Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Windows Operating Systems Software

Windows XP Starter Edition Review 430

Digitalommm writes "Paul Thurrott has a story on the latest developments on Windows XP Starter Edition. There are some very good points that the Linux community could adopt. An example is end-user training videos such as how to use a mouse." This is an optimistic, even glowing look at the Starter Edition, which even for Thurrot was not available for unsupervised use, only demonstrated by Microsoft for him. (For using-a-mouse videos, I would suggest also Roblimo's book Point and Click Linux .)
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Windows XP Starter Edition Review

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    For the new headless $498 Dell mini.
  • by Prince Vegeta SSJ4 ( 718736 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @12:51PM (#11336421)
    Please let me know when the come out with Windows XP FINISHED edition, so maybe we have a chance at something better
    • "Please let me know when the come out with Windows XP FINISHED edition, so maybe we have a chance at something better"

      But I cant read Finish, why would I want a Finished OS?

    • Well, considering how they only just recently released Windows NT 4.0--Finished Edition [slashdot.org], I'd say it'd take a while.
    • by akadruid ( 606405 ) <slashdot@thedrui ... k minus language> on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @01:31PM (#11337025) Homepage
      I know this is a joke, but it's a serious point. From reading slashdot it seems people don't understand why Microsoft have done this. Security, Piracy, etc, none of these things have anything to do with it.

      It's all about getting new users into the Microsoft habit. They're like drug dealers, who offer the first hit free. In the west, the market is already sewn up, and your schools are educating your children that Microsoft is the only way. But out in India, Thailand, China, and so on, there are many millions of people who will get their first computer in the next 5 years. XPSE means these people will be getting their first hit free.

      Microsoft don't want to sell Windows on shelves, they want to bundle Windows. Bundled Windows, taken for granted Windows, gives them Power. Power they can use to sell the things that really matter: big bucks corperate licenses, OEM deals, and so on.

      With XPSE they will extend their awesome power over the 'long tail' of non-'power' users.
      • I don't see your anology at all. The problem the drug dealer tells the person it's crack, but it's actually rock candy... Which they go off and smoke and get sick and never do again.

        Inherently addictions are to things that are enjoyable... I don't see how using a terribly stripped down version of windows is going to foster their "microsoft habit". If anything, I think it's going to drive them away from MS into the arms of something else. (most probably pirated copies of windows).

        Who knows.
      • I don't think it will work, I doubt that SE will work ANYTHING like crack. People like power, if Joe User bought it, then found out it was crippled I think it would actually turn him off of MS products. Also, people don't like little windows popping up telling them what they can't do.

        Also I can't think of any use for it besides rising nations, it would be useless in schools, buisness, libraries, anywhere (including the home IMO). Unless their gonna get a contract from the US gov't to airdrop them on
  • by Antonymous Flower ( 848759 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @12:52PM (#11336435) Homepage
    1. Position yourself under see through stairway.
    2. Wait for skirt wearing executive.
    3. Release mouse.
    4. Peek-a-boo!
  • Review, my arse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gowen ( 141411 ) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @12:54PM (#11336461) Homepage Journal
    Thurrot was not available for unsupervised use, only demonstrated by Microsoft for him
    Sorry, but in my book that doesn't qualify him to write a "review", or anything like it. The word that should be used is "glorified adverts". People who write reviews must be allowed to experience what they're reviewing, and form critical opinions from that.
  • by CaptainBaz ( 621098 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @12:54PM (#11336464) Homepage Journal
    Click here to find out how to use a mouse!

    What? Eh? Oh.
    • Re:Mouse Usage 101 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Apreche ( 239272 )
      This is actually pretty scary and shows some insight on Microsoft's part. I setup my grandparents with a new PC like so [apreche.net]. It doesn't get any easier than that. I even set it to one-click instead of double click. I figure all I had to teach them was how to use Firefox, Thunderbird and gaim. And if they ever needed the rest they could figure it out. But apparently they didn't know how to use the mouse. it was quite frightening. If I'm ever so old I can't learn new things as easily as I can now, shoot me.
      • The trouble is not that they can't learn, imo.

        It's just that they don't know the logic behind using the mouse, the folders, they don't know the concept of buttons to click, and so on.

