Microsoft Takeover at JSC

**** Disclaimer ****

I, Kevin Kirkhoff can not (and will not) take neither credit nor blame for the content in this document (although I wish I could). I am providing it here as a central point for those interested to explore the findings of people and agencies in and around the JSC community.

Enjoy and be enlightened....

 

 

A Microsoft Takeover

At

NASA/Johnson Space Center
by Anonymous
 
Microsoft Mail, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft NT, Microsoft Access, Microsoft Schedule, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft System Management Server, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Power Point, Microsoft Internet News, Microsoft Visual C++, Microsoft Information
 Internet Server
 
JSC Information Technology Product Implementation Guidelines, Requirements, and Standards
Office of the Chief Information Officer, September 9, 1997

 

Table of Contents
  1. A Microsoft Takeover. Introduction
  2. Where Do You Want to Go Today? (Or, Where Can I Go to Complain?)
  3. Who am I?
  4. The Smoking Gun(s)
  5. The Selection of Windows as the NASA Standard
  6. The Selection of Microsoft Exchange and NT
      The Postmasters Working Group
      The Microsoft Exchange Meeting
      The Selection of Email Products
      The Novell Letter
  7. The Inspector Generals Investigation
      The Initial Complaint
      The Single Solution Study
      Other Studies
      The Follow-up Complaint to HQ
      The Verdict
  8. Congressional Inquiries
      Appropriations Subcommittee Meeting, March 1996
      For The Record, March 1996
      Appropriations Subcommittee Meeting, February 1997
      For The Record February 1997
      Congressman Stockman
      Congressman Lampson
      Congressman Weldon
  9. Selecting Microsoft for ALL of NASA
  10. Chronological list of Letters, Articles, and Events
  11. Contradictions, Quotes, and Other Fun Stuff
  12. Contacts
  13. Web Sites

A Microsoft Takeover

Introduction

 
"We are going to win this [the fight to stop the Windows Standard], not based upon emotions, but based upon studies and data collected at JSC over the years. Data, studies, figures, facts -- nothing more, nothing less."
 
 Anonymous, MacWeek August 26, 1996/Volume 10 Number 33
 

In March of 1996 nine individuals, civil service and contractors,  representing most major organizations at NASA/Johnson Space Center met with the Inspector General of JSC to discuss a report of waste, fraud, and abuse concerning the selection of Microsoft Windows as the solely supported operating system for JSC. This meeting with the IG began a detailed 8 monthinvestigation of the standard, and the systematic replacement of Apple Computers with Windows compatible workstations. It also surfaced a much bigger issue, that being a complete information technology takeover by Microsoft at JSC and possibly for all of NASA.

This report documents how the individuals at JSC brought this issue to to the attention of the Inspector General, how they fought the battle through the media, the web, and their elected officials, and how they lost the battle to bureaucracy, and Microsoft marketing. Since that day in March of 1996, JSC has become a Mecca of Microsoft products, selecting every known Microsoft product as the official standard  (the latest being Microsoft Internet Explorer) and then coercing these standards onto other NASA sites and contractors doing business with NASA.

JSC is truly a case study of a Microsoft Takeover. Someone should take note.
 

[RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS]

 

Where Do You Want to Go Today?

Or,

Where Can I Go to Complain?
 
 "Help desk calls have grown consistently during the past three years from 68,000 calls in 1994 to 142,000 in 1996. The increase of calls began with the deployment of Windows 95 and Office 95...." 
 
JSC Roundup 25 April 1997 

 

Take this html document and mail it to your friends. Ask them to do the same.  Do this NOW! Let them read what happened and make their own decisions.

When contact was made with the Inspector General concerning this situation, nothing more was requested than an unbiased review of the facts, figures, and data. Nothing more. Nothing less. And this is what is requested of all the readers of this document.

If you are convinced the situation at JSC must be examined further, if you believe an investigation is warranted  then contact the following individuals. Urge them to investigate the reasons why NASA/JSC was allowed to adopt a complete Microsoft solution, and the agreements NASA/JSC made with Microsoft, and if these agreements are legal.

If you call, be short, to the point, give your name and your association with this situation, and request a response if necessary. For instance:

"My name is Bill Gates, and I am a United States taxpayer. I am calling to urge Congressman DeLay to investigate the procurement practices of NASA, Johnson Space Center in relation to their biased selection of Microsoft products. This biased selection was detailed in an investigation by the NASA Inspector General on Nov. 7, 1996, yet no action has been taken. I would appreciate a written response from the Congressman with his planned action on this matter. This response can be sent to: Bill Gates, 123 Any street, Houston, Tx 77058"
 
Contacts in Washington. Call toll free 1-888-723-5246. Ask for the appropriate office. Or call the Senate Operator at 202-224-3121 or the House Operator at 202-225-3121. Or visit the web site http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/ to find your elected officials.
 

[RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS]

 

Who Am I?

 

"I am the loudest, the strongest, the most feared individual in the United States. 
I am a taxpayer. 
I own NASA."
 
Anonymous

 

I have friends who work, or use to work, for Apple, Novell, Microsoft, and others doing business with NASA. I have friends who work for NASA, contractors and civil service employees, who stood up and questioned the biased selection of one vendors products over another. I have sat and watched how they fought a fair fight with studies and data and facts, and I watched as the competing vendors, the Inspector General, the United States Congress, and the media were powerless to stop the conversion to a single vendor.

I have seen the military style of "Do as I say, not as I do" type of management imposed upon those who were brave enough to say "This is wrong!". I have read of the threats made to these individuals: "More disturbing, some employees told the OIL they feared retribution and a possible loss of their jobs if they continued to raise questions about the desktop workstation policy.". And I have seen management crumble under the pressure from above and justify their lack of action by saying "I'm just doing my job".

Because of this, I have researched, collected, and condensed the information concerning the Macintosh issue and the Microsoft issue into this document for all other taxpayers to read. I ask nothing more than for you to read. Then ask yourself a question: If you had friends or family working for a company with a superior cost effective product, which was replaced because of a biased selection based upon no facts, figures or data, and that individual lost their job because of it; wouldn't you be mad?

Well, I do and I am.

[RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS]

 

The Smoking Gun(s)

 

"We have just finished development of Windows 95, an operating system that will allow computer users everywhere to get more out of their personal computers. We have been helped by people across the spectrum. From individuals such as John R. Garman, Chief Information Officer at NASA Johnson Space Center, ..........."
 
A letter from the Vice President of Microsoft 1 month before Windows '95 was released.
 
This is a collection of  pieces of information that sends most journalist into a frenzy of writing excitement and makes most taxpayers furious. Most of these tidbits are explained, in full, later in this document.

[RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS]

 

The Selection of Windows as the NASA Standard

 

"Windows 95 is very Mac-like."
 
--Jack Garman. 31 March 1997 Government Computer News
 

Many people believe JSC selected Windows 95 as the NASA standard. This is not quite true. In October 1994, a Change Request (CR) was submitted to the Information Resource Management (IRM) Council and approved which selected Windows 3.1 as the standard for JSC. JSC later changed this to W95 as the desktop operating system for desktop computer in June 1995, a month before W95 was released by Microsoft in August 1995. Both of these standards were not approved by  vote of the IRM Council.

About the time JSC selected Windows 3.1,  JSC had received  beta copies of Win 95 and began beta testing the product onsite. This testing continued throughout the rest of the year and into the most part of 1995. In May of 1995 an early roll-out of the product began which resulted in 300+ government users on site installing and testing W95. The path had, by this time, been set to transition to W95 once the product was released. The infrastructure to default to W95 was in place and on June 28, 1995 Windows 95 was baselined for desktop computing. The next month the NASA CIO was thanked for his participation in a letter by Microsoft, distributed in hundreds of thousands of subscriptions to InfoWorld, July 31st, 1995 issue.

