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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 Tamran ( 1424955 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:09PM (#26667161)

    ... the Citrix desktop!

  • by the_B0fh ( 208483 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:11PM (#26667185) Homepage

    If all I need is a netbook running linux (cheaper), or a newer computer, again, with linux, in order to hit the citrix backend, isn't this a net win for linux?

    • by Benanov ( 583592 ) <brian.kemp@member. f s> 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dzelenka ( 630044 )

        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.

        C'mon, that is a problem that could be solved in an afternoon! It could be solved at the citrix client level or at the linux host level.

        If project independence takes off and businesses don't need a windows license on each workstation to make it work then look out. This obstacle will stand like a sandcastle in a rising tide.

      • 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?
      • NX (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TypoNAM ( 695420 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:38PM (#26667617)
        No Machine [] so far has been a great alternative for VNC and the like to work with remote Linux desktops and even virtually. I've tried both their free NX server edition and the FreeNX [] server. FreeNX still needs some love/work in making it easier to get up and going, especially on Debian. The free NX server edition works better than FreeNX because I've been experiencing refresh/display corruption over time using FreeNX and not with the retail/free NX server using the same NX client (of which is always free, currently anyway) on Windows and Linux desktops.

        I especially liked how extremely well NX works with slow connections, not necessarily slow on the client side, but with extremely pitiful 128kbps upload speeds from the server such as my home DSL connection when I'm away. I use to prefer VNC until I found out about NX of which is just more enhancements to the X11 protocol over SSH as far as I can tell (I'm definitely no expert as to what all goes in behind the scene). It Just Works(TM). :)
    • by digitalgiblet ( 530309 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:42PM (#26667689) Homepage Journal

      Linux also has a PR problem. The average person (if they have heard of Linux at all, and most haven't) tend to think of it as something for anti-social geeks who will be mean to them if they ask for help.

      I'm not saying that is the truth of the matter, just the common perception I have seen.

      They also perceive Mac as being the easy and cool computer, but perhaps too expensive or trendy for them. Or simply not the computer they currently have.

      That leaves XP. It is already installed on their computer. Installing a new operating system is not something they want to do any more than they want to install all new toilets. They'll do it if they have to, but are pretty sure they'll screw things up with disastrous results.

      The average person isn't a programmer and doesn't want to be. The concept of open source and free software means nothing to them except free as in beer. They like free beer. But they aren't willing to set up a brewery to get free beer. They don't want to learn the details of brewing. They just want to get drunk...

      There is nothing technically that prevents Linux from going mainstream. The Linux kernel (and that is all that is actually Linux) works and works great. The software that sits on top of it is of mixed quality. Some is great, some sucks. Same is true of Windows and Mac, right?

      So why don't those suffering XP users switch to Linux? Because they aren't suffering enough to take action. They give lots of reasons why they won't switch to Vista, but at the end of the day most don't largely for the same reason they don't switch to Linux: XP works well enough that they aren't willing to do what they consider the difficult and annoying work of installing a new OS.

      The same arguments apply to the digital TV transition. Some people simply don't believe they should have to buy a new TV or a converter box (or subscribe to cable or satellite) when the hardware they have is not broken.

      For the record, I believe that on older hardware (the kind my hypothetical person has), installing something like Ubuntu is likely to be much easier and more successful than Vista. But neither is as easy as keeping the current, spyware infested XP. Easiest wins.

      That was far more than I intended to post so I will stop now. Wait. Now. Doh!

      • by kestasjk ( 933987 ) * on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:10PM (#26668115) Homepage

        The average person (if they have heard of Linux at all, and most haven't) tend to think of it as something for anti-social geeks who will be mean to them if they ask for help.

        Where on earth would people get such crazy ideas?

        • by rishistar ( 662278 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:42PM (#26668521) Homepage

          We need to educate them by bringing them all here! Which brings me to a question: Why is there no 'invite friends' function on Slashdot!?

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by H0p313ss ( 811249 )

            Why is there no 'invite friends' function on Slashdot!?

            Wait a second! We're allowed to have friends? Why did nobody tell me this before?

