Windows optimize

10 reasons Windows 7 will rule the desktop OS space

In the battle for desktop OS supremacy, both Linux and Mac OS proponents say their platforms are gaining ground. See why Deb Shinder thinks Windows 7 has nothing to worry about.

In the battle for desktop OS supremacy, both Linux and Mac OS proponents say their platforms are gaining ground. See why Deb Shinder thinks Windows 7 has nothing to worry about.


There has been much hype over the last few years about Linux and Mac gaining market share, and even though their numbers are still small (both in single digits), some have gone so far as to predict that Windows is in danger and that Linux will "triumph over Windows" or that Mac OS is "set to become the dominant operating system in the world."

The perceived failure of Windows Vista -- whose death was greatly exaggerated by a series of clever but not entirely accurate Apple commercials -- only added fuel to the fire. Based on some of the headlines, you would have thought that individuals and companies were abandoning Microsoft in droves and flocking to the alternative operating systems. The impressive sales of the original EeePC and other Linux-based netbooks seemed to support that contention. Then, vendors started making netbooks that run Windows XP and the reports started coming in that Linux netbooks were being returned at a rate four times that of their Windows-based counterparts.

As of October 2009, according to Net Applications, Windows still had more than 92% of the total OS market share but Windows 7 only made up 4%. On the other hand, Windows 7 achieved that number only two weeks after being released; it took Vista seven months to reach 4%. Linux is nowhere near that figure (at around 1%), and Mac is only slightly higher (5.27%).)

So how will it all play out now that Windows 7 is in the game? Here are 10 reasons I believe Microsoft's new OS will rule the desktop operating system space just as XP does now.

Note: This article is also available as a PDF download.

1: XP users are (finally) ready for something new

Windows XP currently holds more than 70% of the OS market share, according to Net Applications. But XP was released in 2001, and despite three service packs, it's getting a bit long in the tooth. Although service packs have added features as well as fixes, XP still lacks many of the usability features that were added to Vista and Windows 7.

Of more concern, especially to businesses, XP lacks many of the security mechanisms that are built into Vista and Windows 7, such as UAC, protected mode IE, BitLocker encryption (some editions), system services that are more isolated and run with fewer privileges, a new TCP/IP stack with better authentication and encryption, Address Space Layout Randomization, and more.

Even many XP diehards are beginning to yearn for something new, and companies that want to take advantage of enterprise technologies such as DirectAccess and AppLocker will need to upgrade.

2: It's (usually) an easy upgrade from Vista

For those who are already running Vista SP1 or above, an in-place upgrade to Windows 7 is quick and easy on most computers. (However, note that there have been reports among a small number of users of an "endless reboot loop" problem with Vista-to-Win7 upgrades.)

Nonetheless, I have upgraded a number of adesktops and laptops from Vista to Windows 7 with no problems, and the vast majority of my readers have reported the same experience. Unlike with in-place upgrades with past operating systems, I have seen no performance or stability problems in the upgraded systems.

3: It's better, but not too different

Moving to any new OS always involves a learning curve. Some people love discovering new features and learning new ways of doing things. Others hate change, even when it's good change. In general, computer users just want to be able to get their work done. Most are used to the way things are done in Windows, and the basics are still there in Windows 7. Switching to an entirely different platform, such as Linux or Mac, takes much more getting used to.

It's certainly true that the graphical user interfaces for Linux have gotten better over the years, but computer users coming from a Windows environment will still find some challenges awaiting them there. The terminology is different -- you have a root account instead of administrator. The file system is different -- you have mysterious locations such as /dev for your peripherals (mouse, keyboard, monitor), /bin for binary (executable) files, and /etc for editable text configuration files. An application's files are spread out on your hard drive in different directories, not installed in their own separate subdirectories as they are in Windows. Installing a program may or may not involve having to compile the source code or create your own installation package. In addition to getting used to a new OS, in many cases you'll have to get used to new applications, too, since many Windows apps don't have Linux versions.

The Mac OS is a little more intuitive, but if you're coming from Windows, it's still a bit like entering a foreign country. There are none of the installation and setup problems you might experience with Linux, since OS X runs only on Apple hardware. However, you'll find that things are "arranged" differently. For instance, a program's menus appear at the top of the screen, rather than in the program's own window as they do in Windows. Once again, many of the productivity programs you're used to using won't run on the Mac, so you'll need new ones and, unlike with Linux, most of them are not free.

Windows 7 has a new, sleeker look and a number of new features, but it still retains the Windows feel. It generally takes XP users much less time to get to know the OS than when switching to a Linux or Mac platform.

4: Hardware requirements are reasonable

Many computer users were unhappy with the increased hardware requirements of Windows Vista. Those with older XP machines often found that their systems wouldn't support the new operating system. That led some to switch to Linux, which would run on less powerful computers.

By almost all accounts, Windows 7 runs much better on old or low cost machines than Vista did. Many users have been able to install and run Windows 7 on computers that would not run Vista satisfactorily, if at all. Fewer users will be forced to buy new hardware to upgrade to Windows 7, which might mean fewer will be moving to Linux to get a new OS without upgrading the hardware.

