Johnson drops Windows-only spec yet continues shift to PCs

In a Feb. 4 letter to senior staff members, Garman said the written policy specifying a
Microsoft operating system will be removed. The letter also noted, however, that NASA
management has not asked Johnson to halt its migration to a single desktop platform.

In an interview, Garman explained that Johnson wanted "single solutions for common
functions." The single solutions slogan has become Garman's battle cry, and he says
it makes sense.

The training is going well with the new PCs, he said. "We have found that in general,
training from Mac to Windows 95 is easier than training from Windows 3.1 to Windows
95," Garman said. "Windows 95 is very Mac-like."

And despite complaints to the media and Congress by some users, Garman said most users are
embracing the change to the new platform. He said only a few people are causing the
uproar.

"I have never run into such emotion," he said. "But we are dealing with
it."

NASA headquarters also seems to have unofficially approved the PC plan at Johnson. A
packet of information presented by NASA officials at a recent Armed Forces Communications
and Electronics Association listed Johnson as an expert agency for Microsoft and PC
desktop products.

But some Mac users at the center said they won't give up the fight. Several told GCN that
they were behind a recent investigation by the Texas Attorney General's Office into
whether Johnson accepted 5,000 free licenses to run Microsoft software shortly before the
agency started replacing Macs with PCs.


Mac users also continue to argue that surveys used by NASA officials to justify the
move to PCs are not valid. During recent hearings on Capitol Hill, NASA Administrator
Daniel Goldin cited a report showing that Windows 95 users were more productive than Mac
users. Goldin added, however, that if employees justify Macintosh use to perform unique
functions at Johnson, then NASA management would approve new Mac purchases and support.

"I just don't understand it," said one Mac user who is training on a new PC.
"We did everything right. We stood up, risked our jobs and convinced the inspector
general that what was going on was wrong. Then they make one change to the handbook as a
diversion but nothing really changes at all." 


About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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