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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Saturday January 12 2008

Michael J emailed earlier in the week with this link, to a story about yet another very small computer, and commented thus:

One interesting thing about this is that the mini-notebooks are all being announced with either Linux of Windows XP. Windows Vista just demands too powerful hardware to actually work successfully on these little underpowered machines, and nobody is even trying to install it.  (This has been an even bigger problem for people like Sony and Fujitsu who make the more expensive mini-laptops like the one I had. The models they have released in the last year have run much worse than the ones they were releasing a couple of years ago, mainly because of the requirements of Vista).

I don’t think anyone is even pretending any more that Microsoft is going to stop selling Windows XP any time soon. When they released Vista the announced policy was that Windows XP would be on sale for an additional year (ie until January 30, 2008) but this has already been extended once. It is now supposedly going off sale on June 30, 2008. I think all bets are off as to when Microsoft will actually stop selling it. If they are genuinely going to lose sales to Linux if they stop selling it (which they undoubtedly will with these little machines) then I am sure they will keep selling it.

Just to indicate how behind Microsoft now is with its product cycles, it is worth observing that Microsoft originally intended to stop providing support (ie security updates and the like) for Windows XP at the end of 2006. Given that they didn’t even get its successor out the door until after that date, that obviously had to shift, and it has. Support for XP is now scheduled to end in 2014, which seems perfectly reasonable, although we will see if it still does in 2012.

I’d approximately worked all this out already, but it’s very good to have it confirmed by someone more tech-savvy.

I saw a review of the Eee-PC in a British magazine, one made with actual paper and everything, and the price of it here will apparently be two hundred and twenty of our English pounds.  That’s cheap enough for me to buy one just to see if I like it.  What I will actually do is take a stroll along Tottenham Court Road in about a month’s time and see what’s there.

News about a rival to the Eee-PC here (thanks Jackie D).  And here comes news that small and cheap batteries are getting better too.

Each version of a Microsoft product has usually felt “heavier” than the previous version. Some people would complain that the new MS product was slow, and that surely this would mean people wouldn’t upgrade. Those people were proved wrong, because people just upgraded the hardware. People didn’t mind upgrading from Windows 3 to the heavier Windows 95, because although they may have needed a new computer, the Windows upgrade really brought advantages.

But Google, along with Facebook, Flickr etc, have combined “lightweight” with better. Microsoft Hotmail was clunky and heavy; now people use Google’s Gmail, and it’s a much nicer experience. Nowadays, Microsoft’s competitors are able to combine lighter and better.

With the new cheap laptops, being “lightweight” is a definite advantage - but being lightweight is not an approach that Microsoft has historically been able to do.

Posted by Alex Singleton on 13 January 2008

Vista sucks on sooooo many levels but I was under the impression (maybe Alex knows better) that take up of Vista was actually very low.

Posted by Perry de Havilland on 13 January 2008

The bulk of new PCs sold to consumers and small businesses over the last year have been sold with Vista. It’s hard to buy a PC with XP in a shop like PC World, so the Vista installed base is significant. However, companies that make PCs to order both big and small will happily put XP on it if that is what you want. (This applies to everything from Dell to the little computer shop on the corner). Even in these cases, though, most people are actually buying Vista.

However, in the past new versions of Windows have required better hardware than old version, and this has led people to go out and buy new computers (and copies of the new version of Windows with it). This has completely failed to happen this time. Although Vista does require better hardware, upgrade cycles do not appear to have accelerated. People are buying PCs with Vista when they need a new computer, but they aren’t being a new computer because they want Vista. The PC hardware and retail industries had hoped for a boost to sales when Vista finally arrived, and it simply did not happen. They are really annoyed as a consequence.

Large businesses have not upgraded to Vista either, but this is not a surprise. Large businesses tend not to upgrade their operating systems until they are very sure of the stability of the new one and they have a compelling reason to upgrade - usually either hardware requirements that the old version will not satisfy or a compelling application that will no longer run on the old operating system. My employer has not yet upgraded to XP, let alone Vista.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 14 January 2008

As a disgruntled XP user, I have no reason to upgrade to Vista. I’ve heard nothing to say that it is better or more reliable, and I’d have to buy a new computer to get it.

The next computer I buy will be an Apple. I’m already using Apple products mostly, since I surf with Safari and listen to music with iTunes. So for me, it makes sense to go the whole hog.

Posted by Scott Wickstein on 15 January 2008

The real reason the EEE doesn’t support Vista is that it has only 4gb of storage.

The CPU is capable of running Vista, as is the graphics card (with the shiny Aero look and effects turned off, of course). But 512mb of ram would be painful, and 4gb of main storage?

(Microsoft’s “minimums" are an 800mhz CPU with 512MB of ram and 15 gigs of free disk space out of 20 gigs total. The only one the EEE fails is the storage requirement.

Even if one could convince the installer to ignore the space requirements at install, it wouldn’t be pleasant.)

* Usual full disclosure: Long term and current daily use of MacOS, Windows, and Linux, happily.

Posted by Sigivald on 18 January 2008
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