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Ballmer Sets Loose Windows 7 Public Beta At CES 672

Posted by timothy
from the conventional-wisdom-ranks-it-high dept.
CWmike writes "The rumors turned out to be true. Microsoft will release a public beta this week of its next desktop operating system, Windows 7, hoping it will address the problems that have made Windows Vista perhaps the least popular OS in its history. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will launch the beta during his speech at the start of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Preston Gralla reviewed Windows 7 beta 1, noting 'Fast and stable, Beta 1 of Windows 7 unveils some intriguing user-interface improvements, including the much-anticipated new task bar.' MSDN and Technet subscribers should be able to get the public data tonight. The general public will have to wait until Friday."
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Ballmer Sets Loose Windows 7 Public Beta At CES

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  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:33PM (#26376557) Journal

    If it weren't for his grating voice, they could sell that video as a sleep aid.

    -jcr

  • by Wildfire Darkstar (208356) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:33PM (#26376563)

    ...or doesn't it count because no one even tried to take it seriously?

    • by Ron_Fitzgerald (1101005) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:42PM (#26376687)
      My first thought as well. Millennium was even more horrendous then Vista in my opinion.

      Vista problems, at least in my experience, were due to hardware incompatibilities. Millennium was a terribly built OS that was rushed out way before ready.

      But maybe that was their strategy, "Millennium who?"
      • by LiENUS (207736) <slashdot.vetmanage@com> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:11PM (#26377173) Homepage
        My big problem with vista is it likes to cache stuff. Accidentally try to access a network drive before the wireless is up? Vista's happy to cache the negative response and not let you access that drive even after the network is up. Though it seems to have improved some with recent patches. It use to not want to work unless I rebooted, now going into my computer and double clicking the drive seems to open it up fine.
      • by sanosuke001 (640243) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:32PM (#26377545)
        I had an internship interview at MS a couple years ago. One of the interviewers I met with asked me about the best and worst software I had used. (No, I didn't say ME) After I was finished, I said that a lot of people didn't think too highly of Millennium and what he thought about it. He said, "We don't talk about Millennium..."

        It made the cross-country trip worth it
      • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:39PM (#26377649) Homepage

        I'd say it was worse than "rushed out before ready." Maybe more like "pushed out even though their was no point." After saying that Win98 would be the last of its line, they turned around and apparently diverted resources to pushing an OS that was basically Win98+bugs. Bugs that would never really be fixed anyway, since they were about to start pushing people to the NT kernel anyway in the form of Windows 2000 and later WindowsXP.

        It's like if I were discontinuing a model of car because of several huge design problems, but after releasing the replacement model, suddenly started reselling the discontinued model again-- this time, with a spoiler that somehow made it harder to steer. It doesn't make a lot of sense unless it's a half-assed money-grab.

        • by vux984 (928602) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:55PM (#26377889)

          It's like if I were discontinuing a model of car because of several huge design problems, but after releasing the replacement model, suddenly started reselling the discontinued model again-- this time, with a spoiler that somehow made it harder to steer. It doesn't make a lot of sense unless it's a half-assed money-grab.

          Windows 2000 was -supposed- to be launched as consumer OS. They even had a "Windows 2000 Home" edition planned in addition to "Professional" and "Server", but it was dropped from the plan fairly early on. The WinNT codebase simply wasn't consumer friendly enough - backwards compatibility with Win95/98 software, games, and piles of consumer hardware etc simply wasn't there.

          So they backed off pushing consumers to Windows 2000 until 2002 with XP Home, and rushed out ME with a focus on multimedia features (that actually largely made it into XP) to have something new and shiny in the home market.

      • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:45PM (#26377737)
        I completely agree. I've used Vista and actually like it better than XP for my laptop, and that's something I never would have said about ME after 98 SE. I think Windows 7 will clear up the PR problems, fix a lot of the things that have bugged people the most, and overall just provide a better experience. From the screenshots I've seen, they sat down and decided on what all the low hanging fruit would be, bundled it into a new OS and are shipping it. These aren't insubstantial changes, but they're things that seem obvious once I've seen them and that seem fairly easy.