This is also a significant date. June 28, 1995 was a full month BEFORE W95 was released to the public! JSC had standardized on a product before it was released. This in itself is not real important, but considering this was the beginning of a pattern of standardizing on a Microsoft product before it was released and in one case, before it was in beta, should be subject to investigation. (Case in point the selection of Exchange and NT discussed later.)

Also detailed in the IG's report, prior to standardizing on W95, JSC accepted 1000 free Windows 95 licenses. Again, this in itself is not a very big outlay of money, worst case $100,000, but when you have a large government receiving 1000 free licenses of a product, the organization standardizing on the product, and then coercing others to also, again, this begs for investigation. In fact, the Texas Attorney General was notified of this situation in their review of Microsoft practices in Texas. Whether the Attorney General's Office investigated or not is not known, although it was reported in Federal Computer Week, Texas AG probes Microsoft, March 3, 1997.

Within a few months of this selection, NASA and Microsoft signed on November 8, 1995 a Memorandum of Understanding. "The objective of this Agreement is to provide JSC with a mechanism to evaluate, in a test bed environment, unique software under development in order to analyze ways to increase JSC's return on investment in the area of information technology with the use of personal computers." It is obvious JSC had long term plans to test and integrate new Microsoft technologies into the JSC environment.

To this date, no documentation, no studies, no evidence supporting the migration to a single vendor or product has been produced.

The selection of Windows 95, and all other Microsoft products that followed should be the subject of an detailed investigation. This selection, as deemed by the IG's office, was not performed within regulations and was not cost effective. What also should be investigated here at JSC is the detailed agreements between Microsoft and NASA that resulted in selecting Microsoft. Why did a government organization involved in the exploration of space get so heavily involved with beta testing of Microsoft's operating system? Why did JSC receive 1000 free licenses? What in return did Microsoft get? What other agreements did JSC make with Microsoft? Why was a government employee in charge of this migration to Microsoft thanked, publicly, in a letter issued my Microsoft for his participation in rolling out W95? And why has NASA/JSC adopted every Microsoft product as their standard since working with Microsoft?
 

[RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS]

 

The Selection of Microsoft Exchange and NT

 

"Microsoft Exchange is a poor fit for the NASA E-mail environment."
 
The Microsoft Exchange meeting, 8/22/95 Questions, Answers, and Impact Analysis 
Robert Winters, Boeing Information Services.
 

The Postmasters Working Group
The NASA Postmasters Working Group (PWG) was formed in August of 1995 to support the NASA Chief Information Officer (CIO) in defining and implementing a strategic solution to the electronic mail problems within the Agency. According to their charter, "The NASA electronic mail infrastructure has become technologically obsolete, unmanageable, and was not meeting the fundamental, critical requirement of delivering text messages and attached documents quickly and reliably among all employees and across all workstation platforms".

NASA selected the Marshall Space Flight Center  (MSFC) as Lead Center for Communications. Included within this is Lead Center responsibility for Electronic Mail. The Postmasters Working Group was based out of MSFC. This working group immediately held a meeting with Microsoft to review a not yet released product called Microsoft Exchange.

Obviously there was already an interest adopting  Microsoft Exchange and NT. According to one member of the working group, "Exchange and NT was a given." prior to the working group  being formed.  And there was a question about a bias towards Exchange and NT by the NASA CIO as reported in the Minutes for the Postmasters Working Group January 11, 1996:

"Joey Pirani mentioned that Randy had also been involved in POP Server testing. MSFC has tested two different versions using five to six users, looking at manageability and integration. This brought up a question concerning a presumed preference for the NT platform by John Lynn [NASA's CIO who commissioned the working group] which Andy Schain took an action to investigate."

What is amazing is how quickly members of this working group set up and met with Microsoft to discuss Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft NT, as if to quickly stop this activity in it's track or justify it. Within a few weeks of the commissioning of this working group, a meeting on August 22,1995 was held with Microsoft to discuss a number of issues concerning the Exchange and NT. Realize, Exchange was not available even for beta evaluation. It was still in development and all information the working group depended upon  came from the representatives from Microsoft . Also, Exchange, the client software,  required NT as the server. They were bundled.
 

The Microsoft Exchange Meeting
On August 22, 1995, members of PWG met with Microsoft to discuss Microsoft Exchange and NT. Their detailed investigation resulted in  a report titled "The Microsoft Exchange meeting, 8/22/95 Questions, Answers, and Impact Analysis Robert Winters, Boeing Information Services". The summary of this detailed study concluded:

The questions/answers/impacts documented from this meeting supports the above summary, but 2 questions are worth repeating here:

Q19. Does Microsoft Exchange support the MacMIME standards (multipart/appledouble and application/applefile)as specified in RFC 1740?

A. Exchange does not correctly decode these MIME types, nor does it generate them. No support is planned. Microsoft recommends the use of LAN E-mail "connectors" instead.

Impact: This is a critical failing. MacMIME (i.e. multipart/appledouble) is the standards-based solution to how to transmit Macintosh files to other Macintoshes and to non-Macs. This is a long-standing problem which finally has a standards-based solution, and Microsoft does not plan to support it. Instead, Microsoft suggests the use of LAN gateways, which is the "solution" that NASA is in the process of discarding.

Q24. Is Microsoft Exchange based on open standards? Which ones?

A. MS Exchange is proprietary technology. The MAPI API is open in the sense that many vendors had input into its design, and it is now managed by a consortium of vendors.

Impact: MS Exchange is not open in the sense that other vendors will develop servers that do exactly what MS Exchange does. Therefore, if MS Exchange does not ultimately meet specifications or requirements, the entire E-mail infrastructure will have to be changed out to fix the problem.

And yet, JSC selected Microsoft Exchange and NT.
 

The Selection of Email Products
After this meeting, the Postmasters Group began to gather requirements, evaluated technologies, and make recommendations on email standards and products for NASA. The PWG developed a sets of detailed documents, a requirements document and a product evaluation document. The contents were what would be expected, a detailed list of mandatory requirements, a list of features, and an evaluation of the products to verify they met requirements. This isn't rocket science, it was common sense and well done at that.

One particular document created titled "Electronic Messaging Architecture, Standards and Products June, 1996",   contained nothing pertaining to Microsoft Exchange or NT, except, amongst the detailed requirements and evaluation results of different products, there was one single section devoted to Microsoft Exchange and NT:

5.3 Microsoft Exchange Server and Client

Microsoft Exchange Server and its client are also an available email option for the Agency. This Windows NT based system provides an integrated directory and client/server technology. While it does not adhere to the Îclient-centricÌ model, it provides a server based gateway for SMTP message conversion.

And yet no studies were performed, no requirements generated to support the above two line paragraph allowing the selection of Exchange and NT as a possible option. The implication is clear, a unilateral decision (selecting Exchange and NT) without the merit of sound technical and procurement specifications and with undue bias towards a single vendor Microsoft) was made and implemented within NASA, specifically at JSC.

These documents, the Microsoft Meeting, and the decision to move to Exchange and NT was not widely disclosed, and for the most part, was not known to any individuals fighting the conversion to Windows 95. It should have been. It was relevant.
 

The Novell Letter
During the Macintosh Investigation by the IG in 1996, many individuals were reporting a questionable migration to Microsoft Exchange and NT also. Allegations of 200 Novell based servers were being replaced with NT were surfacing in the anonymous FAX sent to the NASA Administrator, in letters to MacWeek, and to the IG. Members of ISD would not discuss this transition or provide documentation justifying the biased selection of a single vendor. According to the FAX written May 6, 1996:

"7) This standard is not just anti-Macintosh, it is pro-Microsoft. Over 200 Novell servers were replaced with
Microsoft NT servers. again, without justification or a study to verify cost savings. Novell has been "thrown
out" of JSC.

