October Is Windows 7 Month. Let's Celebrate by Upgrading to Linux. PDF Print E-mail
Operating Systems - Microsoft
Written by Chris Smith   
Friday, 02 October 2009 00:00

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Windows 7 is undoubtedly the best version of Windows ever, but is it the best direction?


October is a very special month in the world of computing, because on October 22, the new Windows 7 OS will arrive on new PCs and as a shrink-wrapped upgrade to the much-maligned Windows Vista. But is it really all that significant? Perhaps the greatest benefit will come as organizations review their desktop operating systems and consider open source.


Windows 7 has new navigation, search, backup, and storage features. It also supports touch-screen hardware and applications. Developers and hardware manufacturers surely will jump on touch-screen support. The feature has become increasingly popular through the broad adoption of the Apple iPhone, the T-Mobile myTouch 3G, and the Palm Pre. We expect a flurry of touch-screen announcements for all-in-one PCs and laptops, and both Lenovo and Fujitsu already have released laptops that incorporate multi-touch. Touch-screen systems likely will carry Windows Touch branding.


In designing the touch-screen features of Windows 7, Microsoft collaborated with Synaptics, which since 2008 has supported a set of common gestures on touchpads with its Synaptics Gesture Suite software. Microsoft collaborated with the company to standardize on these common gestures. So the movements will be the same in Windows 7 as they are on the Synaptics touchpad. Given the popularity of the touch-screen on the new smartphones, we can only bet that touch-screen technology will become increasingly pervasive. One has to wonder what effect this will have on modernization efforts surrounding the System i. It would seem to make it just that much harder to modernize existing 5250 green-screen applications, but no doubt someone will figure out a way to bring touch-screen to the System i. Though IBM is running tests now to see how well Windows 7 integrates with IBM i and Power Systems hardware, don't expect touch-screen support anytime soon.


There is little doubt that Windows 7 will be the best version of Windows ever. It has been tested by so many people around the world that there are hardly any surprises. As the Windows 7 engineering team says, a software product, particularly one as challenging as Windows 7, is never done. There reportedly are still little, somewhat inconsequential bugs in the product, but that's what service packs are for, right? At some point, you have to sign off on the product and say, it's done; let's go with it. And the individual Windows 7 engineering teams did that; they each signed off on the product as ready to release to manufacturing. Thank you.


The question IT managers are faced with, is, do I recommend upgrading from Windows XP or not? I think it's a no-brainer if you have Windows Vista, as the answer would be yes. From XP, however, the decision is a little more subtle. How big a budget do you have, and how happy do you want your users to be? If you have the money, go for it. Users will like it better than XP and may very well be "more productive." They also will be more secure. Yes, there are questions about compatibility with drivers and issues of whether to upgrade the hardware to 64-bit first. Most corporate computers today are running on 32-bit x86 processors. Do you do a straight upgrade to Windows 7 32-bit version and stay within the limit of 4 GB RAM, or do you upgrade the hardware to a 64-bit x86 processor so you can go beyond 4 GB? You might have two kinds of users, those who need 64-bit processing and those who don't. Perhaps you will choose to mix and match. Here are a few guidelines in deciding between the two versions.


  • To run a 64-bit version of Windows, your computer must have a 64-bit-capable processor (really?).
  • The standard upgrade path from 32-bit Windows is to 32-bit Windows 7.
  • If you have a machine with a 64-bit processor running a 32-bit version of Windows, you must do a custom installation to run the 64-bit version of Windows 7.
  • If you are already running a 64-bit version of Windows, you must upgrade to a 64-bit version of Windows 7 (would you really consider a custom installation to go down to 32-bit?).
  • Most 32-bit applications will work on a 64-bit version of Windows 7.
  • Most 32-bit anti-virus applications will not work on a 64-bit version of Windows 7.
  • No hardware drivers designed for 32-bit Windows will work with 64-bit Windows 7. That means your printers, CD drives, etc. must have 64-bit drivers, which generally come from the manufacturer. Visit the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor for more information about device drivers. By downloading and installing the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor beta, you will get a report telling you whether your PC can run Windows 7.

Now that that is all settled, here is another idea: Consider upgrading to Linux. It's less expensive and will run everything that you currently do today. Just a thought…

Chris Smith
About the Author:

Chris Smith was the Senior News Editor at MC Press Online from 2007 to 2012 and was responsible for the news content on the company's Web site. Chris has been writing about the IBM midrange industry since 1992 when he signed on with Duke Communications as West Coast Editor of News 3X/400. With a bachelor's from the University of California at Berkeley, where he majored in English and minored in Journalism, and a master's in Journalism from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Chris later studied computer programming and AS/400 operations at Long Beach City College. An award-winning writer with two Maggie Awards, four business books, and a collection of poetry to his credit, Chris began his newspaper career as a reporter in northern California, later worked as night city editor for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, and went on to edit a national cable television trade magazine. He was Communications Manager for McDonnell Douglas Corp. in Long Beach, Calif., before it merged with Boeing, and oversaw implementation of the company's first IBM desktop publishing system there. An editor for MC Press Online since 2007, Chris has authored some 300 articles on a broad range of topics surrounding the IBM midrange platform that have appeared in the company's eight industry-leading newsletters. He can be reached at chriswriting@cs.com.

Last Updated on Friday, 02 October 2009 00:00
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