        I think that Windows 7 will be a lot like Windows 98 SE was. It'll clear up a lot of the perception issues and also resolve some of the more substantial problems with the OS. I know I sound like a corporate shill for saying this, but I'm actually really excited for this release.
        • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NospAm.hotmail.com> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @07:22PM (#26379265) Journal
          I think Windows 7 will clear up the PR problems, fix a lot of the things that have bugged people the most, and overall just provide a better experience.

          That may be so, but I'd take the review here with a grain of salt.

          Preston Gralla is pretty much the epitome of a breathless Windows fanboi. Try reading some of his articles about Vista...

          To anyone who has been sitting on the fence over whether to upgrade to Microsoft's new operating system, I'll say it loud and clear: It's time to make the jump. There are plenty of reasons to leave Windows XP and install Vista.

          Windows Vista: 15 Reasons to Switch [pcworld.com]

          The conventional wisdom, that Mac's OS X is superior to Windows Vista, is flat-out wrong. In fact, despite much belief to the contrary, Vista is a superior operating system.

          Five reasons why Vista beats Mac OS X [computerworld.com]

          ...and his blog here [computerworld.com] is full of pro MS/anti [any competitor] drivel.

    • by denis-The-menace (471988) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:46PM (#26376755)

      At that time you could choose Windows ME or Windows 2000.
      MS had a hard time to get people off Win9x.
      Windows ME fixed that in a jiffy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Amouth (879122)

        very very true.. sadly i know people that still run 98se.. honestly win2k was extreamly good.. XP was kinda annoying but turned out fine.. server 2003 is perfect in my mind - from a windows stand point.. there are some nice things in vista and server 08.. but server 2003 provides extreamly good reliability and stability compared to all other windows OS's

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mcsqueak (1043736)

        At that time you could choose Windows ME or Windows 2000.

        I don't know about anyone else, but I loved Windows 2000 professional. I ran it on my personal machine for years, until I finally bought a Laptop that came with WinXP. Windows 2000 always ran very solid for me and didn't cause any problems (until I tried to install a HDD that was larger than Windows could recognize).

  • by Chabo (880571) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:33PM (#26376575) Homepage Journal
    Early reports say that no audience members were injured at today's CES, a rare occurrence for a Ballmer speech.
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:34PM (#26376579)

    Balmer is a looser.

  • by RavenofNi (948641) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:35PM (#26376591) Homepage
    Microsoft will release a public beta this week of its next desktop operating system, Windows 7, hoping it will address the problems that have made Windows Vista perhaps the least popular OS in its history.

    So, Vista failed because they didn't provide a public beta for it?

    How about addressing the increasingly long list of features people actually want instead of a resource intensive API to make my windows translucent? Or, making what was arguably Vista's best and at the same time worst feature (UAC) something that works without making itself so intrusive as to be the first time users desire to disable?!
    • by qoncept (599709) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:45PM (#26376743) Homepage
      So, Vista failed because they didn't provide a public beta for it?

      Did you read two words of the summary to interpret its meaning? They are releasing a public beta AND hoping to address the problems. That's like replying to "Microsoft hired 3 new programmers to work on Windows 7" with "Didn't they hire programmers to work on Vista?"
    • by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:48PM (#26376785)

      r, making what was arguably Vista's best and at the same time worst feature (UAC) something that works without making itself so intrusive as to be the first time users desire to disable?!

      I love UAC. On XP, I used to have to de-malware my [anonymized family member]'s computer every couple of months. On Vista, I'm watching them use their machine, and UAC pops up with some spyware wanting to install. Box read, permission declined, no infestation I have to clean up.

      Again, it works great for me!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Gizzmonic (412910)

        I love UAC. On XP, I used to have to de-malware my [anonymized family member]'s computer every couple of months. On Vista, I'm watching them use their machine, and UAC pops up with some spyware wanting to install. Box read, permission declined, no infestation I have to clean up.

