"My conclusion: We are not on a path to win against Linux. We must change some things and we must do it immediately."
Jim Allchin, Microsoft Corporation
Okay it is no secret that Vista has not been able to crack the desktop, either at the home or at the workplace. Not to ignored either is that Linux won some desktops last year (a little over 3%), but let’s not rejoice just yet, Windows still owns over 88% of all the desktops according to leading research. But that may change very quickly. Recently the numbers on Internet Explorer came out. We're getting pretty close to a fifty-fifty shootout between Microsoft and the rest of the browsing crowd.
Yes, Vista has been real good for OS/X and Linux. We saw growth figures of several hundred percents. And no, for those of you who think I was born on a Wyse terminal, I grew up with the Sinclair Spectrum, the PDP-11 and MS-DOS. It was working for a decade in this line of work when I typed my first commands on a VT-100 terminal. BTW, I still got a Wyse-50 terminal connected to my main Linux computer, because I can't do without a console.
To real Linux die hards.. terminals rule. Microsoft has realized at last that the serious Administrator needs the usefulness of using command line input to accomplish tasks. Windows Powershell has introduced cmdlets to improve administration of Windows. That means it has taken Microsoft over thirty years to realize that a real system administrator needs something more than a CLI that has been written by a drunk COBOL programmer on a piece of toilet paper while visiting the bathroom. It is sad to say, but whatever Microsoft forks out, it can never equal the awesome power of a Unix shell. Although tweaked and perfected, the Unix shell has virtually stayed the same. After thirty years Microsoft finally understand the only way to perfect their out-dated MS-DOS batch processor is to discard it altogether.
The argument for ages was Linux was free and so was many of the applications you run were actually developed for Linux. Applications like Firefox, Open Office, MYSQL, GIMP.. Now all these applications are now available for Windows, although they're still easier to install on Linux. Just open your favorite package manager, click the appropriate applications and on you go. In November 2008 PC World made a list of the things they would like to see in Windows. One of the things they mentioned was.. package management! Yes, it's true. Most Windows converts miss their installation packages. The truth is, it is far more easier to mark all the packages you want, let the package manager figure out all dependencies and install them all in one go. That it is not perceived as a superior way of package management is because they are not accustomed to it. Now, all that and a zero price tag. Which OS would you choose? Not to mention that I don't have to deal with General Failure, Major Error, Hauptobersturmbahnfuehrer Gates and other spies on my private property.
Let's go back to the eye candy, the mother of OS/X and the father of Vista. Well, most people are simply amazed when I show them this footage and tell them they can have it on their computer too. Yes, if need be you can even have it on your simple netbook. You know, that tiny, inexpensive device that significantly prolonged the life of Windows XP because Microsoft had nothing else that would run on it.
Of course, you still have the same problems with Windows 7 you had with Vista. Probably your old equipment still won't work. WGA, that tiny little program that points out to you that you have bought an illegal Windows version, is still there. His little brother, UAC is there too. Bill, how many times do I have to point out to you that you cannot backfit a feature when it wasn't part of the original design. Oops, I almost forgot to mention that multi megabyte register you have to clean all the time – until it breaks down completely.
As a matter of fact, Microsofts future is squashed between an obsolete Windows XP and a Vista nobody wants. With many home users getting tired to get and maintain the next pirated version of Microsoft Office and many governments moving to ODF I see very dark clouds for Microsofts main cash cows. It may be clear by now that Windows 7 is nothing more than a refurbished Windows Vista. Aero has been polished a bit more, some of the major resource hogs may have been optimized, but all in all it is nothing more than Vista SP2.
Byte declared Unix dead when Windows NT came out. Some 25 years later, Unix is still very much alive.. and kicking! Guys, you have to come with something more dramatic than this makeover to win me over.