So what? Windows 7: 7 Reasons Not to Get too Excited (Update)

May 14, 2009

It’s official: Windows 7 will be on the shelves just in time for the Christmas season. From an Open Source perspective, this is nothing ground-breaking: It’s just the same old Windows.

1. Windows is destined to lose more market share:
Windows is not going to gain any ground over Linux. The OS from Redmond simply has too high of a market share. In addition, the new Windows fails to offer any incentive for the Linux user to make the switch to Microsoft. Even if Windows 7 were to be the absolute best Windows the world had ever seen, in the end it would still be Closed Source.

The quality of Windows has no inpact on the fact, that users are switching from Windows to Linux and free software. The quality has only influence on the speed of the switching. With Windows 7, the biggest impact will occur among the various Windows versions, while the overall Windows market share is expected to sink further.

2. Hardly a new feature:
Linux hackers were once said to be notorious for stealing a variety of ideas from Microsoft. In contrast to this day and age, a peek at the Microsoft's description of Windows 7 reveals that there is little material to interest anyone hungry for innovation. Most of the new desktop features are hardly impressive: for example, larger desktop icons grace this new Windows product. Also, the Explorer integrated disc burning program now works with ISO copy data, but this is more of a clear indication that Windows 7 users could have an easier time of it with an Ubuntu CD. Another point is that the new version sacrifices a whole slew of accessories that were standard fare in Vista.

3. The world doesn’t need Tablet PCs:
Among the most celebrated features of the new Windows version are the touchscreen and the touch support in the vein of iPhone. Ten years ago, Microsoft attempted to introduce Tablet PCs (earlier under the name of Windows for Pen Computers) and had yet to differentiate between a computer with which the user worked, wrote emails, and chatted, and a Smart Phone. The Netbooks with touchscreen and touchscreen desktops are destined to disappear just as quickly from the market as the Tablet PCs because the pen and finger are two tools that work quite well for some uses, but considerably less for others.

4. Hardware requirements – still too high:
Although the new Windows is officially compatible with Netbooks, the hardware requirements are still considerably too high. Even when the standard new computer has 1 GB available, many notebooks function with 512 MB over 786. Windows 7 needs at least 1 GB to run, and the 64 bit version requires at least 2 GB RAM. Also, in matters of disk space, a partition for the installation of Windows 7 takes at least 16 GB. In this case, Linux installation clearly takes less pork to get going.

5. Starter Edition for Dummies:
The most obvious difference between an Open Source and a Closed Source operating system is at its most noticeable when the features (although in reality still remaining) are eliminated via semi-user-defined criteria. The most affordable variation of the new Windows should allow three applications at most to be used at once. A slightly more careful look reveals that many of Windows’ own programs are exceptions, including the file manger, the control panel, and most smaller tools. Amusingly, the Starter Edition is supposed to leave the background image unaltered. Every Microsoft-for-Dummies customer is a potential future Linux user.

6. The more Windows versions the better:
In the best case scenario, Windows 7 would get everyone’s attention and within six months Microsoft will have succeeded in replacing all existing Vista and XP computers with Windows 7 machines. Microsoft shouldn’t even dare to believe in such a far-fetched notion. The new Windows version (if it is actually good) will doubtless cause some customers to change over to Windows 7 and the computers sold already installed with Windows 7 will likely cause the Microsoft market share to increase to 10 percent. Whether Windows can jump the 50 percent hurdle is a matter for second consideration. In the worst case scenario (from Microsoft’s point of view), in 2011 we will see one third of all Microsoft users still on XP, one third using Vista, and one third using Windows 7 systems. This would cause customer support costs to rise and would complicate driver unit development. In the matter of browser competition between Firefox and MSIE, the situation was similar. Today, Firefox is close to pushing all versions of Internet Explorer to under 50 percent, if this hasn’t already been accomplished.

In addition, Windows 7 comes with a compatibility mode for Windows XP. This should cause a fair share of confusion, as this mode is only available for the Professional and Ultimate versions. The actual compatibility is only achieved when Windows XP hardware acceleration runs in a virtual machine (Windows Virtual PC).

