Two of Sydney's largest universities have signalled they will hold back on wide-scale adoption of Microsoft's Windows Vista until the next-generation operating system matures.
University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Macquarie University each have extensive desktop fleets servicing more than 30,000 students each, and some 2,500 and 7,000 staff members respectively.
"I haven't even looked at it," UTS director of IT infrastructure and operations Peter James told ZDNet Australia via telephone late last week. "I think we're still not fully across on XP yet."
Macquarie's director of IT services Mary Sharp echoed her counterpart's sentiments.
"I'm not going to be bleeding edge, I'm not going to be one of the early adopters, that's for sure," she said via telephone. "We certainly won't be upgrading in the foreseeable future."
Both executives noted Vista contained improvements over its predecessor Windows XP, and stated that their respective desktop deployments would eventually be upgraded.
However, as with other CIOs around the nation, the stability of the cutting edge code remains a concern.
"The same question was asked about XP. We will move there eventually, but it's going to be a while," said UTS's James. "Do we want to be the first to move to Windows Vista? No, thank you."
"We will obviously upgrade at a later date, but I'd like to go to the next version, or the next release," said Macquarie's Sharp. "Rather than the first one. I think you're flirting with danger with any product -- even Microsoft -- if you go for the first version when it's such a major leap in technology."
Another reason for Macquarie's decision to hold back is a need to allocate internal resources to other, more pressing IT projects.
Preparing for the future
While the vast majority of Australian chief information officers polled by ZDNet Australia recently have signalled they won't rush ahead in adopting Vista, that doesn't mean they're not preparing for the future.
Signs are emerging that large organisations are switching their procurement policies to make sure all desktop PCs bought now will be capable of running Vista in the future -- even if they are constrained to XP for the time being.
The Australian Electoral Commission, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the federal Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs have all recently gone to market for new desktop PCs, stating the hardware must be ready for Vista.
"At this stage we're looking to make sure that when we buy PCs that they've got the Vista-capable sticker on them. We wouldn't buy anything that wasn't," agreed Sharp.