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Windows XP: Prices, And One Reaction 598

Posted by timothy
from the all-this-and-so-much-more dept.
Jim42688 writes: "Looks like the prices Amazon was reporting for Windows XP a while back were right. On the back of today's ad for CompUSA, it lists the prices to preorder. Home Full, 199.99, Home Upgrade, 99.99. Professional full, 299.99, Professional upgrade, 199.99." Perfect timing -- Fwis writes: "Use your power as a consumer to Boycott XP. The site is now functioning smoothly, and we invite you to log in and participate in discussions, polls, and news stories related to Microsoft's release of the XP line of products." There are some interesting links on this page if you (or someone with purchasing power at your company) is considering XP.
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Windows XP: Prices, And One Reaction

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  • i'm a windows user... i'm sorry...

    but anyway, check out these benchmarks of win2k vs winXP ... please read the WHOLE THING before flaming, becuase it says it's winxp rc2, but it's so much slower it shouldn't matter.
    http://www.anandtech.com/IT/showdoc.html?i=1501& p= 3
    • It wasn't release candidate 2 that was being tested, it was BETA 2. This makes a big difference, release candidates usually have all the debug information stripped out. The idea of a release candidate is to have a version of the code that could very well ship if nothing appears wrong with it.

      Beta versions, on the other hand, often have a lot of debugging information built in that could cause bloat and lag.

      Personally, I hate windows, and I'll be keeping XP at a very long distance. However, if we're going to rag a product, let's do it for the right reasons :)

  • WindowsRG (Score:3, Funny)

    by jeffehobbs (419930) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @01:05PM (#2245572) Homepage
    Personally, I'm waiting for WindowsRG.

    http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/uploads/27000/275 49_winrg2.swf [newgrounds.com]

  • price (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02, 2001 @01:14PM (#2245606)
    Home Full, 199.99, Home Upgrade, 99.99. Professional full, 299.99, Professional upgrade, 199.99."


    Linux... Priceless

    • Perhaps, but when you go to Best Buy all you see is the Mandrake Power Edition for $64.99.

      Oh, and the Redhat Deluxe Workstation for $79.99.

      So, ok another $20 or so and I can get WinXP. I'd rather have WinXP anyway since it runs my software.

      Linux was a far more compelling upgrade when it sold for $20 at Best Buy. That was over two years ago, however.
  • Lets see...Modified UI to make it look slightly different than the last version of windows? Yup. Lots of monopoly leveraging technologies designed to crush smaller companies ekeing out a living? Oh yeah. Requires an upgrade to the latest hardware? Bingo. Slower than the last release by a good factor? You bet. All I see, despite all the hype(that many slashdotters are buying into), is just another useless windows release. One that to the regular consumer, means more money down the tubes for hardware they don't really need to check their E-mail, and write letters in Wordpad. Of course, Microsoft will be kept afloat by the 'oh but this ones based on NT! It's stable!' fanboys out there, but anybody who has seen NT in action knows it's inadequacy on older hardware, and people are finally getting used to the idea that they don't really need the latest version of windows or the latest processor for what they do.

    Personally, if support for windows 9x dropped to a certain level, I'd just stop using windows altogether. To be perfectly honest, as soon as I can play the majority of my windows games using linux and my savage4 accellerator on another, non MS OS, I'll drop windows altogether. I'm just sick and tired of seeing microsoft pushing it's competitors out the window by including it's own version of an existing utility.

    I own original copies of OS/2, Beos, Caldera Opendos, and Linux Redhat. I also downloaded Xgui, Gimi, and a host of other shells. My opinion? I don't have enough choice still. I could run Xdos on my 8088 and still run dos apps. Why is it so hard for the US DOJ to crack this obviously abused (on a regular baisis) monopoly?

    Oh yes, and look at every windows release -- you'll see a huge group trying to fool themselves that 'THIS one will be good!'. They existed in winME, why not this one?
    • Most of what you said I agree with but not "Of course, Microsoft will be kept afloat by the 'oh but this ones based on NT! It's stable!' fanboys out there, but anybody who has seen NT in action knows it's inadequacy on older hardware, and people are finally getting used to the idea that they don't really need the latest version of windows or the latest processor for what they do.

      Firstly Joe Public probably only has the vaguest idea of what NT is, so there is limited mileage on the "based on NT" bandwagon.

      Secondly NT is stable on older hardware - it's the more modern stuff that tends to trip it up (it really doesn't understand IR ports and USB very well). NT server on fairly standard hardware can easily have uptimes of more than a year (provided you don't and try and log on to the box - there is (or was - it may be fixed now) a memory leak in the GDI routines which breaks the explorer shell fairly terminally after about 6 months. All the services still work, but the box is a bit of a basket case if you need to do something interactive.

      I'm not sure about people and new machines/OS. The machine I'm using now is triple boot box (Mandrake, Win98, W2K Advanced Server) with dual 350P2s and 256MB of ram. So fairly long in the tooth now. I've not seen anything that I want to do computer wise that I can't do on this box. So no reason to upgrade here. But I see lots of computers with a much higher spec being sold as the owner has upgraded to a more recent machine. What are these people doing with their machines?

      So I think people may realise they don't need the new machine, but they still seem to want one. Then there is the monopoly leveraging that superwhizzy app only works on XP, to "encourage" people to upgrade to it.

      and look at every windows release -- you'll see a huge group trying to fool themselves that 'THIS one will be good!'.

      W2K was actually a good release. Probably too good. Having looked at XP from the server end (and particuarly the directory services bit of it, which is what I do at the moment) there is almost nothing that has changed that makes even a marginally compelling case for moving to XP. Of the top of my head the only change that is of note is how XP handles changes to group memberships (The gory details are that in the multimaster environment if person A is added to a group at DC1 and person B is removed from the same group later at DC2, but before the change had propogated from DC1 to DC2, this causes a conflict that is resolved by using the most recent change, which means neither A nor B are in the group after all the changes have replicated). This is a design flaw in how groups are stored and replicated in W2k (basically the group including all the members is replicated when changed in W2k, as opposed to deltas of the membership list which is how I think XP does it), but it isn't that hard to work around.

