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IRS Misses XP Deadline, Pays Microsoft Millions For Patches

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the your-tax-dollars-at-work dept.

Windows 322

An anonymous reader writes "When Microsoft terminated official support for Windows XP on April 8th, many organizations had taken the six years of warnings to heart and migrated to another operating system. But not the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Only 52,000 of their 110,000 Windows-powered computers have been upgraded to Windows 7. They'll now be forced to pay Microsoft for Custom Support. How much? Using Microsoft's standard rate of $200 per PC, it'll be $11.6 million for one year. That leaves $18.4 million of their $30 million budget to finish the upgrades themselves, which works out to $317 per computer."

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see where your taxes go (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735293)

right into the pocket of microsoft thanks to mismanagement

Re:see where your taxes go (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 6 months ago | (#46735461)

Yep. It's a total waste of money.

Those machines aren't going to implode because they don't get updates.

Keep running them, keep on replacing them. Block all external web sites to employees (which they should be anyway).

Re:see where your taxes go (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735679)

Block all external web sites to employees (which they should be anyway).

Yeah, because it's totally inconceivable that an employee might need access to information that's not stored on the internal network.

After 2,722 fixes, XP is still vulnerable? (-1, Flamebait)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46735997)

For external information, use another network. There are ways of making networks extremely secure, even if there are security vulnerabilities in an operating system. I will add a discussion of that to my article [futurepower.net] .

Re:see where your taxes go (4, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 6 months ago | (#46735975)

But the IRS doesn't care. It just asks for more money from Congress to go after more citizens for more money. The IRS doesn't care about how inefficient it is. That is inherently what is wrong with a massively complex government system which is specifically designed to be complex.

There are solutions for this, but it means dismantling the IRS and firing a lot of people, so how do you think we are going to do this. Similar to the quasi-governmental Post Office.

Re:see where your taxes go (0)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 6 months ago | (#46735581)

Double mismanagement: one is screwing up the update cycle deadline and the other is moving to Win 7. Win 8 is crap, but it's newer - by going with Win 7 they are effectively eschewing a few years of support. Of course Win 8 would be only marginally smarter. The sensible thing, of course, would be to run Linux, so in the event of another amazing display of incompetence like that (which is probably already in the pipeline), they could support an older version in-house for a tiny, tiny fraction of that cost.

Re:see where your taxes go (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about 6 months ago | (#46736135)

The sensible thing, of course, would be to run Linux, so in the event of another amazing display of incompetence like that (which is probably already in the pipeline), they could support an older version in-house for a tiny, tiny fraction of that cost.

This is the Federal Government we're talking about. Not only is "sensible" a negative thing, but the costs of internal maintenance of any IT project would most likely be multiples of just paying someone else for a proprietary solution. Consider the IRS is "only" paying $12 million for a year's support for its computers; doing that in-house would undoubtedly cost 4-5 times that amount and result in slower service as all requests need to be filed in triplicate with 3 different agencies, and cross-referenced with non-sequential numbers...

Re:see where your taxes go (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735583)

Why the fuck are they even using Microsoft garbage (Apple garbage wouldn't be any better.) to begin with? It is absolutely irresponsible for our government to be using closed-source software.

Re:see where your taxes go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735639)

'cause it's not Year of the LIRSux Desktop

Re:see where your taxes go (5, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 6 months ago | (#46735825)

Their custom distro will be called Red Ink Linux and its mascot will be Tux's evil twin, Tax.

Paid for with the public's money (5, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 6 months ago | (#46735297)

Shouldn't that result in the patches being released for anyone to use?

AHAHAHAHA, sorry. Had to make the joke.

Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe April 8 (5, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46735445)

Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe on April 8, 2014 [futurepower.net] , the date Microsoft calls the "end of life" for Windows XP.

Governments and big corporations are often influenced by people with no technical knowledge. Because of their ignorance, governments have already paid Microsoft probably more than it costs to fix the few security defects found each year. However, the taxpayers of those governments will not be allowed to have the fixes. "End of life" is a way for Microsoft to make more money.

