So, what are the main reasons for slow progress?
Is it just cash? Or is it the usual mix of bureaucracy and resistance to change that large organisations seem to ooze?
Thousands of Metropolitan Police computers are still running Windows XP more than a year after the force promised to upgrade them, mayor Sadiq Khan has admitted in response to a Greater London Assembly question. Moreover, just eight police machines in the UK capital are running Windows 10, the latest version of the operating …
Probably a bit of both but it is no secret that successive cuts since 2010 have hindered councils' ability to invest. At the same time police forces have been forced to taken on additional work partly thanks to government edicts, but more due to heavier cuts in things like social services.
Of course, no problem now that unlimited funds have been found down the back of a sofa in Downing Street. Financially there is no doubt that the UK is living beyond its means but loose monetary policy has thus far insulated the public purse from this (low interest rates have effectively given the government a larger budget). At some point, whoever is in government, is going to have make some very tough and unpopular choices,
Source: I was the desktop tech lead consultant during another police force's Windows XP migration
Multiple reasons for the long delay:
Internally the police use alot of bespoke software, either written specifically for them by a 3rd party or their own in-house devs who have long since retired, left or been made redundant. Try finding a download link to Windows 8/10 drivers for a taser. for instance.
All of their builds need to be signed off at the highest security level, ditto for any changes then made. It's a process of producing a build, getting it signed off, getting it tested, having a change requested, making the change, getting the whole build signed off again etc etc.
I don't know about MET however in my force they were also trying to implement hot desking at the same time, so we also had to engineer and deploy full data/environment/application roaming at the same time as the operating system upgrade.
And finally; why not go straight to Windows 10? Because the contracts for the XP migration were all signed years ago before 10 was avaliable. It's taking this long just to get on to 8.1.
"Because the contracts for the XP migration were all signed years ago before 10 was avaliable."
I'm sure that the supplier of the 'upgrade' to 8.1 had no idea and could not forsee that Win 10 would be released when it was.
Many years ago when I was involved in writing a spec for a hand held 'equipment manual reader' device, using COTS, for the military, we told the customer that details of the hardware, OS and software should not be settled until a year before delivery, for obvious reasons.
" don't know about MET however in my force they were also trying to implement hot desking at the same time"
Ahh yes, hotdesking. The eternal fad that provably doesn't work, almost all companies revert within a short period of time at a cost of millions and still just doesn't seem to die. I suspect it won't properly until some of those consults out there do. Let's hope they encounter the BOFH or one of his apprentices.
I bet the argument was: "Police officers spend most of their time on the street and are not all in the station at the same time, so why have a desk for all of them?". Which ignores the fact that on busy day's when shit hits the fan, all 3 shifts can be in the station at the same time trying to get all their arrest records and mountains of paperwork sorted before finally heading to bed 23 hours after clocking in. (Imagine the London riots for instance). And things take a turn for the worse if all those people don't even have a place to sit and work anymore.
The same argument in offices doesn't work either. A building has to fit nearly all of your peak load. It's acceptable some of the sales guys on laptops have to find a windowsill to work in but almost all of your peak load should be able to sit at a desk and get work done. Otherwise you are losing money.
If you are implementing hot desking with shared desktop PCs, you need to use roaming user profiles. Almost every new release of Windows introduces a different profile version -- you can't apply a Windows 8.1 profile to a Windows 10 user, for example, without strange things happening.
With clever design you can use Microsoft's roaming profile mechanism for different user OS versions. Users can have access to personal and shared file stores, but desktop settings will vary because you have a different profile for each OS version. Third party profile managers might provide a better experience.
If you foul up the initial design, you'll have a lot of work on your hands to support two desktop OS versions concurrently.
Yeah you kind of nailed it there. Used to work with the company that provided that IT support for the MET. A lot of the software was still being ported over when I left almost a year ago and a lot of it wasn't even ready. Not sure about the drivers as I wasn't apart of that team but the company was transparent enough to tell us updates etc.
They've been hot desking for a long time, I was there for almost 3 years and it was a thing that was normal to them even when I started.
Problem will be that changing an OS involves unknown risk. Some key software may no longer work, work differently in some way, or no longer interface with other systems. Fixing these issue can take large globs of cash. Much of the software in use will have been certified and require re-certification which will account for more globs of cash.
It ain't as simply as upgrading your home machine or the machines in some 10 desk office.
"resistance to change"
yes. people resist change, especially when it's CHANGE for the SAKE OF CHANGE. You know, like the perfectly fine XP UI that everybody got to know really well, being twisted and manipulated into the Win-10-nic we all know (and generally hate/dislike) today.
I think cops are busy being cops, not IT professionals, and as such don't want to WASTE THE TIME it takes to re-learn what they already know. I think that speaks well enough for itself.
The ONLY ones who "benefit" from "all of that re-learning" is MICROSHAFT. For everyone ELSE, it's a HUGE PAIN IN THE ASS!!!
And don't forget the psychological effects of the 2D FLATSO FLUGLY.
£1.7m would buy you 17 copies of Windows XP (Professional Capita) Edition. The one that can only be installed onto a new Dell that has been reverse-engineered to make it XP compatible with 128Bit encryption. As financial units go that equates to a 1/1000th of a DUP, which Capita will tell you is 'cheap at the price'
And I am not sure why that even got a mention unless it were an insinuation Khan should not have done that, that it was somehow a waste, not the best use of such money.
The Met Police budget may be tight, they are facing cuts, but it's still around £3 billion. £1.7m is just a small part of that.
The Met said it had cost over £12 million just to put coppers around the Ecuadorian embassy to stop Assange fleeing.
Though the force appears to have met its revised target of getting 14,000 machines running Windows 8.1 – 14,450 are now running the OS – another 2,458 are still running XP, 7, 8.1 and 10. These are said to not be networked, and police sysadmins are apparently unable to separate out which ones are running what.
A remarkable precise number for non networked PCs (and don't try to persuade me that their inventory is up to date)
Someone really needs to strap on a pair and decide to ditch Microsoft from Government IT altogether.
There's no reason they can't require all new custom software to be written in a portable language like Java.
It would only cost a few million to create an official UK distribution of Linux or BSD, require all UK public bodies to use it and offer training courses so that each department can have real experts in that operating system. It would save hundreds of millions if not billions in the long run.
It's slowly getting to a point where Insurance Companies should void any claims made by those who are too ignorant to understand why you don't run a Six-teen Year old in production. Also in the event of the lose, or outright theft of private User Data, due to such ignorance should be fined out of existence. If only to be made an example of.
Total clusterf**k of a migration.
I am not clairvoyant. It's not an act of $deity.
It's a completely f**king predictable consequence of the organizational environment. And £30K for the PM for this? Are you f**king kidding me? Big performance bonuses at least I'd have thought.
When is the time to start planning in the migration to the next generation of desktops?
Simple, while you're still planning what should be in the current generation upgrade of course.
Given what the Met does TBH I'd wonder how many of those machines spend all their time just running the Line-Of-Business apps, (IE Copshop-in-a-box) and the users sole actual contact with Windows is when they start it up (or more likely log in, as it's probably not been shut down for a month).
XP in the public facing offices. There are some better systems in higher offices of the government bureaucracy. 486 computers are popular, too.
AND we have the corner on certain output devices - ancient Epson Dot Matrix printers. But at least they can handle handle invasive bugs looking for a new home. C-R-U-S-H!
Our government also uses Google Translate when dealing with non-Vietnamese speaking people - the only problem is Google's Vietnamese is not perfect!
"XP in the public facing offices."
Oh, that must be why I see such a lot of these in my mail server logs:
Jun 2 04:14:01 mail6 xmas-milter.pl: [VN], connect_callback(): [184.108.40.206], N=, [[220.127.116.11]], [Windows XP], REJECTING SPAMBOT BLACKLISTED [VN,2] in ...
Jun 6 10:22:59 mail6 xmas-milter.pl: [VN], connect_callback(): [18.104.22.168], N=, [[22.214.171.124]], [Windows XP], REJECTING SPAMBOT BLACKLISTED [VN,2] in ...
Jun 14 18:11:26 mail6 xmas-milter.pl: [VN], connect_callback(): [126.96.36.199], N=, [[188.8.131.52]], [Windows XP], REJECTING SPAMBOT BLACKLISTED [VN,2] in ...
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