Letters on Cal State Going to Windows NT Exclusively

June 1999 – I’ve received many letters in response to Cal State Is Going Windows. They raise some very good points you might want to make when contacting CSU administrators – or others.

But first, a hearty thanks to all the Mac webmasters who linked to the article. Without your help, I don’t think we would have seen over 8,000 messages sent from the CSU feedback page on June 9.

Before going any further, I should note the following letter received from Cheryl Kwiatkowski, Senior Director, Chancellor’s Office Information Technology Services:

Your web site “CSU Going Windows” has been brought to my attention. It would appear that you have received some erroneous information. The plan of which you speak applies only to the employees at the Chancellor’s Office headquarters and has no impact on any CSU campus or their faculty, staff and/or students, (now or in the future). The plan is for the Chancellor’s Office headquarters employees to transition, over a three year period, onto a Windows operating platform. We believe this will improve the dependability of our communications with campuses and external constituencies, ensure a smoother implementation of a new administrative system and take advantage of desktop software not available for the Macintosh. It is unfortunate that you did not verify the information prior to publishing. We hope this clears up the confusion.

This raises several questions:

  1. Is this an official statement of CSU policy, or may other departments eventually be forced to migrate to Windows as well?
  2. How will using Windows computers, which numerous studies have shown to have a higher support cost and greater downtime than the Macintosh, improve dependability of communications? Maybe CSU is unaware that even computing giants like Microsoft and Intel have been forced to take their email systems offline in response to viral infections – something almost unknown in the Macintosh world.
  3. What “desktop software” crucial to CSU is unavailable for the Macintosh? My source says most work is done in Microsoft Office, which is most certainly available for the Macintosh. The same goes for Microsoft’s email and web browsers.
  4. With Orange Micro cards and products such as Soft Windows and Virtual PC, Macs can run not only Macintosh software, but Windows programs as well. Why is this option not available to anyone in the Chancellor’s Office?

My contact at CSU notes that Building & Finance are treating any correspondence on this issue as an anti-Microsoft/Mac extremist movement. Let them know this is a freedom of choice issue, the freedom to choose the computer system that best meets the user’s needs – even users working in the Chancellor’s Office.

  • One reader rightly noted that Apple Computer is a California corporation. Not only would CSU be supporting the home team, but Apple’s profits would be taxed by the state, generating additional revenue. Dell, on the other hand, is in Texas.
  • Another suggests Californians contact their assemblyman or state senator. These are the people who approve the Chancellor’s funding.
  • Remember that academic freedom is a powerful phrase – and this choice eliminates freedom by specifying both the operating system and brand of hardware.
  • Someone even suggested a plain old-fashioned sit-in. Cable yourselves to the Macs (finally, a good use for security cables!) and see what happens. ;-)
  • Contact the powers that be. Here are links to Trustees, Campus Presidents, System Officers.
  • The next Trustees meeting is September 14-15, 1999. All meetings are held in the Dumke Conference Center, 401 Golden Shore, Long Beach, CA.
  • More email addresses:
    • David Spence, Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer, dspence@calstate.edu
    • Samuel Strafaci, Acting Senior Director, Human Resources, sstrafaci@calstate.edu
    • Gene Dinielli, Academic Senate Chair, gdinielli@calstate.edu
  • A CSU student wrote and shared the letter he sent to CSU administration. I hope other CSU students who love the Mac, love Unix, or just love personal choice will also write.

About 40% of the people in the Chancellor’s Office would prefer to use Macs, according to my source. Macs are well behaved on networks, can run Microsoft Windows, handle industry standard email and web clients with alacrity, and have a lower long term cost than Windows computers. Yet someone wants every computer in the Chancellor’s Office to be the same – and equally susceptible to whatever kinds of holes virus programmers will discover.

Then again, maybe they want to be in the same situation as Microsoft was when the Melissa virus and Worm. ExploreZip virus infected their networks and forced them to disconnect their email system from the Internet.

When the next virus hits, and the laws of human nature combined with the nature of Microsoft Windows make that a sure thing, I would not want to be the one responsible for promoting a system so susceptible to attacks as somehow improving dependability of communication.

Keywords: #calstate #windowsnt #backwardmigration

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