It's like Toyota told all owners of older Toyota vehicles that the vehicles are unsafe now and owners must buy new vehicles or pay millions of dollars to keep them. Except its worse: Software doesn't have mechanical wear.

This article contains tips about how to use any version of Microsoft Windows safely that can be shared with people you want to help. Unnecessary computer maintenance is an ugly way to make money.

Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (2)

Grow Old Timber (1071718) | about 6 months ago | (#46735553)

The 30 day update schedule (same as it has been for years) means the last update on April 8th is good for at least May 8th right? The world will not collapse on April 9th in other words... Windows 7 is not a whole lot better... tired of the endless updates?? Tired of being held hostage to endless update priorities?? Shutting down to install, restarting to finish install etc. You didn't want to do anything with your computer for 30 minutes did you? really?? Install some media files and suddenly there is 90 updates to install. IS it just my machine, or is anybody else experiencing this lack of "productivity?" What Microscoffs touts "everyone has the 'right to be productive'." One day we will be spending more time updating our machines than using them.

Taxpayers pay, but not allowed to have updates. (0)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46735645)

"... the last update on April 8th is good for at least May 8th right?"

Updates already issued will still be available. I read somewhere that updates are still available for Windows 98.

I agree; I also get tired of Microsoft's abuse of its customers. Go to my article [futurepower.net] and search for "Satan". How does it happen that the media allows Microsoft's abuse?

And, you can always use AutoPatcher [autopatcher.net] to put all updates on your computer.

Re:Taxpayers pay, but not allowed to have updates. (0)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 6 months ago | (#46735681)

Supporting XP this long is anything but abuse. They were under no obligation to support it by the time 7 came out (two years past the next release, which is longer than 5 years).

Fixing defects in sloppy coding is NOT "support". (0)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46735851)

Microsoft is "under no obligation to support" Windows XP? Fixing defects in sloppy coding is NOT "support". Almost all security vulnerabilities are caused by sloppy coding.

Under no obligation? Microsoft makes its own rules. Unfortunately, people have come to believe that software companies have no obligations to their customers. Does that seem correct to you?

Re:Fixing defects in sloppy coding is NOT "support (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 6 months ago | (#46736051)

Do you have any idea how many security patches have been issued since the release of Linux Kernel 2.4? Because 2.4 came out right about when XP did.

Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (2, Interesting)

L4m3rthanyou (1015323) | about 6 months ago | (#46735633)

A better analogy would be for Toyota to stop manufacturing parts for very old cars, and most car manufacturers do just that. Aftermarket is more able to fill the void in that case, but it's the same concept. And let's be real, $200 scaled up to a car would be thousands, not millions. Software doesn't have "mechanical" wear, but it has ongoing discovery of security vulnerabilities that require maintenance from the vendor. Delivering that maintenance costs money.

Even the newest systems that shipped with XP are really old now. Hell, I still use one at work (not by choice), and it's a slow piece of shit by today's standards. It's nice that so many have been able to sit on similar rigs for this long, but it's time to move on. That kind of service life in commodity-level PCs was almost unheard of a decade ago. Upgrades are a part of life in the tech business, and I don't think it's fair to bitch this time just because you got a little extra mileage out of the last round.

The masses of now-unsupported XP users reflects badly on the users, not Microsoft. If you missed the boat on a Windows 7 upgrade, it's your own damn fault. On the upside, the ensuing clusterfucks at various large enterprises should teach yet another hard lesson about the perils of under-funding your IT department.

Nice plug, by the way, though it's amusing that "Futurepower" is so willing to cling to the past.

Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (0)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46735711)

"Software ... has ongoing discovery of security vulnerabilities that require maintenance from the vendor."

Almost all vulnerabilities are caused by sloppy coding. Should only users be responsible for Microsoft's extreme sloppiness? Can software vendors profit if their software has defects?

Microsoft has issued 2,722 fixes for Windows XP. Is it still full of defects? See the section History of Windows XP. [futurepower.net]

Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (5, Informative)

L4m3rthanyou (1015323) | about 6 months ago | (#46736123)

All software has defects, it's the nature of the beast. If vendors were liable for every last bug in their software, the commercial software industry would not exist. (I'm sure there are freetards who feel that would be a good thing, but let's not go there.)