          • Idiot!!!! (Score:3, Funny)

            by jeko ( 179919 )

            Holy Crap, you're a stupid putz. All you gotta do is open your slash.conf file under /etc/http/sys/slashhacks with Vi and scroll down to line 239 -- it's clearly documented with the REM statement! -- and change the value "invitefriends=0" to "invitefriends=1".

            Gawd, yer dense!

            (tag: humor, for the humor impaired, or in the case that this is close enough to reality to be taken seriously...)

      • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:12PM (#26668155)

        If you think Linux just has a PR problem, you've never tried to see things from the perspective of someone who has no geeky interest in how their computer works. These are most of the people who want to stick to Windows XP because it is safe, stable and fairly easy to use.

        Most of the people who say "oh, my wife or kid has no problem using Ubuntu" are also missing the point: your wife or kid has someone at home who actually knows how to use Linux. If they need to ask you how to do something, you're right there like their own permanent, free Geek Squad agent who is always happy to not only help, but take new steps to make things better.

        • by TeXMaster ( 593524 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:47PM (#26668613)

          Most of the people who say "oh, my wife or kid has no problem using Ubuntu" are also missing the point: your wife or kid has someone at home who actually knows how to use Linux. If they need to ask you how to do something, you're right there like their own permanent, free Geek Squad agent who is always happy to not only help, but take new steps to make things better.

          What you seem to miss is that the exact same thing also happens with Windows, as my experience as the 'free Windows tech support for everybody that gets to know me' shows. The myth that Windows is more user-friendly than Linux has been nothing more than a myth for the last two or three years.

          • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <> on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:34PM (#26670227) Homepage Journal

            What you seem to miss is that the exact same thing also happens with Windows, as my experience as the 'free Windows tech support for everybody that gets to know me' shows.

            Correct way to manage your conversations:

            Acquaintance: Oh, you do computers? Can you fix my Windows?
            You: I'm sorry, but I don't really use Windows. I work on the big ones that run websites and stuff.

            You can always admit more knowledge later as circumstances require, but there's no putting the cat back in the bag so don't start with it.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Odin_Tiger ( 585113 )
              Or you could just do what I do:

              Acquaintance: Oh, you do computers? Can you fix my Windows?
              Me: No, I don't work on computers outside of my job.

              Nearly everyone who is an acquaintance has gone through that conversation with me at some point in time or another, and it's never been a problem. Most people just shrug and say, "Oh, well can you recommend somebody who does?" I think most computer professionals are afraid of how people will respond to them being blunt about that sort of thing, but the reality i
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Just Some Guy ( 3352 )

                I am tall, in good shape, and have a deep voice, so when I do make myself stand up straight, look people in the eye, and be assertive and direct, they tend to respond how I'd like them to.

                Same here. The difference is that after I tell them "I'd like to help but that's not my specialty", they walk away happy.

        • by JTorres176 ( 842422 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:54PM (#26668717) Homepage

          I think that's the issue. XP isn't safe or stable... it's also not fairly easy to use, however it's probably the same interface you've used since you were a kid. That makes it familiar, not easy.

          Ubuntu may be safer, it may be easier to install, it may be more stable, and it may be very easy to install with no technical prowess needed at all.

          The fear of change and the fear of "what if" is what keeps someone like you from switching to Ubuntu. I'm not saying you should try something, I'm not saying that you'd even like it. The issue is that people make a lot of assumptions, just like you do, and go off of those assumptions. Whether they're true or not, it's what happens and they end up staying with what's familiar.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by haeger ( 85819 )

            The fear of change and the fear of "what if" is what keeps someone like you from switching to Ubuntu.

            I'm sorry but no. That's not it at all. It's the applications. Seriously. I know that there are many great applications out there but one step away from surfing the web and writing email and you're in trouble.
            I do project management. There are project management tools for Linux but they are nowhere close to MSProject, unfortunatly. Open Workbench is not too bad but it's not really up to par, it might be good

        • by clarkn0va ( 807617 ) <> on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:08PM (#26669845) Homepage

          your wife or kid has someone at home who actually knows how to use Linux

          This is not the case nearly as much as it used to be. I visited my parents over Christmas, 1100km away. I've been telling my mom for years to switch to linux. Not because I think that everybody should use linux, but because she has some long-standing issues with her computer that don't affect linux. She has so far refused, simply out of fear of having to learn computers all over again.