        My grandfather recently bought a laptop to be able to send mails. The first time i helped him use it, i realized he has no idea you could click a button. Because it's far from obvious if you don't know.

        Of course it's easy & obvious for us. But we forget it's the result of our experience, of learning, because for
    • Hey, early Macs had the same thing. I never figured out how they were supposed to open the damn tutorial without clicking.
  • by TildeMan ( 472701 ) <gsivek@@@mit...edu> on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @12:54PM (#11336467) Homepage
    Yes, admittedly some people need to learn the most basic of skills, such as how to use a mouse. But the people at this basic level should not then be expected to know how to keep their computer completely up-to-date and patched, or even why that's important! Given how many problems have come out of MSIE recently and how most new users primarily want to use this magical 'internet' thing, this is a huge risk.

    There's really nothing more reliable for support than having a friend who knows what he/she is doing anyway.
    • Do you reckon thats why windows update and security center is configured to do this sort of thing automatically for the user now? And what exactly is this huge risk you are talking about? Does the world end if more than 2 million computer illiterates access the internet or something? Try being a little less patronising.
      • The world doesn't end, but 2M computer illiterates responding to SPAM, being infected with viruses that propagate SPAM, DDOS attacks and other computer nasties doesn't just hurt the local users -- it hurts everyone on the 'net by making it less usable. User ignorance can result in wasted bandwidth that leads ISP to draconian usage policies. Unpatched machines that become infected with worms are a huge headache for Internet users everywhere.

        Meanwhile, if an illiterate user installs a keystroke logger and los

    • What about a version of Bob for XP?
      • haha, you beat me to it.

        Microsoft released something simlar called Bob [toastytech.com] and it flopped. Will it happen with WindowsXP Starter Edition? I bet so... why buy something that is so limited so it can teach you to run a mouse when one can take a class or by an inexpensive book to learn the other editions like Home or Pro? I just do not see how it can be sucessful... I guess if it is only in the targeted markets, others will not really care when there are other choices out there.

        Also, is it silly to market to p

  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @12:56PM (#11336486) Homepage
    ... but wouldn't you have to already know how to use a mouse BEFORE playing those videos?!

    • which blows my mind.

      Why the hell has touchscreen not become commonplace?

      a "click here" is confusingto someone that does not know. a "touch here" makes perfect sense.

      right now with touchscreens being rare they are cheap ($100-$200 range + monitor) in mass production they would be nearly as cheap as a decent mouse.

      and overnight would make newbie computing better in every single way.

      Mice suck, touchscreen is the way to go.
    • Actually, you would have to know how to use a mouse before installing the OS. I'm sure there are dialogue boxes and such during the install. Even if you buy a box with the OS already installed there are usually dialogue boxes and radio buttons, etc... that need to be clicked.
  • training video?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jxyama ( 821091 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @12:57PM (#11336500)
    please. giving credit for a training video on how to use a mouse is a bit off the mark. learning to use a mouse is beyond using windows or linux. it's basic computing.

    for the price/time involved with making/watching such a video, why not provide a fool-proof "play/experiment area" mode of the OS where you can do any mouse movement/clicking and it won't permanently affect the computer system at all? of course, it will still let you drag, click, open, etc. but it won't permanently alter the files, system, etc.

    afterall, the best way to learn to use the mouse is to actually use it, not watch a video. this way, a novice user can play with the mouse to heart's content without fearing "oops, the system is no good because i moved something" kind of a situation.

    do food processor companies deserve the credit for providing a video on how to plug in the power plug?

    • Re:training video?? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by capt.Hij ( 318203 )
      Way back when... I had a PHB who was just learning how to use a workstation and had not used a mouse before. He was actually a very bright guy, and he taught himself how to use the machine. One day we were watching him and one of us said, "You know if you turn the mouse around and use it the other way it is a bit more intuitive." He turned the mouse around and was quite happy with the results.

      Moral of the story: Don't assume that people can just play with something and get it correct. People have an enormo
    • Apple used to have a training program that was made in Director, and this is exactly what it did. It had a mock desktop, folders, apps, etc. It walked you through the basics of using the mouse, opening documents, word processing, etc -- all within the full screen application that resembled the Mac desktop. Once you got the hang of that you were ready to wreak havoc on your the real desktop...
  • by Eric Giguere ( 42863 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @12:57PM (#11336507) Homepage Journal

    Put a copy of Puppy [goosee.com] on a USB flash drive and have it put up the Blue Screen of Death on bootup. Share the key with your friends.

