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Microsoft Developing Windows for Low-End Machines 610

Posted by Zonk
from the no!-make-them-buy-new-hardware! dept.
Jeff writes "According to the Washington Post, Microsoft is developing a version of Windows to run on old machines that currently run 95 or 98. It would be very similar to XP, but run faster on the older hardware. The move is to appease businesses and universities that don't want to scrap the old hardware. This is likely aimed at preventing Linux from gaining market share where MS is currently alienating their customers."
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Microsoft Developing Windows for Low-End Machines

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:51PM (#12580522)
    Still in the early stages of development, Eiger will run a bare-bones set of programs directly from the desktop. The list will include the Internet Explorer browser, Windows Media Center, a firewall and antivirus software. Most other programs, however, will run off a central server.
    So they aren't actually stripping down Windows like they should, but instead doing some kind of funky thin-client thing. they still need the processing to be done somewhere, so I'm not seeing the savings for the schools.

    Nice that at the end of TFA, the exec still told people to buy new computers.
    • by jpk236 (885232) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:56PM (#12580580) Homepage
      I think the point is that buying 1 new central server will be cheaper than buying hundreds of new desktops.
      • The biggest problem is that hardware is the least of the cost for places.
        Software still needs to be licensed.

        And for more that 20 people you aren't talking just one big server. Alot more big servers.
        We have 500 people in our company, we have thin client and have about 18 application servers to run them.
      • Crap. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SatanicPuppy (611928) <Satanicpuppy@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:32PM (#12581031) Journal
        The reason they're doing this is so they can sell software upgrades to schools who can't afford new computers. They couldn't care less if the schools bought more hardware, but for them to stop buying software? The horror.

        There are better thin client applications out there than Windows. Apps that will run with fewer resources, less psychotic licensing schemes, and which cost a hell of a lot less.

        And Microsoft's never been known for "thin".
        • Re:Crap. (Score:5, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2005 @03:30PM (#12581649)
          And Microsoft's never been known for "thin".

          Even their filesystem is fat!

        • Re:Crap. (Score:3, Interesting)

          >>...Apps that will run with fewer resources, less psychotic licensing schemes, and which cost a hell of a lot less.

          Tell me about it, a client of mine was just given a quote for a server and a series of thin clients (Maxspeed thin clients I believe). The cost for a server and a set of dumb terminals seemed rather high and I questioned the quote.

          Turns out the licensing costs amount to nearly what a full system would.

          Check this, they had to pay for the Server 2003 license AND the CAL (Client Access L
    • Still in the early stages of development, Eiger will run a bare-bones set of programs directly from the desktop. The list will include the Internet Explorer browser, Windows Media Center, a firewall and antivirus software. Most other programs, however, will run off a central server.

      Does anyone else smell what I'm referring to in subject!

      I wanted to say positive but all I see is a central server controlling our desktops more than ever before.

    • by RealProgrammer (723725) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:04PM (#12580705) Homepage Journal
      the Internet Explorer browser, Windows Media Center, a firewall and antivirus software.

      If they didn't include the first two, they wouldn't need the last two.

      Buhdum-PISH. Thanks, I'll be here all week - and tip the waitress, they pay her less than me.
    • by Rick.C (626083) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:13PM (#12580810)
      So they're going to include the worst of the MS product line, IE and MP, throw in a firewall and antivirus (because IE and MP are security risks) and leave everything else to an application server.

      That's like Ford re-introduing the Pinto, but just a stripped-down version featuring only a rusty rear bumper and a gas tank.

      You'll have to tow it behind a Ford pickup truck fitted with a special firewall/blast shield.
    • "so I'm not seeing the savings for the schools."

      Absolutely. I work in a school now and am rolling Linux out on servers. The first to go was the CD Server. We already had a CD server that runs on NT4 but requires an upgrade for 2000/2003. A downloaded Linux disk and a 2.4GHz P4 we had laying around sorted that. Cost saved? £800.

      Next was print quota software that was £1200 to replace. Pykota and Postgres meant we could re-use old PCs and save the disposal costs that we'd pay otherwise.

      The 6 NT
  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:52PM (#12580526) Journal
    According to the Washington Post, Microsoft is developing a version of Windows to run on old machines that currently run 95 or 98. It would be very similar to XP, but run faster on the older hardware.

