UK Gives Microsoft a Good Paddling

In what may well be the most brilliant government decision in history, the UK agency tasked with overseeing information technology in schools has issued a report barring adoption of Microsoft's Windows Vista and Office 2007 in British schools.

The move comes via a report issued by the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta), which advises schools not to upgrade systems to Vista or Office 2007, citing cost and compatibility problems. Specifically raised as a serious flaw is Microsoft's failure to support the Open Document Format — a format which a number of European governments have recently mandated must be supported in government systems. According to Becta, schools should consider "free-to-use" alternatives — thinly-veiled code for open-source systems including Linux and OpenOffice.org, which Becta has a long history of supporting. It goes on to say that schools should inform teachers, students and parents about open source alternatives, and provide training in how to use them.

While the report is advisory and therefore not a binding directive, it will likely see wide adoption, which could mean lost millions for Microsoft. Whether or not it will motivate the Empire to change their tune remains to be seen.

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