - which you will break with an upgrade. Tempting as it is to say bugger it and push an upgrade through, how much damage will your business sustain from loss in productivity while tools are rebuilt and users are retrained?

    3. GrapeBunch Bronze badge

      Re: Perhaps not entirely surprising...

      The apparent fact that they are willing to accept on their network machines that run Win10--which is forever to be in flux, and thus cannot be subjected to the same level of screening, ever, and certainly not yet--means to me that they are not relying on the OS for any measure of security. If so, that could be a Good Thing. You'd have an intranet with most of the computers on it. Then all of your internet-capable machines would go through a router, with your wonderful security software on it. A computer could be one of the above, but never both. Then of course you'd have a bunch of machines that were neither. I imagine that the head honcho's secretary's machine would have a keyboard, mouse and scanner (but not USB, CD, diskette, PCMCIA, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Telephone etc etc) and for output, a printer via parallel port. Not a single machine would have its own firewall, anti-virus etc etc because it would all be handled by the server (in the case of the intranet) and by the router's firewall (in the case of the internet). That sort of thinking didn't quite work out for the Iranian nuclear plant, but maybe they weren't strict enough (humour noted). I seem to be advocating BOFH over Boff. Maybe I'm advocating a Fool's Paradise, so go ahead, refute me please.

  10. jasper pepper

    What to do

    Yes, of course the police should move away from ancient and unsupported XP, perhaps to the more secure win 10 where any data and all data can and will be sent direct to microsoft.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What to do

      "[...] win 10 where any data and all data can and will be sent direct to microsoft."

      W7 can't be trusted any longer either.

    2. yossarianuk

      Re: What to do

      Another reason to migrate to Linux.

      Any costs involved would be offset my money saved over decades,

      They could easily run a low resource desktop on XP hardware without having to upgrade also (saving the taxpayer even more money)

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        Re: What to do

        Another reason to migrate to Linux.

        As opposed to all the reasons not to...

        I know little or nothing about Linux but in an earlier posting (that you have since deleted) you mentioned training. Quite apart from training costs (to which you made reference) there would be the montrous logistical problem of getting everyone trained to a suitable standard so that they could (hopefully) make a seamless transition to a new operating system.

        On top of which the IT support staff would have to be retrained to a much higher level than the users, which would involve a reduction of the support available on the existing Windows systems.

        On top of which the IT support staff might well be employed by a Managed Service Provider contracted to provide Windows support, and who then either charge an eye - watering amount to retrain or even make a legal claim that their contract was effectively being cancelled beneath them.

        On top of which not all computer functions fall neatly into the "office" (small o) variety; there are all sorts of software (some of them major) that are very much part and parcel of the users' needs, and unless the software will run on Linux (and I would put money on that not being the case) then that function would have to somehow stop, or the software suppliers (who very often supply the software in support of specialist hardware) would have to be cajoled into providing a new version at potentially enormous cost.

        The above list does not pretend to be exhaustive.

        I am not writing in support of Windows or Microsoft - merely pointing out that for good or ill Windows has become a de facto standard for so many computer applications that simply assuming that a migration to another OS (Linux) is practicable may be seriously mistaken.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Linux

          Re: What to do

          @ Commswonk, I would suggest you try Linux first before you express an opinion about it. In reality it's damned easy. Most people get it in no time, and so would you if you ever tried, and all by your own.

          Try with your kids, they won't ask you anything.

          And besides your comment is too long to be honest, I would claim.

        2. tfewster Silver badge

          Re: What to do

          Hi Commswonk - You're right to warn of possible pitfalls - all those could be issues and should be examined. IMHO, they're not showstoppers though:

          - Linux Mint (for example) uses pretty much the same user interface as Windows XP/7. And Open Office and web browsers haven't reinvented the wheel either. If you know what you want to do, you'll find it in a few seconds of looking.

          - Compare with Windows 8/10 or a tablet OS, which I believe are a much bigger retraining exercise. Though many people trained _themselves_ on how to use a smartphone, so a) they can adapt and b) they're willing to change if they see a benefit.

          - I expect First line support would adapt even more quickly (where needed - see above). 2nd & 3rd line would need to retrain or skills bought in, agreed.

          - App rewrites? It's been done once to convert to browser apps, and again to produce tablet apps. I find it hard to believe there are many custom or high-powered desktop apps in general use - Apart from the backroom boys (Macs & GUIs written in VB to trace IPs?)

          So be cautious, but don't reject the idea out of hand. There will be an up front cost, but saving about 1K per desktop on software costs allows more to be spent on support and development.

          1. Lars Silver badge
            Linux

            Re: What to do

            @ tfewster

            Yes, it's not about the difference between Windows and Linux it's all about making a decision and supporting it. And by doing a more in house, like training, a lot of money would be saved. Will that happen in Britain, I have my doubts. France, Spain, Portugal and Germany can, for various reasons I will not hurt anybody with. Perhaps Ubuntu could step in with some support and a ready tweaked version. The biggest gains could in fact come from training.

