DET picks XP, Lenovo for 200k netbooks

DET picks XP, Lenovo for 200k netbooks

Summary: 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.

TOPICS: IT Employment

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 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.

Topic: IT Employment

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Same old, same old

    Windows XP. Could be a safe bet, could be a backward step. In terms of a "Digital Education Revolution", we aren't talking about much change installing a 6 year old OS.

    But in terms of teacher's ability to manage the platform, it's probably more likely with this than Linux.

    I look forward to actually seeing this "custom" device that is supposed to last 4 years in a high school student's schoolbag.

    Viva la Revolucion!
  • The Usual Corrupt Behavior

    Nothing new here, just government procurement officials maximizing the bribes, kickbacks, and backhanders they feel they are entitled to. Once again, Australian owned suppliers and workers are the losers and foreign government supported companies are chosen for both the hardware and software.

    Don't think the school children are not aware of what this represents and will respond appropriately. I don't think devices they 'do not like' will last long in 'service'.
  • Idiot

    Nice comment you tool. Go back to your sheltered workshop.
  • Secure with XP... Not bloody likely!

    These things were meant to be secured to the DET network and unusable without a DET username/password. Now we know they are running XP, there's going to be so many attack vectors it's not funny.

    I'm also appalled at the announcement saying Microsoft's platform is the ideal learning platform... It was only 6 months ago they started adding Open Office to the rollout PCs in an attempt to switch over and cut costs!
    Must have been an interesting price structure that MS gave them for these, because we were almost all expecting Linux, or at least Open Office instead of MS Office.

    Anyway, I can't wait to get my hands on one... Hopefully I get to have a proper play with a spare one, since I won't be getting one officially.
  • 10 yo "revolution"

    Choosing XP is akin to a 10 year old, out of date "revolution". There is nothing particularly revolutionary about using such an old OS. Given that I am working my backside off to pay taxes that buy a computer for someone else, I really would have liked to have seen something far more revolutionary. Again, another Rudd dud.
  • Can't Wait

    I can't wait to see what that numpty Graeme Harrison says about this. It'll be a hoot!
  • No, you are the one that is ignorent

    Do you truly believe that NO Australian owned companies could have supplied either the hardware or software for this procurement? Do you really think the Australian public is so stupid as not to know what is going on? If so, you are in for alot of surprises.
  • Aussie Companies

    Care to elaborate on some Australian companies that could possibly provide 200,000 fully functioning systems and have the support structures in place - while still having common enough industry standards so that DET can actually provide support?? If anyone other than Dell, Lenovo or HP and Microsoft won this I'd seriously consider whether DET had any logic in their procurement practices.
  • Actually - no!

    If you think there are Australian companies that could have done this - you are seriously deluded. Name a couple...
  • Netbooks in general

    I just hope they can afford all the electricians needed to install the multiple powerboards needed to charge these things. Or are they expecting everyone to turn up to school with a fully charged netbook. Also I pity the 470+ staff that will be employed to provide "support", I hope they don't plan on sleeping after these units are distributed.
  • Re: Netbooks in general

    Absolutely spot on there anonymous. I hope - but bet they haven't - someone beyond the obvious benefactors of Lenovo and Microsoft have seriously looked into the cost of keeping this going.

    Are they paying for wireless for all schools to allow our students to connect (that's outside of DET standards, right?) or are setting up loads of wired LAN ports?

    Is there the budget to maintain and more critically, support the admitedly pretty good DET XP build, or within months, just like in so many high school classrooms, you'll be seeing stacks of unused, no-longer-working equipment.
  • As the old saying goes...

    "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" ....though in this case it's what used to be IBM...*L*, together with the software company that beat IBM at it's own game.
    Time will tell if erring on the side of caution was sound, or a lost opportunity - I'll just be glad that sometime this year my students will finally be getting SOMETHING!
    Retraining on a new operating system would certainly have been an issue for many older teachers - but I don't believe a different OS would have troubled many students.
  • Wireless LAN

    Part of the NSW DET project is to install a managed wireless solution in every high school. The details of the vendor is still being finalised
  • Waste of money!

    If it wasn't going to be costing taxpayers so much money, then this would be great entertainment...

    It will be a failure of massive proportions.

    They should have spent this money on desktop PC's that would stay in the schools, be maintained by the schools, and be the schools responsibility.

    These netbooks will be in school bags that get thrown to the ground at lunchtime, taken home and used and then brought back to school with 1% battery life remaining... And if you want a deal on a cheap netbook, turn up at cash converters where i'm sure a couple will have been pawned off to fund some students purchase of a new mobile phone or whatever else...

    Teachers won't know how to fix many of the problems that arise on each students netbook from time to time (this is the only area where XP is a more sensible choice over Linux though, at least the teachers will stand a chance)

    And forgive me if i'm wrong here, but are they expecting these netbooks to be handed back in at the end of the year, to be re-distributed to next years students? If so, well... good luck.. Remember getting the text books at the start of year? Even the one that were brand new last year were now filled with graffiti, missing pages and covered in dirt/food/dried liquid...
  • Laptops - Out the door they go!

    Should make a nice little contribution to the "fell off a back of a truck market". If you can't play games on it it'll end up with dad in the pub for sale, or computer geek brother or sister for parts.
    Nice one, I'm looking forward to picking 10 if them up for a song!
  • Stolen Laptops

    The student ones will be a bright ridiculous colour, so you'll know they are stolen.
  • Linux is not ready

    Linux could have been usable if they want them to be completely locked down - but for a novice user to perform more than basic functions on most current linux distros is unrealistic. You try explaining to an older teacher that they need to get some new libraries to fulfill the dependencies of their new software - on the other hand with a windows OS they know they can just install software. Linux may be a better platform - but it's still not polished enough to be idiot proof.
  • Handed back - no the kids keep them at end of year 12.

    makes sense - think about it - DET is effectively washing its hands of all its out-of-warranty netbooks; they just give them to the student. saving the cost of disposal, maintenance and repairs after the 4 years are up and making it all the students problem - not the governments......bloody near perfect if you ask me
  • XP is a solid OS - good choice.

    Do you REALLY fancy running Vista or Windows 7 on a ultraportable with an ATOM processor? I think not. Regardless of age, XP is still viable. Every app that a student or staff member will need is suppored - as are most of the 10 year old plus software packages and every crap piece of shareware software loaded onto the school PCs at the moment.
  • Idiots

    So then we proceed with the mentality of encouraging another generation of soft thinkers.