Windows 7, round 1

October 15, 2009

Disclaimer: I’m writing the following not as a member of the KDE e.V., but as an individual computer user. As usual, I’m only expressing my very own opinion. Though this should be clear to anyone reading my blog, I’m stating it explicitly now because there have already been more than enough flamewars because of misconceptions and misunderstandings, esp. when it comes to operating system debates.

When Vista had its public beta, I downloaded and installed it on a non-production machine. “Non-production” was a very good idea, because it ate the partition table. I’m not sure how much this has influenced my switch upgrade from XP to Linux some months afterwards. (I was surely also influenced by my first few contacts with Vista, which are very well described by the word “horrible”.)

So I was still running an XP system on my PC at home (mostly for my scanner, which does not work under Linux, and for games that refuse to run under Wine). Eight years after the release of Windows XP, I thought it was time to finally retire XP, and move on to something more stable and secure. (Yes, I know, Linux… but it has to be a Windows for aforementioned reasons. Actually, this machine is a dual-boot with Arch.) So I decided to give Windows 7 a try. Because my university is enrolled in Micro$oft’s MSDNAA program, I could recieve a free copy and license of Windows 7.

I thought that the MSDNAA program was partially meant to attract students from the non-Windows realms to consider the switch. That is, until I wanted to download Windows 7 from their webpage. All I got was “Downloader for Windows 7 RTM.exe” (and the license key). Yuck!

Anyway, let’s see if Wine eats it. Wine wanted to install Gecko, which it uses as a replacement for the Internet Explorer engine that can be used by third-party programs on Windows. Wine crashed. Later I found that the program consists of an Internet Explorer window without interface (think QWebView) that downloads some ActiveX controls (yuck again!) to do the actual downloading. The advantage of this system is that the download can be paused and resumed by simply closing and restarting the program, the disadvantages are about anything else.

Glad am I that I still have a Windows XP installation. This one could execute the Downloader.exe and download Windows 7. I ended up with a 2,4 GB ISO, which I burnt to DVD under Linux. (Windows does not include the necessary tools. Of course.)

Up to now, I’ve already spent three hours of work on an offer that is trying to convince me that Windows is better than Linux. No comment.

Installation of Windows 7 went quite smooth, with the only WTF that it needs to reboot three times, while I have seen Linux distros that install without even a single reboot. I had expected that it would eat my Grub installation in the MBR, but that’s normal (and restored in under three minutes with a Linux live CD.) Actually, I was (for the first time in the process) positively surprised, because Windows did not expose its usual imperialistic behavior when it comes to hard disk partitioning. It showed me a list of all partitions, I selected the Windows XP one, formatted it and clicked “Install”. So far so good.

The desktop showed up in non-native 1024×768 resolution, and with compositing disabled. I’d expected this, because the NVidia video driver is missing. Because my home PC is actually an early 2006 notebook, I expected suitable drivers not to be available, but Dell offered me Vista drivers, which worked very good. On my way, I found another WTF: On the NVidia driver download page, I have to select the exact model of the graphics card, while under Linux one driver serves all. Why can’t Windows be as simple as Linux?

The next possible surprise: The video driver was the only driver I had to install. Under Linux, I expect everything on this notebook to work out of the box, but on Windows, only one missing driver is astonishing. XP required about a dozen driver packages to be installed in a particular order (unless you use the recovery partition, ruin your Linux dual-boot on the way, and get all the nice extra programs that the do-gooders at the notebook manufacturer donate to you; you know what I mean). Another thing which surprised me was Microsoft Paint, which seems to have had its first bigger update since Windows 95.

Of course, something was missing. An open-source browser. An archive reading program. A good text editor. Long story short: KDE was missing. Next surprise: The kdewin-installer has progressed very well (I actually thought that development speed had lowered because of manpower problems). The package list in the simple mode is a bit long because (for some unknown reason) all apps are grouped into module packages, except for kdegames. Also strange: The KDE stuff does not show up in Windows 7’s start menu. I blame this on Windows 7 changing conventions, because this used to work on XP. Adding the bin directory of the KDE installation folder to the $PATH variable solved the problem for me, I’m more used to launching progs with Alt+F2 Win+R than with the start menu.

