02.18.09

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Ultimate Deathmatch: GNU/Linux Versus… Vapourware

Posted in Courtroom, Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hand silhouetted
Can GNU/Linux beat ghosts?

“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]

Information Week, a publication which is typically hostile towards freedom, has just published this comparison between today’s GNU/Linux and Microsoft's vapourware. It’s not exactly a fair comparison when inexistent products are treated as though they are available, but here they go.

There’s fierce debate in the air about what 7 means for both Windows and Linux. Microsoft’s last gasp? Linux’s formidable new enemy? Closer inspection shows us it’s not really either of those things. Linux has made strides of its own on the desktop and made it possible to build netbooks at low cost–and while Windows 7 will almost certainly take a bite out of that market and impress existing Windows users all the more, Linux has also become its own animal.

There are some more remarks on that in BMighty.

Although Serdar doesn’t spell it out here, I think his comparison of Linux and Windows 7 offers an important subtext. While it is clear that a lot of Microsoft’s work on WIndows 7 was a direct response to its difficulties with Windows Vista, it’s not a stretch to see that some improvements would not have happened if Linux didn’t represent a legitimate competitive threat. (One word: netbooks.)

As we showed a few days ago, this unfinished project called Vista 7 is already dropping features, so there are good reasons to maintain healthy doses of skepticism. Moreover, according to a Slashdot post that garnered over 1000 comments in a matter of hours, Vista 7 turns out to have become another huge DRM mess.

A few days’ testing of Windows 7 has already disclosed some draconian DRM, some unrelated to media files. A legitimate copy of Photoshop CS4 stopped functioning after we clobberred a nagging registration screen by replacing a .dll with a hacked version. That’s not so much a surprise, but what WAS a surprise: Noting that Win7 allows programs like Photoshop to stealthily insert themselves in your firewall exception list.

[...]

Something *really nasty* is lurking under the surface of Win7. Being in bed with the RIAA is bad enough, but locking your own files away from you is a device so outrageous it may kill the OS for many persons.

Additionally, it’s only vaporware at this stage. So what do Microsoft and their partners have today?

What can be purchased at the shops right now?

Just Vista.

Several days ago we showed that Microsoft had been sued for its malpractice that generates money out of people who are highly dissatisfied, having been forced to pay for Windows Vista when they acquire new hardware (bundling), only to be charged again to remove this unwanted sofwtare. Microsoft is already going on the defence with the help of IDG, as usual.

“Customers have been forced to purchase the most expensive version of [Windows XP] in order to ‘downgrade’ from the Windows Vista operating system,” the complaint read.

That was the cause of some confusion last year, when Dell Inc. was accused of gouging customers by charging $150 to downgrade a new computer to XP. Dell, however, countered that although it did charge $20 to install XP on the machine, as well as to cover the cost of the additional media, the bulk — $120 of the $150 — was the price of upgrading the PC from the standard Home Premium to the more expensive Business edition.

Free Software Magazine has a nice cartoon about it. If people want to upgrade from Vista, they ought to consider migrating to GNU/Linux, not running back to XP. The editor of ComputerWorld (IDG) had something to say on this matter as well.

Money, money, money; that’s us.

Microsoft should understand that — just as we understand why Microsoft has started to push Vista with arguments ranging from the sincere to the screwy. (No, Steve Ballmer, most users won’t ask their boss why they can’t get Vista at work this year; they just want to keep getting a paycheck this year.)

In other related news about Windows Mobile, the latest feeble attempt from Microsoft to shore up the product is met with disdain from Microsoft Watch, a pro-Microsoft Web site.

News Analysis. My reaction to today’s Microsoft announcements coming out of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona: Too little. Too late. Too bad.

Windows is having a very rough ride these days. But Microsoft doesn’t want anyone to notice. All the answers are out there, readily available to the public if it knows just where to look (beyond spin and marketing that’s endemic by design).

Vista 7 starts now

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10 Comments

  1. aeshna23 said,

    February 18, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Gravatar

    More from the Slashdot article above”

    “Re media files, the days of capturing an audio program on your PC are gone if the program originated on your PC. The inputs of your sound card are severely degraded in software if the card is also playing an audio program (tested here with Grooveshark). Under XP you could select “Stereo Mix” or similar under audio recording inputs and nicely capture any program then playing. Microsoft appears to be pandering to Big Music for its own reasons unrelated to consumer satisfaction.”

    This basically means Linux is going to capture the entire youth market soon–with all the implications of that. Is Microsoft unable to think through the consequences of what they do? Or is it simply hubris?

  2. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 18, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Gravatar

    According to this article from last night, the MAFIAA will try to do the same thing to GNU/Linux. Too bad it can be modified by anyone (antifeatures removed), eh? ;-)

  3. David Gerard said,

    February 18, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Gravatar

    Wine’s DirectX 9 implementation is only getting better. There’s a small and active group of World of Warcraft players who prefer using it under Wine ‘cos then their box isn’t vulnerable to attack attempts from people they’ve p*ssed off.

    You just wait for the day a popular game gets better frames-per-second under Wine than Windows … that’s the day everyone playing that game installs Ubuntu.

    (‘course, non-crap NVidia drivers would help …)

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 18, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Gravatar

    From MS MVP (yes, that’s right):

    Long story short – World of Warcraft runs faster under Ubuntu/Wine than natively under Windows XP Professional.

    http://msmvps.com/blogs/plenderj/archive/2007/07/14/foray-into-feisty-fawn-helped-me-take-back-my-mips.aspx

    I’ve almost lost this valuable reference which took me 5 minutes to find.

  5. David Gerard said,

    February 18, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Gravatar

    Hah! If a link ever needed publicising …

    Needs retesting under 9.04 – then writing up and submitting to Slashdot.

  6. David Gerard said,

    February 18, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Gravatar

    I’ve just emailed the old link to wine-users asking what people’s experiences are like.

    (The list has *lots* of WoW users. And there’s lots of WoW users at Codeweavers too, which is why DirectX 9 works quite well and why WoW is officially supported by Crossover Games :-D )

  7. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 18, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Gravatar

    Needs retesting under 9.04 – then writing up and submitting to Slashdot.

    For fairness, as in a like-with-like comparison, run it under Vista too (XP is no longer available). Performance degrades in Vista.

  8. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Gravatar

    I’ve just emailed the old link to wine-users asking what people’s experiences are like.

    If they can reproduce these results, that would be a fantastic weapon (in the information sense).

  9. David Gerard said,

    February 18, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Gravatar

    Not really – like vs like would be XP, as gamers don’t like Vista either for its performance.

  10. Roy Schestowitz said,

    February 18, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Gravatar

    There will soon be no Windows available other than Vista, no matter how much you pay (black/grey market aside).

    The same goes for SSD and USB performance BTW.

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