    Wait, since 95 and 98 barely ran on the old hardware, how is Microsoft going to make XP, a system that normally takes at least 4 times the hardware compared to the old systems, going to run at any workable speed in this scenario? Microsoft really only has two code bases for their systems (the 95/98/ME code base and the 2000/NT/XP/2003 code base), so this new system must be a pared down version of the XP code base, especially since (according to the article) service pack 2 fixes are in place for this future system. So, if they can do this for XP on old hardware, why can't they do it for modern hardware? Is it that Microsoft is simply admitting XP has a load of unnecessary crap in it?
    • Of course XP has a load of unnecessary crap in it. That's how people want their OS. However, you shouldn't assume that just because an OS is based on the modern Windows codebase, it won't run on old hardware. My point is that if you shave away the "crap" in XP that won't be of any use in a school environment, offload all heavy tasks to a central server when possible, then remove all the eyecandy and trim what's left down a bit, you will have a Windows NT/2k/XP/2k3-codebase system that runs quite well on an old Pentium or something like it. At least so long as all you're using is Office and IE (or OOo and Firefox...). I tried this myself by slimming down Windows 2000 Pro to the point where it would run beautifully on a Pentium 133. It's quite doable, and would be great for all those systems still stuck on 95/98/Me.
    • by Phisbut (761268) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:06PM (#12580742)
      Ok... last year, Microsoft sued Lindows because the name had a 1 letter difference from their own Windows... and now, they're making an OS code-named Eiger... ... ...

      I can only hope Apple sues the hell out of them...

    • not two but three (Score:3, Insightful)

      by spectrokid (660550)
      You are forgetting Windows CE. Should perfectly run on old hardware. Already has IE. Some tweaks and a citrix client....
    • by Lonewolf666 (259450) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:25PM (#12580965)
      The kernel is actually not very fat. At a former employer, we did some experimenting with XP Embedded. It needed around 3-4 Mbyte for itself to run the kernel and boot our application instead of the usual graphic shell.
      Now add a low-feature Explorer as in Windows 95 and you might get something that has memory consumption similar to Win98. Of course, you'd have to get rid of all services that are not necessary for a typical desktop. Otherwise, you would be back at a Win2000-like memory hog.
      Microsoft will have to compromise here, some applications might not run on the "XP light".
  • Great News! (Score:5, Funny)

    by k96822 (838564) * on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:52PM (#12580528) Journal
    The best thing about this is that they will be forced to make their code more efficient to work on slower PC's. They'll integrate that code into future versions of the OS and we'll feel that efficiency and increased quality. This will also force the competition to do the same thing, building a culture that leads to more efficient OS's. Best news I've read all day.
    • The best thing about this is that they will be forced to make their code more efficient to work on slower PC's.

      Sorry that won't happen. This new lightweight XP is gonna be the barebones OS, with IE/OE, Media Player and probably a terminal services client. That is ALL it is. They are cutting out features and doing nothing at all (or the barest minumum) of code optimisation. This is MS we are talking about here--they haven't done anything radical with their OS since NT 3.1 came out. Innovation might b
    • This will also force the competition to do the same thing, building a culture that leads to more efficient OS's.

      Competition?

    • Re:Great News! (Score:3, Informative)

      by MindStalker (22827)
      Shit I got XP to work smoothly on a 300MHZ machine the other day. Just turned most of the services to manual mode and turned the graphics to performace mode. And it runs fine (won't install SPSS for some reason, but thats a whole nother story)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:52PM (#12580531)
    why not just make a 'faster windows' all around, that runs fast on both old and new hardware? /boggle
    • why not just make a 'faster windows' all around, that runs fast on both old and new hardware?

      Didn't ya know? every version of windows has a hidden kernel level idle loop to make it chunky and slow. It starts off to make any computer feel like a pentium 75 and only slows down from there. The additional duration of that idle loop is proportional to the size of the registry. Windows is slow? It's not an accident. It's a design feature.
  • Good move (Score:4, Insightful)

    by yotto (590067) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:53PM (#12580537) Homepage
    I think this is a good move for them. I have linux running on two machines that could otherwise run windows if an even remotely modern version of windows would run on them.

    Sadly, since installing linux on them I've fallen for it and wouldn't change back unless there was some compensation involved.
  • by jaymzter (452402) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:53PM (#12580543) Homepage

    Folks, this Microsoft thing just isn't taking off. So many versions of Windows and code forks. For business reliability and maximum TCO, take a look at Linux!
  • by El Cubano (631386) <roberto.connexer@com> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:53PM (#12580545) Homepage

    According to the Washington Post, Microsoft is developing a version of Windows to run on old machines that currently run 95 or 98. It would be very similar to XP, but run faster on the older hardware.

