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Vista 7 Release Would be Good News to GNU/Linux

"My initial evaluation of Windows 7 shows that it's really just Vista with a fresh coat of paint."

--Randall Kennedy



Summary: Latest revelations about Vista 7 suggest that it is not what it's cracked up to be

DAEMONFC has just taken Mandriva 2009 Spring for a spin and he loved it. Having also tried Vista 7, he reached the conclusion that the latest of GNU/Linux is well ahead of Microsoft's vapourware -- a product whose final state is unknown to everyone.

With my latest foray into Windows 7 build 7100 (official Release Candidate from MS Technet) I was experiencing largely the same errors/issues/bad performance as I had on the unofficial 7057 and 7077 wherein everyone replied “Hold your horses”

One of my test systems, this Athlon64 3200+ with 2 gigs of RAM and a Geforce 7650 GS was to see how 7 performed on hardware that was reasonable 3-4 years ago, and overall it failed terribly.

[...]

Mandriva 2009 Spring seems to have all the features one would want from Vista7 without the sucky undertaste of DRM, while managing to take up 5-6 times less hard drive space, a third the memory, and managing to work exceptionally well even on XP-era hardware that Microsoft abandoned long ago.

Mandriva 2009 Spring also clearly one-ups Ubuntu, especially in the area of Pulseaudio (which is often buggy and unreliable in Ubuntu Jaunty), users that this affects should move to Mandriva immediately.


GNU/Linux is already forcing Microsoft to lower its prices significantly, so Microsoft's earnings declined by over 30%. There is no end to that in sight, either. Microsoft is desperate to suffocate GNU/Linux because allowing it to grow leads to 'nightmares' (aka "fair competition") like extensive ISV support.

Microsoft fires another shot at Linux netbooks by extending XP availability



[...]

Though it will still add a bit to the cost of a system, the amount has been pegged as low as $15. That's a negligible amount and one most consumers will be willing to absorb to have access to an operating system that is far more familiar to most than any Linux distribution.

The extension will give Microsoft an entire year to build public awareness of Windows 7 and showcase Starter Edition - or scrap it and offer better pricing on another more complete version. Either way, today's announcement could mean a continued rough road ahead for mainstream Linux.


For those who think that Windows XP is still acceptable, here is a new reminder about kill switches and other malicious features.

A kill switch (also called an e-stop) is a security measure used to shut off a device (usually in an emergency situation) in which it cannot be shut down in the usual manner.

[...]

In the example of Microsoft Windows, the company developed a verification tool named "Windows Genuine Advantage", that originally activated a kill switch, or "reduced functionality mode," on what Microsoft's mandatory software's deemed to be an unlicensed copy of the operating system.


It turns out again that Vista 7 is just as fat as people warned. And according to one columnist with a Linux-hostile track record, this "leaves [the] netbook market open for Linux."

Microsoft's newest operating system Windows 7 will leave much of the burgeoning netbook market open for Linux because of its relatively large footprint. This was confirmed to iTWire by a local Microsoft executive today, although she did not spell it out in those words.


There is more news about the bloat of Vista 7. For example:

i. Windows 7 is not that much faster than Vista

The blokes at Gizmodo have had a play with RC1 to see how it fared against Vista. They show that while everything in Window 7 feels better than Vista the benchmarking figures don't bare this out much. The 32-bit versions of both Vista and Windows 7 were tested on the same machine with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM and a 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT.


ii. Microsoft Admits Windows 7 Is Not really Suitable for Netbooks

By extending the availability of Windows XP until October 2010, it admits that Windows 7 on a netbook doesn’t really cut the mustard, and at the same time that the company has nothing to replace XP for that platform yet. It means that the lowliest version of Windows 7 is not a winner, and still gets beaten by Windows XP. ( Of course, they also want to take a huge swipe at Linux, all flavors – the availability of XP at bargain basement prices is going to make many think twice about ordering a netbook with any Linux distribution on it).


SJVN wrote about the reason why Microsoft just gives Vista 7 away.

So Vista users should go out of their way to thank Linux users for getting free, early access to Windows 7. Does anyone think for one moment that Microsoft would have ever made this offer if it hadn't for the community Linux desktop distributions? I can't imagine it.

Of course, there's nothing 'free' about Microsoft's Windows 7 RC offer. If you own a Vista PC, you already paid for the operating system once. If you're going to buy a new PC for Windows 7, chances are, again, you'll be paying Microsoft for Vista anyway. You may have hated Vista. You may never use Vista, but you almost always end up paying Microsoft $50 to $100 on any new PC. Linux users know all about this Microsoft tax.


To sum up what's happening here, the margins of Windows erode significantly, but this is not enough to warrant Vista 7's place on sub-notebooks because it's just too heavy. This means that Microsoft will continue to compete against GNU/Linux with a $0 (or less) version of Windows. Microsoft is still trying to suffocate GNU/Linux (that how it's used to dealing with competition), but it mostly suffocates itself in this process.

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