    How to detect Internet Explorer [ericgiguere.com]

    P.S.: Interesting experiment: put a Linux system on a key like this with a Windows-like desktop scheme, boot someone's PC with it when they're not looking, and see if they can tell if there's any difference.

  • Max. 3 programs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RikRat ( 834490 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @12:57PM (#11336514)
    "The product can run three programs at a time. For those families, this is exactly what they want. That's a great experience for them." Right... exactly what they want. They want to run Explorer.exe, Internet Explorer, Outlook, Wor-- wait, close an application first! "One of the big criticisms about XP Starter Edition is that it can run just three applications simultaneously, so I was curious to see what it would do if you attempted to launch more than three. In this case, the system displays a notification window telling you that you can only run three applications. The notification roughly reads as, "With Windows XP Starter Edition, you can run three programs at a time. To open a new program, please save your work, close one open application, and open the new application again." Nice work! And I guess the 800x600 max resolution is also "exactly what they want". Bah.
    • Also, what classes as a program?

      What about services or background apps; my windows box runs software like antivirus on startup (as it should) but also what about dhcpd or similar. It also defaults to running things like MSNMessenger on startup and if I actually want to launch software myself MSOutlook also uses word as its default editor... there are 2 more programs starting as 1

      If the standard windows build was limited to just 3 apps it wouldn't even start up so how are "programs" classified?
    • Maybe this is a security feature - it can only run 3 spyware programs or worms at once.
    • People who have never touched a computer before don't know WHAT they want. They don't understand the concept of a single resolution vs multiple resolutions... my grandmother uses a computer and doesn't understand either.

      I think it's better to only allow 3 applications than to allow unlimited applications and have the system slow to the point it's unusable (read the article.. these are 200-300mhz systems with minimal ram). It would make more sense to someone not knowing anything about computers that they
      • (read the article.. these are 200-300mhz systems with minimal ram).
        So where are these machines going to come from? You can't even buy a machine that slow, and if you could, the slower ram would be more expensive than current machines.

        Cheaper for the buyer to "chip" an XBox.

    • What I love is the explanation:

      "You can think of it like this," Wickstrand explained. "In terms of the program and window limits, we look at the target customers and understand how they're using their computer, and we created a product that's tailored to their specific usage scenarios. And clearly, that's a feature where more experienced users would feel the limitation, but for a first-time user who's never touched a mouse before, it's quite sufficient."

      Yeah, sure. And probably trying to stop people (i
    • It's *probably* defined as 'three application windows at once' (I don't know, but it would make sense).

      This may indeed be enough for many people; probably around 50% of the (completely non-technical) end users I deal with don't understand the concept of multi-tasking at all and always close a program before opening a new one (this happens when I am trying to explain to people how to copy an error message into an email, or check something in the filesystem - many think they have to close the foreground app
  • Windows 3.1 had a very similar looking tutorial on how to use a mouse, if my memory serves me right.

    Could anyone elaborate on this recollection?
    • You are right. It was pretty well done, too. It had lots of animations, as well as interactive "demos" where you could practice things such as resizing or moving a window, etc. "Now resize this window so that it fits inside that dotted frame", things like that.

      In general, I think the help files from Windows 3.1 were way more complete than those from Windows 95 (perhaps before 95 contained so much more stuff to document, and 3.1 was so mich simpler). Anyway, I have memories of learning stuff reading Windo
  • mouse usage (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lkcl ( 517947 ) <lkcl@lkcl.net> on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @01:00PM (#11336550) Homepage
    i know it sounds archaic, but i have watched no-skills mouse users and it's quite serious. they:

    1) play "hunt the cursor" because of poor eyesight and lack of experience with visual on-screen clues

    2) hold a mouse with two or less fingers

    3) move the mouse around tepidly and definitely not straight such that the cursor movement bears little relation to on-screen movement

    4) moving the mouse around in order to locate the cursor itself.