    Umm.. Shouldn't improving performance always a metric for systems developers? Really. Apple manages to make new versions of OS X that run and perform better on the same hardware. Is it too much to ask that MS, who has significantly greater development resources, try to improve the performance of their OS?

    • Yes, but do the objectives of the systems developers and the marketing people correlate?
      Microsoft has always been about power and ease of use. Need performance? Buy more hardware.
  • So (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daedala (819156) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:53PM (#12580546)
    Is this due out before or after Longhorn?

    The OS will only run IE and Windows Media; everything else will be on an application server. I do not think this solves the actual problem. We have terminals.
  • standalone? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Coneasfast (690509) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:53PM (#12580547)
    Still in the early stages of development, Eiger will run a bare-bones set of programs directly from the desktop. The list will include the Internet Explorer browser, Windows Media Center, a firewall and antivirus software.
    Most other programs, however, will run off a central server.


    so can this replace old stand-alone machines that aren't connected to any useable server?
  • by ecklesweb (713901) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:54PM (#12580548)
    If it's made to run faster on old hardware, then why wouldn't I prefer this speedier system on my new hardware? Sounds like they could just take some of the bloat out of Windows XP and come up with an altogether better OS, rather than forking.
  • from TFA:
    "SEATTLE -- Microsoft Corp. is working on a new Windows-based operating system designed to help companies make older machines run better."

    bwa ha ha ha ha ...
    I'm sorry, I just can't read any further; if I laugh any harder, I may rupture my appendix.
  • How? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bobbis.u (703273) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:54PM (#12580563)
    Are they going to do this by stripping out features (Windows Starter Edition style) or making it more efficient?

    If the former, then I don't see it being popular for the usual reasons (see any thread on Starter Edition). If the latter, then why don't they just release a new version of Windows XP that runs more efficiently for everyone? It seems stupid that a (presumably) cheaper version of windows would run faster than the full price version.

  • by EvilStein (414640) <spam@pbp . n et> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:55PM (#12580570) Homepage
    Check out the specs below. What, are they going to make another "thin client" or just a version of Windows XP that runs on something slower than a Pentium 233? These are the requirements for Windows XP Pro, from Microsoft's own site. They say it'll *run* but what they don't tell you is that it'll run slower than cold syrup trying to flow uphill (both ways) in December in Minnesota.
    It'll run, but once you try to open an application, you'll wish you hadn't.

    "Here's What You Need to Use Windows XP Professional

    PC with 300 megahertz or higher processor clock speed recommended; 233 MHz minimum required (single or dual processor system);* Intel Pentium/Celeron family, or AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible processor recommended

    128 megabytes (MB) of RAM or higher recommended (64 MB minimum supported; may limit performance and some features)

    1.5 gigabytes (GB) of available hard disk space*

    Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher-resolution video adapter and monitor

    CD-ROM or DVD drive

    Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device"

  • by Virtual Karma (862416) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:57PM (#12580598) Homepage
    What will it come bundled with? I hope it comes bundled with atleast IE so that as soon as people install it they can get on the web and download FireFox ;)
  • You know, wouldn't it just be in Microsoft's best interest to create a version of Windows that works really well on most computers, rather than cluttering the market with thinware? Also, how is this version different from the one that they're shipping out to third-world countries right now?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have successfully run WinXP Pro on a 350Mhz Pentium 2 with 96MB of RAM... that is below the specified requirements, but it ran just fine. It even played DVDs and some (albiet older) games. I would think that if they just used XP Pro, maybe with some customized pre-set registry stuff, it would scale just fine down to 200-250Mhz machines. And I'm sorry, but if you are using a sub-200Mhz machine still... ouch. Ouch. And did I say OUCH? Get up to speed.
  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:58PM (#12580625) Homepage Journal
    One simply needs to remove all the eye candy.

    This is true for XP.
    This is *especially* true for Linux.
  • It would be nice if they were doing this because it came from the old-school initiative of "wouldn't it be cool if..." rather than as a business tactic to "respond to the Linux threat". And maybe, just maybe, they are.

    Is it the corporations or the industry analysts that suck the life out of otherwise interesting projects like these?