        Average users compulsively click "yes" to any nagging dialog box without a second thought. That is what they have been conditioned to do. UAC doesn't change that, it's just one more box to click "yes" to. That's why it sucks.

        • Maybe (Score:5, Informative)

          by coryking (104614) * on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:07PM (#26377103) Homepage Journal

          But most everybody using a computer is worried about spyware and viruses. UAC requires user education. You need to train your users (family, friends, etc) that when you see a UAC dialog, they better think. Tell them they should never see that dialog unless they are *installing* a program they bought (or downloaded). Train them to be nervous and worried about UAC dialogs... they should never see one unless they are installing software. It will encourage them to call you when one shows up.

          UAC + user training = way better then XP. Your family can install crap easily, and they will call you before they do (so you can talk them out of installing yet another damn toolbar). Win win.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Gizzmonic (412910)

            My mom or little sister installing P2P spyware or toolbars they voluntarily downloaded IS the problem, most of the time.

            And no, I don't consider having my family call me every time they want to install something a "win win." More like a "lose lose." That's why I'm happy my mom decided to get a Mac. Not that it "just works" like the Mac guys always say, but it has completely eliminated the "OMG I'm getting a message that says my computer is infected" phone calls.

        • by adonoman (624929) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:07PM (#26377109)

          But at least Vista now keeps track of when users install stuff - this has made my life easier several times:

          Family member: "My computer is getting pop-ups all the time"
          Me: "Did you install anything recently?"
          fm: "No."
          Me: "It says here you installed on , just before you started complaining about things"
          fm: "Well, yes, there was that. But that was supposed to make things better."
          me: "...."

          • by coryking (104614) * on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:31PM (#26377531) Homepage Journal

            The UAC dialog looks a lot difference then any other dialog that pops up. Train them to be very nervous and apprehensive when they see a UAC dialog. Hopefully they'll start calling you when they pop up so you can talk them out of installing $GOOGLE_YAHOO_TWITTER_TOOLBAR_#23.

            Really though, I've been fairly successfull in explaining what UAC is and why they should pay attention to when they pop up. Nobody wants spyware, but most people never see the connection between "I just ran $RANDOM.EXE and now my computer is slow". UAC is an easy sell if you frame it as a barrier between $RANDOM.EXE and spyware-city. In fact, given a willing listener, it isn't too hard to explain "on XP, a program could access any part of your system you want, on Vista, it can only access a couple things like your documents and desktop.. the only way it can access your system and install spyware is through a UAC dialog".

            PS: And yeah, I know UAC isn't a foolproof barrier. If UAC is used correctly by a user, the only real way for a program to get root access is the old-fashioned way, privilege elevation exploits. But you don't need to tell them that detail, it isn't relevant to them and will just confuse them. Only nerds like us will appreciate that :-)

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by whoever57 (658626)

            Family member: "My computer is getting pop-ups all the time"

            Me: "Did you install anything recently?"

            fm: "No."

            Me: "It says here you installed on , just before you started complaining about things"

            That's like living in a house where the driveway is littered with dog poo and adding a detector that, instead of stopping someone with dog poo on their shoes from getting into the house, it merely records the fact for later recall. Ultimately, it doesn't stop you from having to clean dog poo off the carpets.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Kalriath (849904) *

              Unless of course the user isn't an admin. In that case they're prevented from opening the door for someone with (or without) dogshit on their boots until an administrator comes along with the key.

        • by Endo13 (1000782) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:40PM (#26377655)

          You'd think so, but it's actually not true. I find it amazing myself, but UAC actually works. I work at a PC phone support center, and we get tons of calls about computers infected with Antivirus 2009/Antivirus Pro/etc. Out of the dozens (if not hundreds) of these calls I've taken over the last few months, I got exactly one call about a Vista machine that was infected. A good 99%+ of those calls we get are for infected XP machines, and I can guarantee you XP does not have 99x the marketshare of Vista, by any measurement. I also had another call where the caller had gotten a popup that would have infected her computer, and she believed the popup and pressed "scan". Only problem for the malware was, the next screen she got was a "continue or cancel" screen from UAC, and that apparently scared her more than the panic popup had, and she clicked cancel.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by LingNoi (1066278)

        Again, it works great for me!