  • Why boycott Windows XP? I'm not going to buy it for many reasons, not least of which is the price, but why boycott? The pricing clearly shows that their target market is business. I figure that any business that expends its capital on locking itself into monopolistic Microsoft products will simply spend itself into non-competitiveness. A prudent business will look long and hard at all of its options before writing a check to Redmond.


    These are hard times. Everyone has to learn to do more with less. The IT department is not exempt from this economic reality. The CIO who blows the budget on the fastest new computers and the latest bloated commercial software had best keep his resume up to date.


    "I didn't get rich by writing a lot of checks!" -- "Bill Gates" on The Simpsons

  • by redelm (54142) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @01:27PM (#2245651) Homepage
    I just don't see any compelling reason. I have plenty of MS Win95 licences, and really see no need to upgrade those boxen. Just like my Linux & FreeBSD boxen who almost always are a few versions behind.


    MS-Win95b is acceptably stable given enough RAM, HD and maintenance. The only thing that has caused me to upgrade a few to Win98 is USB cameras not installing on 95.


    MS-WinNT may be more stable, but some hardware and software still refuses to run under it. I believe XP is an NT descendant, so I'd worry about this.


    Upgrading is fine for journalists who have stories to write, and for other software reviewers. I just don't know why the rest of us should upgrade. To get a bunch of bugfixes & security patches? Feh! If I need'em, I'll get them separately.

    • It's difficult for me to explain because I've been using NT exclusively since '97 except for one brief month in '98 when I ran Win98 to try it.

      But let me first state:

      Win9x is *NOT* stable.

      As far as incompatibilies, this was true in the early days of NT. But since around 1998 or so it's been difficult to find hardware that does not work on NT. Similarly nearly all software with the exception of games has worked fine.

      Win2k improved the situation greatly by implementing DirectX fully so now every modern game runs very well.

      There are also numerous usability features in Win2k especially that make it a compelling upgrade over Win95. Far less annoying, it doesn't steal focus away from your mouse at inopertune times. The quicklaunch bar is good, as is the more consistent ability to manage icons in the start menu.

      Another feature of NT/Win2k over Win9x is that they are faster. Part of this is because the shell is multi-threaded. On Win9x when you start a program up, as it's loading and doing it's thing, you are locked out of doing anything else. For someone going from WinNT/2k back to Win95 it is readily apparent and frustrating.

      As far as Windows XP, the most compelling feature of this will be the final elimination of Win9x from the support channel. You spoke of incompatibilities, and now you will see none. A vendor can write one set of drivers which will work on either Home or Professional editions.

      There are usability changes in WinXP as well. I haven't decided if I like them all yet, but I certainly find many of them to be solid improvements.

      Yes, it's true that WinXP is a evolutionary upgrade from Win2k. But if you are coming from Win95, I shudder to think why you wouldn't at least upgrade to Win2k.
    • If it means I can lock my folks out of installing all those "501 shareware games", hork with drivers, and otherwise lock the machine down so they can NOT fiddle with it, I'm in.

      I like the idea of not giving my Mom or Dad Admin rights to a box, which was real hard to do with the Win9x versions. Win2K, much easier, but they balked at purchasing a "business OS" for home. This time, it has the right amount of sugar coating.... fluffy "home" version, still runs Office, and I'll never have to remove icons from the control pannel after my dad blasted an app rather than uninstalling it. The days of keeping a backup of my folk's registery settings is almost over!

  • by roxytheman (463262) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @01:31PM (#2245659) Homepage
    If this software is good, then buy it, use it and enjoy it! Then again, if it is just a piece of crap, don't buy it, use it -or enjoy it! It is up to you! Boycotting a great piece of software just because it is made by M$ is wrong I think. I have never tried XP, and propably never going to buy it, but if it is good, people should have the right to use it, and maybe we can learn from it and improve out favourite penguin or devil-OSes ...
    • by King_TJ (85913) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @02:31PM (#2245844) Journal
      I'd agree, except I guess the only problem is the people who aren't really aware of what they're getting into until after they buy a copy of XP and install it.

      Despite all the marketing information and even a few screen shots I looked at online, I had no idea what the XP overall "feel" would be until I installed a release-candidate 30-day trial for myself. The average user doesn't wipe their hard drive and install 30-day trials of operating systems, just to decide if they should buy it or not.

      (For the record, I wiped XP off my drive after giving it about 5 days. My wife refused to use it, saying it looked too "cartoon-like" and was noticeably slower launching several programs she commonly uses. I could deal with the new appearance of things, but I really disliked all the attempts to coerce me into using MS products for everything. It installed MSN messenger by default, and each "mouse-over" to the shortcut in the system tray reminded me to click to sign up and activate it. Then, they kept bugging me to go to their web site and sign up for a Passport account, to use their .net functionality. Uh, no thanks.)
    • A boycott doesn't stop anyone who doesn't want to participate from buying it.

      Second, not buying stuff from MS on general principal is perfectly valid, would you buy products from a company owned by Nazi's (or any other evil organization of your choice)? I'm not comparing MS to Nazis, I'm simply demonstrating that maybe there are products you might not want to buy on general principal. Seems a valid reason to me...

      disclaimer: "brain missing" isn't supposed to be an insult, I'm just kidding ; )

  • For that price... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by john@iastate.edu (113202) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @01:33PM (#2245662) Homepage
    ...they ought to bundle a free computer!

    Seriously, are we approaching the day that windows will cost more than the computer it runs on for most people?


    • The private buyer pays a far, far higher price for Microsoft products than do large manufacturers.

      Microsoft's major buyers are large manufacturers. Microsoft does what they want, which is make slower systems that require more powerful hardware.

