Typically, changes in the industry are geared toward the holiday season, but this year the big changes are coming early. On October 22nd, Microsoft releases Windows 7 to the public, followed within days by Ubuntu 9.10.
For the vast majority, only Windows 7 will be important. But it is a major change. Those who have been using Vista and its on-and-off annoyances, Windows 7 will be a breath of fresh air. In my opinion, it is what Vista should have (and could have) been. It is far more stable and more refined than Vista, and has some incredible new features.
My personal favorite: the new taskbar. It is no longer the old taskbar that we’ve had since Windows 95. Rather than a bar that simply shows what programs are running, it is morphing into a dock, with auto-previews of the open windows of those programs.
If you would like to check it out before October 22nd, let me know–I have the RTM (release to manufacturing–the actual finalized program) installed on my laptop, and would be glad to demo it.
While Microsoft mades significant strides in Win7, Ubuntu is slowly gaining ground. For those unaware, Ubuntu is a major Linux distribution. And while Linux is used for many server applications, it is making inroads into the desktop world.
What are the benefits?
1. For one, Linux is free, as is almost all Linux software. For some, that is a huge benefit.
2. Performance on the same hardware as Windows is usually significantly better.
3. Security: in part because it has a smaller market share, in part because it is designed completely differently, it has virtually no risk for viruses or malware.
However, Linux is not for everyone. Many businesses run line-of-business applications that are specific only to Windows servers or workstations, eliminating the possibility. But for those using computers for basic office applications, Ubuntu may be a great fit. And once the new version is released, I will be running on my laptop on a second drive and will be more than happy to demonstrate.