7. Microsoft no longer sets the standard:
When Windows XP was introduced onto the market, Microsoft could pretty much do whatever they wanted in terms of what was left alone and what was altered. If a program failed to work with Windows XP, the system was modified only until the desired compatibility was achieved. Much too often, hardware manufacturer standards were compromised or ignored. The times in which Microsoft set the standard are (thankfully) over. Even when the company with the ISO certificiation from Office Open XML aims for one last success, the software world is still heading in the direction of open standards and does without DRM more and more, the favorite plaything of Microsoft (and Apple). The standards today are set by the Community and the Web – two things that with which Microsoft is long since out of touch.

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Comments

  • Linux Still Blows

    Linux is like the cast of Meatballs and Revenge of the Nerds got together and said "Hey! Lets write an OS to raise money to save our house!" But wait, it's open source! We'll sell beer. Okay!
  • Open is better

    All monopolies fail......

    If you think otherwise, name one monopoly which has survived longer then your own generation?, or say > 50 years.......

    Microsoft will not always be around.......nor Apple...........sure someone may / will take their place

    However

    It is more likely that in 50 years time..... Open Source will have made a bigger impact on a global scale, then the Monopolies of today.

    I hate Microsoft......its truly not hard living without a single piece of Microsoft software on my home PC (used by my Wife) or my work laptop..........in fact......it's less stressful!

  • windows 7 compared to windows XP

    I am no linux user.
    I don't see any reason to upgrade to Windows 7, where so much stuff works on windows XP. Windows 7 basically still uses the same Windows NT platform from over 10 years ago.

    the only reason why windows 7 will be dominant in few years' time is because Microsoft basically "control" the PC market share. XP "will be" phased out, manufacturers will be forced to support Windows 7. Like Vista, many PC manufacturers will not provide drivers for XP.

    Windows 7 is Windows Vista Fixed. Like it or not, Linux doesn't stand a chance
  • MS target demographic

    I think the author is missing the point big time anyway. Linux as a commercial threat to Windows is so far down on the list that they barely get mentioned. One percent of the market will generally do that to you. MS is trying to get Mac users and people who use pirated versions of Windows. According to their numbers, that is about 30% of the market their aiming for. MS considers piracy and the Mac competition before Linux, this cannot be emphasized enough. They realize that Linux users are pretty much set and not gonna come back. MS will probably just take the good ideas Linux comes up with and incorporate it into their OSes.
  • Great article!

    Even if Microsoft decided to shit solid gold you wouldn't write this article any different. You've obviously made up your mind before you've even tried Windows 7.

    And yes, I also have an ubuntu pc, and for day to day work, 7 just works - and it does so fast. Ubuntu is vastly better than the linux of yesteryear, but there is still a long way to go. 7 introduces a few needed features (I am writing this from one of those tablet pcs that no one uses) but most importantly, its faster than ever before. My Windows 7 standard installation boots faster than my Ubuntu standard installation(!).

    Also, what you fail to realize is that only a few people care if its open source or not. It's not a religion to all people. If it looks good and works, most people will be happy.
  • Windows 7

    somewhere in this list someone said they think its XP SP4. hahahaha
    mabe you should use it for more than a few minute before you form an opinion.
    i wonder what distro you use; if you don't even know the difference between XP and Seven then i really don't know how you learned to use *nix

    Hey guys i like Linux but why the hell do we always end up comparing a singe version of windows or OSX to linux? 400+ distros of linux vs windows or OSX, when you can probably get a verson of linux that is designed to wipe your ass or pick your nose (with the assistance of a bot of some sort, lol). if you think about it its a little like comparing a book with the stock of amazon.ca, then coming to the concussion that amazon.ca's collection is better than that book because i can read *this* book. when you put it in these tirms it a bit unfair, windows vs a sea of specialized OS'es.

    anyway w/e i'm good using w/e as long as it isn't gonna try to wipe my ass.
  • Must be from usa and/or uk

    I use linux or have linux or love linux or am a linux fan = troll/astroturfer
    You must be an MS hater or linux religious/zealot/nut = troll/astroturfer

    Must be from U.S. of A or United Kingdom where white collar crimes, personal slander/smearing, anti competitiveness through legal bribery (lobbying) is the norm and rapacious (American) greed is idolized as "business methods".