          My dad, on the other had, needed a computer for his business (an automotive shop). I told him I could put one together for x dollars, and add $110 if he wants it to run Windows. "Why would I want it to run Windows?" he asked. Honest question, but I didn't have an answer, since I'd already verified that the applications he would be using were web-based. He's been running xubuntu since Christmas and I never hear about it.

          Compare that with my sister and her five young kids, 1800km away. My brother Tyler wanted to put together a budget computer for them four years ago and asked my help. We partitioned the hard disk in half, put windows on one and ubuntu on the other (because I thought that everybody should use linux). He also gave them a cheap lexmark printer that didn't work in ubuntu, so they chose to run windows. Two years later I found out that the printer is long dead and they've all taken to booting into ubuntu because their internet music and videos work better that way.

          Compare that with my two brothers Ray and Rick, 500 km away. I helped them both upgrade computers in the last six months. Ray reused his windows xp from the old computer. Rick didn't have an xp disk, so I put an unactivated copy of xp on one partition and ubuntu on the other. I showed him how to dual-boot and told him he could probably find an xp crack if he wanted. He never booted into Windows.

          Ray and Rick both have XBOX 360s and both have spent the last month or two trying to get media to stream. Both have had limited success. To Rick, running ubuntu I sent some links to discussing media server options. For Ray, running windows I had to instruct him to install vnc and open ports on his router so I could get in and eventually figure out that some necessary system services weren't running. I dug up a batch file off the internet requiring an ecclectic mix of programs. I spent hours installing these and duct-taping them all together on his system and things still don't work as they should.

          Rick's brother-in-law had a laptop that pooped out its hard disk. It didn't come with a windows install disk, and he was too cheap to buy one, so Rick, on my advice, bought a replacement hard disk and installed ubuntu for him. He called once to ask about printer compatibility, but that is the sum total of support given to him for this computer in the past year.

          And finally, compare these with my brother Tyler again, 1800 km away, who two years ago bought a mac because he is technologically challenged and wanted something point and click. This morning he emailed me to ask if I would recommend putting Ubuntu on his client's computer, currently running Windows Malware Edition(R). He is burning the xubuntu iso as I write this.

          Yeah, none of these linux installs would have happened without my initial intervention, but that's a PR thing. None of these people are computer geeks, not even close. Technically speaking, I've done less support for my linux-using family than I have for my windows-using family. Your opinion is at best 2 years out of date.

      • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:20PM (#26668221)

        Lets add for a lot of features that people are happy with on Windows.
        Linux will feel like a step back.
        There is gap in Linux Between Grandma (Who will just do one or two things) and the "Power User" who is willing to check stuff out and do things differently.

        These people will want to setup wireless via a GUI.
        They get worried when you do an Update for a driver there is a warning this is not Free software, meaning to average Joe, oh this is going to cost me money.

        And still Linux has a problems with Icons Oh Lets drag Fox to the dock from my File Browser. Hey where did the Icon go it was a nice firefox icon then it turned into an ugly window icon.

        Then when people make the complaint there is almost always a zealot remark how that feature isn't a good one and you should stop doing it anyways.

      • by porky_pig_jr ( 129948 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:22PM (#26668269)

        Speaking for myself,

        (i) I am XP user (since 2003) and I don't suffer. Well, not *that* much.

        (ii) The first reason I don't switch to Linux is specific applications I use under Windows (which are not free, by the way) which I can't find the equivalent on Linux.

        (iii) The second reason I don't switch to Linux is potential incompatibilities with laptop (hardware). Not that I didn't try.

        Clearly, I have no incentives moving to Windows 7. Even if (and when) I need new laptop, I'll try to make sure XP is supported. The only reason I would move to Windows 7 (or 8 or 9) if the current version of application XYZ I'm using is no longer supported under XP, and for whatever reason I *must* upgrade.