Of course, the Mac OS can't be installed on non-Apple hardware, so moving from XP or Vista to a Mac necessitates buying new hardware, regardless of how powerful your current system might be.

5: Most computer users aren't geeks

Geeks love the challenge of getting the hardware and software to work, and they don't mind spending hours or days experimenting with configuration settings or swapping out cards. Linux is the perfect OS for geeks -- but most computer users aren't geeks. They care about the task, not the technology. They just want to be able to get their work done or play their game without worrying about hunting down the right drivers or compiling code themselves.

When a geek is told to "Just extract the tarball and use flex or bison to compile the app," hey, no problem. When typical home or office computer users encounter those words, they blink in confusion or cower in fear. Sure, new distros of Linux are easier to use than ever, but they still aren't as easy to use as Windows -- especially when you factor in the familiarity aspect.

6: Most computer users don't care about "cool"

For some folks, it's all about being cool. And Apple products are undeniably cool, from the super thin Macbook Air to the charming Mini to the sleek and sexy iPhone. The goal is to be on the cutting edge, to own what's "in" (remember Cabbage Patch Kids?). Form takes precedence over functionality. It's also about elitism: being able to afford the "very best." Those people naturally gravitate to high priced, showy Macs.

However, the majority of computer users don't use their computers to make a fashion statement; they use them to run applications... which brings us to the next point.

7: There are a lot of apps for that

No matter how nice those Macs look, they don't run all the applications that many users need. Apple brags that one of the reasons to choose an iPhone is the fact that there are more apps available for it than for some other mobile phone operating systems. Well, that same principle applies when choosing a desktop OS -- but in that case, Windows wins hands-down. There are more programs. Even more important, more of the programs that function as the de facto standard for a particular purpose (such as the Microsoft Office programs) are made for Windows. Yes, there's Office for Mac, too, but it doesn't have all the features and functionality of its Windows counterpart.

The same goes for Linux. There are substitutes available, such as Open Office instead of Office, or GIMP instead of PhotoShop, but it's just not the same. Even though these alternatives may be free, most people who rely on their applications for important work prefer the commercial versions (which run on Windows).

Mac and Linux fans will quickly point out that you can always use Parallels or Wine to run Windows apps in a virtualized environment. But the fact that those options are so popular just reinforces the argument that Windows has the best apps.

8: You get more -- and less

Windows 7 gives you more new features, while at the same time providing a leaner and meaner OS. You no longer have to install a third-party application to get handy little functionalities like Sticky Notes, and Windows 7 adds major improvements to the interface, such as multi-touch support. You also get more keyboard shortcuts to speed up input, as well as the ability to encrypt removable drives with BitLocker to Go, better support for solid state drives, and virtual hard disks. Windows 7 has built-in biometric support, and Windows Media Center now comes with the Pro edition (but can easily be blocked via Group Policy in the business environment). Standard built-in apps such as Paint, Wordpad, and Calculator have been made more feature-rich so that you can do much more with them.

Yet all of these additions don't make Windows 7 a more bloated operating system. Microsoft also cut out many of the apps that were built into previous operating systems, but which many users never used. The email client (Windows Mail), more sophisticated Photo Editor (Windows Photo Gallery), Contacts, and Calendar programs are no longer installed with the OS. Yet for those who want them, all of those programs are still available as free downloads from the Microsoft Windows Live Web site.

9: The price is (generally) right

Sure, there have been many complaints that Windows 7 costs too much. But Microsoft actually dropped the price of the Home Premium edition, in comparison with the same edition of Vista, and it kept the prices the same for other editions. The list price for the full version of Windows 7 Professional is the same as for Windows XP ($299.99).

Although the full version prices may sound a tad high ($199.99 for Home Premium, $299.99 for Pro, and $319.99 for Ultimate), the vast majority of people will already have a qualifying Microsoft operating system. So they'll pay the upgrade price ($119.99 for Home Premium, $199.99 for Pro, and $219.99 for Ultimate) or buy a new computer with Windows 7 preinstalled (with drastically discounted OEM pricing).

A number of discount programs are also available, such as the student discount (one copy of Home Premium or Pro for $29.99 for students enrolled in colleges and universities) and the family pack discount (three Home Premium upgrade licenses for $149.99).

10: Businesses care about the bottom line

Speaking of price, what it all comes down to in the business world is the bottom line. Companies compare total cost of ownership of different software options, not just the initial price point. That includes support costs, hardware costs, training costs, and productivity impact. And the majority of businesses, after doing such an analysis, choose to stick with Windows.


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About

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, MCSE, MVP is a technology consultant, trainer, and writer who has authored a number of books on computer operating systems, networking, and security. Deb is a tech editor, developmental editor, and contributor to over 20 add...

