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If Windows 7 Fails, Citrix (Not Linux) Wins 638

Julie188 writes "Microsoft blogger Mitchell Ashley, who has been using Windows 7 full-time, predicts that Windows 7 will fail to lure XP users away from their beloved, aging operating system — after all, Windows 7 is little more than what Vista should have been, when it shipped two years ago. But eventually old PCs must be replaced and then we'll see corporations, desperate to get out of the expense of managing Windows machines, get wise. Instead of buying new Windows 7 PCs, they could deliver virtualized XP desktops to a worker's own PC and/or mobile device. Ashley believes that Citrix's Project Independence has the right idea."
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If Windows 7 Fails, Citrix (Not Linux) Wins

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  • by Benanov ( 583592 ) <brian,kemp&member,fsf,org> on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:14PM (#26667223) Journal

    In my experience Citrix has some serious out-of-band issues with modifier keys on Linux and Mac OS X. Shift key events don't send correctly.

    I type so fast that I mean "Citrix" and I get "cItrix"

    I've tested this on Ubuntu 7.10, 8.04, and 8.10, and my friends report issues on Mac OS X.

  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:23PM (#26667359) Journal
    People will leave XP for whatever the next MS milestone is.

    That'd mean "Vista", which people resisted as well as they knew how.

    For some people it means just not upgrading their machines, for some it means taking advantage of the Vista-to-XP downgrade licensing, for some it means just pirating XP to install on their new machines.

    But no, Vista nicely demonstrated that people will not put up with whatever MS throws at them, as long as what they already have works well enough for their needs.
  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:30PM (#26667491)
    It even happens on windows if you are passing through to another ICA/RDP session. I've had significantly better luck with the new 11 client, is that available for Linux yet?
  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:37PM (#26667605)
    You're doing it wrong, we support ~30 users per server and they are mostly 4 core boxes with 4GB of ram, not exactly beefy servers by today's standards. We'd easily be doing 4x that if we could go to x64 with 16GB per box but IE has this bad habit of loading the 64bit executable even when you explicitly launch it from the x86 directory causing all 32bit plugins and ActiveX controls to not work.
  • No. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Benanov ( 583592 ) <brian,kemp&member,fsf,org> on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:38PM (#26667615) Journal

    Nope, only 10.6.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:45PM (#26667735)

    It was my understanding that vista is a pretty good OS now a days but still reeling from all that crap that happened at launch.

    Since 7 for 99% of users will not have the vista release problems it should do very well. MS learned a lot from the vista release and its starting to show.

  • Seriously now... (Score:3, Informative)

    by not already in use ( 972294 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:59PM (#26667949)
    It took me a day or two to overcome the differences from XP->Vista. Sure, there are some reasons to stick with XP (specifically on older hardware), but the idea that it's so radically different from XP that users will require significant orientation is ridiculous.
  • by nolife ( 233813 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:00PM (#26667955) Homepage Journal

    Not specifically a reply to you but..

    They are not talking about Citrix servers and running remote apps in the traditional Citrix sense. They are referring to Citrix virtual desktops. They keep changing the name but I believe it is called the "Independence Project" now.

    It allows you to have just about any workstation either local or remote and you will connect to your "virtual desktop" and do all of your work. An example is a thin client at your desk with a bare image of Windows. It can automatically launch your businesses virtual desktop on start up. That same virtual desktop you have can be accessed from ANY thin client, laptop, over the internet etc.. No more "desktop" management per say because the user can basically plug in a bare bones pre installed something from Dell and with a single application, can access their "normal" desktop.
    On the back end, there are many advantages as well. The virtual desktops can use shared storage, they can be templates allowing you to distribute hundreds of virtual desktops with a small back end amount of disk space (changed from the template are saved in your desktop etc). These virtual desktops can be checked out and on a timed basis as well and and be configured to limit what access the local hardware has so you can limit usb sticks copying crap off etc. You can give an employee a laptop with a copy of the virtual desktop limited to 30 days use. If they take off, the virtual desktop with all of the company data can not be accessed after 30 days. Just an example.