My conclusion: From my first observations, Windows 7 is definitely the best Windows ever (I won’t judge on how hard it was to achieve this position). However, I do not consider the graphical presentation mature. I mean, I have Aero Glass and such enabled, but to me, Windows 7 feels like a dozen apps, developed in parallel, and combined for the first time only one week before release. There is by far not as much a common style as in KDE.

Okay, there is this glass look all over the place, but the conceptual basis is not much more. The taskbar buttons have nice glow-on-hover effects, everything else doesn’t. The windows have nice compositing effects, the desktop applets don’t. And each of the desktop applets looks, and behaves, different, though there are only nine of them. (Compare this to the dozens of applets shipping with the KDE Software Distribution. And by the way, the desktop applets are not scalable, and of course always too small.)

Using KDE, you do not have to have a widget style that matches your Plasma theme, or suitable color schemes. It’s the behavior and the subtle design elements that make everything feel like a coherent whole. In my opinion, this is absolutely missing from Windows 7, though this should be a key selling point of Windows as a platform. (Many people buy a computer based on the presentation in the computer store, and also based on what friends tell them about their own experience.)

Micro$oft has hundreds of developers working full-time on the user interface, while KDE apps are usually developed by only one or two people at a time, most of them working in their free time as a hobby. Micro$oft has dozens of the best-paid designers in the world, KDE has a handful of mostly freelance artists. Taking all this into account, Windows 7 is a shame for the Microsoft developers, because it’s in my opinion easily surpassed by KDE in terms of polish and design.

The fine print: Just in case someone wants to read this into my post, I am in no way saying that KDE is perfect. I am also not saying that Windows 7 just sucks. (I’ve actually enjoyed using it up to now, esp. when compared to XP and Vista.) What I’m saying is that KDE is far more close to perfection than Windows 7 when it comes to polish, style and taste.

P.S. The rumors about 16 GB installation size of Windows 7 are exaggerated. The Professional edition needs about 9 GB.

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48 Responses to “Windows 7, round 1”

  1. Eike Hein Says:

    > On my way, I found another WTF: On the NVidia driver download page, I have to select the exact model of the graphics card, while under Linux one driver serves all. Why can’t Windows be as simple as Linux?

    Just in the interest of accuracy, this is an incorrect statement: nVidia offers three sets of drivers for Linux for very old, older and current graphics cards. Distros thus have multiple nVidia driver packages. It’s similar on Windows, and hence the model selection.

    • Brandon Says:

      the only difference on windows is that there is a separate driver for mobile gpu, even if nvidia itself reccomends to use the one from your OEM, that’s why windows7 didn’t have any video driver for your gpu, instead if you try it on a desktop it will install the nvidia driver automatically
      another thing to note about windows7 is that you don’t need to reboot anymore to install/update video drivers(of course the driver should support this but nvidia already does)

  2. Fireboot Says:

    @Eike : I was going to say the same thing

    While on Windows you have to select the video card model, in fact, if your card is not too old it will give you the same .exe no matter what card you’ve selected.

    Note that the nvidia website can also detects automatically your card and selects the good driver (Only on Windows, as far as I know).

    Even if I agree with most of what you said, I’m not really sure that comparing a full operating system (Windows 7) with a desktop environment (KDE) is relevant.

    • Stefan Majewsky Says:

      “Even if I agree with most of what you said, I’m not really sure that comparing a full operating system (Windows 7) with a desktop environment (KDE) is relevant.”

      When I’m comparing Windows to KDE, it’s only about the desktop user experience.

