Will Windows 7 Put A Dent In Linux Growth?

Let's not pretend that a new version of Windows, even one getting great marks, will end an open source OS entirely. But could Windows 7 cut off Linux's potential growth in netbooks and other markets? That's what Robin Harris at ZDNet seems to think, and he's not alone in spreading the uncertainty. To summate why many pundits see the promising growth of Linux slowing:

  • Netbooks, especially the very cheap and small varieties, are seen as a huge growth area for the computer market, as wallets tighten and more computing life moves onto the internet.
  • Windows 7 has nearly the same, if not a little lower, system requirements than Vista, and seems to be ready for netbooks.
  • Linux was seeing some surprising popularity on netbooks (surprising for an OS with a normally single-digit share of the desktop market), which could be scuttled if Microsoft turns its marketing/market-pushing forces onto netbook makers.
  • The average consumer is far more familiar with Windows than Linux, and devices makers are far more likely to provide Windows drivers.

Again, as CrunchGear points out, the stories of Linux's death have been greatly exaggerated and re-told many times before, and the idea of a legion of open-source innovators just giving up their work's ideology and grabbing Windows Live subscriptions is a non-sequitur.

But we do have to wonder: Could a resurgent Windows keep Linux, at least for the time being, as a true hobbyist's desktop? If Linux did/does grow through the netbook market, would average consumers start caring a lot less about having a Microsoft-made machine? Tell us your take on Linux, netbooks, and that other OS you might have heard about in the comments. Photo by zieak.


    Sick to death of hearing about windows 7.
    All it is is a revamped vista with more bling.
    Recent speed tests show it's still slower than XP.
    Why is Lifehacker pushing windows 7 so hard ???
    microsoft is beating Linux for many reasons, in netbooks it's because microsoft is selling XP to OEM's for US$5.00

    I totally agree Brendan, LifeHacker is filled with Windows 7 crap lately. Whoopty-frickin'-do, Microsoft is about to shaft us again with another OS that most people think is awesome, ignoring the fact they have to restart every hour or so due to BSOD and assorted other errors, and the time they do get to use it it's slowed down to continental-drift speed when combining Windows' huge system requirements for crap-all features with the fact you need antivirus software and firewalls and spyware tools and various other patches and tweaks and support programs just to keep your important documents from either spontaneously combusting or being copied to hundreds of spammers and cracker's systems for their financial and/or extortion support (of which Microsoft is among these groups with their WGA spyware).

    Come on LifeHacker, Microsoft doesn't need your help saying how 'awesome' Windows 7 is. Billions of gullible people worldwide already do and will buy this SP2 of Vista without a second thought.

    Each to their own, but the bottom line is that the vast majority of Lifehacker readers are Windows users, and so getting the most out of WIndows (current and future versions) is always going to be a major focus. Also, while the beta of Windows 7 has plenty of faults, I haven't yet seen as BSOD on it.

    @Angus - I have. Bluescreen in win32k.sys, which from a quick Google appears fairly common.

    I, for one, am glad of all the Win7 Beta coverage on lifehacker. It hasnt seemed to come at the expense of Linux related posts or content, so even if this was a zero-sum wrestling match between the two I cant see anything worth complaining about. Also, Linux updates and revisions happen almost daily (its one of things i think we LOVE about Linux). When MS rolls out a new OS its kind of a big deal for better or worse.

    I am using Linux and Windows Vista on the same notebook.
    Linux is way easier and way better than Windows ever was.
    Than Vista was the best Microsoft product so far.

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