        People also say homoeopathy, acupuncture and magnet therapy "works for them" too. First hand experiences mean jack all.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by sgage (109086)

          Yes, just because it works for you, screw that! If the pundits say mean things about it, you're obviously mistaken. It sucks!

    • by int69h (60728)

      UAC seems to work pretty well. Alot of the excessive nagging seems to come from older applications assuming they have free reign over the system. The only other times I've seen it I would have also had to use sudo on Unix.

    • by Z34107 (925136) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:52PM (#26376853)

      Actually, they did provide a public beta for Windows Vista. I was pretty excited to get the next version of Windows to "beta test" before it was released. The whole "oooh new and shiny" factor.

      But, the nice thing about the "resource intensive" API is that it actually uses your video card. Running Vista on a repurposed workstation at work, Aero without glass performs better than the software-only "classic" mode. (Though, this is anecdotal. The machine has 768 MB of RAM and an older Pentium 4.)

      The funny thing is Vista tries to put the hardware you have to use. Have 8 GB of RAM? It'll use the unallocated memory to cache programs. Have a discrete graphics card? It'll be virtualized and time slices doled out to applications. Have System Idle Process running at 99% 'cuz your CPU is bored? It'll index files, or defrag your disk (if your disk is also idle.)

      But, using hardware that would otherwise be idle is "resource intensive." It's a matter of perspective.

      +1 rambling for me? I'd settle for a cookie.

    • by CannonballHead (842625) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:04PM (#26377069)

      Please read what they said before complaining about it.

      They ARE fixing UAC, and they ARE slimming down Vista. I quote from the article.

      Among the new features in Windows 7 are an updated interface, including a redesigned task bar; tools to make home networking simpler; and a reworking of the User Account Control feature, which annoyed many Vista users with its constant prompts. It also aims to give better performance than Vista and supports a touch-screen interface, though few PCs are likely to use that feature at first.

      The minimum recommended hardware for the beta includes a 1-GHz processor, 1GB of system memory, 16GB of available disk space and support for DX9 graphics with 128MB of memory (to enable the Aero theme), Microsoft said.

      (emphasis mine)

      My mistake about this - it wasn't this article that had the "lean" part... it was this one [pcworld.com]:

      At the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced a free public beta of the new OS, which reportedly will be less of a resource hog than Vista and may even run well on netbooks. The Windows 7 public beta is reportedly "feature complete" and will expire on Aug. 1, 2009.

      Microsoft says Windows 7 is a leaner, stripped-down OS that will require as little as 1GB of memory. Then again, it's fair to be skeptical here. Vista has the same memory requirement but runs sluggishly on systems with 1GB of RAM.

      (emphasis mine)

  • by whoever57 (658626) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:36PM (#26376613) Journal

    'Fast and stable, Beta 1 of Windows 7 unveils some intriguing user-interface improvements, including the much-anticipated new task bar.'

    New Task Bar? Do the words "Titanic" and "rearranging the deckchairs" come to mind here?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Weaselmancer (533834)

      Yeah, that's what I thought too. Who gives a flying crap (other than Preston Gralla obviously) about a taskbar?

      Solve the incompatibility problems between Vista and XP if you want to impress me. Plug security holes. Drop useless bulk. Or at least provide a way to optionally include it at install time. Streamline. Make it run faster than XP. [cnet.com] Vista performance is embarrassingly atrocious. Fix THAT instead.

      All these known problems and complaints, and the best thing you decide to do is to tout a new

      • by Valdrax (32670) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:45PM (#26377727)

        Yeah, that's what I thought too. Who gives a flying crap (other than Preston Gralla obviously) about a taskbar?

        I do, actually. It seems at first like a huge rip-off of Mac OS X's dock, and Microsoft is nothing if not consistent about trying to rip-off Apple.

