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Licking Desktop Problems

Written By: josh chalifour
Published On: October 26 2007

Like the old tootsie pop ads that ask how many licks it takes to get to the center, how many annoyances does it take to get people and businesses to change desktop operating systems? Aside from the frequent crunch of bloggers discussing their switch from Windows to Linux, we're still waiting to find out.

In the news this week, Microsoft annoyed a number of admins with its Windows Desktop Services update. This added to many peoples' perception that Microsoft pushes some of its updates without asking--an aggressive practice disliked for policy, security, troubleshooting, or other reasons.

Further reports this week noted the company extended sales of old versions of Windows again (presumably because there is demand for that version as opposed to the new Vista version). Vista is likely to require different troubleshooting, especially with some of the new policies it introduces: for example, Vista deactivation. Columnist James Bannan described the experience this week.
"Put simply, your copy of Windows will stop working with very little notice (three days) and your PC will go into "reduced functionality" mode, where you can't do anything but use the web browser for half an hour.

You'll then need to reapply to Microsoft to get a new activation code."

Sounds like an invitation for extra work without any beneficial return on that work. I presume that's part of the reason demand for the old version still exists. Wouldn't it be easier to work in an environment where admins can anticipate and solve problems in which they've already invested the effort to understand?

I've detailed the steps I think would be necessary take to have widespread Linux adoption on the desktop. My thinking was based on ideas about lean processes: removing unnecessary steps that don't add value, providing a system that operates in such a way as to prevent a lot of customer support issues from happening.

The two Microsoft issues I cited above, go in the opposite direction. Yet Microsoft is growing, if you consider doing over $4 billion (USD) profit last quarter pretty good. Not all of that money comes from Microsoft's desktop business but are people continuing to buy into the Windows desktop OS and then Vista? Or is each annoyance another lick toward the switch?

(P.S. I recently upgraded several PCs to the new Kubuntu version, without problem--smoothest upgrade of any OS I've ever done.)
 
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