NIST Likely To Lift Windows Vista Ban If Microsoft's New OS Passes Muster
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.
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 tests.
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.
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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 Szykman.
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.