Novell's sales representative met with the CIO at JSC in a meeting attended by many of the CIO's staff. This meeting was held in late March of 1996. After the meeting the salesman was taken aside and told by one of the attendees, "He just lied through his teeth", referring to the promises of continued support for Novell at JSC.

And just months later the selection of Exchange an NT was announced in a newsletter to the Engineering Directorate, November 1996:

"NASA as an agency has directed that each center must choose a standard electronic mail software package and that it must be either MS Mail/Exchange or Eudora. JSC has chosen MS Exchange.", and "JSC has selected Microsoft NT Server as the standard for file, print, and application service.  "

Obviously, someone was lying through their teeth.

Novell brought the issue to with the new CIO of NASA, Ron West. Novell was directed by Mr. West to MSFC, specifically the Postmasters Working Group lead by Al Forney, to compete in the NASA wide selection of email and server products. Novell requested the requirements document with no success. Then after they were notified of the selection of NT and Exchange, they requested the studies of the products, based upon the requirements, of the products selected. Novell never received these documents and were later told these documents never existed. These documents supporting the selection of NT and Exchange do not exist, but documents which do not support the selection do!

Obviously, this presented a problem with Novell. Not only was there a possible bias at JSC, but also within NASA as a whole, and in a letter dated August 14, 1996 to Roberta Gross, NASA IG, Novell wrote:

"It is becoming more apparent that a unilateral decision [selecting Exchange and NT] without the merit of sound technical and procurement specifications and with undue bias towards a single vendor [Microsoft] has been made and implemented within NASA."

Novell at this time was not aware of the Microsoft Meeting of Aug. 22, 1995. They should have been. The Microsoft Meeting documents were found on the Postmasters Web page in late 1996 after the investigation was completed. These documents absolutely prove Microsoft Exchange and NT were selected, as stated in the letter of Aug. 14, 1996, "without the merit of sound technical and procurement specifications and with undue bias towards a single vendor"GCN, 10 February 1997 Furthermore, the requirements and analysis documents produced by the Postmaster working group did not support the selection of Microsoft Exchange and NT!

As with the selection of Windows 95, the selection of Exchange and NT should be the subject of a detailed investigation. This biased selection coupled with Windows 95 was the backbone of the migration to a complete Microsoft environment. Again, what should be investigated here at JSC is the detailed agreements between Microsoft and NASA that resulted in selecting Microsoft even though studies, endorsed by the NASA CIO, strongly recommended against it. What other agreements did JSC make with Microsoft prior to selecting Exchange and NT?
 

[RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS]

 

The Inspector General's Investigation

 We are confident that

once this material is digested, the policy will be overturned and corrective action taken."
 
Anonymous, MacWeek August 26, 1996
 
"No corrective actions were determined to be required."
 
Wil Trafton, M/Associate Administrator for Space Flight, Letter to the IG Mar 12, 1997
 

 

The Initial Complaint
The initial complaint to the Inspector General was in early March of 1996. Nine individuals representing all major organizations met with Lance Carrington to discuss, primarily, the Macintosh replacement policy. During this meeting other complaints, most notably the Novell replacement, was also discussed.

Mr. Carrington was presented a number of in-house studies and market studies including the Gartner Report, which clearly showed the Macintosh platform was far superior in maintenance costs. He was also provided a detailed cost/benefit analysis representing one division of the Engineering Directorate, heavily populated with Macs, which clearly showed the superiority of the Macintosh. The information was detailed, and well presented.

Over the next few weeks, signs requesting information from any individual concerned about the PC only standard, were posted on the walls of building 16, the Engineering Directorate. It was later learned these fliers were posted by the IG's office.
 

The Single Solution Study
In late March, Mr. Carrington met with the CIO and his staff to discuss the issue. Prior to the meeting the CIO was asked to bring the supporting documentation that justified the PC only standard. The CIO brought with him a study titled "Single Solutions for a Given Function". The IG reviewed this high level, conceptual study, void of details, studies, or other information required to be considered a "cost/benefit analyses". After the presentation was completed, the IG requested, once again, the study performed "BEFORE" the PC only standard was selected. The CIO was not able to comply, since no study was ever performed

This presentation, the "Single Solution",  was created in March of 1996. Prior to it's release, discussions were held with Donna Bartoe of the Legal Office at JSC concerning the Macintosh situation, questioning whether the policy was legal.  The Legal Office had been receiving a constant flow of complaints. The Legal Office, as did the Inspector General, learned  the CIO's office had not performed any analysis of the problem or of the solution they proposed. Because of this they requested some type of documentation from the CIO's office in order to fend off the many calls they were receiving from vendors and individuals. The facts remain, the CIO did not commission any studies prior to the selection of the Microsoft standard, the "Single Solution" presentation was not a cost/benefit analysis, and the data contained within this presentation did not support moving to a Microsoft solution..

The "Single Solutions for a Given Function" would later become the foundation for the Windows standard, and would be presented to members of the Engineering Directorate, members of NASA HQ and to the IG.
 

The Other Studies
During the investigation, many different reports were provided to the IG's. A detailed study by Engineering based upon statistics, trouble reports, costs of purchases, software requirements, and requirements for their work showed how cost effective the Mac was in performing the tasks required. A study by Mission Operations also should the cost effectiveness of upgrading the Macintosh instead of buying new equipment. And the study within the Life Science Directorate, which was 95+% Macintosh showed a $2.9Million impact to migrate to a PC environment.

These studies included information, as the CIO of NASA demanded: "Analyses (e.g. cost-benefit studies) used in supporting the evaluation of alternatives, must take into consideration the full range of life-cycle support costs, comply with Agency standards, and consider end-users requirements and applications"

Other individuals from ISD provided details of the trouble reports of JSC showing the PC's were the source of most of the problems, and the Mac being nearly problem free. This data was from the CIO's own database!

And of special importance was the Gartner Report based upon 5 years of empirical data, that the Macintosh platform was by far the most cost effective platform. Of course the CIO gave little weight to these studies, yet could not, and has not been able to provide a study which supports the Microsoft standard.

Of course if the bigger picture was investigated, that is the Microsoft takeover, the other documents such as the Microsoft Meeting would have also been presented.

Needless to say, the studies were stacked against the Microsoft standard, and yet JSC is now a Microsoft site.
 

The Follow-up Complaint to HQ
The IG at JSC concluded that although the selection of a single vendor may not be good management practices, there was nothing he could deem "illegal" and therefore his investigation would not proceed. But.......he did refer the matter to NASA OIL Inspections and Assessments. From the OIL web page "The office of the Assistant Inspector General for Inspections and Assessments (AIGIA) provides independent and objective inspections and assessments of the effectiveness, efficiency, and economy of the programs and operations at NASA." It was this recommendation that opened case number G-96-017, the Johnson Space Center Information Technology Equipment Replacement.

During the investigation many articles were written documenting the investigation. MacWeek, Federal Computer Week, Government Computer News, Texas Monthly, and most notable, Channel 2 News of Houston Tx, Target Whistle blower. Channel 2 broke the news in August of 1996. At that time, since the issue was an ongoing investigation, NASA officials refused to comment on the allegations, that is until they saw the 6:00 news.

The next day, lo and behold, the CIO and the head of the Engineering Directorate was on the 6:00 news attempting to, and weakly at that, justify their position. The difference between the two programs were apparent. The first day documented studies, one showing a $2.9 million dollar impact was presented. The second day, the CIO had nothing but "We are confident we are going to save money.". That was it. Nothing on paper. As the IG was soon to learn, no studies, no documents, no supporting evidence.

The head of Engineering, one of 3 major organizations severely impacted by this decision also stated "If any engineer has a need for a Macintosh, they need to bring this to my attention." [sic] or is that [sick]? This was translated into "Bring me your justification for a Mac, and let's see when you get another promotion or award."

