Microsoft Leaves the Door Wide Open for Linux on Netbooks

February 4, 2009 by
Filed under: linux, news, windows 

According to an article on Computerworld, Microsoft plans to offer six different versions of Windows 7. For developed markets, Microsoft will focus marketing efforts on two versions; Windows 7 Home Premium for consumers, and Windows 7 Professional for business customers. The lightest version of the OS will be Windows 7 Starter Edition. It limits users to a maximum of three open applications. This version will be intended for developing markets.

Windows 7 Starter Edition will also be made available to OEM's for installation on netbooks in all markets. This is presumably so that MS can finally end the sales of Windows XP to the netbook makers. I find it hilarious that Microsoft will offer such a limited, pathetic product for the netbook market. This will be a huge opportunity for the Linux community to educate the public about the plethora of free, feature complete Linux distributions available to run on their netbooks.

Another limiting factor for Windows 7 - Microsoft's got a strategy to offer easy OS upgrades from one version to the next. The user would purchase a license online from MS and enter the license key on their computer to unlock the higher version. The key enabler for the easy upgrade is for the full premium to be already installed on the system. The purchased license key will simply unlock the greater feature set for the consumer. This will limit Windows 7's usefulness on the lower spec'd netbooks with only a few gigabytes of disk space. Will 8 GB of flash memory be enough to hold a Window's 7 installation along with the user's files?

Comments

5 Responses to “Microsoft Leaves the Door Wide Open for Linux on Netbooks”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The lightest version of the OS will be Windows 7 Starter Edition. It limits users to a maximum of three open applications. This version will be intended for developing markets.
    ---------------

    You cant run more than 3 programs simultaneously?

    I always have Kopete, Firefox and Amarok open which means if this was Vista7, Id have to close one program to do something else?

    I remember the first time I saw Linux in action (I think it was a 486DX he was using)was a friend who was doing something else while burning a CD back in the days when a screensaver or move of a mouse would screw up the burning process so you had to leave your computer alone while you were burning to be on the safe side. That was the day I received my first Red Hat 6.0 cd.

    Why the heck would I want to go back to those days of doing 1 (or 3) things at a time?

    Right now on my wife's Dell Mini 9 (I chucked the fugly Gnome that Ubuntu came with because my wife said her netbook felt depressing compared to our Mandriva/KDE and Puppy/XCFE desktops), I have Firefox open w/ 5 tabs, Amarok is playing some Flac audio files, Im also IM'ing my folks using Skype to confirm supper plans, I have a file manager open and Im updating some files in the background. Oh yeah, I started some work on a report in OO yesterday and havent gone back to it but its still in my taskbar, ready for me to get motivated again.

    All on a netbook w/ 1GB of ram.

    Multitasking is not a black art.

    And poor people arent morons or invalids. (I just returned from Venezuela and Brazil and have seen first hand how some of the most impoverished kids on the planet easily use the full power of Gnu-Linux)

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think people want a specialized UI for their netbooks and, today, nothing exists so Windows is the next best thing.

    I'm hoping that Moblin, Android, or Ubuntu is the answer.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think this a sensible and practical limit based on Windows 7's limitations - in other words Windows 7 is restricted to 3 applications on a netbook because it hogs too much in terms of resources.

    Although Microsoft has been pushing as something different, the reality is that Windows 7 is in reality nothing more Vista repackaged, with a revised GUI and some tweaks to the scheduler to make it feel more responsive to user actions. It will have the same resource hog and speed issues under the hood as Vista, but is stripped out to keep resource requirements manageable on a netbook. Put back what you stripped out and you have Vista hog running on the netbook.

    I think Microsoft's strategy is right. Initially Windows 7 running on netbooks will be cramped, but give it a couple of years, and the capability of netbooks will increase according to Moore's law and then Windows 7 will run just fine.

  4. sokraates says:

    "This will be a huge opportunity for the Linux community to educate the public about the plethora of free, feature complete Linux distributions available to run on their netbooks."

    The Linux community has been doing that and will continue to do so. However grassroot marketing is slow and I don't expect ISVs do change their current marketing approach.

    So I don't see why people should now flock in great numbers to Linux, when they haven't done so under Vista. Linux' market share will continue to rise, but it will take time, as all good things do.

  5. ubuwalker31 says:

    According to Windows General Manager Mike Ybarra, the reason why there is no netbook version of Windows 7, is that netbooks should be capable of running Windows 7 Ultimate!

    http://blogs.computerworld.com/its_official_microsoft_wont_release_a_netbook_version_of_windows_7

    I think this might be a slight exaggeration, but the fact of the matter is that no matter how much I love Linux, most consumers want Windows installed on their EeePCs and other netbooks.

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