      Note that Microsoft no longer gives a full CD with every computer. You get only a recovery CD. If you use it, you must re-install all your applications.
    • Seriously, are we approaching the day that windows will cost more than the computer it runs on for most people?

      Brand new current model imac - $AU 1800
      MS Office:Mac - $AU 950

      Its nearly already the case with MS Office.
  • "To abstain from or act together in abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with as an
    expression of protest or disfavor or as a means of coercion."[dictionary.com] [dictionary.com]

    "An expression of disfavor"? Okay, it might be a stress release, but unlikely to accomplish much.

    Or fighting coercion with coercion? Lame and hypocritcal. (The ability to coerce is one of qualities people dislike in a monopoly.)
  • Windows 2000 Professional, boxed product, is $249 at Amazon.com. As a pre-install, Windows 2000 Pro adds $99 to a Dell computer over Windows 98. XP at $299 is not a winner. The OEM deal has to be a lot better than this, or nobody will buy.
  • Back up now (Score:4, Funny)

    by Publicus (415536) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @01:35PM (#2245681) Homepage

    Hey, I'm an editor at boycottxp.com, we got hit hard there but we're back up now and we should stay that way. It might be a little slow at first but keep checking back as the traffic levels off. We're excited to hear what you have to say.

  • I'd love to see (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dark Paladin (116525) <jhummel@johnhumm ... t minus caffeine> on Sunday September 02, 2001 @01:36PM (#2245687) Homepage
    A version of Windows XP (because the only reason I still use Windows is for my ATI-TV card, and to review computer games) that only has these features:

    1. Basic OS/Gui.
    2. Directx 8

    That's it. I don't want a media player, a browser, or all of the other stuff. If they had this out, I'd pay $30 for it, and be perfectly happy. If I wanted the other pieces (browser, chat module, blah, blah, blah), I could choose whether to buy them from MS, or go and use something else (so an extra $15 for MS Explorer, or I could put Mozilla on the box).

    Now everybody wins. MS is happy because it gets $30 from me (and the potential of more money if I choose to pay $99/$199 if I want all the bells an whistles), the DOJ is happy (because it makes a truly level playing frield, since other companies can compete with the other add-ons (at least in theory)), and I'm happy because I can review my games.

    Of course, I could be wrong.
    • Depending on what TV card you have you should be able to get it working with the BTTV driver or GATOS. I absolutely despise the drivers and program that come with ATI's TV cards. Often, for no apparent reason, the program would refuse to acknowledge the existence of the TV in. The composite video in would work and I would get a nice blue screen from that, but no actual TV until I rebooted and tried again.
    • Re:I'd love to see (Score:5, Insightful)

      by evilquaker (35963) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @02:32PM (#2245849)
      Now everybody wins. MS is happy because it gets $30 from me

      No, Microsoft is not happy, which is why you haven't and you never will see such a version of Windows. They aren't happy for (at least) two reasons:

      1. You're going to buy Windows anyway... why should they sell you what you want for $30 when they can sell you that + a bunch of crap you don't want for $200?
      2. Why should they give away a chance to get their software on your PC? Every PC that ships with media player is another PC they can claim is part of their "installed base". This they can then use to get companies to stream in their format, as opposed to Real Audio/Video.
      So keep dreaming... such a thing will never happen.

      • Well but Microsoft could count you in their userbase once for each component you buy. Imagine the marketing spin they could get then:

        "We have over 1 billion users of Microsoft products in the USA alone!"

      • Re:I'd love to see (Score:2, Insightful)

        by darkwhite (139802)
        This they can then use to get companies to stream in their format, as opposed to Real Audio/Video.

        Even though you are right, I have to say that even though WMP8 is an ugly piece of shit, RealPlayer is much, much uglier, more unstable, and it installs spyware and other crap to boot. I would prefer Quicktime to WMP and WMP to Real, however what I would really like to see is a single player for all formats that's small and fast, like Winamp... of course that will never happen since all those video formats are proprietary.
  • Does anyone know about the "transparent encryption" that they talk about in the professional edition?

    I realize it's not likely to be really strong, but if it's decent (and not critically flawed in implementation), it might be an incentive for me to upgrade eventually. I've never seen a good encryption scheme for Win that wasn't a major hassle. If you know of one I'd like to hear of that too.

    I can't escape Windows because I write software for it occasionally, and need the ability to work with Word/Excel/Access file types.

    I heard somewhere (but have no idea if its true) that the encryption requires a different file system be implemented (NTFS vs FAT32, IIRC). How would this affect an upgrade?
    • From what I understand, what transparent encryption does is when you save documents to the "My Documents" folder, Windows XP will encrypt the files so that other user accounts cannot access those files.
    • You don't need XP for encryption, it's a basic feature of windows NTFS implementations out of the box. They may have made it more transparent or something in XP, but you can encrypt files/folders/drives in 2k without the additional overhead of XP.

      I've got one box I've been running XP on for the past few weeks and can only say I'm pretty unimpressed. Win2k blew me away the first time I used it, and it's a great desktop system, but XP is trying to be WAAAY too many things to WAAAY too many people. If you want a wizard to tell you how to wipe your butt, buy XP, otherwise Win2k is the perfect level of maturity, driver availability, stability, etc...
    • 128-bit hashed local file and directory encryption. "transparent" because its based on the user's access token that they receive when logging onto their PC. In other words, if you log on as a certain user, and encrypt a file, then you will be able to access that file at any time as long as you are logged on as that user. Log on as a different user, and try to access the encrypted file, and you'll be denied access.

      The mechanism for encrypting files is simply a checkbox in an "advanced" menu. Only 2 button clicks deep, but far enough out of the way that most people won't accidentally enable encryption. Also, you can't encrypt files that have been compressed natively... Of course, the work around is that you use winzip or pkzip or winrar to compress your files, then encrypt them with the built-in encryption.

      This is only local encryption! If you want encryption over a network, you've still got to use IPSec, Kerberos, VPN, etc.

