On April 2, ComputerWorld reported that the Texas Senate included a rider in its 2009-2010 state budget that blocks state agencies from upgrading to Windows Vista without first obtaining written consent from that body. State Senator Juan Hinojosa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, explained he included the rider “because of the many reports of problems with Vista.” He went on to say that in addition “…the XP operating system is working very well” and that his body is “…not in any way, shape, or form trying to pick on Microsoft.”
Interestingly, the rider requires Texas state agencies to otain written approval from the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) before acquiring any Vista licenses, even for PC’s that include pre-installed copies of this much-maligned OS. Alas, it’s too late for many existing installations. The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) reports that over 40 state arms has spent more than $6M on Vista purchases and upgrades, though the DIR itself uses Windows XP and Mac OS X. Given Microsoft’s overall clout, and the fact that it employs over 1,500 people in the state, with sales and development offices in most major Texas cities (Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and others), it will be interesting to see if this injunction can withstand the budget reconciliation with the house version, and pressure from Microsoft and business interests allied with that company.
But those whose thoughts about Vista might have occasionally included the phrase “…there oughta be a law…” can now claim some legislative satisfaction, no matter how fleeting or transitory this ruling may turn out to be. Personally, I find it fascinating that the legislative machinery includes room for this kind of activity along with everything else that’s involved in keeping government going!