update The NSW Department of Education and Training has picked Microsoft Windows XP and Office software and Lenovo hardware to run on its impending roll-out of 200,000 student netbooks funded through Kevin Rudd's Digital Education Revolution, leaving the Linux alternative out in the cold.
DET chief information officer Stephen Wilson said in a statement today that Microsoft's solution was "closely aligned with the New South Wales Government's digital education priorities". A Lenovo spokesperson confirmed the vendor had won the hardware component of the deal.
"We've also found Microsoft's platform to be ideal for learning and development and are confident that it is the best platform to accompany our children through today's education system," said Wilson.
Wilson said he was "pleased with Microsoft's innovative and flexible approach to software licensing and support".
The deal brings Microsoft's Windows XP licence count to 390,000 with the department.
Wilson hinted that Windows would be a logical decision for the department when he told ZDNet.com.au last month that DET was "happy with XP and the environment we have got" in relation to its existing desktops. He also said DET would hire an additional 471 staff to support the student netbooks.
"It's a huge change management issue for us if we change operating systems, so we don't take it lightly," he said. The story was different for Windows 7, however: Wilson said DET was "considering" Microsoft's incoming platform.
The laptop is set to be rolled out in July this year, just months before Microsoft has been tipped to release Windows 7. And according to Microsoft, DET intends to adopt and upgrade to Windows 7.
Microsoft said Windows 7 would address direct access, wireless capabilities, improved battery life, system management and an application locker to minimise unauthorised downloads.
DET's "uncrackable" filters will also be applied to the netbooks. For them to operate, students must sign in to DET's filtered environment. Wilson said DET may apply a time-based filtering policy to the netbooks, which would allow them to access the internet under a relaxed version of the filter. Currently students are unable to access YouTube and any site that has not been categorised by DET.
Microsoft products already included in DET's volume licensing agreement includes a Windows Vista enterprise upgrade, which Wilson had said he "didn't see any compelling reason to move forward" on. Other products students will have access to include Microsoft Office, Enterprise 2007 — with OneNote & Groove — and Microsoft Office for Mac Professional Edition, Microsoft Enterprise CAL Suite, Microsoft Forefront, Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, Expression Web, and Visual Studio Pro.
Besides Microsoft Windows and Office software, DET has negotiated a software package that includes coveted and costly Adobe creative software such as Flash CS4 Professional, Photoshop Elements, and Dreamweaver CS4 amongst others.