      All of these features are available in Windows 2000 and XP. In fact, just about every worth-while feature in XP is also found in 2000. Oh yah, you get to use WPA in XP! Another reason to upgrade to 2000 instead of XP if you're going to use Windows.
      • Good to point out that the XP encryption, of course, is only local to the box and doesn't provide any type of network-based encryption without using some other suitable protocol.

        However, I'm curious how XP's encryption works in a file server environment, where multiple users or applications are shuffling bits on and off the disk using SMB or NFS, for example. It might be very useful.

        There have been far too many cases of data hijacking these days and I suppose it would be advantageous to have a central file or database server encrypt data on disk, regardless of whether the client is a user or an application. There is an overall lack of regard for storing data in an encrypted format today, even though this is the place where the bits will live the longest (as opposed to the network, per say).


    • Not totally transparent, since you have to "mount" the drives (actual partitions or just a virtual drive saved in a file), but E4M [e4m.net] is a wonderful (free, OS) encryption scheme that works across all windows versions (although win98 has a shutdown bug).


      Price is right, and it works fine for me. Although NTFS has a built-in encryption on its filesystem that is truly transparent, but since I can't see the code behind it, I don't trust it.

  • People need to also talk this up on Talk shows:

    Well, mr. talk show host, I was talking to a friend who was testing this new version of Windows, and boy is it a dog"

    [insert reasons that the talk show host can agree with]

    just enough to poison the well. simple reasons for regular folks, like the whole Passport fiasco.

    heck telling them the plain truth about the copy protection stuff and registration stuff will do the job.

    now mind you, I would never do something like this, but you can't even make a copy for your kids machine, or for your wife. You got to buy a whole nother copy! I paid my money. I should be able to do what I want with it!

    That should be good enough to do the job.

    - - -
    Radio Free Nation [radiofreenation.com]
    an alternate news site based on Slash Code
    "If You have a Story, We have a Soap Box"

  • I guess I'm already boycotting Windows XP, all other versions of Windows, as well as OS/2, GNU/Hurd, NetBSD, Solaris, AtheOS and whatever else is not installed on my computer.

    Boycott makes sense if I would buy something but I don't in order to "punish" the manufacturer. How many slashdotters would buy Windows XP if not this boycott?

    • Re:Already! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Flavius Stilicho (220508) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @03:35PM (#2246021)
      "How many slashdotters would buy Windows XP if not this boycott?"

      I would. I decide what our corporate technology standards are, what products are purchased and what OS is installed on our 150+ PCs. Currently, that standard is Windows 2000 Professional and Server so I am in a prime position to upgrade to XP. However....

      About a month or so ago, a rep from Microsoft called me to give me the pitch for XP and how it would make 'everything so much better.' I actually had a great deal of fun with that call. Essentially, I told him that I had absolutely no intention of going to any XP product anytime soon. He courteously informed me that if I didn't it would cost us way more when we finally upgraded. I responded by saying that 'anytime soon' was just my nice way of saying that I'd never goto XP. He balked at that one and asked why. I told him that, frankly, I didn't care one bit for MS's licensing practices, the quality (or lack thereof) of their products, the inherent insecurity of their products and a few others that I can't remember. When he asked what our intentions were, I told him that we would stay with the 2000 line for a couple years. After that we would begin evaluating alternative operating systems and applications -- primarily Linux. I then told him that our core application was a client server model that already had a web based front end and could easily be ported to Apache & Oracle or MySQL. As for Office and messaging applications, I told him that there were many solid alternatives to Exchange already on the market and StarOffice would work just fine for our Office Suite needs. At that point he said "Oh. Thank you for your time." and hung up.

      I decided to start boycotting Microsoft products a while ago -- when the details about the new licensing scheme were released. I know that 150 PC and 20 servers isn't much to MS, but it's aleast a half million dollars when it's all said and done. Had it not been for the licensing changes, I probably would have upgraded.
  • WindowsXP Vs. Linux Mandrake: Some Aesthetic Observations is the title of this excellent article [systemlogic.net] that I recommand to read.
  • Aside from the urge to boycott microsoft completely...
    I'm quite happy with win2k as my MS platform. It's the best thing they've produced so far, and after hearing about some of the sugar-coating in XP, sounds like it still is.

    Like I'm gonna switch (of course, they'll make their licensing prohibitively harsher... but we'll move to sunrays next)
  • I don't know much about XP and think that you'd be nuts to head to the store on October 25th and install this thing on your PC (as with any other MS OS in the past).

    I finally installed Windows 2000 on my work PC and was - for the first time in the history of Windows - actually impressed with its performance and stability. For the first time ever, I wasn't rebooting my PC five times a day (which is a frustrating contrast to some of my Linux boxes that are approaching 1 year of uptime). I was so impressed with 2000's stability, that I installed it on my home PC and my girlfriend's laptop, which was experiencing the good old Win98 10-a-day reboot exercise.

    So this article got me wondering if there was anything that XP would offer me in the future that just might coerce me to upgrade in the next year or so. So I found a link on MS's site that let me "Check my upgrade options" [microsoft.com]. I was shocked to see that the only upgrade path from Win 2000 is to the XP Professional Edition, which costs $100 more than the Home Edition.

    Why is this the case? Isn't XP Professional is nothing more than the XP Home Edition with a few more add-ons? Anyone have any insight as to why MS restricts you from upgrading 2000 to XP Home Edition?

    My money is on the fact that they figure only business and power users are using Windows 2000, so they just want to rape people for the extra $100. Upgrading my three Windows 2000 PCs to XP would cost me $600.

    It'll be a cold day in hell before I shell out another $600 to MS.

    • >I was shocked to see that the only upgrade path from Win 2000 is to the XP Professional Edition, which costs $100 more than the Home Edition.

      Does anybody know the history of DOS/Windows pricing?

      It seems hardware competition is fierce; greater functionality and lower prices to the point of putting memory manufacturers out of business.

      I'd like to see a comparison between PC hardware and MS OS prices.

      Does anybody know a link to this info?