  3. Svein Says:

    “So I was still running an XP system on my PC at home (mostly for my scanner, which does not work under Linux”

    Did you ever try Vuescan? Admittedly, it is not free, but it is far from expensive, and it supports an impressive range of scanners.

    I bought a copy of the pro-version a long time ago to use with my Nikon CoolScan 4000ED on WindowsXP and it was one of the programs I was sad to not have when I started using Kubuntu. Or so I thought. After looking around for scanner programs, I stumbled across a mention of Vuescan and went to their website to check. Turns out they have a Linux version! And as you are entitled to upgrades for life, I could just download and install the Linux version. Nice! I do all my scanning through Vuescan.

    Vuescan is made by a man called Ed Hamrick and he is very helpful if you have any questions. If you have not tried it yet, download the test version and check it out. And no, I do not work for them, just a happy user 🙂

  4. Vanya Says:

    Aside from the inconsistencies of appearance, how do you feel about the more substantive changes to the interface, such as the new taskbar and the window management tricks, which are the first big changes to an interaction model that goes back to Windows 95 and which KDE still essentially shares?

    Personally, I’m curious about the benefits of these things and would love to see KDE consider adopting them, without the automatic hostility towards “Micro$oft”, or to “copying” interface ideas in general, that often seems to color such considerations.

    • Stefan Majewsky Says:

      “Micro$oft” is a priori not meant in a hostile way. It’s very commonly used in forums of news sites, to remind readers that Microsoft’s business is not primarily about making good software (like it is the case for FOSS projects), but about making money.

      Concerning the window management, I cannot really comment on that, because I’m usually only working with one or two windows at once, with “Alt-Tab” being the only necessary window management trick. Looking at the taskbar, it’s nice that Microsoft has finally put some thoughts into the concept. Of course they’re bound to making not too drastical changes, but I found that it works quite good, at least on the small scale. (I currently only have Konqueror and Dolphin there.) Apart from that, the taskbar looks much like my current configuration of the STasks applet.

      • T. J. Brumfield Says:

        Try “throwing” a window up to the top, and it maximizes. You can “throw” a window to the left and right to tile two windows. There are also keyboard shortcuts for all the new window tricks. They really are nice, and I hope to see the copied in Kwin in the future.

        • Stefan Majewsky Says:

          Yes, I found that out today. And incidentally, someone is working on KWin tiling right now (but the flexible way, not the Windows 7 way of tying you to the 2-windows-aside layout.)

      • Vanya Says:

        Thanks for the answer, and for the reference to the STasks applet, which looks cool (as does the Smooth Tasks fork)! It even sounds like there is some effort to allow for application specific functions in it, which I think might be great.

    • T. J. Brumfield Says:

      Someone wrote a Plasmoid that integrates many of the 7 taskbar features. It is called “Smooth Tasks”. Remove the taskbar plasmoid from your panel, and replace it with Smooth Tasks. Then go into Desktop Effects and enable “Highlight Window”, which is basically Aero Peek.

      It is pretty fantastic. You can configure Smooth Tasks to expand from the simple icon, to a normal task bar entry when you hover over it, so you can read the window title. You can also configure which apps/icons group.

      Now if only kwin integrated the nifty 7 window management tricks, I’d be very happy.

      • Stefan Majewsky Says:

        And I’d be very happy if Win7 integrated the nifty KWin window management tricks. (I’m not only speaking of effects, but of basics like windows snapping to each other and the desktop borders.)

  5. Alejandro Nova Says:

    I found another gripe with Windows 7. One day my trusty Epson C63 said “I’m dead” to me, and I had to buy another printer. Another Epson, of course, because Epson hasn’t failed on me (the C63 had been abused by 6 years, 3 times the life of a printer these days), ink isn’t so expensive, and Epson printers have a very good record in Linux (they tend to work out of the box). So… well… I tried to install my new Stylus Office in Linux and in Windows 7.