45 comments
ChemicalAngel
ChemicalAngel

This thing is that Microsoft rules the desktop OS, which is the fact, but why? This is because when people migrate to XP there was no real alternative to XP. The *nix desktop is becoming good in past 2 or 3 years that can treat Windows GUI in easy of use. Microsoft is de-facto choice for people who playing games, because a lot of them are made explosively with DX, not OpenGL. And in this position Microsoft, choose to f*ck up with people and to impose that if you switch to Win7 you have to buy new hardware. So that's why people choose different OS, if they can, and people and businesses wait for the last hour, to switch to Win7 or not to change at all. That is can not be done by any serious company that is carrying for customers, they care just about profit, so if you can to switch to other OS with is free, and very easy to upgrade do it. I read about that there are security improvements in Windows7. Windows and security ridicules to say, because we all know how many viruses are there for Windows OS, and there are many viruses that can infect Windows from version 3.1 to XP. So don?t tell about Windows and security it does make sence.

vmsrosa
vmsrosa

I believe that, like me, many folks still play games in PC's, despite the console boom in the last years. This is the reason that prevents me (despite being an IT professional and, to a certain extent, a 'geek') from moving from the windows platform to another one (for me it would be some linux distro)

gelgin2k
gelgin2k

MS rules the desktop for a number of reasons. These include superior applications, an aggressive legal team, and a monopolistic mindset backed by a solid political action committee. I?ve made extensive use of Open Office and MS Office. I can state with comfort that any particular task that needs to be performed in an MS office application can be completed using Open Office. The difference is in the time to complete that task. For most traditional documents, i.e. letters memos etc. OOO writer keeps up though it?s slightly more sluggish over all. The big time difference for Writer might be addressable through good training. However as you move to Calc vs. Excel, the difference can become dramatic. Some tasks were easier in Calc but in general most activities were fluid in Excel vs. Calc. I?ll beg off of a comparison between the databases as I have little experience in either. The largest time difference for me was between Visio and Draw. I spend a significant amount of time drawing network diagrams. In Visio I spend 10-15% of the time required to do similar work in Draw. Draw is clumsy and awkward by comparison. I can diagram a network in Draw so it is an alternative, but it is simply not as fluid and requires a much longer time investment. In all cases, the time to complete a given task was longer. Now project the time lost over a year of productivity. What was the real cost for using OOO versus MS Office? How many of you remember STAC compression? MS simply sued them out of existence. I?m sure there are other examples but ultimately MS was and is a ruthless competitor using all avenues at its disposal to ensure they maintain a strong monopoly. They use their legal team very effectively MS has a PAC just like every other major company, if you think your elected officials provide you anything more than lip service you are sadly mistaken. When I was at a large Telco we were relentlessly encouraged to be PAC contributors. If you think those PACs are democratic or republican think again, they are paying off all potential candidates to ensure they have the right to call upon them when they make it to office. In my humble opinion it was the effectiveness of the MS PAC that ensured the DoJ came up short of any real anti-trust actions against Microsoft. Can a regular user use Linux and the associated free application alternatives? Absolutely! However, if you are making money using an application as a tool you will gravitate to the applications that allow you to get more done in less time. The applications are what is driving the use of MS operating systems. It?s not the inherent technology of the operating system. Until the open source alternatives provide a similar efficiency, they will not have the steam to displace MS apps. The author is mistaken about the difficulties associated with Linux versus Win 7. The ONLY valid point is that the populace is generally more comfortable using Windows. If you provide a minimal amount of training on Linux, users will be able to use Linux comfortably. I think we are stuck with MS Dominance of the desktop, but by and large for different reasons than sited above?

Jasonology
Jasonology

Debra Shinder is obviously a Windows fanboi as much as I used to be a mac fanboi. Come on fellow mac fanbois, of which few read techrepublic because it is so windows-centric, rally behind me and agree that it appears that this article is biased in favour of MS. "It generally takes XP users much less time to get to know the OS"- would be good to see the reference for this study. Also where is the pricing comparison with Snow Leopard and RedHat? I only see MS pricing.