  • ...that Microsoft is in cahoots with hardware manufacturers to maintain the "software update == hardware update" status quo and force people to constantly buy new hardware. Because evidently, with this announcement, they *can* create a "diet-Windows", it was just not in their best interest to do it before Linux started gnawing at their pant legs.
  • Toxic Vaporware (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kiaser Zohsay (20134) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @01:59PM (#12580637)
    Puh-leaze. Yes, this announcement is obviously aimed at preventing adoption of Linux on low-end hardware. The real question is whether or not a product will ever emerge from the vapor. How many times has Longhorn slipped? And what kind of bleeding edge hardware specs does it have? Microsoft can't build an OS with a blank check for hardware specs, so how are they going to do it on a budget?
  • It's nice to see a company making a program that is optimized for LESS powerful hardware, rather than the other way around. It gets old having to upgrade hardware year after year because you can no longer run the software you want to. I think it's a great idea for companies to sell "lite" version of their flagship products.
  • by utexaspunk (527541) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:00PM (#12580645)
    Microsoft is developing a version of Windows to run on old machines that currently run 95 or 98. It would be very similar to XP, but run faster on the older hardware

    Hmm... I think I saw this once, and it was called Windows 2000... I can run Win2K just fine on my 233MHz PII laptop w/64MB of RAM.
  • by TommydCat (791543) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:00PM (#12580648) Homepage
    I mean really -- my wife's uncle has a business that uses several machines from the early 90's still running DOS applications. They haven't stopped working since then and work perfectly for the tasks they do. No, they don't run the latest and greatest MS Office, but there's absolutely no reason for them to.

    So... why upgrade them? If doesn't make sense to me other than MS is trying to sell more software to an already_tapped_once market.

  • while im not a fan of their practices, but from a business standpoint, its a great idea if they can actually pull it off. its a market that they have never tended to and has been a feeding ground for linux. the company i work for deals with places that have 'old' computers that dont run linux. so they end up with these systems that chug through win98. if MS can make windows XP efficient enough to run on older systems then good for them. i really dont like the fact that they are basically saying 'we loaded u
  • OK, so they release a version of WinXP that runs on a Pentium II 300, finally, but still has all the stability and connectivity features of "real" WinXP. So.... why buy the "real" WinXP for your 2.4 GHz P4? If WinXP-for-old-stuff is more efficient than WinXP-real-version, then it will run even faster on that 2.4 GHz system.

    Which means that WinXP-for-old-stuff will have to be reduced functionality, too, in order to avoid cannibalizing their existing OS revenues. Just how much and what features I'm not su
  • Quoth the blurb:
    This is likely aimed at preventing Linux from gaining market share where MS is currently alienating their customers."

    So...everywhere, then? It's much easier to just come out and say that than to string all those other words together, you know.
  • by Nytewynd (829901) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:05PM (#12580719)
    They aren't really making a faster version of XP for old machines. They are making old machines into dumb terminals that run things off a central server. It will look like XP in terms of interface, but isn't anything close.

    My guess is that this won't work especially well with older apps anyway. That central server would also have be orders of magnitude faster if you want to allow multiple people the ability to run their apps at the same time.

    What you might see is a situation in which small offices could either upgrade each machine for $500 and get way better performance, or purchase some high end server for tens of thousands of dollars and still be limited by the junk machines you have around. Also, any PC that old has to be near the end of it's life anyway. Any money you might save by converting these PCs will probably be lost when you have to replace all of the parts over the next year.
    • I could see using a Windows box like this as thin client for a UNIX server running X11, because X11 uses the user's computer for the actual drawing... it doesn't maintain and render a local copy of the screen, it just sends drawing commands to the client. A Windows Terminal Server doesn't do this, every session has to maintain its own *unaccelerated* screen image, locally, and send bitmaps containing changed areas. Much higher load on the server, so if you have a room with 10 low end PCs in it, buying a ser
  • by zr-rifle (677585) <zedrNO@SPAMzedr.com> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:06PM (#12580724) Homepage
    Will this version of Windows be the hardcore gamers OS of choice?

    A stripped down, bare bones version of Windows XP is what the gamer masses have been claiming for since years. As long as there is the latest DirectX, this means more horsepower for resource intensive games without the hassle of tweaking Windows till it bleeds in order to acheive the maximum horsepower for resource intensive games.

    Hell yea, bring it on! Since I do all my work on other operative systems, I'd be willing to part with some dough to add it to my multi-boot as the gaming OS of my rig, at least for those games that don't run well under the latest Cedega.