        However, after now having seen some videos of it, I've gone from fear and loathing to interest and appreciation. It looks like MS somehow learned from all the horrible mistakes of Mac OS X's dock and made their new taskbar act like the dock should have. Icons stay in place and don't dance around requiring you to hunt for things. Separation between different apps is easily visible, and the use of color makes it easy to tell what you're hovering over without having to look directly at it. Multiple windows from the same app are grouped together instead of creating clutter. There is clear separation between active apps (in the bar) and the list of apps you'd like to run (in the Start menu).

        It brings tears to my eyes. I've hated Mac OS X's dock from the first day I had to use it. As a Classic Mac OS user, I missed my pop-up folders, my segregated menus, and having all my stuff stay in place so that I could click it without looking or even really thinking about it. I bemoaned how with Mac OS X and its "lickable" Aqua interface, Apple was putting flash over functionality when better UI was the whole reason I was a Mac user in the first place.

        This jaded old Mac user who has moved to using the command prompt to do everything out of hatred for the new Finder and dock feels something akin to warmth for an MS product for the first time. *sniff*

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        Except the task bar is something you use all the time. So an improvement could have a big impact. I have used Computers for so long that I have no problem moving from Windows to KDE to Gnome to OS/X. None of UI differences really seem to affect me too much.
        I will give Windows 7 a chance. It may actually be a good OS and a worthy replacement for XP.

    • by Erikderzweite (1146485) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:50PM (#26376827)

      By the look of it, they have fired their entire R&D team and using betas of kde 4.2 instead.

    • by EvanED (569694) <evaned.gmail@com> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:59PM (#26376953)

      Microsoft isn't rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Vista is soaring! If anything, Microsoft is rearranging deck chairs on the Hindenburg!

      (With apologies to Stephen Colbert.)

    • by Valdrax (32670) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:27PM (#26377459)

      New Task Bar? Do the words "Titanic" and "rearranging the deckchairs" come to mind here?

      I think the phrase "rearranging the deckchairs" comes to mind ANY time Balmer is involved.

  • Least popular?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Endo13 (1000782) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:37PM (#26376625)

    Hardly. If anything, it's the *most* popular. Popularity doesn't necessarily mean that something is liked, but having a lot of people dislike something as in the case of Vista means it's pretty damn popular. Just not for the reasons you'd like. It's easy to tell which is the least popular Windows ever: Windows 1.0. (It would be Microsoft Bob, except that's not actually "Windows".)

    However, even for the "most hated" award, it's a tight race between ME and Vista. I'd say the hatred of ME is more intense, while the hate for Vista is more widespread.

    • by daveatneowindotnet (1309197) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:19PM (#26377309)

      However, even for the "most hated" award, it's a tight race between ME and Vista. I'd say the hatred of ME is more intense, while the hate for Vista is more widespread.

      I don't know, YOU seem like a nice enough guy. Though your self important need to have references to YOU in all caps is a little annoying.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      but having a lot of people dislike something as in the case of Vista means it's pretty damn popular.

      I think the word you're looking for is notorious, not popular in its common usage.

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:41PM (#26376681) Homepage Journal

    Purchase of Vista?
    One of the primary reasons Vista has slow adoption has been the tiers and pricing.
    What's it is printed, the development costs are sunk. The need to have one tier of windows 7, and change 99 bucks for it.
    It is far better for them to get everybody onboard the new system, then it is dealing with the hassle of corporations ahving so many versions.
    It is also in there best interests to set the stage to ditch all legacy 32bit apps they sell.

    Hell sell it for 59.99 and they would move 100 million the first year. Everyone on Vista will move over, as would people holding out on XP.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mpapet (761907)

      One of the primary reasons Vista has slow adoption has been the tiers and pricing.

      Microsoft is a price maker. (look it up on wikipedia) They can charge whatever they want. Charge too much and some regulator/law enforcement authority will have to pretend to do something, eventually.

      They don't have to charge too little because it's just throwing money away. No one else will capture the value, so it's their loss.