  • by themaddone (180841) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @02:15PM (#2245800)
    The problem, as it always has been, is that people can't use Linux.

    Hell, ask anyone... Using Linux probably has never been easier. I, for the first time, installed Red Hat 7.1 a few weeks ago... Until then, I had been a diehard Windows user... Not because I wanted to be, mind you, but because I didn't think I could use Linux, or that it could replace my desktop.

    So I yanked out my Windows HD, put in a clean one, and installed Red Hat. Hell, it astonishingly simple. The biggest problem I had was KDE or Gnome? But then I started using it...

    I'm not a completely naive Windows user... I mean, I read Slashdot, right? But when you have to spend 75% of your time reading websites and manuals and going back and forth to websites and trying to figure out the terminal, and... Well, it's frustrating. Too frustrating.WindowsXP makes things easier for the average, not so bright computer user. People won't have to upgrade, they'll buy new PCs with XP already on it. And they won't even bother to ask "Can I get Red Hat, or Mandrake, or Slackware on that?" And the reason is simple. Despite the fact the MS is a monopolistic megolith, along with groupls like the MPAA and the RIAA and others who eat away at people's freedoms (to choose, to speak, whatever), they (WE!) will tolerate it because there isn't a better choice. And until someone designs a new operating system, one that can run Windows programs, and offers the ease of use that Windows does, you'll never have a real alternative to Windows.

    I'm an economist(-in-training). I know that competition drives prices down, and forces product quality up. But if someone doesn't come along and design an alternative, all we'll ever get to do is sit here, bitch about it on Slashdot, and feel sorry for people that don't know the difference.

    I'm going to keep using Red Hat. Not full time, not even half time. But I'm going to try to learn to be proficient on something that isn't Windows, so I don't have to use Windows. But in the end, it's just a hobby, and I'll keep coming back to /dev/hda1, where I keep Windows.

    -Josh

    • I'd be interested in knowing where you're still having problems - we're all so used to using Linux that we can't see it through the eyes of a beginner (and so don't know which parts need to be changed to make it possible for everyone to convert).
      • What should have been done, in the heady days of overpriced stocks, is usability testing. RedHat, Corel, one of them should have started taking schwoobs off the street, and getting them to use linux and comment on the interface, as well as video taping *how* they use it.

        The only way it will get on the desktop is a better interface - just as good is not enough for people to go through the hassle of learning.

        I use Win2K. I haver played with Linux, but all my clients use win32, so that's what I develop to. I wish I could move enough to Linux to move to an alternative (and the authorization thing in winXP makes me run it down every chance I get). However, they won't, and if I don't supply win32 apps to them, I don't eat.

        Some of you developers out there that are better than me (and there are lots, and many, many more worse than me), build the desktop that will bring them in. Not just a pretty desktop, but you need *compelling* money saving (making?) features that will make businesses move. Instant messaging - awesome business tool. Some kind of video conferencing - awesome tool. Icons that pop out (a la osX) - eye candy but useless. Bunches of rabid supporters that cannot conceive of somebody using an alternative without launching a personal attack - worse than useless. All the linux users out there have to remember that *they* are the alternative users.

        Last bit is a rant - I have been flamed mightly for using Windows. But it is my fucking job, and I hate when people think I should give up work, let my family starve, etc, so I can go to the One True Operating System. (Hey, let's rename Linux OT/OS - heh)

        DB
        • It's not too late. Have you seen the GNOME usability report from Sun? http://developer.gnome.org/projects/gup/ut1_report /report_main.html [gnome.org].
        • "I should give up work, let my family starve,"

          If the only means you have to keep your family from starving is to write windows apps then by all means go ahead. I guess I am one of those lucky people who can do more then one thing. I know many languages, know many operating systems, and know quite a bit about networking (a bit about project mangement too). I can pick and choose what I want to do. Thanks for remind me that there are a lot of people in this world who are basically one trick ponies. I will try to make that fact a competitive advantage in the future.

          You better hope MS survives the next round of legal wrangling intact and also survives the sates and the european union inquiry too. It seems like you have put all your eggs in this basket. Good luck to you.
    • So what if the normal user can't use Linux, they can't use Windows either. Face it, Redhat 7.1 is much less trouble to install than Windows, fact is that the Average user doesn't understand Windows either, so Why rant about why they don't understand windows also? When the pc manufacturers come to an agreement to not ship windows anymore, we will be rid of that problem. Here's why.

      IBM, Compaq, and HP have reasons to dislike Microsoft, they make up probably nearly half of the manufactured computers, throw in companies like gateway, who would do it just to make an extra $100 (windows is expencive), and you leave people having to get a specialist to install windows for them, or have one custom built! Linux could work on the desktop through that route, or by apealing to the gamers (convince id software to no longer support windows). Of course other game companies would follow.

      Why would that help? think about windows 3.1 vs dos... 3.1 had better office stuff, better internet capability, and it was easier to use. Yet, Dos was still the major setup, until windows 95 came along, and supported games, well. Which is still the only thing that windows9x/me does better than anyone else.
    • Buy a freaking Imac. That's what I'm going to make my parents buy next time they buy a computer. Apple's got that hold your hand shit the average user loves so much down to a science. Buy hardware, plug it in, have it work. You're not paying significantly more for the box anymore, so why punish yourself?
    • by pjrc (134994)
      The problem ... is that people can't use Linux.

      I see this same statement all the time, and while I generally agree with it, just yesterday it finally occured to me why I find it so bothersome. That reason is simply:

      They can't really use Microsoft Windows either.

      These masses of "average joe" users who will never be able to use linux really don't know how to use windows either. Almost everything about the computer is "too hard" for them... except playing a couple simple games, reading email and surfing the web, and sometimes struggling through a word processor.

      In all of these cases where the "can" use windows, they are blissfully unaware of 95% of the features that the software offers them. They save their files whereever the "save as" dialog defaults, and later if someone asks them to copy the file onto a floppy, they have no idea how to do it or even where they put the file on their drive. These are the masses that constantly need someone to "fix the computer". I could go on and on (but not today).

