Feeds

DWP CTO predicts the end of Windows

But will cling on to Office

The Power of One Infographic

The Department for Work and Pensions' chief technology officer has said that the latest version of Microsoft Windows may be the last to be widely deployed.

James Gardner said that he believes that Windows will no longer be as largely needed because there will be "fewer workloads" that require a "heavy desktop stack".

"Today of course, we have all this legacy that's coupled to the desktop, but in a decade, I really doubt that will be the case. Most stuff will arrive via the browser," he said, in a post on his personal blog on 1 November 2010.

He added that it is possible that there will be "ubiquitous wireless networking everywhere, even those difficult places outreach workers sometimes have to go". This would remove the need for heavy-duty desktop software.

Over the next decade "security colleagues" within government will have found clever ways of doing things without "the fortress stuff they presently require of us", Gardner added.

He also argued that he could not imagine people needing much more than a tablet-like device to have all their relevant information at hand, but conceded that there will be some occasions when people will need "everything local".

"The real question, I think, is what Microsoft will do to restore the value of Windows. In the past their strategy has been to shift the operating system up the value chain, taking more specialised functionality from apps and embedding it in the base platform. They did that with Internet Explorer, for example. With messaging queueing and transaction services, and a whole pile of other things that were once separate apps," Gardner explained.

This is now becoming less common because most of the action is now happening in the data centre or the cloud, he added.

The technology chief also suggested that it would be a mistake to build a technology estate that depends on a desktop stack because you cannot guarantee that the stack will be relevant in 10 years' time.

"It feels funny, doesn't it, thinking about Windows in the context of it being irrelevant, after all these years we've relied on it. I guess it proves, again, that change is the only constant," he said.

Despite this, Gardner said that the department's recent £200m deal with Fujitsu to refresh its desktop estate includes Microsoft's software. "We're going to have the latest Office, the latest Windows, and all of it will be delivered via the network to clever thin client terminals or thin spec notebooks. Considering we're presently struggling along with XP, this will be a bit of a leap from where we are presently."

He also envisages that the DWP will keep the new desktop estate "for maybe a decade".

"It takes that long for a desktop operating environment to get so long in the tooth that no matter what you do you can't keep it going any longer. And we'll keep it that long because the costs of getting a working desktop in the first place are so absurdly high that doing anything else is completely irresponsible," he added.

This article was originally published at Kable.

Kable's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
Sit back down, Julian Assange™, you're not going anywhere just yet
Swedish court refuses to withdraw arrest warrant
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
British cops cuff 660 suspected paedophiles
Arrests people allegedly accessing child abuse images online
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.