      Discounts are a bad, bad thing. Like coupons, discount shoppers are your worst customers.

      Hell

  • OS or GUI??? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cptdondo (59460) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:43PM (#26376705) Journal

    So the bulk of the article gushes all over the taskbar, with a bit of Aero thrown in...

    Are the pundits so brain dead that they don't know the difference between an OS and a UI? A taskbar is not an OS.

    The koolaid must be good.....

    I want to hear what they did with the DRM. I want to hear what they've done to make the system more stable under load. I want to hear that they now have a package manager, instead of DLL hell. I want to hear that drivers now ship with the OS, and I don't have to install 70 MB of bloatware just to "install" a keyboard.

    Oh wait, but look at that icon on the taskbar..... Slurp, slurp, damn that koolaid tastes good.

    • Re:OS or GUI??? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Your.Master (1088569) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:56PM (#26376919)

      You're confusing issues. They are reviewing the new version of Windows. The specific definition of Operating System is ultimately meaningless in this discussion.

      The new taskbar and other UI tweaks are a part of the new version of Windows.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by msimm (580077)
        I think what he's implying is what the reviewer chose to focus on wasn't particularly substantial. A more technical review *could* have covered the issues the OP mentions. This one focused on the UI and summary made it sound like it might have been more then that (to be fair the articles own title provides a more clear summary: 'Review: Windows 7 Beta 1 shows off new task bar, more UI goodies').
    • Hmmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by coryking (104614) * on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:22PM (#26377345) Homepage Journal

      Are the pundits so brain dead that they don't know the difference between an OS and a UI? A taskbar is not an OS.

      You want an analogy that isn't a car analogy? You've got your "the OS is just a wrapper around the BIOS. Applications should do whatever they want" folk. These are the tech equivalent of "government is the root of all problems, remove it from everything"... call them Regan republicans or perhaps Ron Paul style republicans.

      On the other end of the spectrum, you've got the "your OS should do pretty much everything, applications aren't able to making proper decisions without OS intervention". Are these guys the far-left who want government to do everything? Are these guys the tech version of socialists? Dunno.

      And if you want my opinion, the OS is more then a shim around the bios. Operating systems (like the government) had to evolve to meet the needs of a growing, more complex set of applications and requirements (ditto with our governments). Going back to a "pure" operating system that just wraps the Bios and presents a green console just wouldn't work, same with going back to a razor thin US federal government. The OS needs to enforce rules and needs to dictate what applications (citizens) can and cannot do or else the whole thing will fail.

      On the other hand, if you let the operating system do too much, you will piss off your developers and worse, probably piss off various governments (think anti-trust). Let your government get too big, you'll piss off the citizens and worse, risk bankruptcy.

      I'll let somebody else flesh this out.

    • Re:OS or GUI??? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by recoiledsnake (879048) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:28PM (#26377473)

      So the bulk of the article gushes all over the taskbar, with a bit of Aero thrown in...

      Are the pundits so brain dead that they don't know the difference between an OS and a UI? A taskbar is not an OS.

      The koolaid must be good.....

      I want to hear what they did with the DRM. I want to hear what they've done to make the system more stable under load. I want to hear that they now have a package manager, instead of DLL hell. I want to hear that drivers now ship with the OS, and I don't have to install 70 MB of bloatware just to "install" a keyboard.

      Oh wait, but look at that icon on the taskbar..... Slurp, slurp, damn that koolaid tastes good.

      Then you should go read the Engineering Windows 7 blog, not Slashdot. The audience for this review are the general crowd, not Slashdotters. What DRM are you talking about? I keep hearing about it, but no real life examples of how it's hindering ANYONE. DLL hell? When was the last time it affected you? Also, shipping all drivers will make the OS around a few TB. They actually try to include most drivers that are in popular hardware. Are you okay with that?

      • By the time you get the CD they are already out of date. If you assume the end user has an internet connection, you can leave out all but drivers for the IO and the netcard. The rest, like video card drivers can either come off the driver CD that came with the video card (i.e. a non-internet user) or get downloaded off the magical inter-tele-tubes.