It's not like Microsoft deliberately released XP with 2,722 flaws with the intent to fix them gradually over the next ~12.5 years. That's the problem with security vulnerabilities- they need to be discovered. Odds are, there are plenty more in Windows XP that have yet to be found. XP EOL isn't going to make your XP machine explode and kill your family. Before long, though, unpatched XP systems will be rife with exposed vulerabilities. Browser updates will drop support for XP. It will become unsafe to use any XP machine in any capacity that involves internet connectivity. Advising your clients to continue using XP is irresponsible at best.

Really, since you're so convinced that MS is outright evil, I'm surprised you're not trying to push some linux-based XP replacement. Though, for what it's worth, even free operating systems often have an end of support life, absent any profit motive.

Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (1)

mpe (36238) | about 6 months ago | (#46736109)

Software doesn't have "mechanical" wear, but it has ongoing discovery of security vulnerabilities that require maintenance from the vendor. Delivering that maintenance costs money.

Such vulnerabilities can also be introduced by "maintenance". Also they can't be easily related to some metric of usage or time, unlike mechanical "wear".

Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735657)

It is like if you buy a car from a Toyota dealership. It comes with a 3 year warranty, Toyota fix things that break on the car for 3 years. After 3 years they no longer provide free repairs, and you *gasp* must pay to have things fixed and replaced.

Microsoft is not forcing anyone to stop using XP, they just said that they are done providing free repairs.

This situation is similar to what the city I live in does with police cars, firetrucks, field mowers, etc. They sell them off once the warranty is up and buy the new version with a new warranty, aka upgrade to the new version so that they can get the free repairs. Or what many IT departments do, they get rid of equipment once the warranty is done. It is not that the companies are saying it is unsafe or bad to use these cars or laptops, just that they wont be providing anymore free repairs.

Cars: Manufacturers pay for defects. (0)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46735787)

Microsoft ... just said that they are done providing free repairs.

They are not repairs. They are defects caused by sloppy coding.

Do a Google search [google.com] for General Motors recalls. General Motors pays.

Re:Cars: Manufacturers pay for defects. (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 6 months ago | (#46736139)

Yes, GM does... for 10 years generally...

Also keep in mind that GM will pay for SAFETY DEFECTS, not just ANY defects...

That is an important point, no one is going to die because Windows XP Home stops working (and no, you can't use it for your nuclear power station, the EULA specifically forbids its use in any critical situations like that) Windows XP Embedded is for that and has different licencing.

Windows XP is 13 years old this year, I think the timeframe they are required to provide updates has passed, Vista came out 2006, 7 came out 2009, 8 came out 2012... 9 should be out next year...

Really, at some point, this is just insane, do everyone really expect support for Windows 6 when Windows 9 is out? Really? That's nuts...

Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735867)

It's not repairs, it's factory defects.

Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (1)

mpe (36238) | about 6 months ago | (#46736183)

It is like if you buy a car from a Toyota dealership. It comes with a 3 year warranty, Toyota fix things that break on the car for 3 years. After 3 years they no longer provide free repairs, and you *gasp* must pay to have things fixed and replaced.

Plenty of places have laws that require goods to be of "reasonable quality".
In the case of a manufacturing defect these can be applicable for considerably longer than 3 years. (Possibly with seller, rather than maker, having to pay.)
A problem with software is that it can fall outside the scope of such laws. Even if it's sold as a "widget".

Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 6 months ago | (#46735799)

Because of their ignorance, governments have already paid Microsoft probably more than it costs to fix the few security defects found each year.

Correction, it wasn't ignorance that caused Governments and other organisations to end up running late on project with a fixed delivery date at least five years in advance.

It was incompetence.

Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (1)

am 2k (217885) | about 6 months ago | (#46735807)

Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe on April 8, 2014, the date Microsoft calls the "end of life" for Windows XP.

No, it has been unsafe for at least a few years already. Windows XP does not support any encryption that's still considered secure.

