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Windoze Se7en: The Cons

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Steven Nichols of Computerworld doesn't concur with colleague Preston Gralla as regards Windoze Se7en. Such as better documentation and features stolen out of Apple's Mac OS X. Nichols impresses immediately as being more knowledgeable and objective and he says outright that if you're not up to fleeing Microsoft then you should upgrade - but that fleeing is of course the best plan of action.


'Windows 7 still has all the security of a drunken teenager in a sports car. From Windows for Workgroups and NT 3 until today Windows is a security joke. It used to be that running Windows just put your head in the noose. Now millions of lazy Windows users are the reason why the Internet is a mess.'

That's all one needs. Frivolities are only fun when the Big Bad Wolf is kept at bay. Take care of the dangers first - and only then party. But Microsoft can't do that. So you should do it instead.


'Windows 7, no matter how you buy it, is expensive. Does your budget have the extra cash to buy a new and improved taskbar!?'

Good one.


'Upgrading from XP to Windows 7 will require that you do a clean install.'

Totally and unequivocally eradicating Windows from a HDD is always an act of pure blissful liberation; putting another version back lessens that effect. Don't do it.


'You'll need to reinstall your old programs and device drivers. Then you'll need to update all those programs and drivers. Doesn't that sound like fun? Doesn't that sound like hour after hour per PC of migration work?'

Nichols seems to be waxing sarcastic here. But who can blame him?


'XP already works. I can tell you chapter and verse why you'd be better off running desktop Linux or putting a Mac on your desk. Most of you though are happy running XP. If that's you, I'll be darned if I can think of a single significant change you'll get from running Windows 7 instead of XP.'

Nichols is a diehard Linux advocate. Recently he's grasped that Mac OS X is on the same side of the equation: safety first and foremost and only after that ease of use. For whatever you pick outside the Redmond camp you're way better off on all counts.

No contest.


'If you're an XP user you'll need to learn a new user interface. But I'm someone who switches operating system interfaces as often as most of you go out to get a pizza. I asked some friends who were XP stalwarts what they thought about the interface. They all thought it was pretty but they also all found it annoying to work with since they had to relearn how to do basics.'

Consider further that you're never going to be training good habits anyway when you're running Microsoft crap.

'As a CFO or CIO I'd want to know what I'm going to get out of retraining people to the new interface and I'm left thinking there's really nothing game changing about the Windows 7 UI.'

Put another way: it costs a lot of money. Money you'll be forced to part with sooner or later until you get away from Microsoft. Add the expenses of anti-this and anti-that software and you're looking at a T-Rex of a nut.


'Finally, if you have an older PC, forget about it. I know there are people who swear that Windows 7 will run on low powered PCs. Yeah right. I've used Windows 7 on netbooks. It wasn't pretty. Windows 7 Starter Edition? Microsoft won't sell it to you.'

This is the old Wintel 'bait and switch' coming back again. The game plan's always been to get the shills to insist the next version runs faster than the previous version on the same hardware - it's always a lie. Microsoft and Intel fornicate with each other. Microsoft have to fool people into taking the upgrade to make more $$$. If these people understood they'd have to buy new hardware too they'd probably get Macs. So trick them into buying the one, then they'll be forced into buying the other. And Microsoft and Intel will celebrate in Veuve Cliquot.

'Bottom line. If you want something that's really better than XP and you're willing to go to the trouble and expense of moving from one platform to another, you'll get real improvements like better security and low up-front costs from a desktop Linux.'

Or of course the ultimate no-pain escape route: Mac OS X.

Postscript: Wired in Agreement

Brain Chen of Wired adds a few points of his own.

The upgrade is expensive.
'Windows Se7en isn't cheap. Pricing varies based on the version you choose but you'll be paying at least $120 to upgrade from XP or Vista. And if you don't already own a copy of a Windows OS you must pay the full price of at least $200.'

Remember: that 'at least $200' is for the even more lacklustre bargain basement version. The full version which makes it look closer to a cheap copy of Mac OS X costs over $300. [Apple users get it all for $29 and Linux users get it all for free, sucka.]

It's still Windows.
'We complained about the OS's inability to recognise an Adobe AIR file followed by its failure to search for software to run the file.'

Oh goodness. Talk about user-friendly.

Security isn't automatically better.
'Because Windows 7 is still Windows you're again the primary target of attack for hackers and virus coders. Therefore it's up to you to protect yourself with antivirus software and running update patches to keep the OS 'as secure as possible'.

'Compare this experience to Mac OS X Leopard for which many don't even run antivirus software because it's more secure out of the box compared to Windows.'

'Though Windows 7 does deliver some security enhancements such as data encryption for thumb drives and a feature for IT administrators to control which applications can run on a corporate network, these are not general security improvements that change much for the overall user experience.'

No shit Mr Holmes! There's nothing close to even the first step in the right direction. Microsoft are crippled by their huge third party software base - if these applications break they'll be off the top of the hill. They cannot exchange the current system for something honestly safe without losing their current market share. Therefore they keep bamboozling you - to higher and higher prices each time.

Got it?

Hardware based DRM.
Here is where the portent of who Microsoft are comes home like never before: they spent years perfecting this technology but didn't give a good goddamn about protecting you the users.

'Paranoid XP users won't wish to upgrade to Windows 7 for the same reason they didn't switch to Vista: Like Vista, Windows Se7en includes support for digital rights management technologies that could potentially regulate how you use your media.'

Peter Gutmann of Auckland wrote the definitive report on this chicanery long ago. Read it now if you haven't encountered it before - it's rather scary.

Snow Leopard is almost here.
But hey wait - Snow Leopard arrives before that piece of Se7en trash! And it's light years better, safer, cheaper.

What are you waiting for?

Chen talks about Snow Leopard having '64-bit addressing'. Perhaps he's not too acquainted with Apple's OS - it's had '64-bit addressing' through several versions already. But with Snow Leopard the 64-bit subsystem becomes the default as most Apple computers today are already 64-bit (and happy about it).

Bottom line?

'If you're currently using a Linux distribution or a version of Mac OS X, Windows 7 isn't going to offer much to get you to switch.'

It never has either: Microsoft are still unable to find a single Mac or Linux user willing - for money fame or kinky sex - to go back to Windows. Who'd want to relive those hair-pulling nightmare sessions all over again?

People prefer just getting their work done. They don't want to deal with Patch Tuesdays, continual antivirus updates, alerts that their systems have been yet again compromised and they should immediately wipe and reinstall, and so forth and so forth.

Some people are suckers for punishment - but a lot of others are surprisingly intelligent.

See Also
Industry Watch: Windoze Se7en: The Pros
Computerworld: Se7en reasons to skip upgrading to Windows 7

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