Windows

Windows 7 alternatives vying for recognition

Windows 7 is getting a lot of attention in this, its special launch week, but who is trying to elbow their way into the migration conversation? Who do you think will emerge in the next couple of years as a game-changer in the enterprise? Take the poll.

Windows 7, you might have noticed, is now officially "out" and there's already been a good deal of tire-kicking of the new OS. Fortunately, for Microsoft, the reviews are pretty good; in any case, it's not the groaning and gnashing of teeth that accompanied the underwhelming release of Vista.

Amidst all the coming out hoopla, Canonical and IBM have partnered up to announce their own Windows 7 alternative -- IBM's Client for Smart Work running on Ubuntu Linux. The idea is that they are offering a technically sound and cheaper alternative to Microsoft's OS and Office Suites for the enterprise.

The Smart Work solution includes:

  • Lotus Symphony (IBM's version of OpenOffice productivity software, including word processing, spreadsheets, presentations -- Microsoft compatible)
  • LotusLive software for mail, calendars, collaboration, etc.
  • Cloud-based, social networking and collaboration tools from LotusLive.com, ranging from $10 per user, per month

The big selling point of IBM has been its claim that costs could be cut as much as 50 percent for organizations that migrate to the Smart Work solution compared to Windows 7, which requires all those licensing fees and fancy-schmancy hardware upgrades to run the stuff. However, as ArsTechnica.com points out, that might be laying it on a bit thick, depending on how one views the accuracy of IBM's "independent marketing estimate" which says that Windows 7 upgrade costs could be as much as $2000 per computer. Further, ArsTechnica also doubts the claims about what hardware can adequately run IBM's own software:

Suggesting that programs built on top of these extremely resource-intensive applications...are going to be great on netbooks and legacy hardware falls somewhere between laughable and criminally insane on the dubious marketing meter.

All hyperbole aside, this still constitutes a viable alternative for some organizations to seriously consider, and it could be especially attractive to educational institutions as ZDNet's Christopher Dawson discusses.

Frankly, all of those organizations that have been holding on to Windows XP will most likely start planning their Windows 7 upgrades, but Linux advocates need not be too discouraged. It seems to me that Linux has made some great strides over the last few years, and it wouldn't be fair to view it as having once again been foiled by a resurgent Microsoft. The improvements in user-friendliness and the growing popularity of Ubuntu are proof of that. (See "5 years later, 5 ways that Ubuntu has made Linux more human" at ArsTechnica.)

The other salient point that Chris Dawson's post brought up is that during this rambunctious time of changing products and emerging technologies, we also have Google apps and cloud services on the menu for consideration. In short, it's not a bad time to be an enterprise consumer with all the choices that are newly available, and healthy competition is good for everyone.

What have you just been burning to say about the Windows 7 launch this week?

About

Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and...

12 comments
pgit
pgit

I have one client I call "the pulse," you can glean what the majority of end users are thinking/doing by observing this fellow in action. He puts the "power" in "power end user," even offices with 20 people parked in front of a computer all day don't accomplish as much as this fellow does with his 3 boxes in his home office. He runs a number of web sites, including one of the more respected 'conservative' opinion sites, several political action organizations and a couple of profitable operations on the side. I don't imagine this fellow ever sleeps. Well, he's been all over me about google apps and android. I set him up with one Linux machine to have email and web browsers open all the time, but he hasn't used it much. But he heard some news report the other day about how android is a Linux base, and I've been flooded with email from him since. They're all laced with "[expletive] microsoft!" and "I'll be damned..." (if I'm going to pay for windows 7) He even said "I'm willing to buy another computer" in order to set up android and google apps, I almost fell off my chair. The word "cheapskate" precedes "power end user" in any sentence describing the guy. Potent portends, I think a lot of folks are going to have a good look at google once their plan gels and the products have been out and tested sufficiently. A matter of time, and I think google is pacing themselves very wisely. Not that microsoft is going to evaporate any time soon, but I do think there will be a more competitive future, something I would not have opined just 2 years ago. As for canonical, someone in marketing has been dropping the ball over ther big time. I've had a number of clients come to me with netbooks they bought not knowing the OS was ubuntu, and they didn't particularly care, or notice, until something went wrong. And by wrong, how about none of them came preloaded with any flash capability. That is plain moron thinking. A typical call came in just last week, a fellow had gotten one of these for his mother to play games at pogo dot com. Out of the box it was no go @ pogo. I tried talking him through it on the phone, and surprisingly he had gotten pretty far into the guts of the thing, by rights he should have been able to install flash. He was all over synaptic, and was doing everything correctly (on the command line no less!) but apparently the thing had not come with any repositories preconfigured. After we confirmed that, I told him someone would need to lay hands on the thing. (he lives 300+ miles away) A local fellow with one of these things did have repositories set up out of the box and it was a simple matter to get flash going. BUT, one day he saw a message about updates, so he ok'd them. A new kernel came on board and he was prompted to reboot. On restart the machine complained that the root (/) was full. I checked, it was. We had to uninstall the older kernel, and then it was still over 95% full. The way canonical has allowed ubuntu to go out into the wild hanging on a thread like this is unfortunate. I guess the issue is the cost of solid state storage, but to put your name on an almost guaranteed disaster is plain stupid. Google is playing the tortoise to canonical's hare. Canonical is pushing an OS out the door, ironically hoping nobody notices. Google is dangling a concept out there, and generating a buzz that will eventually result in demand. The people who will migrate to google will know exactly what they are getting into, and it won't matter. Give them a couple of years and google apps will be as common as any ms office suite.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