Microsoft encryption has been EXTREMELY buggy. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46735945)

"Windows XP does not support any encryption that's still considered secure."

Not only is it not secure, it has been EXTREMELY buggy. People have lost their files to Microsoft's encryption bugs. Also, the U.S. government believes it can force executives to do anything it says, and keep that secret from taxpayers.

It is best to use only GPG [gnupg.org] and TrueCrypt [truecrypt.org] for encryption, or other open source software. Open source software is much more difficult to manipulate.

Re:Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe Apri (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735937)

Support isn't just about security fixes. It is about being able to call to get support for any issue they experience, the average large corporate makes many of these calls every month, some of them are bug fixes, sometimes security sometimes it is simply misconfiguration. The article is probably a little overblown, they would be paying millions in support regardless of version, XP just raises that cost.

Taxpayers now will now pay support + Microsoft. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46736035)

Security fixes are fixes to defects in software. Support is different, I agree. Now the U.S. government will be paying its support organizations and companies as it always has, and Microsoft, also, because only Microsoft has the original code.

Re:Paid for with the public's money (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735687)

AHAHAHAHA, you's a funny guy... now get on your scabby knees and swallow my thick cock. Don't get any Cheetos powder on it either

Microsoft wants more money again (0)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 6 months ago | (#46735315)

Time to pay up and downgrade off XP the best win os ever made.

IRS should how that one feels. A strong sense or irony or karma if you believe in the latter

Re:Microsoft wants more money again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735441)

Windows XP was far from the best windows release that Microsoft ever put out, hell until SP2 came around it was a less secure and more resource intensive Windows 2000 with a Fisher Price theme. Sure Vista sucked, but 7 is actually a solid platform that integrates tightly with the newer (server 2008r2+) deployment tools and allows extremely easy administration of large scale deployments.

Throw in some TEM/BigFix, reporting/monitoring software and a solid application stack and you have an easy to deploy, patch, and administer operating system that runs solid on modern hardware and is much easier to remotely diagnose/fix. Compared to WinXP, which was a great consumer OS but just seemed to require too much dickery for good stable deployment and maintenance. Hell even things like TEM are going the way of the Netware when you look at how WSUS and WDS/AD Deployment have matured, and none of that works well on the XP platform.

Re:Microsoft wants more money again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735495)

Got to agree with the parent AC. XP became a pretty good, solid OS with SP2 -- and it certainly has longevity -- but Windows 7 has been hands-down more solid and stable. In the 4.5 years I have been running it, on 5 PCs, I can count the number of BSODs I've had on one hand -- and those are typically attributable to unstable, unsigned device drivers. It has a few annoyances (and complaints have fallen on deaf ears, as usual), but all-in-all, Win 7 is the best OS Microsoft has released. And I am no MS fanboy (my day job is in Unix administration.)

Re:Microsoft wants more money again (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46735623)

You mean install the really good edition? [deanliou.com]

There is even a flash demo if you want to check it out. Just don't use that combo they made a few years ago which took what they thought was the best parts of Windows CE, Windows ME and Windows NT and created Windows CEMeNT (as hard as a rock and dumber than a brick).

Re:Microsoft wants more money again (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 6 months ago | (#46736069)

If we're making fun of 14 year old operating systems, is it OK if I start on about how screwed up Linux 2.2 and OSX 10.1 are?

Re:Microsoft wants more money again (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46736141)

If your funny bone is that screwed up, sure. But this story is about using an old outdated operating system still being used and having to pay extra for support because it is so old. So please relax before your panties get knotted so tight you have to buy new ones. It's just a joke- a joke about windows the good versions.

Just wing it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735317)

My wife works for a large healthcare organization and they still have thousands of XP desktops/laptops deployed. Answer? Wing it w/o patches/support until they can get Windoze 7 deployed by probably the end of the year....

Windows 7 will no longer be sold at end of 2014. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46735509)

"... until they can get Windoze 7 deployed by probably the end of the year..."

By the end of the year, Microsoft will have already stopped selling Windows 7. [futurepower.net]

Re:Windows 7 will no longer be sold at end of 2014 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735523)

...By the end of the year, Microsoft will have already stopped selling Windows 7. [futurepower.net]

Selling and supporting are two different things.

