I want to make a slight digression from building our new computer system to take a closer look at Windows 7 which is due out on Thursday, Oct. 22nd. I find it curious that the next release of Ubuntu, 9.10, is due out on Oct. 29th one week later. Is Microsoft starting to get a little worried about Ubuntu? My thought is they should be.
To review Window 7. I looked at their features page. So here's why you should spend money to upgrade from Vista, or if you were smart and our still running XP, from XP. This is taken right from their Windows 7 feature page.
Windows 7 takes the headache out of sharing files and printers. I thought your printer software took care of setting up a network printer. My recent Cannon MX850 software went in smoothly with a couple of mouse clicks, since you have to install a printer driver from the printer manufacturer, what is Microsoft possibly adding to the mix here.
Speedy access to your favorite picture and documents. Ah, didn't Microsoft include this with XP. Hello, what's new?
Snap a quick and fun way to re-size and compare windows on your desktop. Wow! Windows finally figured out how to split a screen. I have to admit this has been a pain when copying files between folders in explorer, I can't think when else I have needed this feature. Microsoft says it will be fun though. I wonder if my 9 year old boy will think so?
Windows Live Essentials. 7 great programs for free: Mail, Movie Maker, Photo Gallery, and more...I believe you can have any one of these programs for free anyway. I'm thinking of Thunderbird for email.
Windows Search. We'll finally we come to something that's worthwhile. It's taken Microsoft how many years to finally figure out they need a better search engine then the one they've been using. Microsoft searches have always been slow and just plain awful. So much so that I went to third party search utilities to do the same thing. This is an improvement, and maybe worth the upgrade price.
Window Taskbar, better thumbnail previews. Another area that Microsoft has been lame is allowing users to decide how to customize the taskbar. What their pushing is easier-to-see icons and previews. That's questionable. More ways to customize is an improvement, I think.
Full 64bit support. It looks like Microsoft is taking us into 64 bits. We have the processors available, but until Microsoft supported it, application developers would not embrace it. This is a good thing, but it will not affect your running of Windows 7 at home, it is more a gift to developers.
Remote Media Streaming. So your going to log onto your home computer, which of course needs to be running, and listen to a song....why not just dial up Pandora?
Window 7 Touch...ah, I don't know about you, but I don't want to touch my monitor and leave fingerprints on the display, that I constantly have to clean off the monitor. I have to be convinced on this one. Maybe...
You can run XP programs in compatibility mode...ah, pardon me. We've been able to do this since Windows 95. This just means Microsoft has added XP to the list of old operating systems to be compatible with, so they can retire XP and get more revenue, to force users to upgrade their operating system. They're trying to force users off of XP any way they can.
So to sum up. This is typical Microsoft puffery marketing. Telling you about features that you really all ready have in a new light. My kids can't stand their TV ads. The big thing in this release is improved search, which is really a rework of the Vista search, and for the future full support of 64 bit, but as I said this should not be important in your use of the computer at home or work for awhile.
In the future, it will mean Microsoft will sell you the 64 bit version of all their applications. After all, you always need something new to sell consumers to keep that revenue stream going. They'll claim faster performance and quicker applications, you'll see.
Windows 7 is just the next release of their operating system, just like a week later Ubuntu is releasing their next release of their operating system. Only Ubuntu is free, and you do not have onerous registration licensing with Ubuntu.