    In Linux it was dead easy. The only thing that required a bit of geekiness by me is the way I did it: I wrote in my web browser http://127.0.0.1:631 (I still prefer the CUPS web interface). I selected “Add new printer”. CUPS made it a point and click affaire. It took 5 minutes to install my printer and start printing.

    Windows 7… no. It couldn’t print, despite the fact I downloaded Epson drivers and connected my printer, relying in the Windows “plug and play” facilities. It didn’t recognize properly my printer, it didn’t print, and, what’s worse, I couldn’t delete my printer and uninstall the driver easily. After 2 days fighting, I printed 0 pages from Windows… and 2,000 with Linux (also, I have to say, grayscale, 360×360 enhanced, at ~7 real pages per minute… awesome).

    Windows is amazing… until it ceases to work. To fix it is a pain, just like some point and click distros. That’s why I’m on Chakra Linux ( http://www.chakra-project.org ), a distrolet that basically is Arch Linux with KDEmod, a fantastic work based in qt-copy and further stabilisation of the KDE codebase.

    • Stefan Majewsky Says:

      On Chakra/Arch: I’m currently testing it on the same machine, because I want a system that is not as bloated as the big distros and still does not require me to compile everything from hand. (Of course, the bloat is the right thing for most users, but I want it fast and easy, and Arch seems to be filling that gap quite well.)

  6. Jeff Mitchell Says:

    As a matter of style, I find it very distracting when people use “Micro$oft” in what is otherwise a serious review. Makes the whole thing seem less serious and more childish. Everyone (at least anyone that would be reading your blog) is aware of Microsoft and its tactics and practices; no need for such cheap tricks.

    Just a suggestion for the future, or for cleaning up this post.

  7. Alex Says:

    Your experience pretty much matches mine. My main problem is that there are a few games that don’t run on Windows 7, and since games are the only reason I even have Windows, that’s not good. Still, I don’t want to go through the pain of installing XP again. I guess that’s what I get for using closed-source software.

    • Stefan Majewsky Says:

      Well, there is this ominous “XP mode” which I’m going to test when I encounter such a case. (Of course, you need the right edition, but I got a Professional license, which is just enough.)

    • T. J. Brumfield Says:

      I had tons of issues getting XP games to run in the 7 beta. On Slashdot people were insisting that they made great strides in the RC and RTM builds to improve compatibility with XP games. I hope that is the case, but I haven’t installed by 7 Ultimate copy yet.

  8. whiner Says:

    “P.S. The rumors about 16 GB installation size of Windows 7 are exaggerated. The Professional edition needs about 9 GB.”

    That’s still ~5-7 gigs too much.

    • Stefan Majewsky Says:

      Of course, yes. But 9 GB is only about the half of 16 GB, and the “16 GB” information could keep quite some people from upgrading, which could otherwise make good use an update from XP to 7.

  9. Socceroos Says:

    While I am a free software advocate, I can’t agree with you regarding the ‘common style’ and polish. I feel that Windows 7 far outstrips KDE 4.x in terms of its final finishing touches to the interface. For one, in the KDE desktop there is a complete separation of what Plasma stuff looks like and what KWin stuff looks like. COMPLETELY different. Like, not even nearly the same.

    I feel that KWin and Plasma really need to do something about being able to make unified and professional looking themes. Don’t get me wrong, I love Oxygen/Nitrogen and I think Air is great – but they’re completely different. They don’t even pretend to fit together!

    To me, this makes the desktop feel fragmented.

    • Stefan Majewsky Says:

      As usual, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As I pointed out, the important thing for me is not the exact color of the single elements, but that they share a common design rationale. I cannot really describe it, but I think that one can feel that the Air theme and the Oxygen windeco and widget style have been made by the same artist. They fit together without looking uniform.

    • T. J. Brumfield Says:

      I don’t understand why at launch (4.0) you had a dark Oxygen plasma theme, when the colors, windeco, widgets, etc. didn’t match the plasma theme at all.