Microsoft: Windows 7 is already out of date. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46735571)

That's not my point. My point is that Microsoft is already calling Windows 7 an out-of-date product. See my article for more about that: Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe on April 8, 2014, [futurepower.net]

Re:Microsoft: Windows 7 is already out of date. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 months ago | (#46735609)

"Out of date" is meaningess marketing blather. "End of life/support" is what counts, and for that, Windows 7 falls out of extended support in January 2020, nearly six years from now.

Yes, but don't you agree there is abuse? (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46735729)

Microsoft is already planning to do with Windows 7 what it did with Windows XP. Five years and 9 months from now, Windows 7 users should pay more? Again?

Re:Yes, but don't you agree there is abuse? (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 months ago | (#46735741)

If you buy a product, find out the EOL date. If it is too soon for your liking, don't buy it.

U.S. taxpayers pay, but don't get the fixes? (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46735901)

MightyMartian, I want to be a MightyEarthman. It is my opinion that many of Microsoft's practices are abusive. There is a long history: Search for "Satan" in my article [futurepower.net] .

U.S. taxpayers should pay Microsoft to make fixes for the U.S. government, but not get those fixes themselves?

We must recognize and counteract abuse.

Re:U.S. taxpayers pay, but don't get the fixes? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 6 months ago | (#46736129)

Find me another OS vendor that provides support for longer than 13 years. RedHat JUST started doing it; Apple is 1/3 that long.

If "industry leading product support timeline" counts as abusive in your book, then I guess Im not clear what you mean by abusive.

Re:Yes, but don't you agree there is abuse? (5, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 6 months ago | (#46736115)

Thats how RHEL does it-- RHEL 5 (released in 2007) goes out of support in 2020. Apple doesnt provide support nearly that long for OSX-- they EOL'd Snow Leopard (2009) in 2013, so they have approximately 1/3 the product lifespan that MS or RH does.

Based on your other comments, though, you really just have a personal axe to grind against anything Microsoft for no real (that I can discern) reason.

And guess who's footing the bill?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735319)

No hints needed!

Re:And guess who's footing the bill?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735383)

Amerikans?

Audit time (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735391)

So the IRS missed a deadline they knew was coming... I wonder what they would do to any of us in a similar but different situation?

Re:Audit time (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735425)

The IRS was too busy with the Tea Party. Give them a break!

Re:Audit time (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 6 months ago | (#46735533)

Indeed. The IRS has its priorities.

Re:Audit time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735547)

(Score:-1)

Shame on you who modded this. Truth hurts doesn't it bitch!

Discrimination (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735595)

Slashdot discriminates against AC posts. Probably the main reason reddit is better platform for discussion on news (throwaways essentially being AC posts).

I stopped posting here when I realized my posts were all getting deleted/modded down, then I stopped coming back when I realized I couldn't interact on the site!

This new Beta layout is nice, but hopefully they update the backbone of the threaded comment system, as well.

Avoided, Not Missed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735401)

XP Works. Vista, 7, and 8 really don't, and give control of your computer to whoever bribes MS the most. Sticking with XP probably wasn't by a mistake. Even if the CIO claimed it was a mistake, it was probably just to cover his ass about not wanting to upgrade. Before people whine about the cost, imagine the costs associated with migrating?

Re:Avoided, Not Missed (5, Insightful)

Roadstar (909257) | about 6 months ago | (#46735551)

XP Works. Vista, 7, and 8 really don't

Wow, this has got to be one of the most opinionated and/or misinformed things I've read in quite a while. XP was the last consumer Windows that was more or less designed for the "isn't everybody an admin?" mindset. Part of Vista's bad reputation was due to it being the messenger that got shot while delivering the "hey guys, the party's over. We really need to stop assuming every user can write to system locations. This time for real." message to developers and users. Naturally the ultra-paranoid UAC settings didn't help with that. In 7 and 8 the new security model was fine-tuned to actually work instead of bombarding users with multiple confirmations for the same operation and as a result the modern versions of Windows are reasonably secure, especially when compared to the security nightmare that XP was prior to SP2.

