Upgrading your computer from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 is not guaranteed to be a seamless experience whereby you click a few buttons and hey presto it works.
To prove this point I took a Windows 7 computer and installed Windows 8.1 in two different ways to see what would happen. In both cases the result was the same.
The computer that I used for this experiment was a Dell Inspiron 3521. After upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8.1 the video drivers were lost and I was left with a fuzzy low resolution screen. The network drivers were also a bit ropey. The same thing happened when I installed Windows 8.1 straight from disk as a clean installation.
To fix the problems all I had to do was download the correct drivers and install them but that meant navigating the Dell website (which isn't a particularly easy affair) and download the correct drivers and install them in the correct order.
Whilst the task in hand was fairly straight forward it clearly shows that Windows doesn't just work in the same way that when you install Linux for the first time you might have to install extra drivers and codecs as well.
Long story short, Windows 10 feels like a beta for an early version of Android, a consumer operating system that is designed to be on-line all the time. It does not feel like an operating system I would use to get work done. In fact, other than watching movies, browsing the web or listening to music, I don’t think I would find Windows 10 particularly useful. At least not without the on-line account stuff being removed and the package manager(s) fixed. Forcing users to sign up for an on-line account is a sure way to tell us privacy is not a concern and the alternative, downloading applications from the web, is a sure way to introduce malware.
Last week, I had to laugh aloud at Microsoft’s announcement that Windows 10 would be offered as a free upgrade for users of both Windows 7 and Windows 8. This was a strange synchronicity, as I’d wondered allowed in an article earlier in the week, “If Microsoft can’t give Windows away for free on the laptop, how long will it be able to continue selling it on the desktop?” It was a rhetorical question, with no answer expected, but I got one anyway: Not too long.
ACER, for instance, is even diversifying ChromeBooks, cranking out small, medium and large sizes.
Meanwhile, Qualcomm is rumoured to be shipping a 14nm, 8-cored, LPDDR4 RAMed monster “for mobiles”, and other processors with clocks in the 2-2.5gHz range, in late 2015. If you don’t think desktops/notebooks/tablets/smartphones will all shine with such power, you are living in a deep hole. OEMs will find a way to integrate ARM into every aspect of IT. We are no longer living in a time when */Linux or ARM were just “barely good enough”. They are perfect for many purposes. Consumers want them. OEMs will supply them. Shipped by the millions, these new solutions will cost much less than Wintel’s monopolistic prices.
I don't write about Microsoft much here. That's largely because, as I noted recently, open source has won. Well, it's won in the field of supercomputers, cloud computing, Web servers, mobile systems, embedded systems and the Internet of Things. Of course, it hasn't won on the desktop - although there are some interesting indications that even there things may be changing. That means Wednesday's launch of Windows 10 is still important, since it affects the daily lives of many people - far too many. Here, I want to focus on a few key aspects that emerged.