        Seriously, I'm a nerd so this doesn't count... but isn't the first thing you do with a new piece of hardware is throw away the CD and download the current drive

  • Codename (Score:5, Funny)

    by leroybrown (136516) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:45PM (#26376741) Homepage

    I, for one, won't sign up until it's given a cool name like 'Moab', 'Durango', or 'Rumplestilskin' and a slick marketing campaign designed to fool me into upgrading.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      That's a good point, but in order to really force me to upgrade they should add a new version of DirectX that will arbitrarily only run on $NEW_VERSION and introduces some $NEW_VERSION only effects [firingsquad.com]."
  • Sets loose? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:46PM (#26376751)

    Honestly, that title just invokes thoughts of Gandalf sitting there saying "Escaped? Or was set loose?" Followed by a freakly looking Windows 7 Beta slinking around in the shadows.

  • by javacowboy (222023) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:52PM (#26376857)

    From what I understand, Windows 7 is Vista with some GUI improvement, significant performance enhancements, and new features. It's not a rewrite. It doesn't break backward compatibility. It doesn't solve the 32-bit 64-bit dilemma that both Linux and OS X are addressing. It doesn't eliminate the behaviour of configuring user accounts to be admin/root by default. It also doesn't force application developers to break old habits.

    It's definitely an improvement over Vista, but Microsoft is bound by backward compatibility requirements to keep shipping OS's that are fundamentally broken and that do not allow for 32-bit apps and drivers to run out of one 64-bit OS.

    They missed a golden opportunity to fix these problems to keep their OS relevant in terms of keeping up with OS technology.

    • by Yunzil (181064) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @06:52PM (#26378895) Homepage

      It doesn't solve the 32-bit 64-bit dilemma that both Linux and OS X are addressing. It doesn't eliminate the behaviour of configuring user accounts to be admin/root by default.

      So, you've never actually used Vista x64 then?

    • by kylef (196302) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:25PM (#26380019)

      ... Microsoft is bound by backward compatibility requirements to keep shipping OS's that are fundamentally broken and that do not allow for 32-bit apps and drivers to run out of one 64-bit OS.

      Here's a run-down on Windows and Apple's 64-bit support on the desktop:

      • 2001, June - Windows XP 64-bit edition for Itanium1. Microsoft's first 64-bit OS. Full OS support for 64-bit IA64 applications, minus DirectX libraries. Runs 32-bit x86 applications via "Windows on Windows" emulator.
      • 2003, March - Windows XP 64-bit edition, Version 2003. Added support for Itanium2. Discontinued in July 2005 when last Itanium workstation (not server) went off the market.
      • 2005, March - Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. Based on Server 2003 kernel, adds support for AMD64 CPU. Both 32-bit and 64-bit applications run natively, side-by-side. Included full support for all Windows APIs, including DirectX. Dropped support for 16-bit applications.
      • 2005, April - Apple OSX 10.4 "Tiger". First Apple OS to support 64-bit user apps, but only in console mode (no graphical library support). Supports G5 64-bit addressing.
      • 2006, November - Windows Vista 64 (Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate). First 64-bit versions of Windows to ship pre-installed on mainstream PCs.
      • 2007, October - Apple OSX 10.5 "Leopard". First edition of Apple's OS to support 64-bit graphical applications.

      As you can see, Microsoft has been clearly in front of Apple regarding 64-bit application support. The fact that Apple did not support graphical 64-bit applications until October 2007 is frankly embarrassing, considering that 64-bit Windows has had this support since the first 64-bit OS in 2001.