      KDE 4 doesn’t have a unified look.

      • Stefan Majewsky Says:

        As I pointed out:

        1. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I for one like the Oxygen Plasma theme + Oxygen windeco + Oxygen widget style combo very much.
        2. I think that what makes Oxygen stuff unique is that it does not produce a uniform (and possibly boring) look, but a uniform feeling. It feels like a whole without being an uniform blob.

        • T. J. Brumfield Says:

          Most of the Plasma themes are glassy, where as the main widgets and windeco aren’t. They don’t have to be completely identical. However, I think the current KDE 4.3.x defaults are far more unified, where Air as a Plasma theme seems to complement what Oxygen is today.

          The Oxygen plasma theme doesn’t mesh well with the rest of Oxygen.

  10. peaches Says:

    Well I myself very much don’t believe linux generally is simpler than Windows by any stretch, for a desktop user. I’ll just comment about the few things here.

    The RTM.exe thing sounds more like a complaint about linux’s WINE implementation. I don’t know that Microsoft has pubilshed any exe’s meant to be run outside of a Windows environment.

    The nVidia issue is a 3rd party implementation thing but to follow that whole premise, then come on.. Windows has linux definitely beaten. Is it easier to forcibly exit the entire X Windows session and session manager to run a shell command (as root) ./NVIDIA-*-.bin file (it refuses to install while X is running, except with a command line argument which you’re essentially told will give unexpected results) and then to navigate an ugly ncurses (no mouse) interface, answer questions about a compiled kernel module and such, all to install a simple video driver? Really? Um sorry but I’ll take a click-to-reboot after instalilng the .exe on Windows over that nVidia linux nonsense.

    About the dozens of apps in parallel thing, I myself have had the opposite experience with KDE *components*. Using KDE regularly, I have processes like kwin, plasma-desktop, kded, and ksmserver crash or outright indefinitely hang individually and have to go hunting for which process is causing the UI freezing or whatever problem at the time, and deal with it. And now nepomuk/strigi and related processes like nepomukservicestub and upcoming virtuoso-t, maintaining the cobweb of seemingly unstable, inter-process-presumptuous processes is probably going to get worse.

    As much as I personally like to ‘feel’ like it all fits together as one coherent system visually – and I very much do – I give higher priority to actually functioning cohesively under the hood, then being pretty comes next. For me, KDE has yet to do this, though to be fair, although Windows 7 seems quite stable each time I’ve used it, I don’t use it nearly as much as KDE desktop to compare. Anyway when KDE desktop actually works, sure it does have a good and pleasing overall feel. Though some features like scalable/composited desktop applets aside, I personally like Windows 7 visuals still as much or more than KDE’s current visuals in areas like consistency, richness and resolution. Just my own opinion.

    • Stefan Majewsky Says:

      RTM.exe: It’s not about the Wine developers, who are doing just a great job. I came into the play with the expectation that this MSDNAA program is meant to convince Linux users that Windows is better. If this is the case, Microsoft has miserably failed, by offering them a free OS that they cannot download.

      NVidia: I never had to quit the X server to install the NVidia drivers. In most of the Linux installations I did, they had already been set up by the install routine (or, in the case of openSUSE, I added the NVidia repository and did a system upgrade to obtain the correct driver). It would be nicer if Windows would tell me during installation: “Hey, you’ve got an NVidia card. Should I download the driver from nvidia.com now?” This is not hard to implement.

      Or take it this way: What would a non-experienced computer user do if he enters the Windows 7 desktop and finds that the screen resolution cannot be set to the native maximum? How should he know that he has to know the vendor of his graphics card, fire up a browser, navigate to its website, and download the driver there (after entering the exact model name).

      Parallel apps on KDE: This is a design decision of KDE, and mostly a good one. Of course, work has to be done to ensure that this stuff does not crash. And work has already been done, I haven’t had a crash of kded4 or kwin for over a year, for example. If plasma-desktop decides to crash, it is restarted within seconds. I must admit that I have to ctrl-alt-backspace my KDE session sometimes because of some weird, seldom bug of kglobalacceld.