will stay top dog simply by spending much more money on advertising and using predatory marketing techniques, as they have for the last fifteen years.

Ole Man
Ole Man

The game changer.... just as the Mafia changed the face of business in the "old world". Denial (NOT a river in Egypt) will reign until it becomes history. History repeats itself. Only the names change.

.Martin.
.Martin.

may just be because people like to stick with what they know, or that going 'mainstream' is easier, but MS will still be on top for the next few years

woomera
woomera

Oppsies - posted in wrong place, bows out backwards.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Backing out, that is. Never turn your back on this bunch!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

No offense, Selena, but most of this is just media hype. I will purchase a copy of Win7, install it, and play with it so I can answer user questions when it starts to show up in the workplace. But, for my customers, that won't be for a while, so I'll have a lot of time to learn.

cpubymike
cpubymike

I got an elms MSDN license of Win 7 had Vista Business before that. Only reason I'm using either just for the simple fact of learning them. and oh yeah I got em free so long as I am a student. Would I use Vista willingly I'd sooner do a suo-lobodoy with a dull brick. Seven I would still use despite the; you got to pay us more to get full use of the 4gb of ram you have already attitude that MS has. Only real problem I see with 7 is the nesting windows in the taskbar by default and the only option you have is to turn it off, this won't give you a classic taskbar though which kinda annoys me. Anyway this is the same reason I'm learning Linux

woomera
woomera

I have been trying Win 7 RTM since release and will never go back to XP, Vista has never been considered. I don't know if anyone has REALLY tried it and gave it a good work out, I WAS using XP but after installing Win 7 AND adding all my favorite apps I found that its as solid as a brick outhouse and screams it nu*s off. It, like any other OS has many twists and turns but as they are found the experience gets better all the time. Its a keeper IMO. **

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

not really because it is better but because it is so entrenched in the corporate world. As the younger folks take to leadership positions I believe this will change.

swjslj
swjslj

I'm not seeing anything in Windows 7 (I'm testing the beta) that makes me want to run out and spend perfectly good money on it. An operating systems is merely a platform from which to deploy other tools (programs) and do some useful work. Just because Microsoft releases a new OS doesn't mean the old one stops working. And, frankly, XP works fine. If I'm going to shell out money for a new OS and have to go through all nonsense with updates and dealing with programs that won't play nice with the new OS, I at least want some real improvement. Vista and Windows 7 just seem to be "rearranged" somewhat. It doesn't seem to work any more efficiently. I have a better idea. Lets all declare a moratorium on new operating systems for several years until the hardware gets so screaming fast that the OS programmers will have a difficult time bogging it down. It just annoys me that a couple year old computer that is lightning fast running XP is sluggish with Vista and Windows 7. I know the manufacturers are hungry for cash, but that's a pretty poor reason for me to buy stuff that doesn't work as well as the stuff I have now.

Ashley mason
Ashley mason

Hi, Windows 7 has many new features and it is well established in corporate world, but I prefer windows XP. And people really like windows operating system & still it is on top position.