Channel 2 returned in November with a sizzling report on the contents of the Inspector Generals report. On the day it was released, NASA and Public Affairs Office had an emergency meeting to discuss ways to handle the media and later that day, it was on the 6:00 news.

Comically, the JSC Administrator was having a meeting with members of the Engineering Directorate staff late that evening. He stepped out of the room for a moment just before the 6:00 news began. While the staff waited for his return they switched on the TV to watch the news, not knowing of "The BIG Story", the feature story of Channel 2 News was to be presented.

Also during this investigation, members of Congress were asked to request a copy of the report from the IG's office.
This report was one of the most widely distributed reports in the history of the Inspector Generals Office. A copy was sent to:

Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of each of the following Congressional Committees and
Subcommittees:

Senate Committee on Appropriations
Senate Subcommittee on VA-HUD-Independent Agencies
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space
Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs
House Committee on Appropriations
House Subcommittee on VA-HUD-Independent Agencies
House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight
House Subcommittee on National Security, International Affairs, and Criminal Justice
House Committee on Science
House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics

Non-NASA Federal Organizations and Individuals:

Honorable Dianne Feinstein, U.S. Senate
Honorable Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senate
Honorable Charles E. Grassley, U.S. Senate
Honorable Charles S. Robb, U.S. Senate
Honorable Connie Mack, U.S. Senate
Honorable Steve Stockman, U.S. House of Representatives
Honorable Bill Baker, U.S. House of Representatives
Honorable James A. Leach, U.S. House of Representatives
Honorable Tom DeLay, U.S. House of Representatives
Honorable Norman Sisisky, U.S. House of Representatives
Honorable Eliot L. Engel, U.S. House of Representatives
Honorable Paul McHale, U.S. House of Representatives
 

The Verdict
 
The verdict was in November of 1997, about 8 months after the first visit to the IG's office. The summary was exactly what we had expected:

We concluded that: (1) the policy decision and its implementation was not in conformance with the stated NASA CIO policies, (2) the policy decision was not cost effective and no cost/benefit or life-cycle cost analyses were conducted to support the replacement acquisitions, (3) JSC did not conduct information technology (IT) acquisitions with regard to users' requirements, and (4) a potential exists for a negative impact on space flight mission and safety.

And yet, JSC is now a Microsoft site.

The results of the IG's report were conclusive. There was no misunderstanding the 8 months of investigation work performed by the individuals in charge. In fact as if knowing what the outcome was going to be, Ron West the CIO of NASA wrote in a l etter dated June 17, 1996, just a few months before the IG's report was published: "Regarding our interoperability standards strategy, the Agency consciously decided that it was in our best interest not to establish a single desktop computer operating system standard." and he continued to give the benefit of the doubt to the JSC CIO "Therefore, Centers may implement subordinate IT standards and compatible IT architecture's to satisfy these requirements, so long as they are cost effective, efficient, consistent with good management practices, and comply with Agency IT standards and Federal laws and regulations."

And yet, JSC is now a Microsoft site.

Even with this letter and the IG's report showing conclusively the migration to Microsoft was NOT cost effective, efficient, consistent with good management practices, and DID NOT comply with Agency IT standards and Federal laws and regulations, the migration continued.

In in a letter to the CIO dated Jan 9 1997, The Associate Administrator, Wil Trafton, wrote: "In our discussion with Mr. Goldin and the NASA Chief Information Officer (CIO), we agreed that paragraph 5.2.6 of the JSC Information Technology Handbook, dated March 1995, regarding the Windows specification as the standard desktop operating system is not needed to reduce the number of products in JSC's technology base. Therefore, JSC is hereby directed to remove this policy. "

And yet, JSC is now a Microsoft site.

But, the CIO continues to defy the order in a Jan 20, 1997 article by Federal Computer Week stated "In the long run, I don't see any change to our plans."  and in a senior staff note of Feb. 4, 1997 he states   "JSC has not been asked to stop its migration to single solutions."

And later when once again pressed by Congressional Inquiries by Congress, it is reported in Federal Computer Week June 9, 1997: "Garman said he would remove the written policy detailing the center's migration to Windows 95 but added that he still planned to implement the move to the Microsoft operating system." In other words, change the documents to reflect what he has already selected. This resulted in the latest set of standards and requirements which was written AFTER the products were selected, and AFTER Congress told them to do it!

And in a letter dated Mar 12, 1997 NASA HQ's puts an end to the investigation by stating: "No further corrective actions are required."

JSC is now a Microsoft site.
 

[RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS]

 

Congressional Inquiries

 

Lie: Something meant to deceive or give a wrong impression.
Webster's II Dictionary
 
"Are you aware of any studies that show that this move [selecting windows as a standard] is beneficial and will save money?."
 
Congressman Tom DeLay, 
Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations 
House of Representatives 105th Congress, First Session, NASA March, 1996

 

Appropriations Subcommittee Meeting, March 1996
 
Help from elected officials began in early 1996. Engineers from JSC met with Congressman DeLay's (R-Tx) staff and discussed the issues with Lori Isnor in Washington DC. Ms. Isnor reviewed the situation which resulted in a set of questions asked by DeLay to the NASA Administrator during an Appropriations Subcommittee meeting in March of 1996. These questions were answered by the CIO's office in JSC and were riddled with inconsistencies and misleading information. The most notable question and answer was:

"QUESTION 11:

Are you aware of any studies that show that this move is beneficial and will save money?

ANSWER 11:

JSC has researched several industry studies regarding life-cycle costs and productivity for desktop computer systems. A Gartner Group report, published August 24, 1995, projects that the 5-year cost of ownership for a Macintosh system and a Window 95 system are almost the same. In addition, a report by the International Data Corporation concluded that Windows95 users were more productive than Macintosh users. Studies almost always have an element of bias or contain critical assumptions not applicable to a particular environment. Because the latest industry studies do not show a major differentiation between Windows95 and Macintosh systems, JSC has used other criteria to establish Microsoft Windows (Windows95 or NT Workstation) as the standard for desktop computing. The criteria includes:...."

What was obvious from those close to the situation was the fact that the August 24, 1995 study was released 8 months AFTER the PC standard was put into place! Also, these projections, were based upon Microsoft's expected cost of ownership, not based upon empirical data. This was because Windows 95 was released on the same month as the report!

And, if this wasn't misleading enough, the answer provided by the CIO claims the difference between cost of ownership was "almost the same". That difference was documented as $735. "Based upon the acquisition of 3500 workstations, the Macintosh platform would have been  $2,572,500 cheaper over a 5-year period when compared to acquiring 3,500 comparable Windows 95 workstations." [See Life Cycle Costs in the IG Report] And yet this was provided to a United States Congressman as "almost the same".

The correct answer to the Congressman's question was a very simple "No, there are no known studies, even to this day, that shows a cost savings of a complete PC environment over a Macintosh environment. Furthermore, as stated in the IG's report, no cost/benefit analysis was performed prior to selecting the PC only standard."

 

For The Record March 1996
 
Below the is questions and answers, obtained from Congressman DeLay, which were asked in March of 1996. The following is a verbatim copy of "For The Record" of the Appropriations Subcommittee Meeting held in ~ March 1996. Included also is a set of responses to the answers. These responses are identified by [RESPONSE:].
 

JSC-COMPUTER POLICY

There's an effort at JSC to standardize P.C.s and a lot of Macintosh users are very upset. This effort is being spearheaded by the Chief Information Officer and I'm told it's moving very quickly. Apparently there are a number of studies that show that this effort will cost millions but there are no studies to show the benefits or support for the move.

QUESTION 11:

Are you aware of any studies that show that this move is beneficial and will save money?