      But remember: With KDE, you only have to wait six months for updates. Any new features or non-critical bugfixes to Windows 7 will most possibly only be available with Windows 8.


      • Very interesting review, but I just willing to point out some facts :

        1. XP is a 8 years old Operating System. You can’t expect a 3 years old hardware to work out of the box with it. At least, installing the driver to make it work is dead easy. Now try to do the same with a 8 years old Linux distribution ( kernel 2.2 or 2.4, very old Glibc, XFree 3.x, … ). This is impossible. Don’t even try installing recent applications like Firefox 3.5 or KDE 4 under a 8 years old Linux distribution. Doing the same under XP is easier.

        2. The Windows KDE installer is a mess : this si not the way to install application under Windows. If I want to run Amarok, I’m expecting to look for Amarok on download.com, download the installer file and start the setup.exe. Even better, by using MSI files, I expect to be able to deploy amarok on hundreds of computers automatically by using Active Directory GPO. KDE applications under Windows needs to be shipped as standalone applications.

        3. MSDN program is not meant to convert Linux guy : it’s just to allow students to be confortable with Microsoft products, then they will use/recommend them at home or in their enterprise, and schools will use them for their students. Linux users are not important enough to even bother converting them.

        4. tag/rating and virtual folders are presently more advanced and better integrated in Windows ( Vista/7 ). I’m waiting for clearly end-user oriented Nepomuk features 🙂

        5. I’m a Linux enthusiast and sysadmin. All my computers/workstations ( nearly 70 ) run Mandriva Linux, I’m using Linux at home, writing articles for Linux magazines. However I try to be as much as possible to be fair concerning Linux vs Windows qualities/strenght.

        • Stefan Majewsky Says:

          On point 1: Of course I know that XP cannot handle that. But that’s what new OS versions are for, and with this point, I criticize the Windows ecosystem (not mainly Microsoft) for shipping an 8-year-old OS to the masses.

          On point 2: Totally agreed. The package management should be integrated in this step, however.


        • XP was supposed to be dead last year.
          However a Windows OS is sufficiently flexible to allow it, even after 8 years, to cope easily with new hardware.
          Try to do the same with Linux.

          Sorry, but each time there are new subway/roads, I’m noçt going to change my car. Sometimes to deal with new legislations ( like third stop fire on cars, we have kits to upgrade our cars )

        • Simon Says:

          > 1. XP is a 8 years old Operating System… installing the driver to make it work is dead easy. Now try to do the same with a 8 years old Linux distribution ( kernel 2.2 or 2.4, very old Glibc, XFree 3.x, … )

          Misleading. XP has had three service packs, the latest only just over a year ago, each of which made extensive changes to the kernel and core OS, partly to keep it up to date with newer hardware etc. (Have a look at the driver download pages: a lot, and certainly the core ones such as the video driver, require SP2 at least). This corresponds, in Linux, with keeping the kernel, glibc etc. up to date whilst still tracking (say) KDE 3.x.

      • Simon Says:

        > Or take it this way: What would a non-experienced computer user do if he enters the Windows 7 desktop and finds that the screen resolution cannot be set to the native maximum? How should he know that he has to know the vendor of his graphics card, fire up a browser, navigate to its website, and download the driver there (after entering the exact model name).

        This puts me in the mind of an ageing Linux admin who still types “sync” three times before halting and grumbles about Linux not being ready for the desktop because non-experienced users don’t know these things; without realising that it isn’t necessary any more.

        How would a non-experienced user know that he has to know the vendor of his graphics card, fire up a browser, etc., etc.? He won’t, and he doesn’t have to. Windows update (since, I think, Vista) will install the correct vendor driver the first time it runs (which will presumably be within a week of installing; I haven’t run Windows recently enough to remember when how it’s scheduled).