    If Microsoft really cared about it users, this version would be available free of charge for registered Windows XP Home and Pro users.
  • by thoolie (442789) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:06PM (#12580725) Homepage
    You know, I used to think that, "Jeeze, I have an old box (200Hz, 32Mram) and XP runs like crap on it, why don't I use linux?"

    Well, I run off and pick up a nice copy of Mandrake X.X (because I like the pretty GUI and the eazy use). So, I'm thinking that linux is going to run SO MUCH faster on this old box than WinXP while still retaining all of the nice things about XP (e.g. GUI, windowing, etc). Well, turns out a high end Linux distro with the bells and whistles doesn't run any faster than WinXP PLUS ol' Mandrake doesn't have all the legacy driver support that Windows has.

    My point being, I could run a stripped down version of Linux on an old PC and get good performance. But, I may as well run Win98Se and get the same speed plus better driver support for the legacy hardware. So, I don't think that Linux would be taking over the legacy PC world anytime soon, so long as people can still get 98SE. If you're not a 3l33t (or however that is spelled), Win98SE works just fine for legacy hardware and, IMHO, does not have a MUST SWITCH TO LINUX clause when the WinOS is X many years old.

    OTOH, I really think old boxes work great for learning the linux basics and running a stripped down Linux if your goal is to learn and play around, not to do world processing and email.

    Just my .02$
    • The difference is that you can run a current, maintained Linux distro on old hardware (hint: use a light window manager). But the equivalent Windows version will be obsolete and non-maintained. Security updates are good, yes?

      And as far as drivers go, Windows drivers tend to disappear (or become hard to find) after several years, and will probably never be updated. I'd much rather deal with open source drivers, once a driver is written it tends to be included with the Kernel source.

    • Legacy hardware? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by foonf (447461) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @03:25PM (#12581603) Homepage
      Linux actually has pretty amazing support for some legacy hardware, although configuration can be kind of opaque and most newer distributions don't know what to do with it. There is support remaining in the kernel for ancient ISA cards that haven't been properly supported under ANY Microsoft OS since MS-DOS.

      I agree that modern desktop Linux is not the best choice for older systems, but I think the reasons have to do more with software bloat than hardware support.

      Support for new hardware that the manufacturers are loath to release specifications for is IMO much more of a problem.
  • by Chemisor (97276) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:07PM (#12580746)
    Have you tried running KDE on a low-end machine lately? Or Gnome? And I mean a 100MHz pentium here with 16M of RAM. Modern Linux desktop is certainly not much of a competitor with Windows 95 on that hardware.
    • Nope -- thin clients (Score:4, Informative)

      by overshoot (39700) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:38PM (#12581111)
      I mean a 100MHz pentium here with 16M of RAM.

      Microsoft's solution is thin clients. Well, I have run a 100MHz machine with 16M of RAM as a Linux X server with a relatively unimpressive desktop as the application machine which does run KDE and it's quite nice.

      You can even play quite a few games as it turns out; stuff like LBreakout work fine. The fact is that an X terminal runs a much smaller footprint than the one proposed for Eiger.

  • by Pollux (102520) <speter.tedata@net@eg> on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:13PM (#12580817) Journal
    This is likely aimed at preventing Linux from gaining market share where MS is currently alienating their customers.

    No, I don't think that's it. Though Linux advocates will be more than happy to try and lay claim to any victory over marketing opportunity, I doubt Linux had anything to do with it.

    I think this better characterizes Microsoft's train of thought:

    ==> Any business that isn't growing is downsizing, and downsizing does not bode well for stocks and outlooks.

    ==> For Microsoft to grow, it has to sell software.

    ==> Microsoft's greatest profits come from two sources: Windows and Office.

    Therefore, Microsoft has to keep selling Windows and Office. But therein lies the dilemma: how can you sell a new version of Windows to someone who's content with their current version of Windows?

    This has long been a thorn in Microsoft's side. Developers still (for the most part) support Windows 98, and everybody supports Windows 2000. These are versions of Windows that are now seven and five years old, respectively. Now, think back to the year 1997, when Windows 95 has been out for a little more than two years. Was anybody back then still supporting Windows 2.0 (seven years old at the time), and how much support remained for Windows 3.1 (five years old at the time)?