  11. David Lawton

    How about they work on moving away from a reliance on Windows. Since a lot of modern programs are browser based if the police invested in moving there systems to the same technology Linux on the desktops could be viable , and would also work on tablets and mobiles. The cost of extended support from Microsoft for XP would make getting Mac Minis on the desks and running Mac OS seem like a cheap option. I dread to think how much money government pay in Microsoft licences.

    1. billat29

      You assume that the police run modern programs.

      Bad assumption.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Linux

        @ billat29

        They could most likely fix that by running Wine, and now that Ubuntu is British the French having already done it might not be so disturbing. All that is needed is somebody at the top who can make a decision and can stand up to Microsoft.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Dead Parrot
    Meh

    Well, the wheels just fell of my W10AU box so IMHO, there are *worse* things they could be doing with IT...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's now August..

    ..and May is long gone..

    no, wait a minute she's at the top!

    surely things may change for the better?

    I ruddy doubt it..

  15. JaitcH
    Happy

    Scotland Yard not alone - most of VietNam's Governments, too

    The Cong An, aka Peoples Police, is responsible for doing Copyright Checks - an annual fiasco where they announce the checks are coming, even posting a schedule of victims. These companies immediately arrange for sets of genuine MS product to be motorcycled from one enterprise to another , so that when the boys in khaki arrive, a pile of CDs awaits inspection.

    Funny thing is, the biggest consumer of hot Windows products is ... the Cong An!

    Their crappy computers can't run anything better - in fact the Cong An stations I visit to renew business permits have resorted to employees bringing in their own laptops.

    Paper is a killer in VietNam, and the government must have the biggest repository of Red Ink, too.

    Every household has an Occupancy Book in which is inscribed the names and ID Card numbers of the registered occupants. The local Cong An station has an exact duplicate of the book, along with thousands of others. This replication extends for all the numerous forms the Cong An administers.

    They only use computers to print yet more forms ... and watch the InterNet. They are also big in FAX (more paper). Google Translate is the main medium through which they communicate with Foreigners. Google Translate has a 'few' shortcomings when translating in to Vietnamese which either produces laughs or looks of shock.

    Long Live XP!

  16. kain preacher Silver badge

    I heard the met was going to get rid of windows and upgrade to linux 2.4.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The 'risk' is grossly overblown.

    There will be WinXP VMs running 30 years from now. And it won't be a problem then, either.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Trollface

      Yes, probably there will be XP VM still going strong.

      But maybe not later versions of Windows that need periodic product activation checks, eh?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >There will be WinXP VMs running 30 years from now. And it won't be a problem then, either.

      Runs the clappers on new hardware, much smoother than 365/10 if you're just knocking out reports and spreadsheet mangling.

  18. chivo243 Silver badge
    Boffin

    A Year ago

    Still running XP was funny, quirky in a professor Baffles sort of way, but now? Wait, Win10 will do what all the malware for XP did, but built in! Now, your system is safe from less than zero... funny how that worked out.

  19. nohatjim

    Dodged the bullet

    I was interviewed some time ago by Microsoft to head the program to rollout the new Windows environment for the Met.

    I didn't get the job - don't think I was going to take it anyway but think I dodged a bullet

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dodged the bullet

      Double bubble for Microsoft here in that they've had a fairly large team of people from MCS at the Met for some time now, and by the looks of things (going by the numbers mentioned in this article) not getting very far in terms of progress.

  20. Tim036

    For working computers follow the French government

    I can't see any future using an OS that has spyware built into it.

    Most other sensible governments can see a good future without having to pay Microsoft any money...

  21. Ember

    Second best after 3.11

    I can understand the love and loyalty to XP, it is the least buggy Windows OS and the second most stable Windows after outdone only by the DOS based 3.11. Going to 8 or even 8.1 is a downgrade in all points, might as well just install Vista and attach a St. Christopher sticker to ward off bugs. Not that 10 is any better, with several hover text Help info-boxes almost openly admitting that it is nothing more than a collection of spyware.

    The moment 7 no longer is able to run the software I need, I will learn to use Linux or go for MacOS. Windows is only for people too lazy to learn Linux anyways.

  22. nkuk

    Bin the lot

    Government systems should be using non-proprietary open source software wherever possible. Rather than stay on the Windows upgrade treadmill they should plan to migrate to Linux, like foreign goverments have done, it would save them a fortune in the long term.

  23. g00se
    Linux

    The problem ...

    is not that the police is running an outdated version of Windows but the that the police is running Windows

  24. Dr.Flay

    XP still has official partial support for several years

    My patched XP box got its updates today just as normal, and there are still AV products that install in XP.

    However, we can be sure that the Met. have not used the EPOS patch, and are still using the original install of Norton AV that stopped updating years ago.

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