      The point is that saying "linux is too hard" is usually meant to imply that "but windows is easy". The sad truth is that the vast majority of the population can't really use ANY operating system, linux, windows, macos, Be, whatever. Of course, the vast majority of the driving population can't change their car's oil or probably even a tire, and they can't program their on-screen controls VCR, etc, etc.

      Sure, windows is probably overall a bit easier, largely because of automated install programs and more commercial software (that has a lot of work put into reducing costly tech support queried).

      For these mainstream novice users, the system they've invested hundreds of hours not really using in any signifcant way, but stumbling and strugging through to get the minimal "productivity" they manage is going to be easier than anything that is a change, not matter how much a change for the better it may happen to be.

      Well, that's enough ranting for now. There's already hundreds of messages, so it's highly unlikely many people will read this... but I feel a bit better finally coming to terms why "people can't use linux" bothers me, when I generally agree with the statement.

    • But when you have to spend 75% of your time reading websites and manuals and going back and forth to websites and trying to figure out the terminal, and... Well, it's frustrating. Too frustrating.WindowsXP makes things easier for the average, not so bright computer user.

      You spent years getting familiar with Windows. You can't expect to pick up Linux in a day. This says nothing about the relative quality or utility of the different OSes.

      In fact, learning Linux probably is initially harder than learning Windows. On the other hand, learning Linux is probably a more valuable skill: you learn to use software that doesn't change every year. And once you understand the command line tools and scripting, you can do really amazing things very quickly.

      The biggest problem I had was KDE or Gnome? But then I started using it...

      I think the answer is: it doesn't matter. Learn to use LaTeX, Emacs, xterm, and the standard POSIX tools. Learn Python or Perl. And if you are an "economist in training", learn R (for data analysis).

  • 2600 (Score:2, Funny)

    by CrimsonHat (245444)
    Did anybody else find it funny that the final build number on Windows XP was 2600? Do you think the programmers there wanted to be cool and go along with the "hacker" ideal of 2600 magazine? When our group got the latest build, I started laughing my ass off, but nobody in the group got it.

    I'm not really in a position to boycott it since I have to write software for it. From what I've seen it's not too bad, and has some new features that W2k didn't have. Overall, I'm probably going to stick with W2k on my desktop for quite a while still.

    One other fairly positive thing that I have to say about MS is their support for developers. Mac came out with OS X and then tried to give support to developers. Just try and find drivers for OS X and it's already been out for months! MS lets developers know a couple of years ahead of time that they are going to have a new OS come out. They give developers a bunch of Betas to work with, a bunch of release candidates, so that by the time they have the OS released, there actually are a good amount of drivers released for the OS. Apple released an OS which was basically a beta that people had to pay money for, and then didn't really give driver developers good support. Sure Windows XP isn't going to support every piece of hardware ever made, but I bet when it's finally released it will support a lot more than OS X does.

  • by canadian_right (410687) <alexander.russell@telus.net> on Sunday September 02, 2001 @03:39PM (#2246034) Homepage
    Windows XP has built in support for many new 'copyright protection' features. Why buy an OS that ASSUMES you are a software pirate?

    SAP - Secure Audio Path, adds static to music if not 'authenticated.
    WPA - Windows Product Activation - can deativate software if it thinks its running on the 'wrong' computer.
    No Java, MS takes its toys home
    Built in support for Passport - let the spam begin.
    Before the Hard-drive manufactures came to their senses it was rumoured that XP would fully support the 'copyright' protection scheme IBM thought up for HDs. Anyone have info?

    For more info see these fun loving fanatics:
    XP and Privacy/Copyright [rajivshah.com]

  • Windows XP FAQ (Score:3, Informative)

    by Strangely Unbiased (313686) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @03:42PM (#2246039) Homepage
    From someone who's running XP RC2:

    - If you have a legal copy, WPA is no problem. You just click 'Next' , then 'Finish'.Done. And Microsoft can't use your PC spec info; it's a one-way hash code.(BTW, it's been cracked.)

    - It's not bloated: It runs perfectly fine on my p250 128MB, with visual styles enabled. All the patronising features (simple file sharing and that puppy on the search bar) can be easily disabled.)

    - It's stable.Mostly.

    - It's got a pretty nice stealth firewall (grc.com's ShieldsUP says so, anyway.). And the built-in cd-writing's convenient too.

    - It DOES run every one as administrator by default, for Win9x legacy reasons. Not hard to change that, but the default 'Limited User' profile has problems with older apps and games. The trick is to put the users in the predefined 'Power Users' group.

    - It's still Windows. If you hate Windows, it probably won't change your mind, but nevertheless it's the best Windows to work with.

    It's got lots of other features too, so if you have a question before you consider upgrading, I'm here for you(so nice of me isn't it)
  • by mikethegeek (257172) <blair.NOwcmifm@comSPAM> on Sunday September 02, 2001 @04:02PM (#2246071) Homepage
    XP will be the doom of Microsoft. One day in the future, XP will be studied along with the Apple III, IBM Micro Channel Architecture, and Intel/Rambus as an example of corporate arrogance trumping common sense with DISATEROUS results.

    As one /. poster has put it (brilliantly, I might add), that with XP, Microsoft has done to itself what the DOJ never could have done: Release a product that will ENABLE competition, and possibly ruin the company.

    XP is the product of the two biggest sins a corporation can commit: arrogance and contempt. It's arrogant in that it's overpriced, offers NOTHING new over WIndows 2000, and in fact, takes away from it.

    The "Home" version strips you of network capability, unlike 98/95/ME/2000, it CANNOT be used as a client on anything but a peer-to-peer network. It won't allow you to log into a NT domain. I haven't tested it to see if Novell Client 32 will allow logins to a Netware server, but I'd suspect that it's broken as well. It has no support for SMP at all (though 9X didn't either), to get SMP requires the $200 "Professional" version upgrade. None of this is because XP can't do SMP or serve as a network client, it's because MS chose to deliberately CRIPPLE it, and yet sell it for a radically increased price over ME/98.