    Microsoft is trying to find a way to make upgrades look important and desirable again. I personally think that Microsoft won't find any takers, but who knows...
  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:13PM (#12580826)
    Depending on what your problem is. If you need to run XP apps and XP drivers then yes, this might be a good thing. OTOH, if you need Server 2003 active directory support for your old win98 box, just download Active Directory Client Extensions and install it. Microsoft obscures it's existance to encourage new boxen and OS sales, but it's there and it works.
  • De-featuring (Score:5, Insightful)

    by overshoot (39700) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:14PM (#12580832)
    Well, yes, Eiger is targeted to run on older boxen. However, MS has a couple of nasty dilemmas here:
    • If they de-feature Eiger to the point of uselessness, nobody buys it.
    • If they de-feature Eiger to a thin client but require monster servers, nobody buys it.
    • If they don't de-feature Eiger but still manage to keep the small footprint, they undercut their full-feature offerings.
    • If they price Eiger at full-feature prices, nobody will buy it.
    • If they cut the price without massive de-featuring, they undercut their full-feature offerings.
    • If they don't remove Media Player or IE, they have a much harder time with the footprint.
    • If they do remove Media Player and IE, they contradict their sworn testimony and potentially land senior executives in jail for perjury (admittely not likely.)
  • by whysanity (231556) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:19PM (#12580890) Homepage Journal
    Want thin computing? The future is here.

    For most people, almost all work can be done on a internet terminal. Although I prefer Gmail, Yahoo! mail has a few nice features that Google has yet to offer including calendar tools (events, tasks, birthdays) and a notepad (though you could use the drafts feature and spell check for a "notepad"). Beyond that, there are PHP applciations such as Horde that offer similar and even extended functionality.

    Even special applications are making thier way to the web - think of doing your taxes online, or even diagnosing health problems. You can share pictures online, and do a further multitude of tasks.

    There was even a push several years ago (6 maybe?) to put the desktop paradigm onto the web through DHTML. The idea never took off, but the portal functionality has always continued to develop.

    Now if only I could open a window to Slashdot within my web browser!
  • by sicking (589500) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:19PM (#12580894)
    I know this is slashdot, but please RTFA.

    This isn't about making a custom version of windows that is more optimized so that it can run on old hardware. What they are doing is running the slow applications remotly, probably using citrix like technology (MS has their own version but I can't remember the name).

    So what this probably is is a version of windows that cuts out a few OS features that affects performance, and then preconfiguring it so that it will run a pile of applications from a central server.

    Of course, this is something that's always been easy to do on unix. Linux sounds better and better with every announcement comming out of Redmond these days...
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @02:32PM (#12581036)

    Applications.

    You might have a very very thin XP that'll run on a Pentium II, but who cares? As soon as you load Office on it, the only thing it'll do quickly is take a nosedive.

    Although the Windows OS is a famous place to look for software bloat, it's only half of the problem. With the API being the way that it is, and the application developers for that platform pushing for more and more useless features as a revenue stream...99% of todays apps will still bomb on a thin XP machine.

  • Noooooooo! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FuturePastNow (836765) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @04:04PM (#12582057)
    What will happen to geek dumpster diving if businesses don't have to buy new hardware every few years? That's where I get most of my computers!
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Thursday May 19, 2005 @04:21PM (#12582288)
    This is likely aimed at preventing Linux from gaining market share where MS is currently alienating their customers.

    Presumably if Joe Bloke has an old PC running Windows 98 then he's probably never going to upgrade to Linux anyway. The only reason he might want to install Linux would be to run maybe a web or mail server, something that he probably would not want to do on Windows 98 anyway.

    Otherwise, if he has older hardware, he doesn't need the additional driver support (say for USB 2.0) that comes with Windows XP and today's games that only run on Windows 2000 or XP are probably too hefty to run on his hardware anyway.

    Sure, Microsoft would love to get Joe to spend more money on a new OS, that's just plain business, but it has absolutely nothing to do with Linux.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 19, 2005 @05:36PM (#12583154)
    I do a lot of setting up machines for giving away to families that cannot afford a computer. The group I work with takes old business computers that have all software wiped from them - most at present are P3 500 to 600mhz machines. We now use Linux to get the job done. I can do a drive to drive install in about 30 minutes, Have everything a regular user will need. XP is way too slow -- 98 is way to hard to install a few machines at a time. Both would kill us on license fees. The only thing that makes this project even posible is Linux.

    Just like MS to miss the mark again!

Brain fried -- Core dumped

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