I’m not going to do an in depth post on this, mainly because there are already loads of them out there and there will continue to be reviews beyond October. Just thought you may be interested to know my thoughts on the new desktop OS. Firstly, in line with XP and Vista there will be various versions of Microsoft Windows 7 – do not get the Home version!! Home versions are always massively crippled and you’ll spend time hating the system. I also believe that the Home version is best used on netbook, not on a desktop or laptop.
So, having a spare hard drive, I installed the system on my Dell Latitude D600. Yep, I accept that this is an older machine, but shouldn’t that mean it would be more supported? Only outside of Redmond it appears. The only way to get Windows to recognise and use the sound and video cards was to get the XP and Windows 2000 drivers and install them using the compatibility function. By the way, the compatibility function worked very very well. However, in the sense of supported hardware, Linux wins hands down. The only piece of hardware that is usually not supported out of the box is my wireless card. Under Windows 7 almost all of the hardware was unsupported – including my ethernet card!
That aside, the OS is actually very nice. It is attractive and the menu system is pretty straightforward and usable. I can’t comment on the pretty graphical effects because I didn’t bother with them. For balance, I don’t use them under Linux either. I just want to use the system, I don’t need the sexy 3D bits and deformable windows – even if I did, I would turn it all off after a few days of use.
Once I had installed Firefox, VLC, OpenOffice.org and an anti-virus program I was ready rock and roll. The system was a fair bit slower than my Debian install but otherwise there was no great difference in terms of using it. So I stopped using it. Huge kudos to the Microsoft team for allowing the release candidates to be downloaded legally and to be used for free. Yes, they get lots of free testing labour, but the trade off is that we get to use it early and to give feedback to improve it. Who knows, maybe this is one step closer to having a true open-source Microsoft OS?
So yeah, if you wish to stick with Windows and haven’t yet gone to Vista, it’s definitely worth waiting a little longer until Windows 7 goes live. If you have switched, from the horror stories I have seen, you should definitely get the newer version!