    5) let go of the mouse and watch the mouse itself not the screen in order to press a button on it - result: mouse moves...

    the use of a mouse is something that is taken for granted. try using your mouse with your OTHER hand for a few weeks to see what i mean (if you are not ambidextrous of course).

    try also upping the cursor accelerator and click-speed to absolute max in order to simulate lack of coordination.

    and then: don't you bloody dare write another application with many-leveled drop-down and drop-sideways menus ever again!
    • 4) moving the mouse around in order to locate the cursor itself.

      Hell, I do that myself sometimes. A mouse has a lot of places to hide in 1600 x 1200 pixels.
    • 4) moving the mouse around in order to locate the cursor itself.

      I do that all the time and I do consider myself an experienced mouse user :P
    • Of the things on your list, I do:
      1) mostly because I forget where I left the cursor,
      2) because it's comfortable (I hold it between thumb and little finger),
      4) see (1).

      My mother has a terrible time with a mouse, and does 3 and 5. I've found that a trackball deals nicely with 5, and 3 responds to nothing but more practice time than she's willing to give.

      She's a touch typist, though getting rusty, and it's still quite painless for her to type mozilla &. Remembering that you finish up commands wi

    • That's why I like to use a trackball. You can be sure it will never move unless you actually want to. Sometimes clicking on a specific pixel is necessary.
  • Unfortunately, it comes down to this. Linux is essentially developed by geeks for geeks, and, as a generality, geeks have little time/patience with the "clueless newbie unwashed" who need their hands held.

    If Linux is ever going to conquer the desktop, it will take the effort of many dedicated people who not only have the time & the patience, but also obsess about the user experience of the aforementioned unwashed.

    Unlike the average /. reader, the majority of people view the computer as a tool, a means to an end, not as a hobby and not as the end itself.

    • If Linux is developed by geeks for geeks, then which of those geeks actually cares if Linux conquers the desktop?

      I can tell you one thing - the distro that does conquer the desktop probably won't be the one the "geeks" use. And the distro that conquers the desktop will have been published by a company who hires people to obsess about the user experience rather than wait for geeks to give a damn.

      We "geeks" don't need to do or learn anything.

      Just my 10 cents.
      • Linux suffers from a serious "last mile" problem. There are tons of coders willing to write more code for fame and glory, but noone is willing to sit and do all the usability testing, all the polishing, etc. Because that's tiring, boring, thankless work.

        Apple or MSFT can simply instruct their employees to do it. They have an incentive to do all the boring gruntwork that turns a bunch of lines of code into a good user experience: a paycheck.

        For example, I installed KDE a few weeks ago, and there's a lo
    • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @02:54PM (#11338221) Homepage Journal
      I'm so tired of reading this flambait. Garbage like this had some kernel of truth to it back in 1998 of so. Even then, you would be hard pressed to find a friendlier group than free software users. Today that group is being joined by the same people who once made using Windoze easy, everyone else. Insults to users and developers are not going to help anyone, so you Microsoft Astroturfers had better cut it out. Desktop Linux is here and it's better than Bill Gates' computer wet dreams.

      Unfortunately, it comes down to this. Linux is essentially developed by geeks for geeks, and, as a generality, geeks have little time/patience with the "clueless newbie unwashed" who need their hands held.

      And somehow closed source developers who have little time/patience for even their PEERS are better? What crap, the thing that support people are sick of is M$ problems, not the users Microsoft likes to blame for them. Users themselves are sick of junk that breaks so easily and being blamed for the problems. If you want real attitude problems, look to Redmond.

      M$ computer "support" comes from two places, people who help their friends and $50/hr phone calls to M$. The second group is famous for being as helpful as psychic friends network, but less friendly [google.com]. The first group is dumping Microsoft and all of it's problems and insults.

      If Linux is ever going to conquer the desktop, it will take the effort of many dedicated people who not only have the time & the patience, but also obsess about the user experience of the aforementioned unwashed.

      Where have you been? Desktop Linux is here and it's easier to use than Winblows. Distributions like Mepis [mepis.org] install in less than 20 minutes and run great. The kernel does the hardware detection, so the user does not have to read arcane manuals, feed the computer floppies and CDs and reboot six or seven times. Printer configuration through CUPS and KDE is likewise a walk in the park. The KDE UI is both more powerful and easier to use than Winblows' pathetic, single screen ugly. 99% of what normal users want is there by default, where M$ users have to visit a store and spend hundreds of dollars and get the extra pleasures of DRM, DLL hell and other nasties. Getting specialized software is as easy as a no cost click with programs like Synaptic or Kpackage. Most importantly, free software keeps working. It stays up longer, for those who care, and it does not get eaten by automated worms, spyware, malware and other M$ born infection.

