Netbooks, Windows 7 starter, and Linux

I love my Netbook. I’ve been thinking of plastering a “Don’t Panic” sticker on it, à la Douglas Adams.

It seems like Microsoft intends for Windows 7 Starter Ediction to be the default operating system to ship on netbooks. This article suggests that Microsoft was planning to limit the number of open app’s in Windows 7 Starter Edition to three. After some noise from the public, Microsoft has relented on the three-app limit.

Now, netbooks are generally underpowered, and you may not be able to have even three windows open without everything slowing to a crawl, or even locking up. But it’s telling that Microsoft both made the decision to limit the open windows, and then relented. It may be that Microsoft was trying to make Windows 7 look less resource-hoggy than it’s likely to be (I admit, I haven’t played with it yet) by limiting how much it could do on a lower-end system (which is the type of system most likely to ship with Starter; I don’t see that it’s for sale by itself)… but I’m suspicious enough of big business to think that, instead, Microsoft was hoping for a raft of operating system upgrades at $$$ per (although, frankly, I think mostly what would happen is a bunch of returned merchandise – which then might mean people would choose to buy more powerful laptops).

It’s the kind of thing that makes a free operating system sound like a good idea.

(In other news, the Brits at OMG!Ubuntu! ran a post saying that Openoffice has been dropped from the upcoming Ubuntu Netbook Remix… although, I suspect it will be easy enough to add back in from the repositories if you have the hard-drive space on your machine.)

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