    USA/UK are the new 3rd world countries, considering no innovation, tech or otherwise, stems from there anymore. They have no manufacturing base, everything is outsourced (thanks to white collar crime) and when the GNP is natural resources, (this is the kicker) is the main export.

    So hold your hands together and sing KUMBA JA
  • Trolls? C'mon

    People will continue to go to MS because it delivers what they need. Linux is superior in many ways, but falls short for the typical user. Compatibility and ease of use is the key. You want to get in with the OEMs or the enterprise, tehn you have to have a stable OS. Stability comes from support and longevity which you will never get from open source. Get rid of the elitist tone, MS has it's place just as Linux does. I used to be a huge Linux supporter, but quite frankly I am tired of the ID10Ts that are constantly attacking MS. Don't forget, they changed the world and you probably learned your basic skills on a MS OS?! Haters.
  • Linux and the CLI

    @Crossix

    There's nothing wrong with Linux and CLI (command line interface). Linux is a CLI OS. If you "fix that", you will break linux and everything that it stands for (KISS principle). The issue here is that some distros use gui configuration tools that break things. Then, when you want to fix it by using the CLI, you can't because the GUI overwrites the changes you are making.

    Microsoft realised recently that power users and admins DEMAND using CLI. That's why Microsoft is including their own command line shell with the next version of Windows (aka PowerShell).

    The funny thing is that when it comes to Linux, CLI is wrong and should be fixed. When it comes to Windows, hurray to PowerShell!

    And for those Windows refugees out there: Linux is not Windows and it will never be. If you are searching for a Windows-like Linux, you will not find it. Maybe you should try ReactOS or something.
  • Windows is going to stay

    In my opinion, lots of people underestimate one of the most important aspects of the OS market - gaming compatibility. As most of the systems (especially at home) are used not for work, but for entertainment, Linux is going to be a completely niche product as long as major game publishers will stick to Weendooze. WINE is not an option - the gaming experience is still inferior, with all those compatibility problems and a royal pain-in-the-ass messing with video acceleration drivers. As for the native titles (and ports) - is still has a long way to go.
  • Valid points but M$soft will continue to dominate do to POS packinging

    I love Linux and have since the mid-1990s floppy days, and Unix prior to that. Current Linux distros are world class and feature rich. However, as far as market share is concerned Microsoft will continue to dominate because they are successful in having Windows preloaded on virtually every machine sold. While you and I may prefer Linux, John Q Public does not. They want what came with their machine and what is the same as what all of their friends are using. Windows-7 IS simply a fixed version of Vista but the public simply doesn't care. Remember the VHS vs Beta-max issue. Better doesn't always win.
  • M$ going down the drian soon..........

    Windows is destined to lose more market..not too mention that this world of hackers and crackers torrent files with M$ W7 will have tweaks and cracks to by pass the activation process ..so how many people in other parts of the world will be buying this and orthes will get a pirated copy or cracked. So basically M$ has been loosing money since windows 98 due to this so why they try to out do Linux is either free or paid distros out there. Hardware requirements still too high for Windows as always that why its a pain to get something "Gateized" to work in Linux. So Linux is considerably getting better in this in the last 3 years or more since the beginning. Linux installation is getting simple to install, just like windows. Seems that Linux has major updates what every 2 years and new updates every 6 months look at windows seems like its been a Nt sp 6, 98 has sp2 then a service pack 4 in windows 2000 then Xp came till sp3 then Vista is at sp1 then comes Windows 7. So when Windows 7 sp1 come what another OS..Know wonder why so many are still using 98-xp today to much of a hassel with drivers and what not. So many places still use windows nt and xp based programs to run machines in industries as well as linux too. They dont want to update to Vista or 7 cause manufactors dont have time to get drivers up in time. When they do M$ has changed to something then back to reprogram again. With linux its stays the same and some moderate changes happen. Open source is here to stay so why not open windows and let people make windows theres like linux..how many distros out there now couple 100 or more windows stays at null.
    Well any ways MS is going down the hole but pluged up so far but figure what said a begining about people useing p2p-torrents to get copies of copyrighted MS stuff They are Losing in profits soon or later that drain will open then what people do with out windows mmm go insane or learn how Linux works.Well you have rpm and deb files to make installing easier for x-window users as well as comand line install in stead of all the over graphic installers that windows uses. So linux is getting little more easeir in that with Ubuntu.. I think if youre wanting to try Linux would say for most easy distro for newbies would be Linux Mint(basicly ubuntu based more user friendly for windows users)
    Well would like to see ReactOS become the end for windows which is using the available drivers from nt-xp,dlls,other windows files as well as linux kernel, so windows stuff and open source stuff can be used in one envoriment. Stead of all this hype with Virtual Machines.
  • So what? Linux..

