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Windows 7 - the gap is closing

Posted 09-19-2009 at 06:52 AM by AGer

When Windows 2000 was out I had poisoned some thread with the observation that the window of opportunity for Linux was closed since MS finally had an OS that worked. Looking at the "Linux desktop" years later, was I correct? Not totally wrong for sure. Now we have Windows 7 and my impression is that the gap between Linux and Windows is closing together with another window of opportunity.

Windows 7 is a new Windows. Trivial, but undervalued. Any change is a great recommended way out of depression (buy a new island - house - car - dress - move furniture). The Windows 7 balance between the low learning curve and great feeling of change is excellent. Things look different, are arranged differently and better, but are still easy to find. No problems like Office 2003 -> 2007 UI redesign.

New task bar mostly compensate for the lack of multiple desktops; arrangement of folders into libraries somewhat compensate for insane file layout, undone links, and primitive file systems.

Windows 7 is not slower than XP, it just favors systems with many cores. Of course, a speedy Linux is still faster, but not dramatically. Windows prefetch has been improved greatly and now Windows is occasionally faster.

New graphics output works great for Windows and the funny XP feature of a movie jumping all over the screen on its own when the player window is dragged is cured. Linux achieves the same at a price of conflicts with composing, so I would say Windows takes the lead here. The Windows media player (DRM aside) is nearly as good as, say, VLC (transmitting abilities aside). However, my personal impression is that MPlayer on Linux still provides the best quality with both very low bit rates and hardware stressing high bit rates.

Windows 7 comes with the latest and greatest IIS 7.5 and, contrary to XP, can be used for Web development out of the box. My guess is that for a casual Web developer ASP.NET is as good as Ruby, so Windows and Linux are on par here.

UAC has been tempered and now unobtrusively provides some false feeling of security. Good for corporate environments and not a show stopper elsewhere.

Thus I conclude that Linux is still better for everyday tasks like Web, or email, or nontrivial data analysis, or that Web development which is not .NET, but the gap has never been so narrow. Before Windows 2000 the Windows vs Linux thing was Unstable vs Working (or, more sincerely, random crashes out of the blue vs predictable crashes when bugs are hit). Before Windows 7 it was Stagnating Standard vs Dynamically Developing Choice. Now only Choice, including customization, is left.

Offtopic: Price is not a compelling reason to switch since the "I use it because I cannot afford anything better" idea cannot be detached from it.

I ask myself: "who cares about choice?" Whatever I answer, my next question to myself is: "if so, why there is that much Linux talk about 'average user'?"
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  1. Old Comment
    good write-up. I, only once and for a brief moment, thought that the day Linux will become desktop OS of choice for John SixPack is around the corner. But the more i looked and learned about OS the less illusions i had.
    Maybe it's for better, maybe not.
    Posted 09-19-2009 at 06:34 PM by DBabo DBabo is offline
  2. Old Comment
    The plug and play has dramatically improved. Even for network devices. If you plug in... say... an HD Homerun device, windows 7 will see it on the network, will offer to install the official HD Homerun software if you click on it, and work with media center...

    However, all I need to do is install MythTV and I'm up and running... well after the database setup, and the configuring thing, and the better numbering of channels thing...

    I think the important thing to realize is that Linux already is a major player in the OS world. Microsoft already considers Linux a threat and is trying to fight it on the 3rd party customer service end. It's also important to not hate any of the OS's. They all have their faults and benefits to different people. Whether it be falsely luring customers into a sense of security by saying there are NO viruses and you never have to worry about spyware, Using DRM and software subscriptions, Only being for corporate use, Or not being commercially developed for.
    Posted 09-24-2009 at 11:50 AM by lumak lumak is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Originally Posted by lumak View Comment
    The plug and play has dramatically improved.
    I noticed that too. I installed Samsung New PC Studio and apparently it installed Vista drivers that were not that good with Windows 7, but Windows downloaded and installed correct drivers. However, I would attribute that mostly to the MS support servers and people who maintain them, not to the OS per se.
    Originally Posted by lumak View Comment
    It's also important to not hate any of the OS's. They all have their faults and benefits to different people.
    That is, hating an OS is actually hating people. Yes, this should not be done, however tempting.
    Posted 09-24-2009 at 02:14 PM by AGer AGer is offline


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