Windows 7 will kill desktop Linux?

Windows 7I still haven’t tried the Windows 7 beta, but everywhere I look I see more and more people speaking very positively about it (our own Dave Freeman positively shines with happiness talking about it). Truth be told, I’m not very interested in operating systems these days: the overwhelming majority of things I use my computers for are done through my web browser, so the OS is becoming less and less relevant to me. I use Ubuntu, and am reasonably happy with it, but according to some Windows 7 will put the final nail in the coffin of desktop Linux.

Nick Farrell, over at the Inquirer, makes the bold claim that Windows 7 is enough to kill Linux on the desktop. I’m left a little perplexed about this claim after reading his thoughts, though. He enumerates a number of small hiccups he experienced, and doesn’t gush about Windows 7 as enthusiastically as the title suggests. Oh, I get it! He’s trolling!

If Microsoft had released Windows 7 instead of Vista there would have been no rise of Ubuntu or OSX. Now, alas, it is only a matter of time until people come back to the claws of [Microsoft]. The Linux crowd were too busy talking about their superiority on the server and ignored the desktop to the OS’s eventual doom. Windows 7 is as pretty as Apple stuff, just as easy to use, and does not treat you like a moron.

Computers, in general, treat people like morons regardless of the operating system. This is because computers are artificial constructs which offer few analogues to every day life. We suffer through all kinds of poorly implemented metaphors and abstractions to get computers to do what we want them to do. Some metaphors feel more natural for some sets of users, which is why there’s such passionate attack and defense around the major operating systems. And that’s why, I think, Windows 7 is unlikely to kill anything.

I genuinely have high hopes for Windows 7. I’m eager to see some fresh new moves from Redmond. But I also wonder how much longer we’ll even be talking about operating systems as discrete things…