The brutal truth - but not, I think, about Vista.

A lawsuit alleging that workers are being forced to contribute unpaid over time because their PCs record start times only after long boot periods has that laugh until you cry feel to it because it's more revealing about the organization than about Vista.

In the laugh until you cry department: a Nevada lawyer has filed suit against a number of large employers (including AT&T, United Health Group, and Cigna) alleging that using PCs running Vista as employee time clocks forces the employees to put in unpaid overtime by forcing them to come in early and leave late by the amount of time it takes for the PCs involved to boot up and shutdown.

From the report for November 19/08:

Certain employers are docking their employees' pay while they wait for their Vista PCs to boot up, to the tune of 30 to 60 minutes per day, resulting in class-action lawsuits being brought against the employers, says a Tuesday blog report. The employers, which include big companies such as AT&T, United Health Group and Cigna, argue workers often go on coffee, smoke or social breaks while they await their machines to boot up, and therefore do not do any work. The lawsuits have popped up over the last year and are being handled by a lawyer experienced with cases involving long boot times.


The unusually long boot and log-off/shutdown times, reported as between 15 and 30 minutes, could be due to running Vista on slower, older hardware and/or the company opting to use heavy-duty security and monitoring programs as part of the start-up process.

Since Vista doesn't take 15 minutes to boot even on a two year old PC, the clue to what's really going on here is in the shutdown time, not the start-up time - because that tells us the problem is in either, or both, the network and/or the servers.

Personally I'd bet first on those servers being virtualized and second on nobody in those service groups having any idea how badly their networks degrade under load, but we don't actually know that from the data. What we do know from other experience, however, is that there is no real possibility that the employees involved didn't complain loudly and repeatedly about this before seeking recourse in the courts.

And that suggests to me that the problems revealed here probably have nothing substantive to do with Vista and, instead, have a lot to do with heavily compartmentalized organizational structures enabling the expression of data processing arrogance - because there's simply no way to imagine this mess ever getting past the first meeting between user management and IT if IT was working for the users instead of itself.