A combination of the economic downturn and lack of appetite for Vista means that many have deferred desktop upgrade activity over the past year or two. If the stories of economic green shoots and the virtues of Windows 7 are to be believed, however, we are likely to see desktop modernisation coming into focus again as we look …
Who upgrades OS nowdays?
I've not installed an OS upgrade (for windows) in years. You run the OS you bought with the computer until it's time to upgrade your PC.
Upgrading older PCs to run newer operating systems always ends up taking too much time for too little return - I'm surprised any business thinks it is worth their time to do this - surely it's more economical to just buy a new PC every three years.
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to an extent they were trying to answer the wrong question. They were asking ''What about moving the desktop to Linux ?''
There is a much more interesting one: ''What about using more Open Source applications ?''
This is much easier. People move over to Firefox, OpenOffice, Thunderbird, .... under MS Windows, that can happen gradually, an application at a time when appropriate. When their PC comes up for renewal -- you look at what apps they are running; if they are all available under Linux - replace their box with a Linux one.
For some people - this won't work; they need proprietary apps (that can't be virtualised, run as thin client, ...); maybe they really need MS Office (because of macros, ...) - you leave them with MS Vista or whatever.
The point is that you go for the low hanging fruit - do the easy stuff first; do the applications first. You may not get 100%, so what ?
Switch to Mac - kill the budget
Switch to Linux - kill productivity, supportability and maintainability
Stick with windows - waste time clearing up infections
in summary, just pick whichever one is least bad for you!
Medium or large businesses do it differently from home users. Very few business related PC's will be put on a desk running the same cut of the OS as it was installed with by the manufacturer.
Almost anybody with an IT department will have an image that they will put on any new PC that they take delivery of. This installs known versions of all of the standard software. It is quite normal for their 'fix' for software-borked PC's to be to re-install the initial image. It's quick and low overhead, and can be done by your average IT trainee.
Many businesses will also create updated images for their existing PC's to 'bring them up to date'.
While I doubt that many will deploy a new OS (like Windows 7) on older kit (mainly because of the licensing costs), it is refreshing to know that it probably would work on any relatively modern PC. Of course, many businesses could extend the lifetime of their aging kit and maximising ROI by either making them thin clients, or putting a fee free OS on them for the sector of their business that can work with Firefox, Java applications and Open Office.
When I cast my mind back to the late 80's and early 90's, I recall, during my time as a computer support engineer, the vast diversity of operating system "platforms" that were in use in my home town.
I recall companies running DOS (maybe with Windows 3), GEM (on Atari STs), CP/M (on Apricots or XT based PC's) and CP/M on Amstrad PCWs. If you were the local ProntaPrint you ran Apple MACs.
As you got to know each company, you got to know what systems they were running. The one software application that they were *all* running appeared to Sage accounts and Sage Payroll.
I think the main reason for convergence to one O/S (this reason does not apply to the hardware platform) is the dominance of the internet. Before the web, companies ran as small independant outfits, often relying on other businesses. For example, when you needed paper for your photo-copiers, or ink, or floppy disks, or hardware, it was purchased locally.
Today, different companies exchange masses of information, daily, continually, in the form of email, written documents, spreadsheets etc. So as business has naturally diverged in terms of how and with whom they trade, they have converged in terms of information exchange. This is Darwinian 'natural selection' at it's best.
I personally would love to see a completely new operating system, not based on Windows or Linux. Sure, there would be no apps for it, but the 'break away' from our current (legacy?) based OS would be a breath of fresh air.
PSION had the chance, in my opinion. Their laptop/netbook OS was so good, it would have been a natural step to produce a desktop version of the OS. Imagine being able to purchase an application for your Psion netbook, and run the same installable on your desktop, with all the advantages of full syncrhonisation etc.
Beos could have been another contender, yet it fell by the wayside.
I'm not sure what the 'magic ingredient' for a new (sucessfull) OS would be though: Everyone that I have spoken to that has used BeOs has said how excellent it was, so technical ability is not the issue. I guess that only leaves the applications?
Thus, I'm forced to conclude that we won't see any major new OS for the desktop intel platform in recent years. To change would be akin to taking every car in the country and converting it to run on rails, instead of roads.
>Switch to Linux - kill productivity, supportability and maintainability<
Heh, got to my office at 9 this morning (Tuesday), self employed engineer, booted up and installed Ubuntu, everything worked, my Belkin wireless dongle - connected straight to the router in the office downstairs after filling in the WPA, sound, video, two Epson printers and USB drives. It then updated and rebooted, I installed VLC (media player of choice even on windows). Set up the Evolution email prog, imported my Firefox bookmarks from my windows installation (backup and import), and was up and running by 11.
Open office opened all my docs and my 12 month/12 sheet excel finances, and Gimp opened up my photoshop files (gonna be a learning process there but so was Photoshop), and my God! I'd forgotten how fast broadband actually is. Programs snapped up like I was running Win98 on a highspec machine. The only thing I haven't found yet is a Dreamweaver replacement - oh yea, I haven't tried opening a PDF file yet.
On Firefox I've reinstalled adblocker and noscript (is that even necessary on Linux?), plus a few other favourite addins. and Evolution (tho' I'm guessing no synch with my phone - unfortunate) has my imported from Outlook contacts and calender.
Complaints: Aesthetics, are there no artistic types in the Linux world? that orange is just awful, and compare Win7 Mahjong to Ubuntu Mahjong... shudder. But for work, apart from Dreamweaver, it does everything I use my office PC for (still got my Win7 games machine at home), and the speed increase, a plus point for productivity I'd have said.
Anyway, gonna give it a whirl for a few months (may even learn some new stuff :-).
@A.Coward Monday 21st September 2009 14:14 GMT
Switch to Linux - kill unproductivity, unsupportability and unmaintainability
There, corrected it for you. Now that everything is running properly, I seem to have some spare time. Now where is that coffee? two lumps, hop to it!