        “Why can’t Windows be as simple as Linux?” Because you assume it isn’t, and so act as though it isn’t; and — surprise! — your assumptions seem to validate themselves.

        This is also a common problem with people switching from Windows to Linux. New Linux users often assume that installing software on Linux is hard and, not knowing the existence of a package manager and having been “taught” by Windows that the “Add/remove programs” menu item is for uninstalling only despite the name, find that their assumptions are born out by the greatly increased difficulty of dealing with OOo_3.1.1_LinuxIntel_install_wJRE_en-US.tar.gz as opposed to a wizard-based setup.exe (and then, like you, write blog posts about how hard it is and how it’s not ready for the desktop) — not thinking to challenge their assumptions and maybe find that it’s actually a lot easier than they’d thought.

        • Stefan Majewsky Says:

          So it might be that it is installed with the next Windows Update, but I do not want to wait so long. I expect an operating system to work correctly in the first attempt, and not after installing umpteen updates.

      • T. J. Brumfield Says:

        If you Googled, you could have found direct download .iso links from Microsoft’s site, so you wouldn’t have had to use their download manager.

        That being said, why do we need a dedicated download manager for every single download?

        • Stefan Majewsky Says:

          I won’t download stuff that’s lying around somewhere, if I have a trustable download source.

          That being said, full ACK to your dedicated download manager rant. I wonder why Windows 7 is still lacking such basic features (IMO file management, which downloading is, is the task of the OS, not of some download manager).

  11. Ernest N. WIlcox Jr. Says:

    In response to comment number one, nVidia may have multiple drivers, but many Linux software managers are able to determine which is needed without user intervention, at least that has been my experience with Mandriva Linux.

    As for overall experience with Windows 7, I have the RC installed in a partition here because I need Windows to access coursecompass for a WEB based math course. I first had the beta installed, which behaved itself better than I expected. The RC is notably improved over the beta, which is also far more than I expected. Since I am not a Windows fan, I expected to be running into so many roadblocks using Win7 that I’d eventually dump it after I finish school, but my experience has been so surprising that, when offered the option of purchasing the final release for US $30.00, I bought it. This is after I swore that I would never spend another dime on a Windows product after seeing Vista.

    In all honesty, Windows 7 is still cripple-ware when compared with Mandriva Linux and KDE as the DE. Following is a list of Windows short comings:

    Item Win 7 Mandriva + KDE

    customize boot screen no yes
    customize log in screen no yes
    customize desktop yes yes

    In all fairness, Win7 has the best desktop theme utility I have seen in any Windows release. As good as it has become, it is still cripple-ware when compared with what can be done in Mandriva Linux + KDE.

    For what it is worth, I reside in the USA. Too few people here have learned the value of Linux. As a result, WEB based courses such as my math course (which uses coursecompass) employ libraries that work only under Windows. I hope the American Educational infrastructure catches up with the rest of the world soon and learns to use platform independent solutions, then I will no longer need Windows. Even if I am favorably impressed with this release, history indicates the next release may not be as good (remember going from Win98 to Win ME?).

    • grat Says:

      Windows 7 supports custom logon screens.

      Also, as a general note, the Windows 7 UI is one of the most keyboard friendly I’ve seen.

  12. Chris Says:

    Installing wine_gecko (from community I think) solves the problem with the crashing downloader on Archlinux. Its still a shame – not only its unneccessary, its interface also looks like it was designed by a child using a cheap WYSIWYG html editor…

  13. KDE user from Poland Says:

    “The kdewin-installer has progressed very well (I actually thought that development speed had lowered because of manpower problems)”
    i hope it is not true. It would be a shame to halt kde-win devlopment ;(

    ( i do want to use Akregator+Dolphin+Koofice on windows)

    Please guys, let’s help with this kde-win32 effort!

  14. romain Says:

    Interesting feedback, especially the second half of the post. It’s pretty constructive criticism.
    Cheers !

