By Paul McDougall
March 15, 2007
The chief information officer at the National Institute of Standards and
Technology said his agency will likely lift a moratorium on deployments
of Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system within the agency if
the technology passes a rigorous set of security and compatibility
NIST CIO Simon Szykman said the agency is likely to begin full testing
of Windows Vista in a month or two after it finishes a project to
encrypt all of its laptop computers in order to comply with new
government security policies. "Testing of Windows Vista will be our
number two priority after that," said Szykman.
Szykman said tech staffers at the agency, which is tasked with
recommending computer technology and policies to other government
agencies, will test Windows Vista to ensure the OS is secure and fully
interoperable with other systems and applications used by NIST. If it
passes, "there is no reason to believe we would not deploy Windows
Vista," said Szykman in a telephone interview Wednesday.
Until then, however, NIST will continue to forbid its 4,700 computer
users to install Windows Vista on agency desktops or laptops or on home
computers that they intend to connect to the NIST network. "For the time
being, Vista is not allowed," said Szykman.
NIST has scheduled a full staff meeting on April 10 in Gaithersburg, Md,
in part to educate employees about the Windows Vista embargo.
Unlike colleagues at some other federal agencies, however, Szykman said
he is not seriously considering booting Windows from his computing
environment in favor of alternate software. "The majority of our users
are on Microsoft technology and I expect it will remain that way," said
Earlier this month, Federal Aviation Administration CIO Dave Bowen told
InformationWeek that he is taking a long look at a combination of Linux
desktops and Google's online Google Apps as possible alternatives to
upgrading his agency's computers to Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 7
and Microsoft Office 2007.
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