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Erik_FL 06-30-2009 08:48 PM

Why Windows 7 is making me want to switch to Linux
Microsoft's Windows 7 upgrade pricing has proven to me that they do not care one bit about customers. They assume that everyone must buy Windows and will pay whatever they feel like charging.

I'm one of the unlucky suckers who bought Windows Vista Ultimate for my new computer because I wanted 64-bit support. I thought Microsoft would surely put the performance fixes and bug fixes in the next Vista Service Pack. I didn't expect the new Windows 7 "look" or even the new (but mostly useless) features like home groups. I just wanted Microsoft to fix the features that they had already sold me in Vista.

When I discovered that Service Pack 2 didn't fix many of the obvious bugs, and didn't address the performance issues, I assumed that Microsoft would give their Vista users a better upgrade deal than those who had Windows XP (and hadn't shelled out extra for Vista). After all, Windows 7 is mostly a Windows Vista that actually works right. I would have paid something for the few new features even though I probably won't use them.

Now I find out that Microsoft is charging the exact same upgrade price to everyone to upgrade from either XP or Vista. We've already got your money so shell out more if you want Windows 7. On top of that the upgrade price for Vista Ultimate users is $219. The full purchase price of Windows 7 is $319. In essence Microsoft is punishing anyone who paid more for Windows instead of getting it nearly for free as a Home version on a mass marketed computer. The Home Premium upgrade price is $49.99. People who already paid a lot for Windows Vista Ultimate are being charged four times as much to upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate.

Now I'm asking myself, "Why am I using an expensive Windows OS?". The answer is really a few Windows applications that I like, such as mIRC (that works under Wine), Eudora E-Mail (that works under Wine), a few other applications for de-noising audio and burning CDs (that will work in VirtualBox on Linux). The other reason is to be able to configure the security of Windows. Looking at that I somehow feel foolish. I'm actually paying MORE for crucial security features that Microsoft TOOK OUT of the operating system. That was not the case with Windows NT 4.0 and those features were a lot of why I thought it was a good OS. Early versions of NT 4.0 (without service packs) also were not limited in the number of connections and other silly things.

What's the advantage of running Windows in VirtualBox on Linux? I never have to upgrade Windows or my few Windows applications. I have the Windows applications that I want and I can get anything else for Linux instead of Windows. Linux supports new hardware that older versions of Windows won't. The virtual machine solves the hardware support issue very nicely. Incidentally Microsoft does not license Windows for use in a virtual machine probably for that reason. New hardware forces users to buy new Windows versions and that forces users to buy new applications and all that forces users to buy new hardware...

I've been using Slackware for a couple of years now, and I find myself increasingly choosing Linux to boot instead of Windows. Linux does take a little longer to boot, but after that it's so much more responsive than Windows, and so much more configurable than Windows that I prefer Linux. 32-bit Linux even supports my 6GB of RAM on my Core i7 system, making it much more compatible with existing applications than Windows (64-bit).

Microsoft won me with their really great Windows NT 4.0 operating system and NT has only gotten worse since then. Now it's also getting expensive. I was perfectly happy to deal with the extra trouble to get things working on NT 4.0 and I have no problem doing that with Linux. Linux gets more compatible and easier to use with each distro release. Like I used to say about Windows NT 4.0, "It may take a little longer to get what you want running, but after that it will run fast and never fail". Somehow Microsoft has forgotten that the job of an OS is to run programs efficiently and provide a reliable and compatible environment to support that. Everything that I used to love about NT is gone and everything that I used to hate about Unix-like operating systems has been remedied in Linux.

Jeebizz 06-30-2009 09:40 PM

I have never payed 'directly' for any windows versions. Most of the windows I got were either pre-installed or downloaded through the university's MSDN-academic alliance program. That still did not mean that I would download Vista. I have XP Pro (sp2 and sp3), and XP-64. So I have three legally downloaded copies of XP that I'm holding on to.

Other than that, I have forgone Vista and I plan to do the same with the upcoming Windows 7. It looks more like just even more eye candy thats been added, thats all. Hell, even while running XP, I still always use the classic 9x look and feel, and none of the themes, why? Because it works just fine.


Originally Posted by Erik_FL

Microsoft won me with their really great Windows NT 4.0 operating system and NT has only gotten worse since then.
Agreed, even when I had to transition from 2000 to XP, I did not go quietly, but kicking and screaming. I have gotten 'used' to XP, but in all preference I would have rather stayed with 2000. NT4 and 2000 was WindowsNT at its best! Then it went all down hill from there. Sure, XP is still 'usable', but I would have preferred 2000.

GazL 07-01-2009 06:14 AM

According to an article on the BBC in the UK Windows 7 Home Premium will be sold at the discounted price of 79 (that's 131 USD at current exchange rates) upto Dec 31st. After that date, the price roughly doubles to 149.

