Summary: Quality of life for ordinary people is reduced by the spreading of Microsoft lock-in, especially in the public sector
THE NHS is a wonderful thing. Here in the UK few people will die simply because they’re poor. But one common criticism of the NHS is inefficiency. Everything seems to exceed the preallocated budgets and companies like Microsoft get handed on a plate millions if not billions (pounds) of taxpayers money to contribute to defunct systems. The NHS, quite infamously, is dependent on Microsoft and it shows.
The British press often neglect to mention Microsoft’s role in NHS computer failures. This is utterly sloppy journalism and we should demand that journalists call out Windows for fingers to be pointed at the right direction. Here is a new example where “Active Directory glitch blamed for IT failure at Scottish hospitals”. Active Directory is Microsoft and it’s mysterious stuff if not vandalism to put such a thing in a hospital. What are they trying to bring into the hospitals? Viruses?
iophk, who highlighted the above, also sent this new one from the British press, noting: “Windows? It does mention a reboot” (not Microsoft’s trademark yet).
Windows? Well, yes, because it’s almost definitely Windows and just like Active Directory, which would usually require Windows, failure is only to be expected. Currently in my daytime job we are urged to embrace Active Directory in a particular environment and that is the only part which necessitates Windows, interfering with GNU/Linux harmony. Wherever there is Windows there tend to be errors and no simple remedies.
Having just reported BT connection issues (these issues have gone on for days), I found myself spending no less than 5 minutes just explaining to the “technical support” staff that there is something in this world other than Windows. She wasted a long time going nowhere as she repeatedly asked me to run winver after I had said I use GNU/Linux. Then I demanded to speak to the boss, who was a lot more helpful (there is a physical fault with my line — not my operating systems — which he could confirm).
Anyway, the point is the matter is, the British government and companies it helps run (or vice versa) are suffering from some kind of Windows addiction syndrome and it’s all of us ill (or disconnected) people who pay the price for it. The British police and the British army are also using Windows (very dangerous to national sovereignty), quite famously, unlike the French . This country’s love for Microsoft in the public sector is like nowhere else in the world and it really ought to change.
The bottom line is, expect nothing that Microsoft spreads to be reliable because reliability is just not the goal. It’s a business decision driven by the need for lock-in, control over the user, and all sorts of conglomerates like the copyright cartel. Consider for a moment DRM or even UEFI ‘secure’ boot, which pretends to be about security but in reality does everything to jeopardise national security. It is sad to learn that Parted Magic, a tool often used to dodge Microsoft Windows, is now reluctantly embracing UEFI just so that people can boot into it at all and then remove/relocate Windows (I very recently had to do this). “According to the developers,” says SoftPedia, “a few issues with the new Secure Erase GUI have been corrected and Parted Magic now boots normally when Secure Boot is enabled in uEFI.”
UEFI ‘secure’ boot is just another classic example of technology being introduced not for the benefit of users but for business interests of a cartel of companies (the UEFI Forum in this case). As is the case with many other governments, the British government is strongly influenced by corporations through their lobbyists and the consequences are laid bare for us to see. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
France’s National Gendarmerie — a national law enforcement agency — is now running 37,000 desktop PCs with a custom version of the Linux operating system, and by summer of next year, the agency plans to move all 72,000 of its desktop machines to the open source OS.