lastchip
lastchip

plenty of FUD incorporated into this article. "Then, vendors started making netbooks that run Windows XP and the reports started coming in that Linux netbooks were being returned at a rate four times that of their Windows-based counterparts." From which source? My understanding is, Dell (for example) stated the return rate was no different for Windows or Linux machines. "Most are used to the way things are done in Windows, and the basics are still there in Windows 7. Switching to an entirely different platform, such as Linux or Mac, takes much more getting used to." Untrue. Windows 7 is miles apart from XP (not so much from Vista), but the fact remains, most will be looking to move from XP. Unless you're a gamer, you may as well change to Linux, as the learning curve will not be significantly harder and the advantages (not to mention the costs) are significant. "Sure, new distros of Linux are easier to use than ever, but they still aren?t as easy to use as Windows ? especially when you factor in the familiarity aspect." Oh really? I would argue Linux is easier than Windows. "When a geek is told to ?Just extract the tarball and use flex or bison to compile the app,? hey, no problem. When typical home or office computer users encounter those words, they blink in confusion or cower in fear. Sure, new distros of Linux are easier to use than ever, but they still aren?t as easy to use as Windows ? especially when you factor in the familiarity aspect." This is beyond belief! Modern Linux distros require you to go to the package manager and click once to mark for installation, and a second click to install. Thousands of free applications from one source. How easy do you want it to get? "Mac and Linux fans will quickly point out that you can always use Parallels or Wine to run Windows apps in a virtualized environment. But the fact that those options are so popular just reinforces the argument that Windows has the best apps." So why does Windows 7 need a virtual machine then, to run legacy XP applications? "The price is (generally) right" Not compared to Linux and when you are talking about an operating system costing almost as much as entry level hardware, one has to question its value. "Businesses care about the bottom line" No doubt about that, but they're not changing because of your assumptions. It's simply they've allowed themselves to become locked into Microsoft and for many, it would be very expensive to extract themselves from that situation. In reality, there are many millions of Windows users around the world happy using Windows (and good luck to them), but with Windows goes all the paraphernalia of managing the system - anti-virus, anti-malware, registry issues, defragging and all the rest of it. By all means, be happy with Windows, but don't try and justify your preference, with false allegations.

1bn0
1bn0

Windows will stay the major player becasue change on the dekstop will never move that far that fast. As for your reasons: 1: XP users are (finally) ready for something new: Windows XP currently holds more than 70% of the OS market share, Because XP does what they want. Nothing more and nothing less. 2: It?s (usually) an easy upgrade from Vista This is a moot point as most users (70% remember) don't have an upgrade path. 1/3 of our company desktops are "Vista Business with XP downgrade" The will never see Vista. I ordered a "Windows 7 with XP downgrade" just lack week for an outside customer. They don't want a change they just want to replace the current computer that doesn't work with one that does. As far as the OS was concerend they DID NOT want any change of the user experince on the coputer. 3: It?s better, but not too different Not too different? Are you paying any attention to what you have been saying. Again 70% of users are using XP (you do remember the 70 %?). Windows 7 is a BIG change. 4: Hardware requirements are reasonable Hardware requirements are another moot point. A lot of the existing XP installations are running on "Vista Ready" hardware. They were supposed to be Vista machinesbut the users paid extra to get them with XP. Yes WIndows 7 runs better on XP hardware. It runs better on Vista hardaware as well. 5: Most computer users aren?t geeks This has nothing to do with any attractive feature of Windows but merely coplains about a limiting experince with Linux. 6: Most computer users don?t care about ?cool? "However, the majority of computer users don?t use their computers to make a fashion statement; they use them to run applications? which brings us to the next point." Yes you've got that right. And as most of their apps run on Windows they will stick cwith Windows. Technically correct but no significant impact on moving users to a newer version of Windows either. 7: There are a lot of apps for that Red Herring. Again , not an inherent "feature" of Windows just a fact. 8: You get more ? and less Absoultely not. See 8: 9: The price is (generally) right The price is WRONG!!!!!!!! Repeat it! The price is WRONG!!!!!!!! This is why so many people pirate Windows. The price of computer harware is drastically less then it used to be . The increase in hardware capability makes the diference in value even more dramatic. When you look at the cost of a retail copy of Windows as a percentage of the cost of a build your own system, it is no wonder people pirate Windows. The monopoly deal with oem's is nothin gmore than a conspiracy to sell more OEM coputers and to make sure those computers have Windows installed rather than another OS. And you don't get more for less. Look at your own price reference. If want more you have to pay more. A lot more! 10: Businesses care about the bottom line There is no cost analysis. Most business have already invested too much in Windows to change. Not just in the OS or applications but in the infrastructure surrounding the technnology. Thats more expensive to change than the technology.

WebWatcher
WebWatcher

... or was it a happy accident? The post has very little to do with Windows 7 and much to do with deriding alternatives. If you want to traverse the line between OS and Apps, tell me what is good about proprietary formats vs open alternatives. If you want to tell me about performance, compatibility, UX, or security, please cite some benchmarks. I would have expected something better than this.

Craig_B
Craig_B

Simple, Windows 7 just works. OS Install/Upgrade is simple and easy. It runs on lower end HW than Vista. It's more secure than previous versions. It finds and installs most device drivers (some older ones it may not) x86 and x64. The built in search, jump lists, areo peek, etc. make it easier to use. Many, many apps, most are easy to install and use. Linux is free and solid but hard to use. Mac is a specialized OS that doesn't really want to become mainstream.

foringmar
foringmar

Well, I read a report stating that 31% of upgraders had some sort of problem. Based on 100000 interviewed users. That means 31000 people run in to some sort of trouble. That's a alarmingly big portion of users.