Please don't feed the troll. (1)

mmell (832646) | about 6 months ago | (#46735607)

(n/t)

Re:Please don't feed the troll. (1)

Roadstar (909257) | about 6 months ago | (#46735717)

I should've noticed it was an AC. Point taken.

Slashdot Beta misses the user deadline (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735409)

Dice pays to make Slashdot users into the product.

Well, they should have upgraded (1)

ComputersKai (3499237) | about 6 months ago | (#46735439)

Considering that they handle a lot of our money, they probably shouldn't be using an operating system that, while originally may have been impressive, is now probably soon to be riddled with security hole.
I find it funny though, that essentially Microsoft is "fining" the IRS for not upgrading.

Re:Well, they should have upgraded (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46736005)

Considering that they handle a lot of our money, they probably shouldn't be using an operating system that, while originally may have been impressive, is now probably soon to be riddled with security hole.

Ha ha funny! And by "hole" you mean the gaping back door raping the users will get through the collective glory hole that exists between their left and right ass cheeks.

Re:Well, they should have upgraded (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 6 months ago | (#46736145)

Theyre doing what everyone else does with EOL'd products. The only reason this is newsworthy is because the submitter knows that slashdot loves to harp on microsoft on anything, real or imaginary.

The goal is providing service (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735463)

I work at a large public organization that runs multiple large hospitals and a throng of clinics. We have not completed the XP -> 7 transition in time and are paying Microsoft for this extended support. Upgrading tens of thousands of systems with a myriad of specialized software isn't as easy as upgrading your home computer.

We must wait for vendors to upgrade their applications, ensure the updates work, and train users; this delayed us deploying new systems. Since medical applications aren't sexy nor cheap to make (HIPPA compliance being one of the reasons) Linux isn't an option.

Our goal is healthcare, this is the price for ensuring you have the best. Likewise the I.R.S' goal is collecting taxes, this is the price for them to implement that in the best manner they can.

Re:The goal is providing service (0, Troll)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46735545)

"Upgrading tens of thousands of systems with a myriad of specialized software isn't as easy as upgrading your home computer."

Thanks for the realistic statement. ALL of the media articles I have read have been wildly out of touch.

Somehow, maybe because public relations agencies advertise his philanthropy, Bill Gates is now considered a good person. Not so many years ago, Gates was often called "Satan". For quotes, search for "Satan" in my article about Windows XP: Windows XP did not instantly become unsafe on April 8, 2014. [futurepower.net]

Re:The goal is providing service (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735603)

isn't as easy as upgrading your home computer.

Upgrading your home computer isn't easy anymore either, with the abomination of an in-place upgrade process between 7 and 8 or between 8 and 8.1. The upgrade between Vista and 7 was a piece of cake by comparison. These past few years, I fully expect to spend at least 12 hours on any upgrade between versions of Windows.

Tax time. (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | about 6 months ago | (#46735471)

Someone's taxes are going to be looked at with a fine tooth comb.... :D

Sounds like Microsoft is making a pretty penny. (5, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 6 months ago | (#46735483)

Every corporation and agency is independently paying millions and millions to have them continue to patch their computers. I would not wager a guess at how much it costs to continue producing patches, but I cannot imagine it is more than a handful of full time devs.

Re:Sounds like Microsoft is making a pretty penny. (1)

gerddie (173963) | about 6 months ago | (#46735643)

Indeed, and it's a real shame since with this money they could have paid some developers full-time to bring ReactOS [reactos.org] to speed and make it a viable replacement for XP.

Re:Sounds like Microsoft is making a pretty penny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735693)

Why would Microsoft pay anyone to make a crappy clone of Windows and give it away for free?

Here's how the process works: if you want ReactOS to become viable, you pay some developers to work on it. Simple enough for you?

Re:Sounds like Microsoft is making a pretty penny. (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 6 months ago | (#46735765)

I think the parent was referring to the IRS paying to make ReactOS a replacement for Windows and not Microsoft doing it.