      Unlike the average /. reader, the majority of people view the computer as a tool, a means to an end, not as a hobby and not as the end itself.

      The average slashdot reader is well aware of that. Those that want to keep their reputation for recommending the best now recommend free software.

  • The response from tech press and analysts was immediate and damning. Reports referred to XP Starter Edition as "cut-rate," "cheap," "crippled," and even "futile." All of those reports, however, are completely wrong. And it's a sad statement on the state of modern tech reporting and analysis that so many people could be so cynical about a product they have never seen and don't know a thing about.

    And yet he wasn't allowed to USE it himself - it was DEMONSTRATED for him.

    Yeah, that sounds a bit hypocritic
  • An example is end-user training videos such as how to use a mouse.

    Hello, computer?

  • I just installed OpenOffice and I can't think of a single thing that didn't go as well or better than a corresponding installation or use of MS Office. This stuff really isn't space science, you just have to package everything with some care and knoweledge of what your CUSTOMERS, not users, not developers not those unpleasant people who talk to you, want.
  • Wrong market (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @01:06PM (#11336657) Journal
    People who end up with WindowsXP starter edition do not buy it directly. The OEM does for them.

    THis is why I could not stand the arguments like "Consumers chose MS with their wallets..." when the anti trust trial was going on.

    Lusers do not know what Linux is or care. ALl they know is they bought a computer and want to plug it in and use it. Do they even know what an OS is?

    I looked at the WindowsXP crippled errr starter edition in the link of the story. It is crippled regardless of what MS may tell you otherwise so they can get you to fork over $200 (alot of money in third world countries) if you want features like resolutions above 800 x 600. The users in these countries never owned a pc so they have no concept of features nor care.

    My point is training video's will help users of course learn the os but they will only use what comes with their computer and nothing else. Installing software or requiring them to learn is too much of an effort. Many I bet wont even click the video's because that would be too much of an effort.

    The exception would be a dos oriented computer which many OEM's like HP include in the countries that install the starter edition. Since dos requires the users to actually learn commands, most will find a friend to install WindowsXP for them so they can use a mouse with the nice pretty icons.

    • Yes, but the cost of the PC will come down with this version of XP, making it more affordable. You can then wipe the HDD and install whatever OS you want (be it Linux, a cracked copy of XP or something else).

      The Lindows PC's at Wallmart are the same - the OEM's HAVE to put an OS on there or Microsoft's legal dept will start crying "pirate" so they are trying to put the cheapest one possible on so the consumer pays less and MS still gets paid something.

      When you consider how tech-unsavvy most people are (es
  • I wonder (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @01:07PM (#11336663) Homepage
    How many will forgo Windows XP Crippled edition and go with Windows XP Pro Sp2 Bittorrent Edition?
  • by rudy_wayne ( 414635 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @01:08PM (#11336676)
    Microsoft really has their priorities screwed up.

    There are so many things Microsoft needs to be concentrating on ... like a modern, standards compliant browser that isn't full of security holes. Or an e-mail client that isn't the number one vector for speading viruses in the world.

    Instead, they give us this crap.

    How nice.

    • Not really.. the number of lines of code to count the number of apps... 10? 15?

      Add in an 'if' statement to limit the monitor size to 800x600 and rebuild. Voila, a whole new OS in under an hour.

      They didn't get rich by actually working for it you know...
    • I have mod points, but I don't want to waste them since I think many Slashdotters would agree with you. So I'll respond to your post as politely as possible instead. I'm no MS fanboy, but I do tend to have a more balanced view since I use both linux and Windows regularily.

      You obviously didn't read the article, or didn't understand what MS is going for with this product. They're not giving "us this crap" as you state, they're releasing it ONLY to target markets that the product is specifically designed f
      • And I can tell you that what MS is doing is similar to how they handle the education markets. Their goal is to get people hooked on Windows - to switch to anything else later would be a lot more painful.