    You can call me a troll, but I'm a linux lover at heart, I just can't use it as my every day OS.. With linux I feel it's a work in progess, I'm constantly having to tweak and perfect my desktop and settings then when I think I have everything just right I go to upgrade something.. say my video card, and my world comes crashing down.. I take out my old card, pop the new one in and bam, black world no gui anymore. I start poking around but can't figure out the problem, get fustrated because everything was working great.. go check the forums and things to try to get it right and then come to find out hey my card isn't supported in linux yet.. wth.. back to Windows I guess..

    I'm not alone in this there are quite a few "average" people out there that if they ever hit the "black world" they freak, I havn't found one distro out there that you havn't had to use the command prompt for one thing or another.. even ubuntu.. so yeah I'm one of those "idiots" that need Windows. So no, people won't switch from Windows to *unix until after someone fixes that..

    I also have to disagree about the "Tablet PCs" I work in a hospital where they are a god send. its much easier to walk around with a tablet than a notebook, I can stand a write, I cant stand and type very well without a cart.

    Oh, and about windows versions how many should we have? i dunno what about the 400+ linux distrobutions out there, talk about confusing people.. I couldn't tell you what the difference was between ubuntu and slackware, yet I know exactly whats different about Windows 2k - Windows 7.. Also I don't have to worry about how to install software between all those versions yah know why? they all use the same package manager! there's only really 2 ways to install programs, not 4 - 5 or even worse having to compile it!

    I think Microsoft is still setting the standard, until linux can handle new hardware without X crashing and me having to figure out how to fix it from a black screen, or if linux can install all software packages without having to compile or if I can download a package off the net and just double click on it to install I don't think a whole lot of people will be switching over any time soon. Btw, I do run linux on my servers (Debian ftw), just not my desktop...
  • Windows vs Linux blah blah blah

    can we just face the ONLY FACT that matters?????

    LINUX is a CHOICE, the people who CHOOSE linux usually realize the amount of reading, relearning learned skills, reading how to use alternative software for what you are used to using windows for, and depending on the distro, you may actually WANT to break your computer a few times to actually LEARN something.. there's ONLY really one thing wrong with windows.. it MUST PLEASE EVERYONE, with so many builds, so many hardware choices, etc.. so it's strongest trait is also it's weakest link, JUST LIKE linux has 400+ distros and X number of apps that do the SAME THING.. who needs all that choices??? I'll tell you who, the people that choose to have a choice.. the rest just will take what comes with their new computer.. the rest CHOOSE to learn something.
    So in my opinion windows vs linux arguments, blogs, forums are all MEANINGLESS since its a CHOICE people make, not a corner to be backed up in by someone who doesnt care to learn..
  • Do yourself a favor...

    Either buy a Mac or go Linux. You won't regret it. If you need commercial apps, get a Mac. If all you do is browse the internet, hangout on Facebook, do some IM, get your email, and watch some YouTube videos, then just use Linux. You'll save yourself a ton of money and have less headaches as a result. There are lots of Linux distros to choose from. I recommend Mandriva, OpenSuse, Linux Mint, or PCLinuxOS to get started.There will be a learning curve adjusting to a new OS, and that applies to both Mac and Linux. In the end, though, you won't regret it. I've been a full time Linux user for about 5 years now, and I'm not a geek at all. Once you learn your way around, you'll wonder why Windows has to be so complicated!
  • Don't Care

    I don't what Micro$oft does. I'll stick with Linux!
  • MS apps can be cheap to port to Linux

    This is an answer to "INGSOC May 15" coment.
    QUOTE "The vast majority of software that people/companies own is written for windows. The amount of money it would cost to move that over to linux is a major road-block for any growth in linux market share"

    Well, I'm a civil servant living in France. You might be aware that french parliament moved all their desktops to Ubuntu nearly two years ago. That meant 1300 computers ; (not much). What is more impressive is the frenc MP's needed 30 specialised tools that were designed to run on XP only. All these have since been ported to Linux wich indeed involved a huge amount of work and costed money.
    Money that went in the pockets of french sofware companies. The total cost ? nearly one million euros. Well nevetheless the french taxpayer thinks this is a well spent million. Indeed switching from XP to Linux meant 500 000 Euros saving per year on microsoft fees (desktop licensing only).

