The Department of Defence this week said it was not yet testing the early versions of Windows 7, although it would consider Microsoft's upcoming operating system as more details about it were known.
Defence CIO: Greg Farr
(Credit: Australian Defence)
Defence has a complicated environment for its 90,000 odd users of desktop and laptop PCs, due to the fact that many staff require two PCs; one for each of its separate internal networks — the Secret Network and the Restricted Network.
The department said in a statement that its standard desktop environment was based on Windows XP, as it had taken a decision not to migrate to Vista on the basis of the hardware fleet currently deployed and Vista's business value.
"The Department of Defence will consider Windows 7 as the value of the release becomes clearer in functional terms and the hardware specifications are known," the statement said.
One option previously discussed for future development of Defence's desktop fleet is thin client computing; in January Defence chief information officer Greg Farr said a thin client and switching solution could obviate much of the need for the department to run two desktop machines for many of its staff. It's a solution that defence colleagues in the US were looking into, Farr said at the time.
Defence's stance on Windows 7 comes as some of Australia's largest organisations have recently expressed mixed views on the operating system, which is widely expected to be released in the second half of 2009, although Redmond has not yet set a launch date for the software.
On 9 January this year, the first official beta of Windows 7 was released to general praise from reviewers and the public.
Welfare agency Centrelink has praised the early versions of Windows 7, saying they show a jump in quality over the much-maligned Vista, and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia has examined the software but is yet to formally test it.
However, the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, which is one of the only large Australian organisations to have rolled out Vista, said it had no plans to upgrade to Windows 7, as the priority following the Vista roll-out was to settle into its implementation and realise its benefits.