  15. Bernhard Says:

    9 vs.16GB and Iconsets

    1.) Which Versions of NET are installed?

    Under XP each driver/application insists on it’s own version of NET library. And this needs a lot of diskspace.

    2.) Does MS in a professional W7 version supply something to make user applications similar in look and feel to MS-apps?

    Last time I tried (XP) there was nothing usable. Even paid you only got horrible Iconsets. Knowing Oxygen changing from GPL to LGPL helped me a lot this time …

    ???
    Bernhard

  16. Marcos Dione Says:

    My linux installation is less than 9GiB and it includes the three main desktops, ooffice and packages for develop in c++ and python, the former including all needed to compile KDE completely from source. what does W7 provide in those 9GiB?


  17. […] Windows 7, round 1 « Stories of a KDE programmer a few seconds ago from kdemicroblog […]


  18. […] Windows 7, round 1 Micro$oft has hundreds of developers working full-time on the user interface, while KDE apps are usually developed by only one or two people at a time, most of them working in their free time as a hobby. Micro$oft has dozens of the best-paid designers in the world, KDE has a handful of mostly freelance artists. Taking all this into account, Windows 7 is a shame for the Microsoft developers, because it’s in my opinion easily surpassed by KDE in terms of polish and design. […]


  19. […] Windows 7, round 1 Disclaimer: I’m writing the following not as a member of the KDE e.V., but as an individual computer user. As usua […] […]

  20. zuluman Says:

    Notebook nVidia-drivers where always a PITA under Windows, it seems the OEM/manufacturer policies where not as simple as with the desktop systems.
    So with a (recent) desktop with nVidia, Windows 7 just worked out of the box. No driver needed at all. Even updated nVidia drivers come with the regular (otherwise pretty closed) Windows-update mechanism.
    On top of that – as already mentioned – the driver can be installed/updated WITHOUT a restart. This is really great, and hopefully X11 will allow this too in the future.

    As for the consistency, I think Windows does pretty well in it self – the problem is the lack of enforced style-guides (like with OSX for example). Thus every 3rd party application uses it’s own ideas on how an application should look like and the whole desktop experience is very fragile.
    It also has to do with the very fragmented market of toolkits used under Windows.

    Under Linux nearly everyone uses either KDE/Qt or Gnome/GTK as toolkit and gets a nice consistent set of widgets (where only Qt/GTK conflict from time to time but it’s gotten much better lately) and with that a basic idea of interface design (still much to do IMHO).

    Oh, and I totally agree with the MSDNAA downloader crap. It would be much easier if MSDNAA just enforced the universities participating to host the ISO images in a restricted area. The images are worthless without keys anyway (unless you resort to piracy and thus can get the ISO anyway). Bad move.

    • Stefan Majewsky Says:

      “Oh, and I totally agree with the MSDNAA downloader crap. It would be much easier if MSDNAA just enforced the universities participating to host the ISO images in a restricted area. The images are worthless without keys anyway (unless you resort to piracy and thus can get the ISO anyway). Bad move.”

      I’ve checked, and the Windows 7 image I’ve got from MSDNAA seems to be totally generic, as a web search on its MD5 sum reveals. I’m wondering why MS does not distribute the ISO over BitTorrent, like most Linux distributions do. But this has most likely to do with the general aversion to the BitTorrent network and protocol.

      • zuluman Says:

        It would be totally sufficient to host them in the universities networks. Costs NOTHING (well beside the work to put them there etc.).
        Luckily some universities seem to do so (I think not in compliance with MS license agreements) and hide the ISO images on some obscure file server but it’s not the standard and even less a desired policy for the persons responsible for MSDNAA it seems.

        Anyway, yes the images are generic. So everyone having no problem getting the images from *cough* other sources should do it when they don’t want to use the strange downloader. Much easier I suppose. (And you should have a legit key anyway…)


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