    The same could be said from the french gendarmerie. Moving 80 000 desktops from XP to linux (started 2007 end due in 2011) means that 24 higly specialised police tools designed for Windows have been ported to Debian. The cost is high but less than ONE MONTH of XP plus M$ Office licensing fees.

    French military forces also lend their task force writing software themselves. For instance "milimail" is a security extension designed to enhance privacy and security of the Thunderbird email client.

    Sometimes, spending money can also mean making a pretty good investment.
    Alejo.
  • Price to upgrade

    Has anybody thought of the price to upgrade to W7? MS will have the face to tell us: "Here is W7, if you don't like Vista then pay us.... lets say $200." Vista came preinstalled (I recently bought a laptop and a desktop) I had no choice. So my options will be: Stay stuck with Vista or pay the MS Empire another 400 dollars. MS Should send a technician to my home upgrade both of my systems for FREE and apologize for the Vista blunder.

  • Debian's rule

    En España muchas empresas tienen ahora más opciones. Yo he cambiado en mi empresa el Active Directorio por el Fedora Directory Server y aunque aun tiene que avanzar bastante va por buen camino. No digamos de la tecnología de virtualización openVZ, tengo un sempron con 512 MB. de RAM que corre 4 maquinas virtuales sin problemas....
  • Comment

    Linux just needs some time to gain some market share over any MS crap..its high time time and enterprise are already moving to open source..Apple does not even come in picture..why...becoz they are stuck with their own hardware and software..The only thing Linux needs right now is some good professional softwares and some really good people who can spread the word of Linux..
  • Windows 7 is XP sp4

    I tried windows 7 rc
    i feel it is just xp sp4
  • Mostly obvious


    1> I don't see why Microsoft will lose market share much faster. Why?
    2> I disagree. There are a raft of UI improvements that i think can genuinely improve productivity, which I would love to see other OSes come up with proper parallel implementations of, rather than stupid UI features like exploding windows.
    3> ?
    4> Disk space may be an issue for SSDs, but still, on current hard drives, who cares? The smallest hard drives on the market today are over 100GiB in size.
    5> This is indeed a serious issue. Consumers will be given the choice of paying more to make it work or going the Linux route. OK.
    6> There have always been people lagging behind updating to the latest software, though perhaps not on the same scale as with XP and Vista. I don't see this as an enormous issue.
    7> I don't think that this will have that much of a direct effect on 7.
    Apart from points 2, 4 and 5, all of which I disagree with, none of this is specific to Windows 7.
  • But there are still ignorant people around

    Yes, you could say all you have said, and be right. But what will really happen? M$ has a shitty Vista, but why are the sales impressive? Because the big boys like Acer, Dell, HP, etc have no choice but to install Windows OS on their products. And do we have a choice? No, we buy, unless we are techies who don't mind spending extra time to do the right thing, slog to get the Linux distro up and running. (I still had problems with the latest Jaunty, which is screwed in terms of the nVidia drivers. When that happened and I struggled for days, I realized that the normal person would never have put up with this. In fact, I almost gave up, but because I'm a Linux fanboi, I persevered, and got going with the previous 8.10 kernel.)
    There are so many ignorant people who do not know they could buy a machine with no OS and install the OS themselves. Instead, they'll ask their equally ignorant buddies (natural thing to do for any human) what should they buy? Of course Windows...
    So there you go.
    I'm no Windows fan, but I use XP, and lots of Linux, but XP is still my OS of choice...not that I love M$ but because I have so many apps that I work with that are only in Windows.
    Here in Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur at the IT plaza called Low Yat, I asked one of the big store owners why doesn't he set up Linux boxes for sale? He said, "No one wants it," and he hadn't even tried yet. So without support from these people, surely, Windows 7 is set to force itself upon the innocent.
    ...
    Honestly, I long for the day when M$ will be brought to their knees.
    Some day.....yawn!
  • Have tested Windows 7

    I have a copy of Windows 7 Rc, and the article is spot on but perhaps a tad positive. Overly optimistic on Microsoft's behalf i mean.