gak
gak

Microsoft just started to deliver. The UAC is compromised by silent elevation for system libraries and protects only against human error, not a hacker attack. The work on the true Linux-style kernel, being the first step to modularity, is almost done, but not fully completed yet. The key UI problems, like windows appearing in illogical z-order or the existence of modal dialogs are not solved, many Linux window managers still have usability features Windows lacks. .NET just started to get credibility with actions like Visual Studio 2010 interface moved to WPF or rapid Silverlight improvement. Windows 7 is just a step in the right direction, but this is enough to make it much better than both XP and Vista. The price is not right but ridiculous. Upgrade and OEM users may be hit by insane monopolistic policies if they upgrade the hardware. Full retail licenses look OK, but the price easily rises the cost of a new PC 50%, or 100% for those with a monitor. Microsoft understands that and does exactly nothing to prevent activation of pirated Windows 7. Windows 7 delivers much better prefetch and the new video mode can be actually seen, but the latter I guess is inherited from Vista. These are reasons 11 and, possibly, 12. I guess Windows will rule the desktop because Mac OS will not due to the reasons described in the article and Linux will not since it does not allow developers to deliver directly to users. It does not matter how good or bad Windows is since even Vista did make Linux much more popular. I believe there is huge dissatisfaction with Windows and the popularity of Java demonstrates it perfectly. Once again, recent .NET stuff gives hope it will be remedied. So, I guess the better title for the article is "10 reasons why Windows 7 is the best Windows ever". And it, beyond any douubt, is.

storm14k
storm14k

...shows that Windows has something to worry about. You don't waste time talking about something that makes no difference. In fact ever since I switched to Linux I've been amazed at the number of downplaying articles just like this being written to downplay something that the very articles claim to have no foothold whatsoever, I mean seriously why bother talking about something that only has 1% market share. I mean the majority of the people reading this article shouldn't evem know what you're talking about right? The truth is that Windows will dominate for 1 reason and that's because it already dominates. As usual any reason given beyond that such as the ones given here is nothing but a joke. They all amount to useless crap or Windows playing catchup to something Linux already had. I use the two side by side day in and day out and the thought of paying for the second this rate product is always funny. Then you have the nuts that swear you can't do this or that in the face of folk doing it everyday which is hilarious. Then they'll claim it requires some command line magic when we all know it doesn't. Just give iit up folks. Linux adoption will continue to rise whether you like it or not.

PoppaTab
PoppaTab

Deb Shinder has the nail hit on the head. My own experience also shows that all those distros of the *nix OS have very good points. Even showing folks Ubuntu that works for most I am told they don't want to learn another OS. Pure and simple; folks want to use what they have been using all along. They are familiar Windows and want to keep the OS. Most of the folks I have launched into the new OS environment were very ready to get a newer Operating System and be done with XP. A few folks whimpered, but had to go along with what the boss wanted. IMO, Win 7 is poised to be a big success with consumers and business environments. Large businesses have more at stake, but the smaller 5-30 seat business have many new opportunities these days. The OS is just one item on the list of many. I believe it is past time for the better OS to be run.

kraterz
kraterz

In my organization, we care about cost, productivity, training and maintenance. Almost all work is done on XP machines as we don't see any need to upgrade hardware or software. Things work, we're not touching them. We don't see ourselves "upgrading to Win7" just because it's there. Not now, at least for the next several years or till our hardware starts dying.

SKDTech
SKDTech

I agree with your article. Speaking from personal experience I have considered and offered Ubuntu to some members of my family and friends who use a PC only for web access and email, did not work for them. XP is what they are used to and they have no wish to learn the idiosyncrasies of a completely different OS. I have Ubuntu in a dual-boot configuration on both of my personal PCs with Vista but find I spend far more time in Windows due to certain apps not having an adequate alternative in Linux for me.

Tomek84
Tomek84

For intelligent customers for home use *nux (Linux/Unix) operating system with Open Office instead of Microsoft Office etc. has one major advantage - price. To browse web, use email, IM, write document, spreadsheet it's free and all you need. I've heard *nix has problems with games - there are not many if at all, and running them in i.e. Wine not always is easy and trouble-free. I don't use games, so it isn't a problem for me. Most of the points in the article could be very easily undermined. The question is if a person wants something which they are used to, or the best solution for them.

trevorhughes
trevorhughes

Linux has its own application for doing networks. I used to use dia as a student and I found it pretty good. I agree that visio is preferable to OO draw but found little to choose between visio and dia at least in the first versions. Interested in your opinions.

aandruli
aandruli

Linux has only 1% of the market???? We're seeing lots of government owned units running Linux coming through our lab -- a whole lot more than 1% of what we work on. I am thinking that statistic is for "shipped with" units and the overwhelming majority of Linux machines had Linux installed after the purchase, so that number is wrong. I would have to say that in reality Linux is about 10% and gaining because business workers DON'T KNOW HOW TO INSTALL GAMES/CRAP ETC. This makes it a big, big plus --not a minus-- for businesses and you will continue to see Linux grow in the business environment.

selliott80919
selliott80919

I haven't seen that report. I haven't done 100,000 installs, but our business has done 7 or 8 at this point with zero issues. If that stat is accurate, we should have expected to have 2 of them fail for some reason or another.