    Applications are updated and pushed to the templates as a group instead of to each physical desktop so that is easier as well.

    VMWare has the same thing, it is called VDI. I've tested them both. I like the VMWare solution better myself but both companies are adding features and functionality every week.

    I probably have one big run on sentence above and did a crappy job explaining it but. Read and decide for yourself, it is a decent technology that has a lot of good use.

  • by Gilmoure ( 18428 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:02PM (#26668007) Journal

    We're telling our customers (large corp. with site wide XP license) to pickup new machines in the next few months, so we can image them with XP. Word's come down that come June, our license terms with MS change and we won't be able to 'downgrade' vista machines after that.

  • by SpryGuy ( 206254 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:05PM (#26668043)

    For all the way people are clinging to XP like Linus to his blanket, it really isn't a very good modern OS. It's very, very insecure.

    I've been using Vista for almost two years now, and for all the hype about how bad it is, it's pretty damn solid. After getting used to the new UI, it's pretty usable (and this is without the new very nice usability enhancements in Windows 7). I have plenty of CPU and Memory so performance isn't an issue for me with Vista. And the biggest thing? I've been running it, attached to the internet, for two years without having an anti-virus program installed, and NO ISSUES. I don't think I could do that with XP for even a single day.

    The fact is, Vista, and Windows 7 to come, are simply easier to use, and far FAR more secure. Hardly perfect, of course, but then neither is any other OS out there (and much of their "security" tends to be "security through obscurity", given they don't have critical mass to make writing viruses and worms "worth-while"). But XP to me now feels a lot like IE6... a flawed, insecure, somewhat crappy solution that everyone should just get over and move on from.

    Having used Vista for a while, I can say I find going back to XP really annoying. Lack of the start-menu search is huge, for one thing. The "Luna" UI is ugly and distracting (just as I thought it was when trying to move to it from Windows 2000).

    Basically, I think the resistence to Vista is over-hyped, and not based on any current reality (it's more based on the huge "Vista-Ready" snafu of Microsoft and Intel, where upgrading existing hardware resulted in really crappy performance, along with the GA release of Vista not having nearly the driver and application compatibility necessary... Vista SP1 pretty much resolves those issues). And since Windows 7 is receiving rave reviews, and doesn't have the major problems that affected the initial perception of Vista, I don't think there will be a serious issue of people NOT upgrading to it.... or getting it on a new PC and wanting to "down-grade" to XP.

    Vista was a necessary and painful step for Microsoft to go through. The fundamental underlying changes they made were painful to users, but necessary for security. Windows 7 refines a lot of them to be less painful (UAC), while "time" has smoothed out the other pain points (updated drivers and applications).

    I really don't think there will be any huge resistence to adopting Windows 7 when it's released.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:07PM (#26668073) Homepage

    I'm living the Citrix desktop right now at a client. First there's a thin client that basicly connects you to the windows logon and internal systems. From there I can access most things, but in order to connect to the Internet it launches *drumroll* another Citrix client inside the first. It actually works quite well, but ironically to this story I'm getting a thick client on monday because there's some things I need to do that it can't. Most people use it though and with beefy enough servers I don't notice much difference, even when I was cropping some screenshots.

  • by abigor ( 540274 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:13PM (#26668163)

    For those with very basic needs, you are of course correct. But enterprise needs, where Citrix is commonly found, are rarely basic, and the list of apps with no Linux equivalent is huge: SAP, PeopleSoft, Cognos, Business Objects, Office (particularly workflow integration with custom apps), Siebel...there are hundreds, if not thousands, of apps that make Windows the default choice.

  • by Knara ( 9377 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:28PM (#26668341)

    This is because support for XP still existed and downgrade options were available.

    Corporate IT departments don't upgrade OSes on a whim and hold onto installed OS bases as long as possible. Vista wasn't necessary to upgrade to because the licensing and support terms for XP were still usable.

    Once that goes away, you'll see Vista and/or Windows 7 become more prevalent.

    This is the difference between how real, medium-large scale corporate IT works, and how Linux fanboys (and annoying, anti-MS cheerleaders) think it works.