    The tests I've seen indicates a 2-3% improvement in performance compared to Vista in terms of hardcore gaming and demanding applications. As long as they stick to the slightly modified Vista kernel XP will outperform W7 until 12-16 CPUcores or more are commonplace. Mind you, Intel's "soft-duplication" will make this happen when 8 physical cores are common - ie about 24-30 months from now. Even though Microsoft have improved their filesystem driver, OSX, Linux and Solaris have far better solutions, and more is to come. Intel is in the process of getting onboard the GCC which is likely to improve Linux performance.

    As the article point out, there are hardly any news in Windows 7. Shure, the DE is "snappier" and they cleaned up services a tad. Controlpanel is better and security is less intrusive.

    But it is still just a clean-up of Vista and they will need 2-3 more years to get Windows 8 up and going. Windows 8 HAVE to be more *nixlike in it's structure to compete, and I'm convinced that they are working hard on that.

    But 3 years from now Linux has moved far from what it is now. It will be faster as nobody (ie Gnome/KDE/XFce) are keen on anything demanding in terms of resourceconsumption.

    The DE's will be far far better, and Gnome, KDE 4 and OSX are already way beyond Vista/W7 DE.

    In 3 years Linux will have far better applications (just look at the progress of KDE 4 apps the last 12 months), and Linux will have far better workflow. Workflow is not present in Windows at all.

    When it comes to businesses, Linux now have 3 proper business analysis toolkits including Business objects. In fact, what's missing are better DE-apps (non-browser) for CRM/ERP and some high quality CRM/Accounting solutions for small businesses.

    Another issue is the flawed desktop statistics that are published every month. I would be very very surprised if 1% is anywhere near the truth bearing in mind that IDG operated with more than 3% worldwide in early 2004 and forecasted abt 6% in 2008(?). Mind you that was months before the first Ubuntu release and 2 years before it really hit the roof.

    The trouble (for Microsoft) with that 1% is that when Linux breaks through the ceiling it will be with far bigger numbers and that will indeed contribute to the momentum. Microsoft will keep on biting their tail.

    I believe Apple have been wise in releasing OSX only for their own hardware. That will protect them well for a long time as long as they keep inventing.

    But Microsoft? I would not recommend buying their stocks. It's a looser.
  • Sort of..?

    get back under the bridge troll.....
  • Sort of..?

    First off, I'm a hug fan of linux and I run it on all of my computers. With that being said I must point out that this article simply ignores some very important aspects of windows that linux can't compete with yet. The vast majority of software that people/companies own is written for windows. The amount of money it would cost to move that over to linux is a major road-block for any growth in linux market share. Also, when you get a piece of software for windows it normally just "works". That is not really the case with linux. There is also the question of what "version" to get. Most people don't have the time to worry about distro's or anything to that effect. They just want to get the newest version and install it (most the time they want it to just come already installed). Linux really doesn't work like that, where windows does. If windows 7 has true compatability like they claim with xp software then it will be the next big thing, simply because it is easy. Microsoft needs to worry more about keeping the market share that they have instead of gaining ground on the other operating systems. Linux won't gain ground until they get a real corporate sponsor that basically operates like Microsoft. It needs to be distributed with new pc's, but in a more visible way. Also, windows will stay in charge because of Active Directory, and a slew of other services that are easier to configure on windows than any *nix OS.
  • For the 6, with compatibility mode

    Xp compatibility mode will also not be available for every Ultimate et Professional versions, becasue it depends on wich processor is instlaled in the machine and it is supports Intel virtualization technology. It is not the case for a lot especially in the netbooks...
  • Nice article

    Hi,

    I am a senior at the University of Cincinnati studying computer networking and I just wanted to say that reading the article was a breath of fresh air. I liked how the author connected reality with the key points in the article. Now if I can only get my faculty to understand open standards and the power of Linux.
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