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Column: Windows 7 vs. Max OS X

By: Uli Ries 09/09/21

I like Windows 7.

A public evidence of affection for a Microsoft Product? Wouldn't that be the same as if I were to walk around with an "I love David Hasselhoff" – T-shirt in the open and then go to a psychiatrist to certify my sanity?

Windows 7 Release Candidate 1

One thing first: Microsoft isn't paying me anything to herald my liking for Windows 7, the successor of the grand failure of Windows Vista. Aside from that I am sober and am not under the influence of any psychedelics whatsoever. I will also remain to be a committed Macbook-Pro and Mac OS X user further on, even if a justified withdrawal of Jesus Jo…,  sorry: Steve Jobs, due to illness will definitely harm the business and its products.

But just exactly these two keywords – Windows Vista and Mac OS X – induce me to make this rather positive comment about Windows 7. Because in view of what Microsoft has done to millions of PC users worldwide with Windows Vista, the heir releases the penal colony into a luxury vacation, in comparison. Windows 7 is fast, doesn't peeve as often with bizarre requests to allow modifications and, most importantly, it runs good on weaker netbooks as well as on virtual machines.

This leads us then to my Macbook Pro, as Windows 7 works here in a virtualbox. It wasn't even thinkable to work halfway smoothly with this constellation: Either Mac OS X lagged behind because the virtual machine (VM) devoured all the memory and messed around with hard disk without any obvious reason.  Or even Outlook – the weightiest reason to let Windows loose on the Macbook – simply wasn't useable on the VM if there weren't enough resources available. Unfortunately, at least for me, the new Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) hasn't changed anything about the dependency on Outlook. 10.6 applications, like mail and calendar, can finally interact with an Exchange server, but Snow Leopard hasn't yet become acquainted with Outlook functions for adults, like Unified Communications or IRM (Information Rights Management).

Sun | Virtualbox

Therefore, Windows 7 has to be used. And it cleans up the problems caused by Vista: The Redmond operating system feels right - starting with the quick and uncomplicated installation, to the absence of any driver troublemakers, up to a humble handling of the existing hardware resources – and that on my Samsung netbook just as well as on the somewhat older Thinkpad X60s or even on the VM on the Macbook Pro. Merely single special drivers or applications from the notebook manufacturers, like Lenovo's ThinkVantage tools, still cause problems if they aren't installed in the Vista compatibility mode – actually a peculiar irony if you consider how miserable the compatibility was to Vista in the beginning.

Certainly, Windows 7 is everything else but flawless and Microsoft will drive us mad with their monthly security updates till kingdom comes. That this is true is even expected from Scott Charney. And he has to know, as he is Microsoft's top security expert. Charney has told me that, in his opinion, operating systems will never be exempt of flaws and will therefore be security risks.

Anyway, the condition isn't as serious as it was a few years ago: As every bug had the potential for a worst case scenario under Windows XP – millions of worms, the meanest data theft, completely helpless users and IT administrators – the situation looks a lot better now because Windows 7 (and its rightly detested Windows Vista ancestor) makes it considerably more difficult for crackers to access the treasures of Windows users

Leading to an entirely different problem: Since Microsoft has renewed its security-related issues, cyber felons don't joke about any leaks in the operating system. Instead applications like Firefox, iTunes, Adobe Acrobat or Flash are prone to attacks – and that preferably under Windows and almost never under Mac. In this respect, I hope that Mac OS X will keep such low market shares for a long time to come in order to fly far beneath the radars of those evil, wicked crackers. One more reason to like Windows 7 and to wish it a wide as possible distribution: Apple has a good excuse to stay in the under-ten- percent-niche of the PC market.

Microsoft | Windows 7
Microsoft | Windows 7
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Uli Ries, 2009-09-29 (Update: 2012-05-26)