  • by likuidkewl ( 634006 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:50PM (#26668649) Homepage
    I think Mitch here forgot to add that Linux has its own Terminal Server Project (LTSP) and it is very well supported and as with _most_ versions of Linux it is free! As of version 5 of LTSP it is insanely easy to install and manage, if you want to check for yourself download the Alternate image of any Ubuntu flavor and hit F4 on the install screen select LTSP and go for gold! The docs are great and the help on IRC is fantastic. Here is a great intro: [] This guy is a tool... '/obvious'
  • by atrimtab ( 247656 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:57PM (#26668749)

    NX and FreeNX are cross-platform and very efficient remote desktops... Citrix has always been a slug. FreeNX also is not tied to a specific operating system and can be used as the frontend of virtualized Linux and Windows now!

    Combine a light Linux base, OpenVZ, Ubuntu, Windows, Virtualbox and NX and you have a complete virtual platform that runs in the cloud with all of Ubuntu and Windows. And the only thing you need to pay for is hardware and Windows.

    This works on any modern processor with virtualization extensions.

  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @02:17PM (#26669047)
    That's nice, your microvax probably cost as much as all of my Citrix servers to support 1,000 users and mine are infinitely more useful.
  • Re:More fear (Score:3, Informative)

    by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:13PM (#26669897) Homepage Journal

    The problem is that it only takes 1 app that won't work in Linux to put someone off. I can't watch netflix instant view under Linux, so I use Windows. My wireless card doesn't work under Linux, so I run Windows. I can't play this one game under Linux, so I run Windows. etc.

    Every platform has that. There are apps that aren't available on Windows, too, and these days there's a fair amount of older hardware that doesn't work on Vista, but does work on Linux.

    Where we're at now, Linux has achieved parity with Windows in terms of capability from a user's perspective(and surpassed Windows in some ways). Now it's purely an issue of mindshare.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @04:46PM (#26671101) Journal

    If I was a Windows user, looking at the Vista situation, I'd think "I can use Vista, and none of my apps will work. Or I can use Ubuntu, and none of my apps will work, and the OS won't suck as much."

    The situation is quite different in practice. For Vista it's "some of my apps will not work". The majority still does. What's more important is that, as time goes on, more and more do work, and it happens much more quicker than, say, ports of those same (or functionally equivalent) apps for Linux - because it's much easier to port a broken app to Vista than it is to write a new one for Linux.

  • by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:04PM (#26671331)

    So why don't those suffering XP users switch to Linux? Because they aren't suffering enough to take action.

    There is probably some merit to that statement, but it is not the whole reason why every current XP or even other Windows user(s) will not or cannot switch to Linux. It is my own considered opinion that one of the main things that has kept Windows and Microsoft afloat since about 2003 is the .NET Framework, MSDN, C#, and the good developer support. In fact, the developer tools market is almost certainly the smallest market in which Microsoft is directly involved, but it pays HUGE dividends for them, even if the developer tools group by itself looses money (which it probably does), because it encourages more professional developers to continue writing software for and using the Windows platform (which has huge Network Effects []). This is the reason why I have not switched my primary development into Linux, the development tools available for Linux, and particularly for .NET, do not offer as much as Visual Studio does and running a primary IDE in a virtual machine is just too slow for day to day development tasks. If MonoDevelop could OR DotGNU could begin to more closely match the sort of development experience provided by Visual Studio then I would probably switch or at least more seriously consider it. Visual Studio is one of the few Microsoft products that actually doesn't suck and they know exactly what they are doing by continuing to pour money and resources into it's development (and why Microsoft will continue doing that even though Visual Studio probably earns them zero profits by itself).

  • by ACMENEWSLLC ( 940904 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @05:35PM (#26671675) Homepage

    If you go to VMWare's site you can download the free VMWare player product.

    Once this is installed, you can go to the VMWare market place and location Windows 7 beta 1 build 7000.

    Download it. It's a large .zip file. When it's done downloading, unzip it. The VMDK is over 5GB so this will fail on a FAT32 drive.

