01.14.09

Why Download 7apourware When the Real Thing (e.g. Ubuntu 8) is Free, Including Shipping?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu, Vista, Vista 7 at 10:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cards on table
Vista 2

Microsoft goes to great lengths to hype up a product that may be released next year (according to more than one reputable source). Early coverage of the product was essentially bought [1, 2, 3].

Vista 7[sic] a second attempt at Windows Vista, which is already giving some curious testers the blues.

What a Windows 7 BSOD Looks Like

[...]

It looks the same.

Well, it’s not as though much has changed under the hood.

Why is it that people are curious about this beta build? Is it the notion of perceived value and the artificial scarcity introduced by Microsoft? At GeekZone, there is a reactionary post which states that a stable version of a better operating system is not only free; shipping to one’s house (of several copies that can be installed infinitely) is free too.

Ubuntu 8.10 OS giveaway

[...]

We have a copy of Ubuntu 8.10 to give away this week. Ok, not only this week and not only one copy. In fact, get as many as you want, tell your friends as well.

* Powerful, modern, user-friendly desktop environment.
* Out-of-the-box support for most available hardware and USB devices.
* Home networking.
* Home computer backup.
* Secure, multi-user environment, no need to run anti-virus software.
* Thousands of applications for any task, freely available, easily browsable and installed with just a few clicks: Complete office suites (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.), graphic design, multimedia, photo management, games, Internet, education, sciences, programming, and much more.
* 100% DRM free, no restrictions, no license keys, no fees, no charges, no secret collecting and passing on of your data, no artificial limits on what you can do with your computer and your data, 100% respect for you, the user.

Hans responds to the “Linux killer” talking point by saying that “Linux makes Windows 7 obsolete.”

As a matter of fact, Microsofts future is squashed between an obsolete Windows XP and a Vista nobody wants. With many home users getting tired to get and maintain the next pirated version of Microsoft Office and many governments moving to ODF I see very dark clouds for Microsofts main cash cows. It may be clear by now that Windows 7 is nothing more than a refurbished Windows Vista. Aero has been polished a bit more, some of the major resource hogs may have been optimized, but all in all it is nothing more than Vista SP2.

Glyn Moody published in Linux Journal for the first time in a long time. He asserts that the BadVista has probably fulfilled its purpose because Microsoft is just too shy to mention Vista at this stage.

That said, I think it would have been better to have forgone this easy pleasure. Had the FSF post avoided facile declarations of “victory”, or vague claims about introducing people to GNU/Linux through this campaign, and concentrated instead on the very real achievements – in the media sphere, for example – people would probably have been even more impressed. Better to emphasise the superiority of free software and its supporters by rising above Microsoft and its tactics.

Against that background, and with the appearance of Vista’s successor, now would be a useful time to ponder how such campaigns should be waged in the future. Is this focus on negativity a useful way to go about things? If so, should the FSF be preparing a BadOffice site, or BadWindows 7 site, or are their better targets? If not, might it be more effective to adopt a more subtle approach, creating targeted resources for journalists so that they can present the other side? Any views?

Coverage in the news of “Windows 7″ (mythical software) outnumbered that of “Vista” by a factor of about 5 the last time I checked (on Sunday). This means that Microsoft follows its own guidebooks.

“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

“Microsoft looks at new ideas, they don’t evaluate whether the idea will move the industry forward, they ask, ‘how will it help us sell more copies of Windows?’”

Bill Gates, The Seattle Weekly, (April 30, 1998)

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8 Comments

  1. lalala said,

    January 14, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Gravatar

    You just happened to use “Ubuntu” as an example. Big surpise.

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 14, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Gravatar

    Because it’s 8 (7+1).

    Also because it’s mentioned in the cited article and it’s the only one that’s shipped for free.

  3. AlexH said,

    January 14, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Gravatar

    Fedora is also shipped for free (for those deserving enough, not the cheapskates :P ). More than happy to explain how for anyone who needs a copy.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 14, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Gravatar

    And Fedora is a perfect 10 (Cambridge).

    I recall reading about the shipping thing a few months ago.

  5. amd-linux said,

    January 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Gravatar

    I am so convinced from this Microsoft offer of free Beta trials that I downloaded both ISOs (2,5 and 3,5 GB) from them. And you know what, I liked the files so much I downloaded them again (for some friends). And again (for the family). And I am still downloading, now for my cat.

    Hopefully I am not consuming to much of MS precious bandwith with my small downlink bandwith.

    Cheers.

  6. The Mad Hatter said,

    January 14, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Gravatar

    I’ve been running Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 2 for a couple of weeks, and it is totally unlike any Alpha software I’ve ever seen before. Totally stable and reliable, no glitches, damn, it just works. I’ve never seen anything like it, it looks and runs perfectly.

    It’s just awesome, I suggest that you try it. You can download it at:

    http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/jaunty/

    Oh, and my apologies if I’ve been somewhat out of sorts. I’ve been in a lot of pain the last couple of weeks, even the heavy duty pain killers I’m on (think of what Levi Johnston’s Mom got arrested for selling) aren’t handling it.

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    January 15, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Gravatar

    I’ve been hearing about similar experiences in some blogs.

  8. The Mad Hatter said,

    January 15, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Gravatar

    Quite frankly it’s so good, that it’s scary. I took part in Alpha testing for Firefox, Seamonkey, and I do some programming myself. I know what Alpha software is like, and Alpha 2 of Jaunty Jackalope doesn’t feel like Alpha software.

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