Re:Sounds like Microsoft is making a pretty penny. (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 6 months ago | (#46735917)

Every corporation and agency is independently paying millions and millions to have them continue to patch their computers. I would not wager a guess at how much it costs to continue producing patches, but I cannot imagine it is more than a handful of full time devs.

You appear to have overlooked a testing team in your planning! The regression testing on the various h/w, s/w and language variants won't be small either.

Unfortunately on large scale projects, it's not good enough to fix the bug, check if it seems to run okay on the developers own computer and then call it a day.

At this point (1)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | about 6 months ago | (#46735525)

What does it matter?

Stupid to use Windows in the first place (0)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 6 months ago | (#46735535)

Why the hell are they using Windows? Government agencies should not be allowed to use proprietary software in the first place. Let stupid private companies throw themselves into any vendor's lock-in, but the people's data should not be subjected to it, ever!

Re:Stupid to use Windows in the first place (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735597)

Why the hell are they using Windows? Government agencies should not be allowed to use proprietary software in the first place. Let stupid private companies throw themselves into any vendor's lock-in, but the people's data should not be subjected to it, ever!

At one of my previous gigs we tried to get Windows classified as "proprietary" to promote the use of Linux. Since you could buy Windows from multiple sources (Dell, HP, etc.) we were shot down.

To what power is. (1)

just_a_monkey (1004343) | about 6 months ago | (#46736131)

Hoho! I can see it before me. The tech guys entering the meeting, thinking they're so clever. And one of the managers saying that. And a short pause and then the techies going "Eh, what? But... But... That's not right. That's not even wrong. Your words does not... mean... anything..."

And on that day, the tech guys were enlightened.

Re:Stupid to use Windows in the first place (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 6 months ago | (#46736155)

Did you have a real business reason for wanting linux, or are you just pushing an agenda for ideological reasons?

Re:Stupid to use Windows in the first place (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46735767)

There isn't really a viable alternative is why.

Sure linux and OSS is great on your home computer or web-server but it doesn't have the applications like windows does. Sometimes there are comparable applications available but for the most part, off the shelf programs with support is what is needed for most all government agencies larger then a city government.

I'm not saying that cannot change, open software can become just as polished and available but until it does or until the windows software has cross platform support, windows seems to be the only viable options for a working government.

Re:Stupid to use Windows in the first place (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 6 months ago | (#46736021)

Several governments around the world have moved to free software, or are in the process of doing so. If they think free software is viable...

Re:Stupid to use Windows in the first place (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 6 months ago | (#46736061)

I have not heard of any that have completely moved off though. I know a couple are trying and failing at the moment.

Re:Stupid to use Windows in the first place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46736083)

Open sores sucks?

Time for a new CIO in IRS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735537)

Since I believe we (US taxoayers) will end up paying for their negligence, I think we would expect that whoever is their IT leader, responsible for their currency, is replaced or at least made personally liable (as an officer of the company in a publicly held enterprise would be to their shareholders). I know Gov agencies aren't a one-for-one for private enterprise but we need to hold our leaders publicly (and maybe personally) accountable for falling asleep at the wheel and probably costing us more money.

Done on purpose (1)

eclectro (227083) | about 6 months ago | (#46735555)

It's cheaper for the IRS to pay the dime to continue to make patches so that they will be available to countless others who are caught with their pants down, costing far more in the economy and thus ultimately reducing revenue headed to the IRS.

They might actually make a profit off from doing this.

Re:Done on purpose (1)

gerddie (173963) | about 6 months ago | (#46735617)

It's cheaper for the IRS to pay the dime to continue to make patches so that they will be available to countless others who are caught with their pants down, [...]

What makes you think these patches will be made available for these countless others? Microsoft will bill very single entity out there for the very same patches, that's quite certain.

Wow! If this is the way things work (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 6 months ago | (#46735625)

Just think how much money Microsoft would make by just shutting down. This is extortion, you know, extortion by copyright/patent

Re:Wow! If this is the way things work (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 6 months ago | (#46735675)

If they prematurely (i.e. before they said they were going to) EOL their products, yet continue to have any meaningful funds, a lawsuit would almost certainly follow. Not a great way to make money.