        So, fundamentally, I care very little which OS I'm using. OS is just a platform to run some applications (I guess this statement qualifies me as non-geek, so sue me).

      • by genner ( 694963 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:25PM (#26668305)

        Linux also has a PR problem. The average person (if they have heard of Linux at all, and most haven't) tend to think of it as something for anti-social geeks who will be mean to them if they ask for help.

        Only idotic noobs believe that and they should be shunned.

      • Oh please.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jotaeleemeese ( 303437 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @03:55PM (#26670481) Homepage Journal

        I am tired of hearing these nonsensical arguments about geeks being some kind of rudimentary humans with no social skills.

        Geeks are some of the most commited people I know, help anybody that asks and go way out of their way to help people.

        And so tell me people I know that are less technically inclined.

        This myth of the inadequate nerd should be put to rest frankly.

        • "Geeks are some of the most commited people I know..."

          I would have to agree, as I have been committed several times.
          I went cooperatively this time, and it went much better for me...I should be released after only 6 months this time!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by CodeBuster ( 516420 )

        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

    • by theshowmecanuck ( 703852 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:10PM (#26668119) Journal
      Not necessarily. One client I worked at implementing an enterprise ordering and billing app used a kind of thin client terminal specifically meant to connect to Citrix servers for the customer service representatives. It struck me that we had come full circle from mainframes and dumb terminals to essentially mainframes and dumb terminals. Except the mainframe is now a Unix server and you had windows instead of text interfaces.
  • Some salt... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BladeMelbourne ( 518866 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:13PM (#26667217)

    for when hell freezes over.

    Although if Microsoft had an option in 7 to "make it look like XP" it would be a good thing.

  • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi AT evcircuits DOT com> on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:13PM (#26667219) Homepage

    Really, Citrix? If anyone ever asks me about it again I will go postal. Are you seriously saying you need 4 beefy servers to run 50 users' Outlook and Internet Explorer and then still have it go dog slow.

    Citrix has some good ideas and technology. The implementation however is usually very bad. It's the Peoplesoft of virtualization.

    • 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.
      • It depends. (Score:3, Insightful)

        I have seen environments in which you can't support more than 20 users given the kind of application being used.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nolife ( 233813 )

      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 lau

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:19PM (#26667311)

    How is this a 'win' for Citrix? Every time I've used it it's been buggy (From OS X Client) and slow (over normal Cable). A local virtual machine beats this hands down. In 5 years I will be able to run XP just fine on my 64bit, 5Ghz octo-core, 16GB of ram and have VMWare make a nice 32bit, 3GB of ram, dual processor for XP.

  • by alphatel ( 1450715 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:20PM (#26667315)
    That's just propoganda nonsense. If the scenario actually holds true, then Virtual Engineering wins. This means VMWare's enterprise desktop virtualization, and possibly Citrix might get a piece. This is just a little Citrix plug. Wouldn't quite call it news.
  • Those days are gone (Score:5, Interesting)

    by El Lobo ( 994537 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:21PM (#26667339)
    The days where people just queued for hours to get the latest OS/game/etc... are almost gone. Most people have left behind that romanticized period (thanks god). I use Vista on my new machines. In my old one I'm perfectly happy with XP. I like Vista a lot, but XP is very good as well....

    Hell I'm still using Mandriva 7 on my laptop and I'm still perfectly happy with it. I am not upgrading it to the last one or tu Ubuntu (insert the latest stupid name here). My Mac is running Tiger. Don't need Leopard or some stupid shining Time machine, thank you very much.

  • by GuyverDH ( 232921 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:22PM (#26667355)

    I'm currently working with vdm and Sun's SunRay Server software...

    It's very nice, and since the virtual desktop machines sit on the ESX cluster, hardware upgrades are too damned easy...

    Install the new hardware, load esx, add to the cluster and migrate running VMs as needed (or watch them migrate automatically if any of the old cluster members are overloaded)...

