Some more from the South Quay bunker where The Independent is preparing to move, in April as I hear it, from 1999’s Mac OS9 to 2001’s Windows XP. (Well, perhaps you could argue it’s 2004’s XP SP2. I really hope, for their sake, it’s SP2. SP1 would be a disaster.) That’s seven years’ wait to move forward five years in OS.
Quoth the bird, or mole:
Quark and Copydesk, bound together with Atex’s Prestige content management system, running on XP – is OK, for what it’s worth. As in, it seems to work, slightly clunkily. I’m hating having to use XP, with all the right-clicking, and the guessing which of the three sets of menus on screen at any time might be the one to look for, the relearning every shortcut, and all the other just-not-as-nice-as-osx-ness. But it is, at last, not OS 9, and means we can use the internet and Word without falling over. I’d guess the reason they went with it is that apparently the Prestige back-end stuff is great. So it’s essentially the Lotus Notes argument all over again – we have to suffer a shitty front end so the IT boys get an easy life.
What with all the birds twittering, it’s getting like a Corinne Bailey Rae single around here. But one has to wonder about a few things.
1) have they really considered how much it’s going to cost in the long term? Windows does have a higher support cost, even if the computers used to be cheaper (but aren’t). They’ll either need extra support staff, or people will go unsupported upstairs in news and features. Hmm, I wonder, given the Indie’s reputation for cost-cutting, which it will be?
2) how much have they budgeted for retraining? There were going to be retraining costs whatever they did – moving to OSX and InDesign/InCopy has entailed a lot of training at The Guardian; moving to Windows is just as much of a change as moving to OSX, in its way. OSX bears little relation to OS9 apart from having something called “Finder”. I’d argue though that it’s easier to use because there are fewer things bothering you.
In the time I was there the Indie never trained anyone in anything, even though an hour teaching people how to use the Net efficiently (opening multiple windows in browsers, say) would have saved hours and hours.
3) how are they going to handle input from photographers, who almost all work on Macs and are increasingly moving to new formats?
4) will anyone get fired for choosing Windows when the first spyware/adware outbreak cripples the system close to deadline and costs the same amount in missed production timescales as was saved by buying QXP on XP rather than Adobe on OSX?
Oh, and the payoff from my little bird: “I’m told you all [at the Guardian] have gleaming iMacs. Bastards.”