      It should also be noted that Microsoft was really important in bringing AMD64 (x64) to market. Intel was dragging its feet with Itanium, issuing press releases downplaying Itanium on the desktop, stating that 64-bit computing only made sense for servers. Microsoft's David Cutler reportedly went to Intel, asking them to introduce a set of 64-bit extensions to the x86 instruction set. Intel refused. So Dave started working with AMD, and in 2004 the AMD64 Hammer CPU was born. Intel was basically forced to come out with an AMD64 clone they dubbed "EMT64", about 6 months later. It is unlikely that Intel would have supported x64 unless Microsoft had agreed to support the new AMD CPU. Dave Cutler reportedly had Server 2003 running on the Hammer prototype a few hours after receiving it.

      You can still see a remnant of the close AMD relationship on 64-bit Windows by opening a shell and typing "echo %processor_architecture%". Hint: it doesn't say X64.

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice&gmail,com> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:55PM (#26376891)

    To protect your MP3 files

    1. Before you install this Beta release, back up all MP3 files that might be accessed by the computer, including those on removable media or network shares.

    2. Install the Beta release of Windows 7; download and install the Update to Windows 7 Beta (KB961367) located on this page.

    'To protect your MP3 files' - uhm, wtf?!

  • by Foofoobar (318279) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:09PM (#26377145)
    And considering that every Microsoft product requires new hardware, the chances that software manufacturers will embrace when is doubtful as they will be waiting to see what consumers will be doing this time around and harware manufacturer will be waiting as well.

    Because during a recession/depression, people are tightening their belts. Statistics already show that people are not spending and have already done their nesting spending and are putting everything else into the bank in case something terrible happens which is causing the economy even further troubles.

    So who is left to buy their OS (which most likely will require a new computer as they always do)? Not consumers as they are hurting. Not businesses as they are cash strapped. Not the government as they are tryiong to make up for a deficit.

    I say good luck getting those sales. This one may be a good OS (*cough* recycled VISTA *cough*) but it will most likely fail on release due to the economic collapse.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shados (741919)

      And considering that every Microsoft product requires new hardware

      Windows 7 has the same requirements as Vista, and in the real world, runs on the same boxes as XP easily (it IS being designed for netbooks, after all), so I doubt hardware will be an issue.

      Keep in mind that many of Microsoft's customers go through subscription-like volume licensing...so they're paying for it recession or not, too. Considering the enthusiasm I see on various forums and community about it...it will do decent. Not a Win95 launc

  • by SpryGuy (206254) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:44PM (#26377711)

    Seriously, Microsoft is right about one thing: if you set people down in front of Vista and dont' tell them it's Vista, they love it. Tell them it's Vista, and they hate it.

    People are PRIMED to hate the OS based on the name and based on really over-blown and inaccurate Apple ads, and really bad experiences SOME users had in the first year (due to the "Vista Capable" debacle mostly).

    Since SP1, Vista has been very usable. I've been using it almost since it came out, and it's a perfectly decent OS. In fact, I sorta hate going back to XP now... I miss too many good things about Vista, like the instant search features, new Start menu, and just some of the look and feel.

    Nobody seems to remember how much people HATED the old "XP" when it first came out. It didn't really become popular until SP2 was released.

    Most of the anti-Vista sentiment is simply irrational and baseless.

    Are there some things not to like? Sure. I turn off UAC immediately. There are a few quirks in the new Windows Explorer that I don't like (and which seem to be unchanged in Windows 7). But really, beyond that? It's much more stable, and full featured than XP, and it looks a hell of a lot better. Yeah, it's a memory pig, but I run with plenty of memory for my needs, and have no problems. And after 2 years of use, it's "slowed down" far less than comparable XP machines have (the old "Windows Decay" problem).

    Am I looking forward to Windows 7? Definitely. It seems to fix the memory-pig and performance issues that Vista admittedly does have (a bigger issue on laptops than my desktop), but the fact will remain that it's little more than Vista with some spit and polish... and everyone will love it because it's "not Vista".

    Vista-hate is getting to be tedious and facile, and it really is more psychological than real.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by HerculesMO (693085)

      I have to agree... Vista works just fine for my needs and while it's far from "amazing", it works without a hitch and doesn't crash.

      Isn't that what folks always tout about Linux? It doesn't crash? Rock solid stability?

      I don't get all the brouahaha.

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