  • All I know.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by VinylRecords ( 1292374 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:23PM (#26667369) that this summer when I plan on purchasing a new PC, I better have the option of having XP as the only OS on the computer. No dual boot XP/Vista, no Windows 7, just XP.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      That is easy, buy an OEM XP online and built the PC yourself. Places like newegg sell the hardware and software. I would still shop around and get the best deal you can find for both hardware and software. If XP is what you want, shop around for the best deal for it.

      Unless you wanna go pirate or you can get the people on microsoft's phone line to grant you a new XP code. I know a lot of people who do that. They claim that their machine died (electrical short/flood/something believable) and they had to repla

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Or else what?

  • More fear (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jabjoe ( 1042100 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:26PM (#26667419)
    Everyone really is terrified by the idea of the Linux desktop aren't they.

    Linux is use is growing here for people home use, even among non-programmers. It's free and fast. That's winning people. I think Linux is going main stream, and the more it does the more it will. It's coming up from the notebooks and down from the servers. It really does seam like the whole of the GNU/Linux world is going critical mass. Sorry Windows guys, you worse fears are coming. ;-)
    • Re:More fear (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mascot ( 120795 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:52PM (#26667843)

      Personally I am a big fan of Linux. Yet I still picked an XP netbook. My desktop still runs XP. My laptop still runs XP. My laptop at work still runs XP.

      The fact is simply that everything I need and want to do, I can do in XP. The same is not true for Linux. It has huge gaps in its software availability. The cost of Windows in order to get access to all that software is negligible.

      It's a Catch-22. Linux won't get major commercial interest before enough people are using it, and it won't get enough people using it unless the software is there.

      I do have hope though. The snowball is definitely forming. But we're still a long ways off it starting to roll.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by swillden ( 191260 )

        Whether or not the apps are there depends on your needs, and unless your needs are for games or for niche applications (e.g. custom in-house corporate apps), Linux has got everything now.

        I'm on my computer nearly every hour I'm awake. I use it as my entertainment center, my workspace, my hobby workshop (photography), my news source, my communications center... and Linux has everything I need.

        And for the vast majority of people who really only use e-mail and chat, browse the web, download photos from t

      • The fact is simply that everything I need and want to do, I can do in XP. The same is not true for Linux. It has huge gaps in its software availability. The cost of Windows in order to get access to all that software is negligible.

        While true, it glosses over an important point: I can setup a Linux box *once*. I'm still running slackware 10 on some of my boxes. The annual reinstall is a rite of passage for most Windows users. In truth, most Windows users either buy another machine when theirs gets sl

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Mascot ( 120795 )

          Good grief, I somehow managed to hit cancel here apparently. I'm too lazy to rewrite it all so this will be rather brief.

          I haven't needed to reinstall Windows since Win98. XP sorted the "yearly reinstall" issue for me just fine. Any XP installation I've done, even on kids' computers, have just kept on trucking until the hardware was well overdue for an upgrade. I can't remember having a virus since the Amiga, nor have I had to do any cleanup on any of the machines I "support" (that being extended family and

    • Re:More fear (Score:5, Interesting)

      by maino82 ( 851720 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:30PM (#26668365)

      I tend to agree with you, but I'm not expecting Linux to really take off as soon as I think you are.

      I recently came into a few old laptops and threw Xubuntu on them just to play around (one of them had been running Windows 2000 and the other was 98). I ended up giving them away to two friends who needed PCs (neither of which are very computer savvy and had only used XP a handful of times before) and they loved them and learned to use them right away really easily. These are the kind of people who will be easy to convert, but they're kind of a rarity in this day and age.

      My wife, on the other hand, has been using XP or 2000 for as long as she could remember, and it took her longer to get used to using Ubuntu on my media center PC (I don't know how many times I heard the phrase "but that's not how you do it in Windows"), but now she uses both Windows and Ubuntu pretty comfortably even though she still prefers Windows. I think that a lot more people fall into my wife's category and, unfortunately, without someone there to help them along and show them how to do stuff in Linux that they long ago learned to do in Windows, not many people in this category will switch over.

      In any event, I kind of hope Linux doesn't take off in a huge way just because I like being a part of a smaller, closer-nit community. A friend of mine took the time to show me Linux way back when and it was his patience and help that made me want to stick with it and see what all could be done with Linux. From there, community forums and IRC channels helped when I had a problem I couldn't figure out. I think that if Linux grows too big too fast that some of that same sense of community will be lost.