Re:Wow! If this is the way things work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735881)

Companies aren't being forced to do anything. They could choose to keep using their somewhat risky unsupported XP computers. Or they could do the sane thing and move their employees off of decade-old hardware. I suppose you have a Model T that you expect Ford to provide free support for too?

About XP . . . (4, Insightful)

mmell (832646) | about 6 months ago | (#46735671)

I have many non-technically gifted friends. I've heard at least two of them state "XP is great - I can make it do whatever I want, better than any other version of Windows." Even among my (non-techie) friends, the prevalent attitude is "Why should I upgrade?" - several have made it clear to me that they don't care if their machines are botted, as long as their games run okay. As non-techies, they insist that they're not at risk for identity theft, often saying "I don't do banking/online shopping/anything involving money or credit", and in general refuse to change their minds (and yes - when I failed, I've tried bringing in other technically aware people to try their hand at convincing them. I only convinced my wife by force, not a very good way to go).

What makes XP so great to them? The ease with which software may be installed and configured. The stability of the platform to play Grand Theft Auto, et. al. What makes XP so terrible to technically knowledgeable people? The ease with which software may be installed and configured. The stability of the platform to provide elevated privileges and get an open connection on port 113 and run Sasser, et. al.

XP limited users cannot install software. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 6 months ago | (#46736105)

"What makes XP so terrible to technically knowledgeable people? The ease with which software may be installed and configured."

I have never seen an XP limited user be able to install software. The problem is that the default user has administrator privileges, as I explain [futurepower.net] in the section One of Microsoft's methods of making money: Provide safety methods only professionals are likely to know. I regard that as intentional abuse by Microsoft.

I am in the wrong godamn business! (1)

jrq (119773) | about 6 months ago | (#46735699)

Damn it!

How many hospitals aren't HIPAA compliant? (1)

dicobalt (1536225) | about 6 months ago | (#46735737)

let the lawsuits commence...

That's two (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735745)

Somebody else already did this. I forget who. But how many millions will they eventually get for keeping up the codebase yet not release patches?

Another reason to try and go open-source (1)

DNX Blandy (666359) | about 6 months ago | (#46735797)

That's just insane! Microsoft have bended them over a table and in a gimp suit and stuck the gobstopper up their arse. We are a medium sized company and we are seriously looking at moving, as much as possible, away from Microsoft and on to open-source. I think my company should pay me half of what it would have cost us in MS licenses ;)

Get the money back. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46735899)

Raise taxes on microsoft.

Oh boy, a deluge of misrepresentation (2)

iamacat (583406) | about 6 months ago | (#46735957)

From the assumption that IRS will pay standard joe off the street rate to Microsoft, to impossibility of running XP without support, not much in this article passes the muster of common sense. Chrome and Thunderbird are still well supported and secure, and that's all IRS employees should need in terms of accessing Internet. Everything else would be in-house applications which can be secured on server side, so it should be Ok even if they still have run IE6.

As for employees that don't follow instructions, there is nothing to keep them from installing freepr0n.exe on Win7.

"Sorry," said the IRS (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 6 months ago | (#46735983)

"way too busy thrashing Tea Party miscreants."

Funding (2)

Jodka (520060) | about 6 months ago | (#46735999)

So how could the IRS fund their Microsoft Custom Support? By seizing tax refunds. [hotair.com]

They'll get all the money back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46736011)

When the go and audit Microsoft. Closely.

Bad math and assumptions (4, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 6 months ago | (#46736059)

The amount mentioned is not what the IRS pays. It is what the article assumes, based on number of PCs running XP and an estimatd average price of $200 per PC. But contracts are negotiated individually. The British government pays less than $10 million for all their computers, which includes about 650,000 PCs running XP in the health service, more than 10 times as many as in the US IRS.

Fantasyland (4, Insightful)

jonnythan (79727) | about 6 months ago | (#46736075)

If the IRS does decide to pay Microsoft for continued support of XP, the chances of it paying the standard $200 per PC rate is effectively zero.

The numbers in the summary are total fantasy.

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