        Consider why MS couldn't just take a regular version of XP Home and add some handholding features without sacrificing others. Besides possible limitations of the hardware, what's the big deal? The big deal is that this software will probably be sold or bundled for $10, not $99. If MS started selling Home fo
    • There are so many things Microsoft needs to be concentrating on... Instead, they give us this crap.

      But it's not intended for you! It's intended for those that have never used a computer before. And in particular, for those user's in areas of the world where technology is just now becoming common place. This is simply a way for Microsoft to expand its market. Something that every business needs to be concerned with.

      Maybe Microsoft will use the extra cash inflow to address the issues that you are conc

    • I love it when clueless newbies seem to think that they have more business acumen then the people who started with nothing and created the largest software company in the world in less than 20 years. So you just keep on writing those letters to Bill Gates and the other management detailing your stunning business insight, that, if only they would follow, would make them into a successful company, and I'm sure they'll keep throwing them away.
  • Yeah, what a kissy-assy "review".
    Headings like "Piloting (product-name) to success" should don't appear in real reviews.
  • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @01:16PM (#11336804) Homepage Journal
    "If you're speaking to an IT professional who rolls out desktops in an organization of 20,000 people and ask him if he would roll out Windows XP Home Edition, he'd say no," Wickstrand continued. "He'd roll out XP Pro or Windows 2000. But he wouldn't describe XP Home as crippled or say that it sucks. ..."

    Why yes, yes I would call Windows XP Home Edition crippled, and yes I am an IT professional. Why, yes, our envionment does oave over 20,000 seats.

    Does crippled==sucks? Not really, but please...if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, call it a freaking duck!
    • Lot of car manufactors use the same engine through out their lines of cars. They'll detune the engine on the budget models. Would you call the budget models crippled?
      • They'll detune the engine on the budget models. Would you call the budget models crippled?

        Yes, I'd call, among other things,

        • A car with the exact same engine but with software to make the engine perform worse
        • A camera identical in hardware to the higher-end models, but with firmware to make it do less or be less accurate
        • An operating system identical to enterprise or server-class operating systems, save for a few programs having been removed and save for some registry keys which you may not change
  • by Walkiry ( 698192 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @01:18PM (#11336827) Homepage
    "Double click this icon to see the help video about using the mouse".
  • There are some very good points that the Linux community could adopt. An example is end-user training videos such as how to use a mouse.

    Maybe that should have been along the lines of - "end-user training videos dissecting fundamental computer use" or something..

    Perhaps the submitter was tryin to throw the ol 'wink wink nudge nudge' to the OSS community, explaining that someone may be using linux without prior windows / computer experience?

    I don't know, it was a strange comment in the first place..
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @01:22PM (#11336893) Homepage
    Apple provided mouse training in an application that was included in the diskettes shipped with the very first Macintosh in early 1984.

    When it comes to catering to the home user, Microsoft is definitely catching up to Apple. Watch out, Apple--they're only twenty years behind you now!
  • by OnlySlightly ( 794227 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @01:24PM (#11336913)
    Based on the comments so far, I don't think anyone has RTFA. I have read all of the "crippled" comments previously. If you RTFA, you see that Microsoft was headed for a particular audience with particular needs. They are aiming for people with absolutely zero computer experience. They are also aiming at "cheap" hardware so that their target audience might have a chance of actually affording it. I think that we should give Microsoft some credit on this one. They are trying to hit a new market (yes, corporations are ultimately about money); and they are doing it with their users needs in mind.
    • Any time you put in an arbitrary limitation on something, that's what's known as "crippling" it.
      But maybe you use a different dictionary than I have...
    • Just because all the program's options are visible in a menu and big fancy buttons doesn't mean that it's easy to use. It's just easy to learn .

      Microsoft, I hereby credit you with being conniving, greedy, unscrupulous scum, that care only about making money.

      Is that what you meant? MS did not cripple the software to make it easier to use, or even to make purchasers later buy more expensive versions. They did it to make it unsuitable for their existing markets, so that no companies will fight to get it

  • Two things... (Score:3, Informative)

    by BRSQUIRRL ( 69271 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @01:26PM (#11336947)
    First of all, while Paul Thurrott has from time to time said some nice things about free/open source projects (Firefox, most recently), the guy practically works for Microsoft and everything that comes from him should be filtered accordingly.

