On August 1st of 2010, we began supporting the Mac operating system as well as the iPad and iPhone.
What does this mean?
Now when an OPM employee buys a computer or a smart phone, they have a choice: they can buy a PC or a Mac, and they can buy a Blackberry or an iPhone. Our internal purchase process has been retooled to allow the user to request these devices. Only a funding code needs to be provided.
Why are we doing this?
For a long time OPM only supported the Windows OS, and Blackberries were our only smart phones. In my first post on the Six “Rules” of IT I said that the additional cost of supporting the Mac OS was nearly zero because it conforms to the same underlying standards as the Windows PC. In addition, we’ve been seeing an increasing number of people who prefer the Mac, or in some cases have never even used a PC. If we can support it and people can be productive with it, why not include the Mac in the environment?
Our decision to support client diversity in this way is a reflection of OPM’s goal to enable the 21st Century workforce, as well as the President’s goal of making the Federal government the model employer for the country. The principle of client diversity can be summed up this way: push standardization toward the core of the architecture, and “standardize on standards”. Allow diversity at the edge provided that the device of choice conforms to or is compatible with the standards you’ve standardized on (like TCP/IP, NTFS, LDAP, etc).
We’re evaluating the Android operating system, which powers devices like the Motorola Droid, the HTC Evo, the Samsung Galaxy and the Cius from Cisco (among others). We hope to be able to support these devices in early 2011. We’re also rolling out wifi in many of our facilities, and all laptops we currently buy have wifi capability that will be enabled once our policies have been updated (also in early 2011).
If you have ideas of products we should evaluate, let us know! Post a comment with your suggestions.