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:30PM (#26667479)

    I'm just pontificating here but I think we might not see the vast sweeping in of some new wholly dominant OS but a fragmentation of various solutions that work. A company might run a uniform platform just for IT's sake but that doesn't mean the company next door is running the same flavor.

    I really like OSX but I don't think Apple is trying to position it for the corporate desktop. The friendly Linuxes like Ubuntu remain incredibly strong.

    People have been predicting the era of the thinclient for years. Their arguments were compelling but nothing happened. There's advantages to having thick clients and you're simply not going to be able to deliver graphically-intensive content over the pipe, not for at least another generation or three.

    My prediction for what might make sense (not that it will 100% happen but at least is plausible) is for businesses to go with thick client closed box PC's. The phone system is the model here. There's nothing to tweak inside a PC anymore. There's not really any such thing as computer repair. At most you have a hard drive go bad, rarely a stick of ram dies. For the most part any problem is going to be software.

    What we're going to see is all-in-one PC's on the typical desktop, built like the new iMac with the computer sitting in the back of the monitor. (Though there will also be the option of connecting a pure thinclient to the same network.) Easy to install, easy to replace. It will have a custom linux install on it and can run apps either locally or via citrix windows. These all-in-one PC's will also have multiple video ports so that additional monitors can be driven from the same machine. Legacy Windows apps will run in Wine, complicated legacy apps will be served via the citrix or whatever server, and new apps will probably be developed for Linux but served out for the legacy Windows boxes. That's the situation we're in now with web appps acting as the platform-agnostic way of serving data to PC, Mac, Linux, phones, etc.

    I think for the typical 20 person office there will be one server in the back room running everything, maybe a failover box duplicating all of the resources. The major apps are housed locally so that they can keep working in case of a network problem but it will all phone back to the main office for synchronizaiton. Database-driven apps will work along the Google Gears model where offline copies of recent data are stored on the client or at the location's server so that failover from network problems is seamless. And because telephony is all going to IP, your phone guys and your computer guys will eventually become the same guy, it'll all fall under the aegis of "office electronic stuff."

    I think we're going to see much longer product upgrade cycles since there isn't a compelling reason to upgrade every 2-3 years. We might see terminals lasting happily for 8-10 years, maybe longer. There will still be big-box PC's in the office for those who need something special but that will be the exception.

    Now just because this all seems reasonable that's not to say it'll happen this way. But I just see a migration away from Windows, it seems like Microsoft simply cannot innovate fast enough these days. (maybe wishful thinking, maybe not.)

  • by awitod ( 453754 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:31PM (#26667509)

    If he is talking about existing PC's then I agree. My gut tells me that most regular people never upgrade their operating system anyway.

    If he is talking about businesses making the move when they replace equipment then I suspect he is quite wrong. Most businesses have avoided Vista not because they love XP, but because Vista has issues and requires beefy hardware. Windows 7 has two things going for it in this regard.

    The first is that it does seem to be quite an improvement over Vista. I've used it continuously for the past three weeks and I quite like it. I do not like Vista. The Vista shell pisses me off for many different reasons that I won't go into here. Windows 7 fixes all of my little pet peeves and I really like the new window manager.

    The second is that what was beefy expensive hardware when Vista shipped is now standard kit and quite inexpensive. Businesses in the U.S. can depreciate computers over five years. Any businesses PC purchased before 2005 will have fully depreciated by the time Windows 7 is an option and companies will be upgrading to new machines. A high-end computer purchased in 2005 or earlier probably did a terrible job running Vista. Most entry-level computers purchased in 2007-2008 to replace PCs purchased in 2002-2003 will run Windows 7 just fine.

    Windows 7 will see significant uptake in businesses compared to Vista.

  • by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:32PM (#26667527) Homepage Journal

    Citrix is freaking expensive too!

    And when you look at the difficulties and TCO on a Citrix farm, you're really no better off than if you just had a 5 year technology replacement plan anyways.

