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The Army has decided to upgrade all of its computers, like those shown here (at the NCO Academy's Warrior Leaders Course) to Windows Vista. It says the adoption will increase its security and improve standardization. It also plans to upgrade from Office 2003 to Office 2007. As many soldiers have never used Vista or Office '07, it will be providing special training to bring them up to speed.  (Source: U.S. Army)
Army will upgrade all its computers to Vista by December

For those critics who bill Microsoft's Windows Vista a commercial failure for failing to surpass Windows XP in sales, and inability to capitalize in the netbook market, perhaps they should reserve judgment a bit longer.  Just as Windows 7 hype is reaching full swing in preparation for a October release, the U.S. Army announced that like many large organizations, it will wait on upgrading to Windows 7.  However, unlike some, it is planning a major upgrade -- to Windows Vista.

The U.S. Army currently has 744,000 desktop computers, most of which run Windows XP.  Currently only 13 percent of the computers have upgraded to Windows Vista, according Dr. Army Harding, director of Enterprise Information Technology Services.

It announced in a press release that it will be upgrading all of the remaining systems to Windows Vista by December 31st.  The upgrade was mandated by a Fragmentary Order published Nov. 22, 2008.

In addition to Windows Vista, the Army's version of Microsoft's Office will also be upgraded.  As with Windows, the Army is forgoing the upcoming new version -- Office 2010 -- in favor to an upgrade to Office 2007.  Currently about half of the Army's computers run Office 2003 and half run Office 2007.

The upgrade will affect both classified and unclassified networks.  Only standalone weapons systems (such as those used by nuclear depots) will remain unchanged.  Dr. Harding states, "It's for all desktop computers on the SIPR and NIPRNET."

Army officials cite the need to bolster Internet security and standardize its information systems as key factors in selecting a Windows Vista upgrade.  Likewise, they believe that an upgrade to Office 2007 will bring better document security, and easier interfacing to other programs, despite the steeper learning curve associate with the program (which is partially due to the new interface, according to reviewers).

Sharon Reed, chief of IT at the Soldier Support Institute, says the Army will provide resources to help soldiers learn the ropes of Windows Vista.  She states, "During this process, we are offering several in-house training sessions, helpful quick-tip handouts and free Army online training."

The U.S. Army will perhaps be the largest deployment of Windows Vista in the U.S.  Most large corporations keep quiet about how many Windows Vista systems versus Windows XP systems they've deployed.  However, past surveys and reports indicate that most major businesses have declined to fully adopt Windows Vista.  Likewise, U.S. public schools and other large government organizations have only, at best, partially adopted of Vista.


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RE: Missing the point
By foolsgambit11 on 5/23/2009 6:56:41 PM , Rating: 5
You've got your terms mixed up. 'x64' is a shorthand (or possibly a non-AMD-specific reference) for x86-64. IA-64 is the Itanium instruction set. They are not compatible, but x86-64 isn't somehow less than 64 bit because of that. It is a 64-bit instruction set with the ability to run older programs designed for previous x86 instruction sets, potentially all the way back to the 8086, I guess. The Pentium's (and 386's) instruction set, for instance, wasn't less than 32 bit just because it was built to be compatible with the old 8086 and 286 instruction set.

But you're right that most computation done on consumer computers doesn't require 64 bits. It's rare you'll be dealing with a number greater than 4.3 billion on a home computer, other than the previously mentioned case of allocating system resources. When we're talking about users' computations, the advantage of natively-computing 64-bit numbers is rarely needed.

However, I think you're wrong that over-engineering computer resources is a problem. Having access to vast computing resources may encourage sloppy coding, but it's not what's keeping people from taking advantage of a 10x+ increase in computing speed. That speed-up is there whether we have 1 GB or 16 GB of RAM. What the additional resources do allow for is sloppy coding. It sounds bad, but it lowers the bar to entry for people who want to develop programs. Anything that allows more people to compete in a marketplace should be good for the consumer overall.


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