    The Home version upgrade is 100% more expensive than ME! (ME could be had for $50 to upgrade from 98). For what benefit? None that I can tell. Sure, you are likely to gain some of 2000's stability, but you will surely lose game compatibility (which is why the deplorable Win `9X is still the gamers OS). Is that worth $100? Not to me. And I'd bet not to many joe blows.

    MS comits the sin of contempt with Product Activation, and it's spyware nature. XP "decides" how far to let you upgrade your hardware before requiring reactication. Which can lose you your data if there is but the SLIGHTEST glitch in this process. MS is better known for creating "unintended consequences" in it's "features" than it is in writing bug-free code. XP constantly monitors your hardware configuration,assigning it a "checksum" number via some formula, and if it gets too far from the "checksum" number originally generated when you installed it, it will CEASE to function.

    I hope they have those support lines well staffed.

    That's right, now on a XP system, the system owner does NOT have root access to the machine! This is something no MS OS has attempted to do before.

    Even if XP didn't have the fatal flaws of arrogance and contempt, the fact that it's a 100%-200% increase in price over 9X alone would be enough to doom it. In this time of economic crisis, particularly in the tech sector, a 100+% increase in the "MS Tax" will do nothing but slow sales, ESPECIALLY when you expect MS to make licenses of ME, 98, and 2000 scarce quickly.

    The "window" of opportunity for Linux is open.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The licensing on XP is tied to the system's BIOS. Upgrade your CD-ROM...no reactivation required. For most home users, who don't even know what a BIOS is, they will likely never need to re-register XP.

      Most of the new hardware requirements are due to the new GUI, don't like it? It can easily be switched back to "classic" mode from the start panel. Thus XP will require similar hardware requirements as Win2k.

      And as for the Home edition connectivity issues, Client for Netware is not included on the home edtion, but Client services for MS networks is. Beta versions of XP Home DO allow you to access resouces on a domain, just as 9.x clients. But they can't "join" the domain like win2k or XP pro clients...meaning no Group Policy, etc.

      They had to give big business a reason to spend $ for the Pro version.
    • Not that I am the MS XP lover, but a few points I must disagree on.


      XP is the product of the two biggest sins a corporation can commit: arrogance and contempt. It's arrogant in that it's overpriced, offers NOTHING new over WIndows 2000, and in fact, takes away from it.


      Hmm... Bold statement. Do you have anything other than blind rage to back that up?


      The Home version upgrade is 100% more expensive than ME! (ME could be had for $50 to upgrade from 98). For what benefit? None that I can tell. Sure, you are likely to gain some of 2000's stability, but you will surely lose game compatibility (which is why the deplorable Win `9X is still the gamers OS). Is that worth $100? Not to me. And I'd bet not to many joe blows.


      Hmm.... Isn't stability a pretty big thing for the home user? ;-) Lets face it, thats what drove a lot of people from windows to linux in the early days.. Quite frankly, the world will be a much better place with Windows running w/out crashes. 9x->ME was a joke, thats why it was a complete flop. MS admited that the sales where disapointing.. who won in the end? The consumer.. they made a choice not to buy it. I made a choice to buy Windows 2000 at home for my gaming/family computer because it's compatible with all the games I enjoy and it's VERY stable.
      As to what I have heard on the street, XP is has had almost flawless backward compatibility and various 'compatibility' switches to help you if you have compatibility problems.

      If XP sucks so bad, people won't buy it.. (ie. ME).. As for me, I am quite happy with Windows 2000. (I also have a dual processor PIII system) and won't be upgrading to XP .. but at least I have a choice.. even on the windows platform. I will probably be able to use my copy of Windows 2000 for the next 2-3 years without 'having' to upgrade either. For $200 thats not so unreasonable is it? I pay more than that in distributions (Mandrake) over 2 years. I wouldn't think of it as unfair. Your predictions are a bit agressive and in the end the consumer will win. There are alternatives and MS is facing huge competitors (IBM, Sony, Sun, Apple, HP, AOL/TW, etc). Someone would rise and offer a -real- alternative(s), if the situation became so hideous.

    • The worst bit is that people have to pay to call support
    • The "Home" ... CANNOT be used as a client on anything but a peer-to-peer network. It won't allow you to log into a NT domain...iIt has no support for SMP at all. MS chose to deliberately CRIPPLE it, and yet sell it for a radically increased price over ME/98.

      98 can't join a domain or do SMP either. Neither can its equivalent, XP home. Ho hum.

      The Home version upgrade is 100% more expensive than ME! For what benefit? None that I can tell.

      Well, asides from the stability, XP is specifically designed to be more legacy compatible than 2000 was. Oh, and multiple user GUI logins, and a nicer help and support, and Media Player 8, more readable text, and a newer, different version of Windows Explorer.

      As one /. poster has put it (brilliantly, I might add), that with XP, Microsoft has done to itself what the DOJ never could have done: Release a product that will ENABLE competition, and possibly ruin the company.

      hehe. Because MS allows you to uninstall all 300k of the Axtive X loading system known as IEXPLORE.EXE (and not the stacks of activex control it actually calls?). In case you haven't realized, Mozilla failed, spectacularly. Galeon's and Konq and Opera are usable on Linux, but Window users use IE because THEY PREFER IT.

      The Home version upgrade is 100% more expensive than ME! For what benefit? None that I can tell. Sure, you are likely to gain some of 2000's stability, but you will surely lose game compatibility (which is why the deplorable Win `9X is still the gamers OS). Is that worth $100?
      Not to me. And I'd bet not to many joe blows.


      I'd bet otherwise. In fact, I bet you ten US dollars, redeemable on 20030101, that XP is not widely viewed upon as the downfall of MS. Something else might be, but not XPs lack of quality.

