Agencies play the waiting game for desktop standardization

The Office of Management and Budget sent out a note last week to agencies saying its work with the National Institute of Standards and Technology would be finished by April 30 instead of April 20.

That means that agencies and vendors will have to wait a little longer than expected to start testing and developing against a standard Microsoft Windows desktop configuration for the XP and Vista operating systems.

'NIST and Microsoft are working together and will soon establish a means for agencies and information technology providers to obtain software images based on these configurations for test and development processes,' said a note from OMB's Jasmeet Seehra to the CIO Council.

OMB will send out another note with detailed instructions on how to obtain these desktop images as well as recommended language to ensure that new acquisitions include these configurations.

Karen Evans, OMB's administrator for e-government and IT, issued a memo to chief information officers last month setting a series of dates for agencies to meet in implementing a standard desktop configuration. Agencies must submit an implementation plan by May 1 and start putting the procurement language in contracts requiring vendors to adhere to the standard image by June 30.

'Agencies must submit a plan with milestones, not just a statement of intention,' Evans said recently at an event on her memo sponsored by the Sans Institute. 'We are not mandating using Windows, but every agency already is using it, and if you have XP or are considering Vista, you have to do this.'

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