Being one to constantly install operating systems I have no need for and ultimately no serious intention to seriously use, this weekend I installed the Windows 7 BETA. For what little I have tried of it, it is indeed quite nice and very polished. Proper support for Asian character sets certainly eased my worries after the frustration I had trying Vista.
Windows 7 has appeared to have done what it really needed to do. It completed the change that Vista started to make the OS palatable to the average user and convey that this is something that’s worthwhile, feels fresh and is a genuine improvement. It looks crisp, the UI is friendly and it installs easily. I’m sure with time I can find annoyances, but in general it’s a win for Microsoft.
However, there is in fact, a problem. A big one, at least in terms of people such as myself who already knows XP through and through but are looking for an update, which is that the one thing Windows 7 made me want to do above all else is try Ubuntu again.
The problem is change, because Windows 7 actually offers some. The fact that Windows 7 has a learning curve to the serious users means that the learning curve holding me back from jumping to Ubuntu or another distribution of Linux is now significantly mitigated. I already know that for the vast majority of my computer activity, Linux can provide that. The question is whether or not it would be an improvement — and that same question applies to Windows 7.
Microsoft has done what it had to with Windows 7, which is to provide some palpable change, even if it’s superfluous, so there’s no blaming here. Only warning that as long as I’m changing, it’s tempting to just go all the way.