ANSWER 11:

JSC has researched several industry studies regarding life-cycle costs and productivity for desktop computer systems. A Gartner Group report, published August 24, 1995, projects that the 5-year cost of ownership for a Macintosh system and a Window 95 system are almost the same. In addition, a report by the International Data Corporation concluded that Windows95 users were more productive than Macintosh users. Studies almost always have an element of bias or contain critical assumptions not applicable to a particular environment. Because the latest industry studies do not show a major differentiation between Windows95 and Macintosh systems, JSC has used other criteria to establish Microsoft Windows (Windows95 or NT Workstation) as the standard for desktop computing. The criteria includes:

[RESPONSE:]The PC only standard was submitted by a Change Request in October of 1994. The Standard was put into place effective Jan 1, 1995. The studies cited above did not exist until 8 months AFTER the standard was in place. Also notice the standard was based upon Windows 3.1, not Windows 95. The Gartner Report cited above, clearly showed, as did the IG's report that selection of the Macintosh platform was ~ $2.5M less expensive than a Windows platform. The IDC report cited above, had nothing to do with life-cycle cost. In fact, this particular study was highly criticized by the industry as flawed.

increasing the productivity of teams by eliminating conversion, increasing interoperability and increasing functionality

whenever possible, selecting products that are commercial off-the-shelf

using what is already the dominant system at JSC

using an industry "standard"

reducing technological obsolescence

[RESPONSE:]There was no interoperability issues prior to this standard. The dominant system in Engineering(70%), Life Sciences (~95%), Space Station (75%) was the Macintosh. Furthermore, since no study was ever performed, there is no indication on how many PCs were capable of running the latest software packages. Most of the aging Macintosh platforms (>5 years old) on the other hand, were capable of the latest software.

JSC's standard for desktop computing does not eliminate the use of Macintosh systems at the Center (not the platform - i.e., by using additional software or hardware, Windows can be run on the Macintosh or Unix system). Also, the choice of Windows as the standard operating system (O/S) has expanded the possible types of hardware platforms (e.g. DEC Alpha, Intel, AMD, PowerPC) that can be used. When personnel justify the use of Macintosh systems to perform unique functions, they are approved for use.

[RESPONSE:]JSC personnel must endure a series of "grilling" by the CIO's staff as well as the CIO himself in order to procure a Macintosh platform. Any Microsoft system or software does not have to endure this process.

QUESTION 12:

If not, do you agree that a study ought to be done before this project moves further?

ANSWER 12:

Based on the latest industry studies and JSC's own criteria, no further study is needed. JSC's standards have been established through a broad, collaborative process which carefully considered the needs and productivity of the individuals of the Center as a whole. All major organizations at JSC are represented on an Information Resources Management Steering Council, which reviews all major information technology issues. The Council reviewed and approved the standardization policy.

[RESPONSE:]The IRM Council did not recommend this standard. They were not given the opportunity to recommend either or both platforms. The Change Request in Oct. 1994 identified the PC as the standard. This CR came from the CIO's office. There is no record of voting on this Change Request in the minutes of the IRM Council Meetings. These minutes were purchased via the Freedom Of Information Act. Furthermore some members of the IRM Council especially those in Engineering did not raise serious questions concerning this standard even though their organizations were based upon the Macintosh. They simply failed to represent their organization in their official jobs.

The process JSC is using to implement the standard for desktop computing is of evolving or transitioning the technology as the systems become obsolete. As a Macintosh that is used for desktop computing becomes obsolete, it will be replaced with a standard system. Since desktop computing is only one of many functions that information technology supports, if a Macintosh or any other system is identified as a standard (using the same criteria and process) for another function JSC will procure and support it.

QUESTION 13:

Another concern is that proper procurement rules aren't being followed. Clearly at  a time when NASA budgets are shrinking and talked of fair and open competition heard often, the questions surrounding this effort need to be examined.

Have the appropriate procurement rules been followed in this effort?

ANSWER 13:

Acquisitions of personal computer workstations at the Johnson Space Center have been conducted in strict adherence with applicable procurement regulations.

[RESPONSE:]The process, as reported by the IG, did not follow specific rules and regulations set forth by the NASA CIO, Ron West. Also, the report clearly states the users requirement were NEVER identified or taken into consideration. Also, other vendors have complained to NASA management alleging unfair procurement practices at JSC, resulting in another investigation by the IG at JSC. Copy of the letter from Novell dated Aug. 14, 1996 provided.

JSC has an existing contract for acquiring Apple Macintosh workstations on an indefinite delivery - indefinite quantity basis. This contract was awarded June 18 1995, to the low, responsive bidder in a specific make and model competition which 13 bids were received. the contract has a 1 year period of performance through June 18, 1996. As required by procurement regulations, applicable at the time the solicitation was issued, this specific make and model acquisition was conducted under a specific delegation of procurement authority from the General Services Administration. also, a justification to conduct a specific make and model acquisition was approved by the Deputy Director of JSC.

The most recent solicitation of non-Macintosh workstations to be acquired by was issued March 14, 1996. This solicitation followed the prescribed policies of acquisition of commercial items contained in Title VI of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994. The solicitation was issued as a full and open competition, not limited to a specific make and model and resulted in the receipt of 41 competitive proposals from industry. the pending award, pursuant to this solicitation, will be made on the best value basis as outline in clause 52.211-2 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. Acquisition in this manner provides the benefits of streamlined acquisition principles (timely delivery to users and purchase process that reflect the current marketplace) along with the economics of scale associated with large quantity purchasing.

In the future, whatever decisions are made regarding PC or Macintosh use, JSC will continue to fully comply with all procurement rules, statues, regulations, etc.
 
 

Appropriations Subcommittee Meeting, February, 1997
One Year Later
Eight months after Congressman DeLay posed the questions to the CIO of JSC, the IG's report confirmed the complaints made to the Congressman. No cost benefit analysis was performed, and "there is no evidence that the JSC CIO standardization policy is cost effective. " Obviously, the answers provided in March of 1996, were not completely factual, and once Congressman DeLay was made aware of the inaccuracies and the findings of the IG, the Congressman again questioned the Administrator with another series of questions,  during the February, 1997 Appropriation Subcommittee meeting:

Question 4:

"In responding to these questions[the questions of the March 1996 Meeting], NASA dismissed all concerns."

"However, an IG investigation into this matter, completed last November, found that neither a cost/benefit nor a life-cycle cost analysis had been completed before JSC awarded computer contracts. It also found that
less costly alternatives proposed by other JSC directorates went ignored as were any consideration of user
requirements. "

In short, what Congressman DeLay should have said was "You lied last year!".

 

For The Record February 26, 1997
 
The following is from page 270 of the "Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations House of Representatives 105th Congress, First Session, NASA". During this meeting Congressman Tom Delay submitted questions to Dan Goldin concerning the Macintosh controversy at JSC. What follows are the questions - plus the responses provided by Dan Goldin.

Comments on the answers are provided in [brackets]

Response to written questions submitted by Cong. Delay resulting from the February 26, 1997, hearing

JSC Computers:

QUESTION 4:

Last year, several JSC employees expressed concerns to my office regarding a plan to replace the center's
Macintosh workstations with Pcs that run Microsoft's Windows 95. I submitted several questions for the
record which raised their concerns that the effort would be costly with little or no benefit and that proper
procurement rules weren't being followed in the acquisitions of Pcs. In responding to these questions, NASA
dismissed all concerns.

However, an IG investigation into this matter, completed last November, found that neither a cost/benefit nor
a life-cycle cost analysis had been completed before JSC awarded computer contracts. It also found that
less costly alternatives proposed by other JSC directorates went ignored as were any consideration of user
requirements. The report even found that this computer replacement policy could have a negative impact on
space flight mission and safety.

It's my understanding that the Associate Administrator for flight safety, Wil Trafton, has issued a memo to
JSC director George Abbey which stated, "JSC is hereby directed to remove this policy." Is this correct"

ANSWER 4:

Yes.

