Those that have followed my blogs over the years know full well that I'm operating system neutral. At work I use Windows and Linux right next to each other. At home my family uses a mix of Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux PCs. I have my likes and dislikes with each operating system. I don't drink the kool aid with any of the systems as I'm not easily impressed with what I see.
During the past couple years, I've been extremely disappointed in Windows Vista and consider the experience delivered by the operating system to be just as bad as Windows ME. It has long been my view that if Microsoft screwed up Windows 7 we could kiss the Windows line goodbye and for evermore be just as happy with both OS X and Linux (with Ubuntu as my favorite Linux client). However, it looks like Microsoft's developers have responded well to the criticism and Windows 7 is going to deliver the goods consumers and enterprises need in their operating system.
Not long ago I wrote that KDE 4 might produce enough changes to its look and feel to help Linux become more Mac-like. At the time, Windows Vista seemed to be trying to move in the same direction. Interestingly, someone has noted that Windows 7 now appears to be moving towards Linux's direction with the Windows desktop looking more like KDE 3.5.
The review features screenshots and I must say, even though it has not convinced me, Windows 7 is a step forward from Vista, at least as far as the GUI is concerned. Aside from the removal of some annoying Vista bells and whistles and the new Peek and Snap window-management enhancements, it is difficult not to notice the resemblance between Microsoft’s much-touted revamped Aero and the excellent, now 3-years old, KDE 3.5.x.
Gizmodo published their first impressions of the Windows 7 operating system currently being developed by Microsoft. Microsoft allowed developers and reviewers get a sneak peek of this Vista replacement during this week's Professional Developers Conference. Gizmodo and other tech blogs have indicated Windows 7, although still incomplete, looks to be a better version of Windows than Vista. Improvements in boot-up time, work-flow, performance, and user interface all take center stage with this new version of Windows.
In the Gizmodo article, one new feature listed for Windows 7 hopes to improve customer experience with home networking. As I read how the new feature, HomeGroup, is described...I'm sort of disappointed.
I have a long history of using Windows and Linux systems at my place of work. I'm not into Windows bashing as the operating system and other Microsoft software historically has been a much needed standard for the business world. When my workplace had a choice of either installing a Windows 2003 server or a Linux server to support administrative functions, I chose Windows over Linux. However, as much as I wanted to see Windows Vista succeed in the office, I just don't see a future with Vista. Vista reminds me too much of Windows ME.
A few weeks ago, I seriously thought about buying either Apple's latest MacBook or a Windows laptop where I could dual boot between the laptops native operating systems and Linux. In the end, I chose to install Linux on a three year old laptop. This old laptop isn't just any laptop but one of the first sub-$1000 laptops that hit the United States market. The laptop is the Averatec 3220 and over time I've found it just too sluggish for running Windows XP.
This old Averatec 3220 had a lot of negatives going its way for installing Linux. The laptop is from a company that almost no one knows so support was limited. Even Google had a tough time helping me find "best practices" for installing Linux on this particular laptop model. This particular laptop includes an AMD Athlon XP-M 2000+ processor, 512 MB RAM (upgraded from the original 256 MB), a 12.1 inch screen, and both Ethernet and wireless networking capabilities. The laptop could barely be considered "up to date" with regards to hardware, although its exterior is designed well and doesn't look dated like other laptops of the same age.
Before I discuss my troubles with installing Linux on this laptop, let me first talk about the positives. During the past two weeks, using Linux on this laptop has been pure joy.
Last week, I mentioned that Mozilla is planning to give the Firefox browser a makeover. Alex Faaborg had mentioned that they plan to integrate the look of Firefox with Microsoft's Windows Vista and Apple's Mac OS X. The problem was Alex had failed to mention anything about the Linux operating system. Linux users, of course, then replied by comment that they were unhappy that there was no mention of Linux in the post.
I even replied with my own poorly written comment (#33) that there was a perception that Mozilla was abandoning Linux users by not also paying attention to the Linux desktop. Alex eventually responded via e-mail and his blog (#35) that he "dropped the ball" by not mentioning Firefox 3 on Linux. Mozilla was indeed looking at how they could integrate Firefox 3 (still in alpha) with the Linux desktop.