For being such a hard-core Linux geek all these years, I’m sure it’s confused many of my friends and coworkers to hear me raving about Windows 7 lately. Truth of the matter is that I got in the beta program and have had build 7000 on my work laptop for several weeks. I also got an update to build 7068 running on my system at home, and I can’t help but say “see ya” to XP when the final release comes out ’cause it’s so much better than XP in so many ways. Is Win7 cool enough for me to switch full-time though? That’s the question.
The answer is ‘no’, of course. As much as I’ve been enjoying the performance of Win7, even on my old laptop (P4 2.66GHz, 512MB of RAM, old Trident video, 802.11 a/b only doing WEP, etc), I have to say that MS has really outdone themselves at sending out a DVD install of the ‘Windows 7 Ultimate’ release package that works so well on older hardware as well as higher end hardware.
My rig at home is running the 64-bit version, and haven’t had a single hiccup yet, other than needing Vista drivers for my Asys mobo, LAN and separate Nvidia graphics. Windows Update *claims* to have new Nvidia drivers for Win7, but I get a steady 60fps in World of Warcraft whenever I play, so I don’t want to risk screwing anything up by going to beta video drivers.
I was a little disappointed to read this morning that the actual Release Candidate (RC) of Win7 will require a full wipe and reinstall, but I do understand their reasoning — they want people to test real-world upgrade/install scenarios, and upgrading from a beta version to a beta version isn’t really a “real world” scenario.
Windows 7 has a lot of nice features, now including native NFS support, both as a server and client. Of course, I was digging way down inside Control Panel and Windows features to enable/disable (like web services and the like) to find it. My buddy Jorge had this to say about NFS support over IM:
(11:50:40 AM) ian douglas: oh, and win7 has built in nfs now
(11:50:48 AM) jorge: it’s about time
(11:50:53 AM) ian douglas: found it last night in a setting, it’ll act as an nfs server and mount nfs stuff natively
(11:51:02 AM) jorge: when are they going to add unix tools to the shell, lol
(11:51:07 AM) ian douglas: no kidding
(11:51:10 AM) jorge: wow, slick
(11:51:21 AM) jorge: can you mount it from linux?
(11:51:24 AM) jorge: using nfs?
(11:51:25 AM) ian douglas: yeah
(11:51:29 AM) jorge: wow
(11:51:29 AM) ian douglas: and vice versa
(11:51:40 AM) ian douglas: mount linux in windows via nfs so we can finally kill samba
(11:51:48 AM) jorge: yeah
(11:51:53 AM) jorge: samba kinda sucks
(11:51:57 AM) ian douglas: yeah, i was pretty impressed, though it’s buried in the settings of windows features to turn on/off like web server, etc.
(11:52:05 AM) jorge: sure
(11:52:43 AM) jorge: typical M$ (let’s hide that feature so people don’t discover it too easily and start to figure out our stuff is crap)
But Jorge does bring up an excellent point, which I’ve made clear to other Linux geeks out there — I won’t be switching my desktop full-time away from some flavor of Linux (current is Ubutnu 8.10 64-bit) until Windows starts natively supporting Perl and a full bash shell without having to install an add-on like cygwin.
I will, however, happily dual-boot my system with Windows 7.
The Mac fanboys out there will of course cry foul, that Mac OS is essentially a really pretty OS with all of the *nix support you could want, which is true. But for what I’d pay for a Mac (OS license and hardware) to get comparable hardware to what I currently run, I could at least double the horsepower/RAM of my rig right now.
So when pigs fly and hell freezes over, and Mac lowers their prices or Windows supports Unix shell, I’ll consider switching. Until then, keep my name on the “linux fanboy” list. Right at the top.