      Unfortunately, many Linux users still don't get basic usability. Why do most Linux distributions sort their apsp by toolkit rather than function? When was the last time your parents on their Windows box asked for a MFC (as opposed to VCL or other) app...oh, and it can it be a web browser.

      Better yet, read the modem HOWTO for a laugh.

      Which can lose you your data if there is but the SLIGHTEST glitch in this proces

      That is false. You will not lose you your data. If you perform certain upgrades, you your os might require you yourself to call MS within a few days and reactivate you your OS. Most people don't perform such upgrades so frequently. Even techies don't, and when you do, its only a phone call.

      For the record, I use and adore Linux, and write books and articles that try and make things easier for people to do so. But I use Linux because its good and because I like Open Sourc,e not because of somerreligios anto MS zealotr, that prevents me from recognizing the good bits that are worth stealing. Oddly enough, I find Linux users that matter (i.e, not me) share the same view - the GNOME and KDE folk seem to be able to recognize that MS actually does some pretty good work, and works on taking elements of that into their various apps. In fact every major influential Linux person I've ever had the chance to meet - Alan Cox, Richard Gooch, John Hall, Marceij and George from Ximian, Raph Levine, etc. etc. has been a reasonable and clear headed person who can actually recognize that MS comes up with the odd good idea. Which is good - because we can copy them.

      And that redeems my faith in Linux after listening to the Slashdot trolls condemn everything MS does, including the things it will be important to emulate if Linux is to have any chance of world domination.
  • by Dr. Awktagon (233360) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @05:03PM (#2246223) Homepage
    Just for shits and giggles, here are some prices from a June 1990 Byte magazine (the one with a rave review of Windows 3.0):

    Windows 3.0 retail: $150

    Price of a Dell 386 with color monitor and 40mb hard drive, 512K, 16MHz, a midrange system for running Windows: $2,399

    Price of a 25MHz 486, a high-end system: $5,295

    No conclusions but I thought maybe somebody would find this interesting!
  • The Pinnacle (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BSDevil (301159)
    I'm a Windows user - the folks use the machine, I like games and Word, etc... for reasons - and I see no point in shelling out all this cash for XP. Even if my machine could support it (which it can't), I see nothing really groundbreakingly "new" or "special" in XP. For my money and computational power, Windows98 is the pinnacle of OSes that Microsoft has put out. The only reason I'm not saying 95 is because I like my USB. 95/98 wasn't that bad a Windows release; not too sugar-coated and it did what I needed it to do; nothing more, nothing less, and it allowed me to tweak as I pleased.
  • by foqn1bo (519064) on Sunday September 02, 2001 @06:20PM (#2246438)

    To be sure, whenever Slashdot has a story that involves M$ products, everyone gets hot and rustled with the age old "Why the hell do people still use Windows" thread. Primarily I see two arguments that surface:

    Windows has better/more software for my needs.

    (I would argue with 'better', but point taken).

    Windows is and will always be easier to use than Linux.

    I am sick and tired of hearing that excuse. And before you mod me down for being a snobbish troll, consider my reasoning first.

    Barring great paradigms such as Graphical vs. CL interfaces, I don't believe that there is such thing as a 'More intuitive than another' OS. Obviously Linux has got GUI covered. Face it people, you are good at what you know. The reason that windows users don't think that Linux is easy to learn is because it isn't Windows . When you have spent maybe 10 to 15 years using M$ operating systems, you have grown very used to the way things work there. eg., I want to know the filesize of this document, I rightclick, and select properties. Does anyone really think that a person who has never used a computer before (after learning what a mouse is and does) is going to think "Oh, I think I'll right click on that icon and select 'Properties!" ? Like C++, swimming and Italian cookery, using a particular operating system is a learned skill.

    Case in point? I hear that the Macintosh is supposed to be the end-all be-all of OS simplicity and intuitive design. *Yeah Right.* Just ask any windows/other user that is inexperienced with MacOS, and they'll tell you that it is a bloody nightmare. I work in IT at a University and I see this all the time--we have a small enclave of Mac users who are unbelievably frightened of PCs and our PC users are afraid to touch the Macs in fear that they'll cause the dreaded 'OsError' Bomb to come destroy the machine in spite. Not to mention the 'Boop of Death'. (True script involving my friend Renee at the library)

    Renee: Ok, I'll just click the...
    Mac: 'Boop'
    Renee: Ahh! Ok, how about...
    Mac: 'Boop'
    Renee: Aiee!! I'm trying to close you! Stop Booping!
    Mac: 'Boop Boop Boop'


    What I'm getting at (and there is a point I suppose), is that making any platform shift is shaky at first. Linux comes naturally for me now, but I spent a good long amount of time in confusion. If we want people to understand computers better and have the ability to make these kinds of migrations painlessly, then they need to be educated about the abstracts of how computers interact with humans, and not through a computer literacy course that deals strictly with an OS. Maybe then ./configure ./make ./make install won't be quite as terrifying.
  • Personally, I don't give a care weather Windows XP is a success or not, let's be honest here, how will this affect other operating systems? It's just a pretty GUI that you have to buy.. there isn't any massive improvements. Nothing to see here folks, move along now.

    What I'll be watching though, is the X-Box release. I'll be HELPING it become madly successful, and I hope all of you do the same. Go out, help out microsoft and BUY AN X-BOX! Why help the Other Side(tm)? Because if X-Box becomes the gaming platform of choice, above Windows, then there IS NO REASON TO USE WINDOWS ANYMORE. Yes, you've heard me right, why do any of us keep a spare windows partition? Yep, games. Windows XP won't affect me, weather I upgrade or not, but if X-Box becomes successful and everyone makes games for it, then i can finally fdisk my windows partition to hell, and so can the rest of you. I can finally convince all my friends to switch over to linux because they'll all be happily playing games on the X-Box.

    So Windows XP? What the hell, the masses like it or don't like it I don't give a crap, but with X-Box, you betcherass that I'll be watching closely and helping the MS X-Box movement along ^_^

I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader

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