fredag 18 september 2009

Windows 7 coming soon - advice to students.

Windows 7 is due out on Oct 22. It is pricey, with several versions to choose from, the cheapest being crippleware. There is a cut-price offer for students which Microsoft said was ideal for those students who couldn't afford to buy a new PC with Windows 7 pre-installed, but still wanted access to the latest cutting-edge tools and software.

Computer users upgrading from Vista to Windows 7 will have to pay £79.99 for the Home Premium edition, £189.99 for the Professional edition, or £199.99 for the Ultimate edition. Those still running earlier platforms, such as Windows XP, will have to perform a clean install, and will need a full retail copy of Windows 7, which will cost £149.99 for the Home edition, £219.99 for the Professional edition, and £229.99 for the Ultimate package. All copies are single-license, meaning they can only be installed on one computer.

Students - resist the temptation
This is a temptation students would be well-advised to resist. I have just done some Linux installs. One was on a 1.6 Celeron with 512 Meg RAM. SuSE 11.1 with KDE was a bit sluggish so we increased the RAM to 2GB and that works nicely now. The other was on a ten-year-old 500 Mg Pentium III with 384 Meg RAM, running Windows 98. Ubuntu 8.10 would not run from the live CD. Puppy Linux ran but there are limited disc partition options. Mepis run but looked a bit heavy. An install of Xubuntu was successful but the screen resolution is limited to 600 x 800 due to a bug, which will not be be sorted out until next time round. Also it did not have Open Office. Finally I installed SuSE 11.1 with Gnome from the live CD. The 3G broadband worked perfectly and instantly, possibly because I had installed the huawei E220 driver for which the rpm can be downloaded. But it is a bit sluggish and would run better with one of the lighter windows managers, however, the lighter windows managers do not appear to have easy access to the 3G network drivers. Still, it has resuscitated an old PC which would have been thrown out. I shall try to get some more memory which should help things - there is space for 768 Meg on the board.

Moral: Don't be tempted by the offer of cheap software. If you are a hard-up student, try and cadge an old computer - anything less than seven years old will do nicely, put in as much memory as it will take and install the Linux operating system with Open Source applications on it. You will also gain the benefit of an opportunity to find out how computers work. You will also avoid wasting time installing separate applications as they are all included on the one distribution disc, and you will also be spared the trouble registering and typing in all those 25-digit security codes.

If you are after leading-edge software, then you definitely need to follow the Linux-Open Source route in any case. Proprietary software is for those OAPs who are technologically illiterate.

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