    And when you look at what Citrix is trying to do, centralizing application execution, compared to the rise of Web Apps and instant deployments (click-once and the like), there is really no big gain by going to Citrix unless you are locked in to proprietary software that only runs on Windows.

    Honestly though, you are significantly better off sticking to a 5 year replacement plan and pushing for web and low impact distributable applications.


  • by linebackn ( 131821 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:39PM (#26667645)

    "from their beloved, aging operating system "

    Software does not age. People's requirements change. And that is just the problem (for MS), XP still meets the majority of needs for people.

  • *Cringe* (Score:3, Funny)

    by Tarlus ( 1000874 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:51PM (#26667833)

    ...they could deliver virtualized XP desktops to a worker's own PC and/or mobile device...

    Anybody else just throw up a little bit in their mouth?

  • Citrix vs. VMware (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rwa2 ( 4391 ) * on Friday January 30, 2009 @12:56PM (#26667907) Homepage Journal

    So it's been a while (like a decade) since I've used Citrix for work, but I'm pretty sure I hated it. Same thing with Exceed (performance and reliability really sucked compared to running cygwin+Xorg or even VNC).

    I haven't been able to figure out from their website exactly what Project Independence is... though a link on the sidebar looks like it involves the Xen hypervisor. I think Xen is a good idea, I just haven't had any awesome experiences with it.

    I do have lots of experience doing more or less exactly the same thing using the free VMware, VirtualBox, and qemu software. Those work great.

    I run my "Work image" inside VMware, since I don't have or want all that much control over it. It's also a 32-bit WinXP image, and I'd rather run a 64-bit OS on the bare hardware. I use VirtuaWin to switch back and forth between the full-screen VMware guest session and the native Win2003 x64 Server running on my work laptop. That works pretty nice, though it took some experimentation to keep it from thrashing the pagefile with the VMware guest too much.

    I still find VMware relatively cumbersome to install on Linux, so on those machines I much prefer running VirtualBox, which has simple Debian packages. I have WinXP and CentOS images there to run a few proprietary software packages that don't run under Debian for some silly reason.

    Qemu is great for running and remastering KNOPPIX CDs / DVDs. It's a bit slower than the others, but much more straightforward.

    FWIW, I just started playing with the Win7 Beta last week, and didn't think it was all that bad (I have actually never touched Vista). I think the transition from WinXP to Win7 will be easier than from Win3.11 to Win95 and also even from Win95 to WinXP; but maybe that's just because MS has trained me to expect it to be so much more painful :P But I didn't have too much of an issue with where they rearranged important control panel items and munged up the start menu this time.

    My greatest complaint is that I can't make the "Start" icon smaller than 64x64 to shrink the size of the taskbar.

  • 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 tres ( 151637 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:00PM (#26667957) Homepage

    It's pretty evident from things like Google Apps and Microsoft's Live that the antiquated idea of a thin client is not going to be making its way back into the business.

      Enter the era of frugality. The decade of waste is over and now, whether by regulation or by pragmatic need to survive, business will be thinking about how to maximize the money that is available. Buying a newer version of the same thing isn't going to be happening anymore. Using the hardware and software that's already available will be more important than it ever was before.

    Microsoft should just get smart and start charging for service pack updates to XP. Extend the life of the product and start monetizing it in different ways.

  • 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.

    • I've been running it (Vista), 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.

      I ran Windows 2000 for years without AV, and I've done the same with XP without any problems. Please don't make up things just to make Vista look better.

  • Android will benefit (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Erich ( 151 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:09PM (#26668105) Homepage Journal
    Nobody is noticing that Google is shipping an easy-to-use, free, fast, pretty operating system?
  • by stewbacca ( 1033764 ) on Friday January 30, 2009 @02:53PM (#26669635)

    I believe it will require an OS with strong client OS and application virtualization, or some of the promise of a tightly integrated Live Mesh and Windows Azure services to significantly differentiate Windows 7 from the same old desktop OS it presents itself as today.

    I assure you the majority of computer users have NO idea what any of that means. People who do understand what he wrote are likely to be set in their computing ways and not likely to switch.

  • 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.

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