Windows 7: I couldn’t care less

by Mathew on May 27, 2008 · 11 comments

So some “top secret” screenshots have been making the rounds of various gadget blogs, purporting to be leaked demos of Windows 7 — except they probably aren’t, according to some. And tonight at the All Things D conference (which I kind of wish I had been able to go to) Bill Gates and Steve “Monkeyboy” Ballmer will be showing some highlights of the new operating system. A writer at Ars Technica says he is “pumped” about this news. Personally, I couldn’t care less. Vista was effectively a non-existent event for me, and Windows 7 isn’t likely to change that.

I’m not one of those Mac fanboys you see around the blogosphere, mind you. I like the Mac interface a lot, and I would happily use a Macbook Pro if someone wanted to donate one, but at the moment I’m using a bog-standard black box that I bought for $350 at a local computer outlet. It doesn’t run Windows though — it’s running Ubuntu with the KDE desktop, which provides all kinds of icons and toolbars and touchy-feely GUI stuff that Windows users (and Mac users) like. I switched to Ubuntu about a year ago and haven’t looked back.

I still have a Windows machine on my desk as well, but I’m running XP. Why? The same reason I suggest to all of my friends that they do the same: there simply isn’t any compelling reason to switch to Vista, period. When I moved to XP it made a lot of sense — there was multi-user switching (great if you have a family) and better networking support. Vista, as far as I can tell, has a bunch of eye-candy interface stuff that does absolutely nothing apart from hogging a lot of RAM. I use the Windows machine for things that I can only do on Windows, and that’s mostly work-related (Outlook, etc.).

But doesn’t Ubuntu take a lot of fiddling? Sometimes. I’ve had to look some things up on the Internet to figure them out. But then, I had to do that with Windows too (and with a Mac, to be honest). And Ubuntu has come a long, long way from the earlier versions of Linux I played around with — it is almost plug-and-play with just about everything, including printers, wireless, cameras and USB devices (although it’s not so good with webcams). And it handles my iPod better than a Windows machine with iTunes ever did. Windows is now like that crazy old uncle I tolerate, but don’t really pay much attention to.

  • http://www.winextra.com StevenHodson

    While I do have high hopes for Windows 7 much of what was written today about it wasn't much than hot air as a prelim to the Gates Good-bye Tour. As I said in my post – a whole lotta nothin but supposition.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    I guess it shows that it's not just Apple — geeks can still get
    excited by Windows too :-)

  • http://friendfeed.com/robitaille robitaille

    I run a mix of Windows XP, MacOS, and Ubuntu between my laptop and desktop computers. But I have to say Ubuntu is the one I'm most confortable with for day to day stuff, with OSX a close 2nd.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    I have to agree. It's fast, and stable — and it's also got more apps
    and software and user-customization features than you can shake a
    stick at. Macs are easy to use, but they are very difficult to
    customize beyond a few small details (or at least so I've found),
    whereas Ubuntu is almost infinitely customizable.

  • http://www.wholemap.com/blog seemsArtless

    I too use Windows mostly for work, but whenever I switch over to my Ubuntu instance on VMware I wonder why I don't stay there permanently. For me the big difference is how totally simple it is to install new applications in Ubuntu. It's almost time to replace my older XP machine in the house and there's no way I'm buying Windows, my six year old will be growing up with Linux.

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    That was one of the things that impressed me as well — not just the
    amount of software available, all of it free, but how painless it is
    to install. If you can think of a program you need, searching Adept
    will turn up about fifteen different solutions, and clicking once
    installs the ones you want. Even if you download one from the Web, if
    it's a Debian file then you can right-click it and install it
    instantly — a lot easier than Linux installs used to be.

  • http://www.wholemap.com/blog seemsArtless

    I lost interest in the screen-caps after the first 2 or 3, then gave your posting some more thought, and realized that Windows doesn't seem RELEVANT anymore. They may be pushing the envelope in some ways, but like you said, I just don't care. I spend at least 90% of my time in FireFox it seems, so that is relevant to me (crazy that my web browser has an excellent FTP client, and a great SQL Lite database manager, too). I guess if I played games my view might be slightly different, but I'd likely be sweating with the Wii now anyway…

  • http://blog.clutterme.com Mark

    You know I'm just waiting for Apple to release a version of their OS which introduces a right mouse button, takes out the apple key and closes applications the same way Windows does. These were my main 'oh man' after I bought my MBP that took some time to get used to. Other than that, I'm happy about the subculture and reliability the joining a MAC comes with. It seems like other MAC users go the extra step to help you out with technical problems and the software available for MAC is on par if not better than Windows software. (I love the iLife series personally).

    Hopefully, perhaps when some patents reach their 20 year mark, we can see MAC making some concessions to make the MS to Apple transition a bit smoother.

    Anyways, that said. Excellent and succinct post.

  • http://duffsdevice.blogspot.com ryansv

    Welcome to the club! I got to install Ubuntu on my Mom's laptop last week, and even she found it fairly easy to use. I ran into some problems getting flash working on one specific site (pogo.com) for her, and due to that she wanted to switch back to Windows XP :(

  • scout

    Heh, i could not care less either about someone running ubuntu

    at least if you want to say that you are running it, don't bash other OS. I hate those kind of people…

  • gargouri2001

    I just saw this comparison between windows Xp and windows 7 (windows 7 vs windows xp performance benchmark) , look like the new windows has a better memory bandwidth and faster processor cache .
    Too bad the HDD and 3 D performance was worse than in windows Xp , I hope that as the writer wrote that those issues will be fixed with new driver .
    Note also the memory usage under windows 7 is also a lot lower than under windows vista the number of process was also reduced to 35 only . I hope that microsoft will come finally with some good OS .

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