The Ultimate and Pro discounts are much less generous.

sundialsvcs 07-01-2009 08:23 AM

Well, the problem with the "Home" editions is that they are shot full of security-holes and lacking the necessary software tools to close those holes. So in my mind they are completely unusable.

But... I gave up on Windows quite a long time ago. Apple's OS/X (Unix) system, and Linux, have a security architecture that is :eek: actually turned on by default! :eek: (Will wonders never cease...)

GazL 07-01-2009 09:03 AM


Originally Posted by sundialsvcs (Post 3592923)
Well, the problem with the "Home" editions is that they are shot full of security-holes and lacking the necessary software tools to close those holes. So in my mind they are completely unusable.

Care to expand on that? What's the home version lacking that the others have in regards to security?

corbintechboy 07-01-2009 09:59 AM


Originally Posted by GazL (Post 3592975)
Care to expand on that? What's the home version lacking that the others have in regards to security?

I would like to know as well.

I have purchased every version of Windows since 3.1. I agree that Windows 2000 was the king of Windows.

I run Windows Vista home premium as my everyday OS (until the day my magic jack is supported in Linux), I have yet to have a security issue! I do feel Vista is a little more tedious to manage vs let's say xp.

As of now (knock on wood) I have had no security issues with Vista. Yes it can be very random about various problems, with a little know how not to hard to trace and fix though.

On a side side note, I have seen many people complain about the performance of Vista. I have had no issue related to performance. I would even venture to say Vista runs a bit faster then xp on my box. I also just love the people that complain about the size of an install of Vista, come on, I got 2 500gb drives and have a total of $114 in both drives, do I not have enough room for Vista?

To the OP, I do however agree that the people who have bought Vista should have got a discount (as it seemed MS had to do something b/c the general consensus was not happy).

Erik_FL 07-01-2009 11:41 AM


Originally Posted by GazL (Post 3592975)
Care to expand on that? What's the home version lacking that the others have in regards to security?

What they lack is control and configurability. Essentially Home versions of Windows provide one set of access permissions (assigned to Guest) for ALL network log on sessions. If you want to allow some computers or users on your network to read or write files then you have to grant that permission to ALL network users. Home users are faced with the choice of a secure but inaccessible system or a completely insecure system.

It is very difficult to set local log on (at the keyboard) file permissions for individual users as well. The security permission dialogs are disabled unless on logs on as Administrator in safe mode or uses special software.

The security rights and policies can't be reviewed or changed. One can't know how secure their system is nor change areas that they would like to be more secure. Installing a Microsoft service pack or update may change those settings but Home users have no way to easily tell that.

Home users often buy their Windows pre-installed by OEMs. The OEMs such as Acer may not give customers a Windows Setup CD that can repair Windows. Often customers get a "restore" CD (or create one) that can only erase everything and reinstall Windows. Aside from the problem of repairing Windows, there is no way to totally remove bundled software such as messengers and "tune up" utilities that might affect security settings.

Home versions also lack convenience for security. Home versions will not save network log on information for other computers and a user name and password to access some other computer must be entered again after each log on. That encourages users to create short or blank passwords that are much easier to hack.

Home versions lack security in the form of ability to back up Windows system files. System Restore is not the same as backup, again mostly due to a lack of choices for users. Microsoft used to provide a full system backup utility (even for Home versions). Admittedly a lot of OEMs did not give home users that backup utility but it was part of the "standard" Windows Setup CD for Home versions.

Microsoft did not add OS features to Home versions of Windows to make the "Professional" versions. They removed OS features from the "Professional" versions to make Home versions. I'm not talking about non-os applications like web browsers and media players here. I'm talking about integral parts of the operating system. How Microsoft got away with that is by blurring the line between the operating system and bundled software. That has always been a marketing tactic by Microsoft because it hides the incestuous relationship between Microsoft applications and Windows. In essence one is forced to take all or nothing when it comes to Windows and Microsoft applications. That tends to make people use Microsoft applications and Microsoft can charge more for an OS because they include more "features".

I was perfectly happy when an OS was just an OS, and the few included utilities were there to support configuring the OS and file maintenance. I don't even consider a web browser or media player part of an OS. A system backup utility IS and that's one of the things Microsoft doesn't give to Home users.

b0uncer 07-01-2009 02:08 PM

I always found it funny that an operating system (referring to the various GNU/Linux variants) that comes with tons of incredible stuff (as in applications, not green leaves or anything) installed out-of-the-box doesn't necessarily cost a cent, compared to the treasure chest you need to hand over to get Windows, MS Paint and Windows Media Player. Even better one is that OS X, which by my standars smells more expensive, coming from Apple and all, costs notably less than Windows at the same store. Crazy country, crazy store or simply crazy Microsoft.

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