lastchip
lastchip

If Linux is a non-event, why write about it? Personally, I'm continuing to change Windows users to Linux (specifically Linux Mint), when it makes sense to do so, and I've not had one complaint! I normally schedule about an hour with each client after installation to go through the basics, do a follow up phone call after a month and then hear nothing more from them. Linux (within certain limitations) does just work and that's what the Windows crowd fear most.

tracy.walters
tracy.walters

I'm sorry, but I get really tired of the 'any app you run in Windows can be found in Linux' crowd. My company runs several apps for the accounting and audit world that there is NO counterpart for in Linux. My previous employers (distribution and manufacturing) had apps in Windows and AS/400, but NO equivalent in Linux...and I did a lot of research...there were some half hearted attempts, but they were woefully short of hitting the mark. Linux will NEVER play in the corporate world until apps get built for it...and it won't play for the home user until they can buy it pre installed, it just works, and they can get support from someone cheaply and quickly. Average users are terrified of going with Linux...with good reason, it has a lot of different commands and a different interface .... they have no clue how to use any of them, and don't want to know. They just want to access email, browse the Internet, edit word processor and spreadsheet docs, and run their tax software. Linux doesn't make that easy...easy is the key for average user. Linux doesn't have the apps needed to support the corporate world...apps are the key for the corporate world. It's that simple.

Darren B - KC
Darren B - KC

Adopted by who? The only thing this article presents are pure facts, and here's another one. The number of college graduates who actually enter the technical job market has been declining steadily for a number of consecutive years now. In other words, there are fewer and fewer geeks out there who give a damn about Linux. As the article states, as a fact, the majority of computer users (read that again... COMPUTER users, not WINDOWS users) will not be interested in using Linux for a host of reasons. Without the geeks, Linux has no hope of gaining a notable amount of the market share.

wesley.chin
wesley.chin

or else when MS stops patching XP. or when virus writers start making unpatched XP machines their favorite targets. Of course there is always virtualization to fall back on.

speculatrix
speculatrix

Scenario: you're the head of IT at a significant business and have a staff of 15 people to run servers, maintain desktops and keep users happy. At any time they're visiting staff to do some spot training, fixing problems, or in the server room wondering whether the next patch will entirely hose the server and require a full restore from backup. Along comes a linux guy and says that 80% or more of the users can be switched to linux and could be productive with only an hours training (we did this with a bunch of admin workers and some thought it was windows with a strange theme and tried to install AVG!!). S/w licence costs would drop by 80% and the staff required could be reduced from 15 to 5. Now, as an important busines exec with a big budget and a large team you'd be faced with a huge hit in your importance. Would you sign this off, or will you stick to what you know and keep your nose in the corporate trough?

Another Canadian
Another Canadian

I need and can't go without a good spelling and grammar verification so for me MS Office is essential and not an option anymore here and at work also and this is not negotiable for many of my coworkers. In my family I am the one willing to learn and did try unbutu and it is good but for the rest of my family the big obstacle was gaming, casual surfing, MSN instant chat and other of that kind also plus they did not want to learn or read how to compile and install binary file. We wanted full and easy backup OS and guess what we have been again served by Microsoft again with Windows Home Server and even some Mac user wanted it so bad that HP has modify the OS to permit taht and make it fully compatible with Time Machine that they have integrated it with the HP Home Server that was the first PC Maker to dive in that Home Server market. We have now full backup protection in an easy central location and a full fledge home media center server with many add in (plug in that in effect, modify or add behaviour) available that work with Win 7 and Vista and XP and now MAC. No need of raid array or learning a new trade to install or buy one, in fact with HP you have iTunes server installed on Home Server. Win 7 Home Group work very well for US, but with one mention, you must put the same password on all your PC and you are streaming right form your desktop your video and music to each PC w/o the need to transfer the file itself, although it was available before but it is now offer in a easier way for the family. I get some friend jealous of the way our PC look also :) square is not necessary ugly also and to be honest most of my friends bought a Mac for their spouse and kept the PC for gaming and casual surfing also. After many years with Windows many users are familiar with what do to if an install go wrong also and there is now ?Free? commercial software with PayPal donation ?Optional? that do a excellent jobs at cleaning a registry when need arise and defragged also. At work we are now looking at 64 bits application although it will take time as we have always the policy of the lowest bidder here and that right away exclude the MAC unless there is a specific requirement not because it nice to have, trust me on this and in fact they only option remaining is Linux but as they have not yet produce the same level of support that we have with windows in our network environment they remain only on server side and not all the server btw we have some that are just MS server based also and some Unix also and of course visualization that start to be more and more popular here. I know because I have my friends discuss with me all the time as we have to provide voucher for the billing. I am on the finance side of your equation. What they told me is that it took 20 years to buy something other then Intel and almost 10 years to see XP Pro replacing Win 98. Our biggest obstacle is that most of our PC are not fast, mostly because we bought them with only the minimal requirement of the present day OS that was offered so that exclude Win 7 for now until we see the need to get better hardware and it will be mostly because it is cheap now to do so. The IT department is looking now at maybe going Win 7 and they are seriously envisaging to go 64 bits as it start to make sense now because we run more and more application that start to consume more and more ram also and because the finance requirement is getting bigger on the application side also. Also we see now a 5 minutes boot up that don?t even include starting MS Outlook the browser and Financial application because our network management software is taking more and more of the CPU and RAM that mean less for the user application and the user application are getting more and more RAM intensive and CPU also so the 64 bits start to make more and more sense in our corporate environment. All of this for now excludes the MAC (cost and network management tool or Linux as a viable option (technically wise). The cost of training will be a huge drain and lost of productivity and men hours it all add up and that is why we stick with XP for now and probably will stick with Microsoft for a foreseeable future here.