QUESTION 5:

The Chief Information Officer (CIO) who developed this policy was quoted in a January issue of Federal
Computer Week as stating, "In the long run, I don't see any change to our plans" It sounds as it the CIO
doesn't intend to abide by the direction in the Trafton memo.

What actions do you plan to take to ensure that this replacement policy and standard are stopped as
directed?

ANSWER 5:

The CIO for the Office of Space Flight went to JSC in February 1997, to ensure that Mr. Trafton's directive
was implemented. JSC has implemented the directive, therefore, no other actions are planned.

     [Yes he did come down to JSC and had a closed door session with selected members of the
     CIO's staff and he made sure everyone understood that the "policy" was to be changed, but not
     the "standard". in other words, it was a paper change and nothing else. Congressman Delay
     should look closely at this answer. the "policy" has been removed, but the "standard" is PC only,
     and will continue to be PC only. according to a memo dated February 4, 1997 from the CIO to
     Senior Staff, the cio states "JSC HAS NOT BEEN ASKED TO STOP ITS MIGRATION TO
     SINGLE SOLUTIONS"]

QUESTION 6:

Do you know if Macintosh platforms have been replaced since the Trafton memo was received?

ANSWER 6:

Yes

QUESTION 7:

How many Macintoshes have been replaced already?

ANSWER 7:

870 obsolete Macintosh computers have been replaced to date.

     [Wrong answer! 870 macs have been "excessed", but thousands have been "replaced" by
     either excessing or "waterfalling". Thousands of macs have been replaced with pcs. In
     Engineering, prior to the pc only standard we had over 700 macs! Life Science directorate had
     about 900+. They have all been replaced with pcs.]

QUESTION 8:

How much has been spent replacing platforms?

ANSWER 8:

$1,168,400.00. These costs reflect "planned" expenditures as part of the Johnson Space Center's
information's technology plan.

     [And how much has it cost us in additional support for the PCs?]
 

 

Congressman Stockman
 
Although Congressman Stockman did not take immediate action on the situation, his staff was kept informed of the situation and engineers were promised  swift and decisive action, if he was re-elected in the 1996 election. Congressman Stockman lost to Nick Lampson that year.
 

Congressman Lampson
 
Congressman Lampson's staff was briefed by Stockman's staff once an advisory to NASA, Abbey Hockberg, was selected. With Ms. Hockberg, Congressman Lampson expressed his concerns during a one on one meeting with the NASA Administrator. It is said Mr. Goldin was visibly angered by the questioning of the Congressman.

Congressman Lampson after further investigation into the matter wrote a letter dated May 22, 1997 stating "We are writing to express our concern about John Space Center's Information Technology Office's decision to standardize one vendor's operating system which appears to be in violation of your legal obligation to ensure fair and open competition in your procurement practices." Furthermore, with what has become a re-occurring theme "In addition, the Inspector General found that the policy decision was not cost effective and no cost/benefit analyses were conducted to support the replacement acquisitions."

This letter had support from a number of other Congressman including Tom DeLay, Zoe Lofgren, and Dana Rohrabacher and was later answered by Mr. Goldin in a letter dated July 2, 1997:  "At my request, NASA's Office of Space Flight (OSF) reviewed the JSC cost-benefit and life-cycle analysis and found JSC processes and accompanying documentation to be adequate." The key to this response is the time frame. Yes, once the PC only standard was firmly into place, as it was in July 1997, the processes and documentation was adequate and guaranteed the existence of the standard since a biased selection had already been made. But, as the IG's report stated, the processes and documentation that supported moving to the PC only standard initially, did not and does not exist today!
 

Congressman Weldon
Prior to Congressman Lampson's letter to the Administrator, Congressman Weldon of Florida wrote concerning the same issue. It was rumored  the Microsoft standard was now being forced upon other NASA sites. This letter confirmed that rumor. "My primary concern is that JSC's actions will set a precedent for computer purchases at other field centers." and in concert with Congressman Lampson and DeLay "It appears that no cost/benefit analysis or employee assessment was done before this decision was made."

After this letter was posted on the web, it was confirmed through Apple sources that, indeed, KSC had adopted a Microsoft standard.

[RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS]

 

Selecting Microsoft for ALL of NASA

 

"My primary concern is that JSC's actions will set a precedent for computer purchases at other field centers."
 
Congressman Dave Weldon, (Florida) to NASA Administrator, Dan Goldin June 27, 1997
 
If we used Exchange servers at every Center, would it make sense to have a single site for all of NASA?
 
Open question to Microsoft by Richard Weller, a member of the CIO's Microsoft team, Jan 1996
 
The conversion to Microsoft was centered at JSC, but now there are indications the migration will overtake all of NASA. Other contractors have begun their migration, Lockheed Martin, the USA contractor, and Kennedy Space Center. All in an effort to become "interoperable" with JSC.

Lockheed Martin as a whole is dumping the Macintosh platform for wintel. The fight, documented on their web site, although admirable, is quite naive, much like JSC's fight. Fighting this fight with facts, figures, and data just will not work.

The contractor for Shuttle Operations, once with a large Macintosh population, recently had a garage sale of their Mac inventory. And in a presentation called "USA/IT Strategic Directions" Sept. 1996 given to Jack Garman at an Information Resource Council meeting, it is clear that Microsoft is the standard for USA. Windows 95, Exchange, Access, etc. And on December 2, 1997 in a presentation titled "Pathfinder: Directory Synchronization between JSC and Local USA Exchange System" it is clear they are now creating a super directory, linking USA's exchange with JSC's. According to the presentation, this is a pilot, with USA  not being the last site to do this "These ground rules would apply to any site wishing to implement directory synchronization with JSC."

Other sites around NASA have watched from a distance the Microsoft takeover at JSC, but on June 27, 1997, the attack continues at Kennedy Space Center with the edict to standaardize on Windows '95. In a letter written by the local Congressman, Dave Weldon to the NASA Administrator, "I am also concerned about how the decision to make Windows 95 the standard operating system at JSC was reached. It appears that no cost/benefit analysis or employee assessment was done before this decision was made."

And on December 15, 1997, an email from the JSC CIO's office states the direction of NASA "as of yesterday, HQ
has cut off all Appletalk zones". Thus the end of Appletalk at NASA.

In January of 1996, Richard Weller, a member of the CIO's Microsoft team attended the Microsoft Exchange Deployment Conference. The plans for distributing and spreading the Microsoft word to all of NASA is apparent by his open questions to Microsoft documented in his trip report:

6. If we used Exchange servers at every Center, would it make sense to have a single site for all of NASA?

5. If we wanted to propose to the Agency that MS Exchange server be the standard server for the Eudora Pro users (since POP3 is supported in v4.5 and IMAP4 is coming), what would be the issues that the Eudora Pro implementers would raise?  Would there be any "enhanced" capabilities between Eudora Pro and Exchange users by having such a standard?  Would there be client licensing issues?
 

[RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS]

 

Chronological List of Letters, Articles, and Events

 

 "There's a tremendous amount of noise [and] emotion on the subject." 
 
--Jack Garman, 2 Dec 1996 Federal Computer Week concerning the results of the IG's report. 
 
