The business pages are saying how the launching of Windows 7 later in the year will give a boost to computer sales, which have been in the doldrums lately. It will enable Microsoft to phase out Windows XP, which is still being sold with the new generation of notebook computers which cannot run Microsoft’s most recent system, Vista.
There is another way of looking at this. The advent of W7 will mean that millions of perfectly serviceable computers will be disposed of. Many will end up as landfill. When the energy used to produce and deliver a computer is taken into account as well, this is not environmentally friendly.
But it is good news for Linux users who will now have the choice of a new generation of computers coming onto the market at knock-down prices. Three-year-old Thinkpads are a particularly good buy, and the latest will now have dual-core processors and SATA drives, which are now available in energy-saving solid-state versions.
My only real complaint about the dominance of M$ is that is encourages hardware manufacturers and service providers to be lazy and not bother to give support. Often this doesn’t matter but it limits the choice of things like scanners and it is difficult to find 3G internet that works except with M$ and Apple. The EU needs to get stuck in here. Probably the best strategy would be to promote the use of Linux internally which would save a fortune in licence fees and give better security.
Linux is often criticised as being for geeks, but in my experience distributions like SuSE and Ubuntu are much easier to set up than a new Windows system, what with all the installation disks that have to be run, and the 25-digit security codes that have to be registered for each application.
To install a Linux system, it is only necessary to pop the installation CD into its tray, select the default options and then go off and leave it for a while. Linux software not on the installation disc will be available on-line, and there is no need to subscribe to anti-virus software. It is useful though not essential to partition the disk, which admittedly is something one needs to know about, but the same actually goes for Windows. Data and programes should always be kept on different partitions so that the programs can be updated on a clean formatted partition (section) of the disk without disturbing the data that is on it.
The reason for doing this is because one of the charming features of Windows is the so-called ”Recovery Disk”, which restores a computer to its factory-fresh condition at the click of a mouse button. It works perfectly, and of course ensures that everything else on the disk – correspondence, address lists, photographs, all the installed software applications – vanishes at the same time. Programmes all have to be reinstalled and all the data is lost forever unless it has been backed up.
M$ is always worried about illegal copying but it is beyond me why anyone would choose to use Windows even if it was free. It is just a bloody nuisance as far as I can make out.
onsdag 29 juli 2009
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