cdstendel
cdstendel

I end up being the IT person for my father in law- after 2 years of 2 to 3 times a week "support visits" (annoying)- I hajacked his box and installed ubuntu linux- careful to configure it to be everything he needs (and it does, by the way). Now there are zero "support visits"- ever. *But- and this is the important FACT*- most people can't figure out the most minor issue on their computer- no matter which OS it is- and Linux is not very forgiving- be prepared to get to know how to use the terminal. Conversely, WIN7 even installs your printer drivers for you. EASY is the key word here, and WIN7 wins that round. I personally run XP @ work (we have no plans to upgrade in the near future), but I run Ubuntu linux @ home with virtualbox, and to be honest- that combination is head and shoulders better (you get the best of ALL worlds) than strictly running XP or Win7. Macs are a niche, and I don't see a climb from that- with Vista as the alternative, they could have, but Win7 ended that.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm glad Linux meets your needs. It doesn't meet mine. It doesn't run either the app I use to maintain my web site, the app I use to run a fantasy league, or the handful of games I enjoy. You don't use some apps and that isn't a problem for you, but that doesn't mean Linux' failure to support those apps isn't a problem for the rest of us.

HaroldHO
HaroldHO

Users care about things working, and the cost to a user can be incurred when a document does not work as intended. Having to call a customer and ask that they modify a document so that it will properly display the intended information isn't always an option, and shouldn't have to be one. Reference #5. Users don't want to worry about things working, they just want them to work. When you introduce OpenOffice and someone has to figure out the intricacies of which types of files to save for different people, why bother when you can use Office which is the de-facto standard? Open source has its merits, but I see the opportunity cost constantly overlooked when comparing them to closed-source solution. Is the time spent figuring out how to make things work worth saving the up-front cost?

btljooz
btljooz

[i]"My company runs several apps for the accounting and audit world that there is NO counterpart for in Linux."[/i] Just for the heck of it, have you taken a look at: ★Open Office Base http://www.openoffice.org/product/base.html ~and/or~ ★GNUCash http://www.gnucash.org/ ?:| ...Yeh, those are [u]so[/u] obvious! ]:) If so and those didn't make the cut, have you perused SourceForge.net??? http://sourceforge.net/ Apps are constantly being added there, so it's a good thing to keep checking back. [i]"Linux will NEVER play in the corporate world until apps get built for it..."[/i] Uh, the corporate world [b]DOES[/b] use Linux! It just doesn't usually use it on the desktop. Can you name any of the corporate giants who use Linux as their only servers? I can. B-) (HINT: Yahoo, Google for starters.) But, I'm just a lowly newb to Linux (been messing with it since mid-2007). I had absolutely [b][u]NO[/u][/b] problems "just using" it. You know...for accessing email (Yahoo Mail & Thunderbird), browsing the Internet (Firefox...with scads of Add-ons), edit word processor (Open Office Writer) and spreadsheet docs (Open Office Calc and/or Base), and run their tax software (I, personally, refuse to 'do my taxes' on the computer but if I were to do it and do it on my PCLinuxOS box I'd give Open Tax Solver a whirl http://sourceforge.net/projects/opentaxsolver/ ). And I have those Open Source apps installed on my XP box as well. The version of KDE that is on PCLinuxOS 2007 transitioned me from the XP GUI beautifully! MY problems came when I wanted to look [u]inside[/u] the OS. ...True, the "average" end user doesn't give a rtz @zz about that, but I do and I'm learning...ON MY OWN! ...s-l--o---w----l-----y... but learning! And THAT is where the Command Line comes in! To just "use" Linux, its GUI may be a bit different, but it IS easily usable! The point to my explanation is that both the older versions of KDE and Gnome are just as easy to transition to as learning the new ways around hasta-la-Vista and/or Win 7. Hey, I COULD navigate my way around PCLOS 2007 right off the bat while I got no where FAST with Vista! I managed to pick up Win 7 almost just as easy as my PCLOS 07! My point? My point is that while I was the one who made the choice, myself, to learn about a new OS I was able to do it! Given no choice in the matter I would have done the same! ;) But that's just me. ]:) B-)

cdstendel
cdstendel

If they stop support (patches) on XP, business by the boatload will be forced to start migrating to something else- AND look at alternatives before they jump into Win7. When moving to XP, real viable choices weren't there- now there are. My bet is that XP will be around for a while to come- MSoft has got to be thinking that it is better to have them running ANY version of your OS than to jump ship completely.