 
DATE EVENT
October 1994 The Change Request selecting Windows 3.1 as JSC standard is issued
October 1994 Received first true Beta copy of Win 95. Began onsite beta testing
December 1994 Expansion of on-site testing of Win 95
January 1, 1995 The date the standard went into effect.
March 1995 CIO Established JSC Win95 working group
May 1995 JSC (led by ISD) formally established "early roll-out project
June 28, 1995  Baseline Windows 95 environment for desktop computing
July 1995 300+ Users on Win 95 at JSC 
July 21, 1995  Letter from Microsoft distributed in InfoWorld Magazine thanking the JSC CIO for his role in delivering Windows '95
August 1995 Official Win 95 Release
August 4, 1995 Study by MOD concerning cost effectiveness of the Macintosh
August 1995 Postmasters Working Group commissioned
August 1995 Exchange and NT "were a given" and selected by JSC
August 22, 1995  "The Microsoft Exchange meeting, 8/22/95: Questions, Answers, and Impact Analysis" written by the Postmasters Working Group created by Ron West, NASA CIO.  Highlights MAJOR incompatibilities with Microsoft Exchange and NASA standards
September 29, 1995  JSC Official Announcement of the appointment of the CIO's wife to the Ombudsman position
November 8, 1995 MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN NASA JOHNSON SPACE CENTER AND MICROSOFT CORPORATION signed.
Jan 1, 1996 Letter from the CIO to all NASA employees stating the standard will be enforced
February 12, 1996  MacWeek, Henry Norr Users: 'Houston, we have a problem', NASA wing jettisons Macs: Move fuels staff discontent
April 1, 1996 Government Computer News, William Jackson
May 6, 1996  Anonymous FAX to the NASA administrator, Dan Goldin, from a Concerned Taxpayer at JSC requesting his help on the situation at JSC
Summer 1996 SP/Flight Crew Support Division PC Standards Migration Study. Impact of over $2.9 Million to convert to PCs
June 17, 1996 Lett er from the NASA CIO to all NASA Center CIO's reminding them of their fiduciary responsibilities and open and fair competition specifically aimed at the issue at JSC
June 1996 "Electronic Messaging Architecture, Standards and Products" published by the Postmasters Working Group
July 29, 1996  Government Computer News NASA IG heeds call of angry Mac users 
August 1, 1996 Channel 2 "Target Whistleblower" airs on a local Houston station identifying the $2.9 Million impact to the PC conversion. Nasals CIO refuses to comment.
August 2, 1996 Channel 2 airs a rebuttal by the NASA CIO
August 14, 1996  The Novell Letter to the Inspector General questioning the selection of NT and Exchange
August 23, 1996  MacWeek Insider Stephen Howard It's diversity, stupid
August 26, 1996  By Henry Norr, MacWeek. NASA users take PC fight to airwaves, Capitol Hill
Sept. 1996 In a presentation called "USA/IT Strategic Directions" Sept. 1996 given to Jack Garman at an Information Resource Council meeting, it is clear that Microsoft is the standard for USA. Windows 95, Exchange, Access, etc.
November 7, 1996 The IG Report is published.
November 8, 1996 Channel 2 airs another report on the IG's findings.
November 15,1996  By Henry Norr, at MacWeek. Anti-Mac policy blasted in NASA inspection report
December 2,1996  Report blasts Mac replacement  Heather Harreld, Federal Computer Week
December 16, 1996  Lisa Picarille, Computerworld Magazine Outlook bleak for NASA's Macs as safety concerns are rejected at Johnson 
December 23, 1997 Don't' Take Our Macs, Computer World
Jan 9, 1997  Letter from Wil Trafton to JSC concerning the results of the IG's report
January 1997  Heather Harreld, Federal Computer Week Buying practices may merit further investigation
February 1997  Texas Monthly Johnson Space Center's Windows-only policy doesn't compute
February 10,1997  Government Computer News HQ ruling fails to squelch Mac feud
February 27, 1997 Dan Goldin answers questions by Congressman Delay during an appropriations meeting.
March 3, 1997 Texas AG probes Microsoft, Heather Harreld, Federal Computer Week
March 12, 1997 The response from NASA HQ by Wil Trafton closing the IG's investigation
March 31,1997  Government Computer News Johnson drops Windows-only spec yet continues shift to PCs
March 31, 1997 Letter to GCN concerning the Microsoft Takeover at JSC.
April 25,1997  JSC Roundup Calls to JSC help desk increase after Windows 95 Deployed. 
May 14, 1997 Notes from folks@jsc.nasa.gov about the realities of the Microsoft takeover.
May 22, 1997 Letter from Congressman Lampkin to the NASA administrator, Dan Goldin, with support from 8 other Congressmen, questioning the selection of Microsoft.
31 May 1997 JSC Mac activists urge Congressional support, a post on NASA Watch
June 6, 1997   CEO of Apple meets with Dan Goldin
June 6,1997  Henry Norr, MacWeek Updates on ongoing struggles: Installing OpenStep, NASA Macs
June 9,1997  Heather Harreld, Federal Computer Week Hill probes Mac-PC controversy
June 27, 1997  Letter from Congressman Weldon at Kennedy Space Center to the NASA administrator, Dan Goldin, questioning the Microsoft standard and its impact to KSC
July 2, 1997  Goldins Response to Congressman Lampson
September 9, 1997 JSC Information Technology Product Implementation Guidelines, Requirements, and Standards Published

 

[RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS]
 

 Contradictions, Quotes, and Other Fun Stuff

 

"Our assessment of the documentation of user requirements analysis and cost benefit analysis used to support desktop acquisitions are minimal." 
 
Wil Trafton, OSF, Jan 9, 1997 
 
"We also reviewed their cost benefit and life-cycle cost analyses and found their processes and the documentation to be adequate." 
 
Wil Trafton, OSF, 2 Months later

 

On Creative Advertising
 
"We have just finished development of Windows 95, an operating system that will allow computer users everywhere to get more out of their personal computers. We have been helped by people across the spectrum. From individuals such as John R. Garman, Chief Information Officer at NASA Johnson Space Center, ..........."
--Letter from Brad Silverberg, Microsoft Senior Vice President, Personal Systems Division distributed in the July 31, 1995 Issue of InfoWorld, on the rollout of Windows 95.
 
On Fairness
 
"in as fair and balanced a manner as possible,"
--Jack Garman CIO of JSC, 12 Feb. 1996, MacWeek referring to the way JSC transitioned to PCs
 
"During the decision process, management did not seek major end-users' input concerning the selection of Windows 95 as the OA standard or its implementation."
--Inspector General Report G-96-017, November 7, 1996
 
"More disturbing, some employees told the OIL they feared retribution and a possible loss of their jobs if they continued to raise questions about the desktop workstation policy."
--Inspector General Report G-96-017, November 7, 1996
 
"These costs, which would appropriately appear in a cost-benefits analysis and a life cycle cost analysis, were apparently never considered by the JSC CIO when selecting the Windows 95 operating system as the JSC standard for desktop workstations."
--Inspector General Report G-96-017, November 7, 1996
 
 
On The Value Of and Individual
 
"The value of a person to an organization is in what they produce as a team as well as an individual."
--Jack Garman ,12 Feb. 1996, MacWeek
 
"Another employee was told, ....their value to the organization would be seriously questioned... if they continued to question the decision to go to PCs."
--Inspector Generals Report concerning threats made to employees during the transition to pcs.
 
On Life Cycle Cost
 
"approaches the point of diminishing returns."
--Jack Garman,12 Feb. 1996, MacWeek referring to the cost difference between  a PC and a Mac as cited in the
Gartner Report
 
"Based on these numbers, the acquisition of 3,500 Macintosh workstations would be $2,572,500 cheaper over a 5-year period when compared to acquiring 3,500 comparable Windows 95 workstations."
--Inspector Generals Report referring to life-cycle cost in the same Gartner Report Garman cited above.
 
On "I Told You So!"
 
 "Mr. Garman failed to initiate a cost benefit study of imposing any standard (PC or  Macintosh) prior to implementing the standard."
--Anonymous Fax to Mr. Goldin, 6 May 1996, 6 months prior to the IG's Report.
 
"No cost/benefit or life-cycle cost analyses were conducted to support the replacement acquisitions,"
--Inspector General Report G-96-017, November 7, 1996
 
 
On the Selection of NT and Exchange
 
"Both Novell and NT are supported standards" "organizations are [moving to Microsoft NT]. I don't discourage it. I don't encourage it."
--Federal Computer Week 12/96 concerning an investigation into the selection of NT/Exchange without justification.
 
