My budget manager has already told me to be really conservative as I begin the FY11 budgeting process. I have a few sacred cows and some key line items that I know will be funded, but those Windows 7 upgrades I was looking at? Ummm, yeah...I'm not looking at them anymore.
What I am looking at is a web server and a netbook, happily running their upgrades to Ubuntu 9.10. The web server (I just built it yesterday, actually, to run the Joomla! CMS to which I'm porting our distinctly unfriendly district website) was running 9.04. The netbook was running a beta of 9.10. Both cheerfully told me this morning that an upgrade to Version 9.10 was available.
"Would you like to upgrade?" they asked.
"Sure," I said, as I clicked the upgrade button.
That was it.
[See also: Yes, Ubuntu can absolutely be the default Windows alternative]
Even though the main download mirrors have been hammered today, the server informed me that with my connection, I should expect the download and install to take a few hours (the upgrades happen from software repositories, not the mirrors that contain the install image). About two hours for the netbook. Great. I need one of those Staples "That Was Easy" buttons. [
Having run the upgrade from 9.04 to 9.10 beta, I'm not too worried about any snags. We'll see how my freshly configured Joomla! install holds up after the upgrade, but since I was already using the most up-to-date versions of MySQL, Apache, and PHP, there shouldn't be any issues there, either. I'll update this post when the installs finish, but that isn't really even the point here.
The point is that I don't need to budget for this upgrade. I don't need to obtain volume licenses and decide where to deploy them. I don't need to do anything except click the Easy, errr, Upgrade button. Even if we had to pay for it and properly license it, wouldn't it be slick if we could open Windows Update in XP or Vista, choose an optional OS upgrade, enter our volume license key, and then walk away?
Of course, it would be even slicker if it was free.
Windows 7 is great and a lot of people would argue that it's worth paying for. Since I work in a system that has a significant investment in Microsoft technologies, both on the back end and the client side, I'd actually be one of them. However, as I look for ways to trim my budget next year, I sure wish cutting costs was as easy as the most recent Ubuntu upgrade.