lastchip
lastchip

and I suspect it's far more prevalent than one would like to admit. But what would be the correct decision for the company? What if, its major competitor was one step ahead and already processing that change? What if your management comes to you and says "things are tough and you've got to cut the headcount by 25%"? If it were possible to cut licensing by 80% and support (direct) costs by 66%, (and incidentally, I don't think that's an outrageous assumption) isn't there a moral duty, to at least seriously consider with your own management, whether that implementation would make business sense? I think your bunch of pigs, with their noses in the trough, is probably far more widespread than not and furthermore, there is a real fear of stepping out side their comfort zone.

trevorhughes
trevorhughes

Spot on ! There are horses for courses and my racetrack is ostensively linux. My problem is I was never good with advertising therefore I have largely failed to be impressed by Microsoft. I have a problem paying for something I will either never use or are inconvenienced by having to use it. I hate windows because of the difficulty finding the COA's and OS disks which clients have lost. Give me Fedora any day. PS And I know there are other distros around which are better.

mrmhead
mrmhead

Apparently I've fallen off the Geek wagon... I grabbed an older box of mine (was running w98se)to load Linux (Ubuntu)as a home "Kiosk" - basic browsing and email only. Basic Browsing included YouTube and other flash-type functionality. Long-story-short - after a week of "try this, do that" from the forums, I got the video part to work (for the most part) only to discover the sound now needed work. That was a bit easier, but there were still things not right. I guess I'm at the point in my life where I want things to work... I want to USE my computer, not Fix it. So for me, at that time, on that machine, Windows won.

linux for me
linux for me

It is not linux's failure that they don't support your apps, it is the developer's failure to broaden their base to include any other OS except Windows! I have yet to not find an app to replace any Windows app, and better too! I use all versions of Windows and I will keep my linux box over any of them, thank you very much!

Slayer_
Slayer_

Lack even 2 brain cells to rub together. Just had a lady call me (keep in mind im in development, not IT support) and literately said to me "Hi, I put letter paper into the legal tray on the printer and now it won't print on legal paper, how do I make the paper legal?" It was hard to say "Oh no problem, simply open up your legal tray, and check if there is legal paper in there, if not, pull out anything in the tray and put in some legal paper" "Ok hold on..... hey it works now, thanks!" "Glad to help, have a good night" *hangs up*, 2 seconds pass and I pass out with laughter. ........(sigh)

don.howard
don.howard

I thought I'd experiment with Ubuntu on my netbook. The initial install was great, except audio didn't work. Had to find a work-around for that. Then I changed the desktop theme and wireless stopped working. Fixing wireless caused something else to cease functioning. About this point, I realized it was very similar to Windows circa 1993. While I'm certainly technical enough to work through the issues, I've got better things to do with my time.

hobnose
hobnose

there are no pirated linux--but lots of w-xp 7 why? also win 7 is only good for 30 days unless you call M S stay on the phone over 2 hours listen to some person say 30 numbers in one split secend write them down be told there invalid call again repeat repeat again no i dont like gates fear of pirates win 98 worked i could reinstill it a million times and it worked

trevorhughes
trevorhughes

That shouldn't be too difficult. I have coded up a mouse driver as part of my IT course. If someone could tell me where the mouse drive goes in Gnome or KDE I will have a go at writing it. I am surprised one of the other geeks hasn't thought of it. Perhaps like the majority of people you didn't approach the right person but preferred just to complain about it !!!

Penguiniator
Penguiniator

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/66 This does exactly what you are talking about for anyone using Firefox in Linux. Konqueror also has this feature built-in... saving a link to a webpage on your desktop. Personally, I consider this feature lame. It promotes desktop iconitis. Configuring your mouse wheel to double click is also rather lame. You can just set your desktop to perform a "double-click" with a single left click, which saves effort in most cases. These are the "killer" features that stand Windows head and shoulders above Linux for you? No matter, I'm sure the only Linux that would be good enough for you is one with an MS logo and stamp of approval.

john3347
john3347

Show me an app to replace my Logitech Setpoint on my windows computer. Alternatively, show me any linux app that will allow me to program my center mouse button (scroll wheel) to perform a double click. Show me a linux app that will allow me to right click on a webpage and have a "save link to desktop" option appear.

cdstendel
cdstendel

Technically, you're sort of correct. Almost any app is there given enough looking. But the apps are better? Some definitely are. OpenOffice (the best shot at getting wider acceptance among sheer numbers) "feels" and responds like a late Win98 application. A tenth of a second longer in response to about every action equates to "inferior" in many people's books. Developers aren't going to rush to construct Linux versions of software if there is no return. Personally, if I had to pay for a particular app on my linux box, if better be very very cheap, and run exactly as well as it would on a Win machine.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I don't care who's fault it is; it's irrelevant. Linux doesn't fit my computing needs and wants. If you like it, great. You don't need to defend your choice to me.