 "It is becoming more apparent that a unilateral decision without the merit of sound technical and procurement specifications and with undue bias toward a single vendor has been made  and implemented within NASA."
--Letter from Novell to the Inspector Generals office concerning the selection of NT/Exchange
 
"Microsoft Exchange is a poor fit for the NASA E-mail environment."
--Microsoft Exchange Meeting 8/22/95. A study of  NT/Exchange by the Postmasters Group initiated by Ron West, CIO of NASA prior to JSC selecting it.
 
"Exchange was a given before we started."
--A member of the Postmasters Group which was organized to research and evaluate mail systems.
 
"This standard is not just anti-Macintosh, it is pro-Microsoft. Over 200 Novell servers  were replaced with Microsoft NT servers. again, without justification or a study to verify cost savings. Novell has been "thrown out" of JSC."
--Anonymous FAX to Mr. Goldin concerning the selection of NT/Exchange without justification.
 
 
On Following Orders
 
"Therefore, JSC is hereby directed to remove this policy."
--6 January 1997: Letter from Office of Space Flight Associate Administrator Wil Trafton concerning the windows only policy.
 
"I'll be happy to do what they tell us to do,"
---Jack Garman Jan 30, 1997 Federal Computer Week.
 
"In the long run, I don't see any change to our plans."
---Jack Garman Jan 20, 1997 Federal Computer Week.
 
 "JSC has not been asked to stop its migration to single solutions."
--Jack Garman in a note to senior staff, Feb. 4, 1997
 
"Garman said he would remove the written policy detailing the center's migration to Windows 95 but added that he still planned to implement the move to the Microsoft operating system."
--9 June 1997 Federal Computer Week
 
"Our policy is unchanged. We believe that a single, standard operating  system for office automation systems is the most cost-effective approach for this center."
--Jack Garman 26 August 1996 MacWeek
 
 
On Saving Money
 
"Windows 95 is very Mac-like."
--Jack Garman. 31 March 1997 Government Computer News
 
"Help desk calls have grown consistently during the past three years from 68,000 calls in 1994 to 142,000 in 1996. The increase of calls began with the deployment of Windows 95 and Office 95...."
--JSC Roundup 25 April 1997
 
 
On Emotion of Mac Huggers
 
"There's a tremendous amount of noise [and] emotion on the subject."
--Jack Garman, 2 Dec 1996 Federal Computer Week concerning the results of the IG's report.
 
"I just don't get it," said one Mac user who asked not to be identified. "We followed the rules, went to the inspector general, proved our case. How come nothing is being done?"
--A noisy and emotional govt. employee.10 February 1997 Government Computer News
 
"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."
--Another noisy and emotional govt. employee. 31 March 1997 Government Computer News
 
"We are going to win this, not based upon emotions, but based upon studies and data collected at  JSC over the years. Data, studies, figures, facts -- nothing more, nothing less."
--Another noisy govt. employee. Aug. 26, 1996 MacWeek
 
"Yea. Right. Uh-Huh. Sure."
--- A realist in response to the above statement.
 
 
On Congressional Inquiries
 
"I am also concerned about how the decision to make Windows 95 the standard  operating system at JSC was reached. It appears that no cost/benefit analysis or employee assessment was  done before this decision was made."
-- 4 July 1997  Congressman Dave Weldon as he expresses his concerns about JSC
computer procurement in a 27 June 1997 letter to Dan Goldin.
 
"We are writing to express our concern about Johnson Space Center's Information Technology Office's decision to standardize one vendor's operating system which appears to be in violation of your legal obligation to ensure fair and open competition in your procurement practices."
--21 May 1997: Signed, draft letter from about 8 Congressmen in a letter from Rep. Nick Lampson to Dan Goldin about the Mac issue.
 
"Apparently there are a number of studies that show that this effort will cost millions but there are no studies to show the benefits or support for the move."
--March 1996.Congressman Tom Delay during an Appropriations meeting for NASA.
 
"In responding to these questions[asked during the March 1996 Appropriations Meeting concerning the Mac replacements], NASA dismissed all concerns.....However, an IG investigation into this matter, completed last November, found that neither a cost/benefit nor a life-cycle cost analysis had been completed before JSC awarded computer contracts."
--Feb. 1997. Congressman, Tom Delay from "Hearings before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations House of Representatives 105th Congress, First Session, NASA."
 
 
On The Truth
 
"Are you aware of any studies that show that this move is beneficial and will save money?"
--March 1996. Question asked by Congressman Tom Delay during an Appropriations meeting for NASA to Mr. Goldin, concerning the cost/benefit analysis of the transition to PCs.
 
"A Gartner Group report, published August 24, 1995, projects that the 5-year cost of ownership for a Macintosh system and a Window 95 system are almost the same."
--Jack Garman in response to the above question.
 
"Based on these numbers, the acquisition of 3,500 Macintosh workstations would be $2,572,500 cheaper over a 5-year period when compared to acquiring 3,500 comparable Windows 95 workstations."
--Inspector General Report G-96-017, November 7, 1996 referring to life-cycle cost in the same Gartner Report Garman cited above.
 
Jan 1, 1995.
--The start date of the PC only standard. 8 months PRIOR to the published report cited as a study which confirmed their selection of the standard.
 
"The Council reviewed and approved the standardization policy."
--Jack Garman in response to Congressman Delays questions.
 
"I used the Freedom of Information Act to get the minutes of the IRM (cost me $98.30) and I could find no mention of any study being done, presented, or referenced in the minutes of the IRM Council Meetings."
---A JSC Mac Fighter. (with lots of money to throw around)
 
"Acquisitions of personal computer workstations at the Johnson Space Center have been conducted in strict adherence with applicable procurement regulations."
--Jack Garman in response to Congressman Delays questions.
 
"the policy decision and its implementation was not in conformance with the stated  NASA CIO policies, "
--Inspector General Report G-96-017,  7 months later.
 
 
On Following Policies
 
"Analyses (e.g. cost-benefit studies) used in supporting the evaluation of alternatives,  must take into consideration the full range of life-cycle support costs, comply with Agency standards, and consider end-users requirements and applications."
--Ron West, NASA CIO, June 1996  in a letter to all CIO's concerning choosing a PC only standard.
"We found that neither a cost-benefits nor a life-cycle cost analysis had been completed before JSC awarded desktop workstation contracts."
--Inspector General Report G-96-017, November 7, 1996
"Beginning in August 1995 the Mac users asked JSC officials to document the supposed savings--and they couldn't."
--February 1997 Texas Monthly
 
 
On Contradictions
 
"Our assessment of the documentation of user requirements analysis and cost benefit analysis used to support desktop acquisitions are minimal."
--Wilbur Trafton, OSF, Jan 9, 1997
 
"We also reviewed their cost benefit and life-cycle cost analyses and found their processes and the documentation to be adequate."
--Wilbur Trafton, OSF, March 2, 1997
 
 
  [RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS]
 

Contacts

 

"You can run, but you can't hide"
 
Joe Louis, Former Heavyweight Champion of the World
 

[RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS]

 

Web Sites

 

http://www.ma dmansdream.com/FairyTales/TableofContents.html Carl Franklins Web page devoted to this issue
http://www.reston.com/RIF/jsc /jsc.macs.html "The Great JSC Mac vs Windows 95* Conflict" on NASA Watch
http://www.rahul.net/rrk/lmms/mac/ Lockheed Mac fight web page 
http://www.macintouch.com/hughes.ht ml  Other Microsoft takeovers on MacInTouch 
http://www.netaction.org/ NetAction
http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/index.html Department of Justice
http://www.gpp.org/wb.html Whisteblowing page
http://www.netaction.org/msoft/worl d/ A White Paper on Microsoft's Monopolgy
http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/oig/h q/ NASA Inspector Generals Home page

 

[RETURN TO TABLE OF CONTENTS]