The first question that strikes me is What is Windows 7?
Windows 7 (formerly codenamed Blackcomb and Vienna) is slated as the next release of Microsoft Windows. Unlike its predecessor, Windows 7 is intended to be an incremental upgrade with the goal of being fully compatible with existing device drivers, applications, and hardware. Presentations given by the company in 2008 have focused on multi-touch support, a redesigned Windows Shell with a new taskbar, a home networking system called HomeGroup, and performance improvements. Some applications that have been included with prior releases of Microsoft Windows, most notably Windows Mail, Windows Movie Maker, and Windows Photo Gallery, are no longer included with the operating system, they are instead offered separately as part of the Windows Live Essentials suite.
What does this mean to the general user? Well, probably the biggest fault in Vista was that it was released under the flag of “Vista Ready”. In the end, this wound up being a huge PR flop for Microsoft as many of the products being pushed weren’t ready or were ready with limited quality. Now Apple and the Linux world have both taken full advantage of this slip-up and have truly profited by it. So this could be a very big step, not only in terms of quality but market share. Ultimately though, MS has such stronghold on the market that it’s hard to imaging that there was any sort of a real dent made by either Apple or Linux. Will Apple and Linux take over? I don’t think so, not any time soon at least.
When I heard that Windows 7 beta was “out in the wild”, I had to try it. Since I had no intentions of messing up my laptop with an install gone wrong, I created a new Virtual Machine (VM) to install it in. The “machine” I’ve installed it on has a 10GB “dynamic disk” (which starts small and grows as is needed), and is limited to 512MB of RAM. Apparently Win7 is supposed to run on Vista’s requirements, which state 512MB, a 1GHz processor, and 15GB HD for the Home basic version, and it seems to do pretty well.
A couple of other things I noticed: During the install, and even starting up normally, the VM experiences several “window resets”. I notice this because I run Compiz with the desktop cube plugin, and I normally have the VM loading on a side face of the cube, whenever it changes the “screen”, the window pops up on the active cube face. This happened several times during the install process (it even rebooted about halfway through, and finished the install from the files copied to the hard disk), and I believe it happens three times during bootup, though putting it into fullscreen mode keeps it from popping between cube faces.
Windows networking, for some reason or other, wouldn’t connect with vboxsvr (used for virtualbox shared folders). Audio does not work in the VM — I was unable to even “add new hardware” so as to install the driver form the Additions disc, as Windows insists on trying to auto-detect any new hardware. I especially like the new photo-realistic device icons, and the overhaul of the way Windows handles and ejects USB storage devices.
Is Windows 7 enough to kill Linux on the desktop?
For the past three years I have been a Linux fan-boy using Ubuntu most of the time and Windows XP/Vista when I needed to play games. But my experience with Windows 7 was pretty good. If I am right Windows 7, would result in the move away from Voleware to Linux and OSX being stopped in in its tracks.
Personally, though, I am sticking to Linux. :D