    Second, this 'starter edition' of Windows reeks of artificial market segmentation, a la DVD region encoding. Users overseas that presumably can't/won't pay Microsoft prices for Windows turn to piracy, so they are offered a scaled-down (both in price and functionality) version of Windows in the hopes that they will choose to pay something instead of just pirating it. But consumers here in the US (including those for whom this starter edition would be totally acceptable, capability-wise) are deemed to be able to afford the full versions of Windows and are therefore not allowed to so much as REVIEW (including Thurrott, long-time MS puppet), let alone purchase this edition.

    Something stinks...
  • If you read the article you would realize that the Starter Edition is a clever, well-designed marketing juggernaut. This version is tailored to take the market away from the OSX's and Linux's and deliver permanent mindshare to Microsoft. Starter Edition is exactly that: the first baby-step for a new generation of MS drones, at least that's what MS hopes. It's shiny, it's simple, it's in their language. See how cleverly even the backgrounds reassure the Asian newcomer.

    Anyone dismissing this needs to underst

  • Yikes. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @01:52PM (#11337347)
    1. Pre-beta. Isn't that 'alpha'? But of course seeing the sleep-inducing buzzword-happy faux-cheerleading lead-balloon Office demo at MacWorld last year, what else could you expect with MS trying to make things 'simpler'.

    2. "First, the company wants to make sure that first time PC users in new markets have the right product at the right price, on the right hardware, and with the right features. " So resell Mini Macs. ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H OK - that does not mean ANOTHER OS for newbies - it means you should have thought of this Day 1 and implemented it in all consumer editions. This is simpler?

    3. 3? How did they decide this? He later states that most people want to do 4 things (including 'help with homework' - which isn't 1 thing...) Ya think maybe giving the same standing in the task bar for any open window as an open app is the real problem here? What happens when rogue apps eat up your three slots - you get a three step modal error message! Do they mean real apps or processes? Does systray count?

    4. Great. They'll spoon-feed this to tech minstries in developing contries, where the anti-trust laws are weaker than US. All so people who spend 20 hours a week getting food and decent water so they can repel real virii can now spend untold hours fighting the electronic kind too.

    5. The fact that your market penetration is 2% does not mean this is a pressing need in that population. How about The Gates Foundation puts a worldband radio in each home? That will do more to educate and connect people than a PC will ever do in places with lousy land lines. Suppose the Indian Ocean countries do get thast tsunami warning system they should have - what would you bet on - needing to check your email to see if a wall of death is coming later today, or a worldband radio with weather alert? Or see NPR's story yesterday on how clueless the Iraqis are about the more than 100 names and/or parties on their national ballot.

    6. Choices, choices, choices. UI is supposed to be permissive & forgiving. Go back and read that sentence again. Now - "in Thailand, users complained that they didn't like the female voice in the help videos, because it sounded too much like a cranky, older teacher. They asked for a younger, friendlier-sounding voice that was less intimidating. So Microsoft changed the voice." Apple, with 1/10 the R&D of MS can somehow provide a dozen voices for use in narration - MS supplies one, then has to go back to the lab to rip one out and jam in another one?

    7. Is there a Great Wall of Redmond? "One of the things our research has found is that some people like to learn by reading, while others like to be shown what to do," Any certified teacher - hell - any first year education major could have told you this for free. You hired researchers to figure this out?

    8. "Thurrot" is apparently French for "Dvorak". "It's just too bad that the ivory tower critics can't see beyond their own insular worlds" - welcome to the Mac users' problem with this guy - condescending, throws out insulting lines like that often, and assumes that {{insert favorite MS product here}} product is superior and sees nothing but sunny days ahead, the rest of the world be damned. Let's see what happens in the trenches, and let's not forget Microsoft BOB, Windows ME, and Microsoft Works - all attempts at making things easier that were all things that hobbled good ideas instead of simplifying needed tasks and are now in the dustbin.
  • Command line (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DavidLeblond ( 267211 ) <(me) (at) (davidleblond.com)> on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @01:54PM (#11337379) Homepage
    If they just used the command line, they wouldn't need to learn how to use the mouse now would they?
  • by crivens ( 112213 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @03:31PM (#11338709)
    Just install Linux dammit - don't buy this crap! Why should they be fed crippled software because they don't have the money to buy the full OS. I think it's insulting.

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.