    Once you have the files extracted, launch the Windows.7.Beta.1.7000.vmx file by opening it (double click.) The password is the same as the default user account.

    I have it running under Fusion on a Mac and Workstation 6.5 on XP. Like other posters state, this is what Vista should have been. I like it. For my personal use, I'm a Mac guy. But at work my impression is that I will skip Vista and go right to Windows 7 for the bulk of our many stations. I have Vista on a few PC's, but it is slow much slower than XP & has no features my business users must have. Staffware doesn't work in Vista yet, so that's another holdup.

    Anyway, if you really want to know what Win 7 is like, this is the easiest way to do it.

  • Re:More fear (Score:3, Informative)

    by Mascot ( 120795 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @08:16PM (#26673475)

    God, I'm so clumsy tonight. I had written a fair chunk, including a bunch of apps with comments, then managed to close the wrong tab. Of course, the undo did not include the work in progress text.

    Quick recap then. I'm not saying the following cannot be accomplished in some way in Linux, but I found nothing that came even close to the Windows equivalents. For some I looked hard, for others not very.

    Video editing (I looked at Ubuntu Studio and got flashback to the 80s). Hardware support (full support for my camera, including tethered shooting with live view, for example). Evernote. Sprite Backup (mobile). Backup program like Acronis TrueImage and similar (in-OS imaging app with decent GUI). SnagIt. Camtasia. Newsbin Pro. Spotify. LogMeIn. ObjectDock. Widgets. AnyDVD HD and all the other utils to rip and handle Blu-rays (with decent GUIs).

    I could list almost every application I use, apart from Firefox and Thunderbird.

    Yes, Evernote can be accessed via the web. No, it doesn't compare to a proper client. Yes you can do screen shots, no it doesn't compare to SnagIt (or any of the many other similar Windows products). Yes, you can use a collection of tools to accomplish most of what Newsbin Pro does (or have fun getting it to partially work in Wine), no, it's not worth it. You get the idea.

    Whenever I've tried to use Linux exclusively, I always find myself longing back to Windows. The only thing I miss when I do boot back, is Compiz.

    Until very recently, Linux has virtually only been for the hardcore nerd. You don't get a humongous selection of polished and user friendly applications from hackers making tools for themselves, then releasing them to be nice. Yes, free is nice, but I'd rather pay a few bucks for something that's polished.

    None of this is Linux's fault. The operating system is there, happy to run whatever applications people wish to create.

    The problem is that, as someone else mentioned, it only takes a single application a user might want or need that you can get in Windows but not in Linux. Or where the Windows version blows the Linux one away. True, there are Linux applications that do not exist in Windows. But the odds of average Joe wanting that app compared to wanting a Windows one that doesn't exist in Linux? I'll install Windows for anybody that needs anything beyond web browsing and email any day.

  • by gparent ( 1242548 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @08:30PM (#26673571)
    You can let a Windows machine run for years without a reinstall. It does not magically get slower. It gets slower when people install applications that sit in the background, and that's the only thing formatting takes away.

    There is no cost in keeping Windows updated. You can setup automatic updates and it'll be done for you, with no intervention except a reboot every month.

    The choice for the average person is this: An OS that actually does the things they want, and does it reliably and fast, or an OS that sometimes doesn't do the things they want, and does it more reliably and just as fast.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 31, 2009 @12:48PM (#26677833)

    It absolutely will not be cheaper. In order to do this legally, you will still have to have some sort of enterprise licensing agreement with Microsoft AND purchase software assurance for your desktop OSes AND the Vista Enterprise Corporate Desktop license option, which is only available via SA. So you'll be buying Vista/Windows 7 licenses, then paying for SA and VECD licensing on top of that, all so you can stream a Windows XP desktop from a Citrix or (more likely) VDI farm. So it's going to cost a heck of a lot more, and eventually Microsoft is going to kill support for XP.

    Companies will that had been holding out on Vista will go with Windows 7 in droves. Most IT people that I know have already switched their primary work machines from XP or Vista to the Windows 7 beta. It took almost two years for them to start switching from XP to Vista.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson