That’s Not Lock-in. THIS is Lock-in

In my career I encountered many weird and wonderful lock-ins to Wintel. Some of them were quite bizarre, like the application that we needed because it opened certain files people were sending back and forth from HQ but no one on staff at my school knew what was in them. They were sort of like archives but also databases… Anyways, you needed such-and-such software to create or to open these files. Strangely, although working at that place for a year, I never needed the software although it rode proudly on my hard drive…

That pales into insignificance with what is going on in the government of the UK. Although they have been making some good noises lately, they are in a deep hole. Here’s what a reader sent in:
“MS lock in and how it costs! UK welfare Forces the poor to use old computers to get paid.
Links to some articles
MS XP on over 160,000 UK government computers (government and with health service the worst lock in as much medical software only works on IE6) and they will pay dearly to get maintenance and updates when MS kills XP later this year except at approx USD$300 per year per seat!
Regret but some important undersea boats work on XP!
Google search for UK government use of windows XP and IE6
Government Forces Benefits Claimants To Use Windows XP and IE6
Government Faces IE6 Barrier To Social Media

If this weren’t so serious it would be causing fits of laughter complete with tears running down cheeks and painful diaphragms. The ultimate joke is that M$’s lock-in is so strong, it prevents the government of UK from buying new licences from M$… 😉

Unfortunately, this behaviour is not limited to the government of the UK. It was pointed out to me that to use a certain Canadian government site, one needed IE8… despite having a policy that outlaws such lock-ins by 2013. Let’s hope these neanderthals are shamed into modernization and open standards real soon now. The world will be a better place and taxes might even decrease.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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5 Responses to That’s Not Lock-in. THIS is Lock-in

  1. ram says:

    In some cultures bribes are absolutely required even if the government officials do no work. This is not just in IT. Look at the latest from NSW Australia’s ICAC. Nothing happens here without a bribe.

  2. wolfgang says:

    It is not necessarily the bribery of an official if you make it easy for him to be lazy and get rid of doing work.

  3. ram wrote, “in any of these government monocultures that the sole criteria for purchasing anything is the amount of bribes/kickbacks/backsheesh to the purchasing officials”.

    That is a gross oversimplification of M$’s “technological evangelism”. M$ has created such a mindset that many users, IT-people and purchasing agents believe M$ is the one true way. Many don’t question that. That’s part of the reason I created this blog.

  4. ram says:

    You can be sure in any of these government monocultures that the sole criteria for purchasing anything is the amount of bribes/kickbacks/backsheesh to the purchasing officials.

  5. wolfgang says:

    …very interesting…
    but the problem is not lock-in to MS. it is the age old problem of uninspired performance by the bureaucrats who infest the civil service and who refuse to provide wider choice for citizens.

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