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Windows 7: The Linux Killer? Pfffft! No chance!

Notice: This post is more than a year old. It may be outdated.

Tech bloggers have been heralding Windows 7 as the end of a resurgent Linux. Very OTT, in my opinion.

A lot of the praise for Windows 7 is deserved as it is, in it’s beta form, a robust, resourceful and UI-intuitive step up from Windows Vista.

The new taskbar, jumplists, aeropeek and much more have helped bring a freshness and revitalisation to what was Microsoft’s stagnating ‘Windows’ brand – these being the first major UI changes since Windows 95 (taskbar) and Windows XP (General).

One has to be aware, however, that a lot of what “looks good” and is ‘right’ in Windows 7 is because Windows Vista got it wrong.

People are stoked at how snappy Windows 7 feels – this is just a careful tweaking of Vista, as Windows 7 IS Vista just with a new name, some tweaks and a few new features. Think of Windows 7 as Vista SP2 rather than a entirely new OS and that way you’ll find you’re more likely to coo “Great! That works now!” or “It’s about time we had this feature.”


I really like Windows 7 and would be lying if i said that i didn’t prefer it to Windows Vista. (Even though i never had much issue with Windows Vista.)

Windows Vist-Rrrrrrawrr!

It’s when the hacks and bloggers start touting Windows 7 it as the ‘Linux Killer’ that i can’t help but roll my eyes and let ‘Ubuntu’ boot as default from my GRUB menu.

Firstly, Microsoft should be more worried about Mac OS X which is constantly and consistently gaining more and more market share, currently sitting just shy of a full 10% of all computers.

Linux, meanwhile, currently has a market share of around 2%.

Windows (all) = 80% (approx)

Linux = 2% (approx)

OS X = 10% (approx)

(As to not under sell Linux, it’s market share increased almost 62% from 2007 – 2008, jumping from 1.25% to 2.02% in just nine months alone.)

Secondly, anyone currently using Linux is, probably, quite happy using Linux. In most cases these users haven’t been ‘persuaded’ by Linux (which has no marketing or advertising bar it’s community) but rather have switched to Linux due to problem with Windows be they Security, Bloat, Price, DRM…

OS X Newbies have likely switched for a simpler, less resource hungry OS that helps and not hinders them; for a more secure online experience free of Viruses and Trojans and Worms and Spyware and Malware…

Windows 7 is not a Linux killer for several reasons: –

  • It offers nothing new (bar some aero effects) that isn’t already available in Linux.
  • Aside from the ‘Microsoft’ environment providing compatibility for proprietary Applications, hardware and games, most Linux users are comfortable in their Linux environment.
  • Linux provides an unparalleled level of security to it’s users. There are no viruses, trojans etc to have to worry about. There’s no need for some bloated anti-Virus application to constantly be chugging away in the background.

Why Linux will prosper regardless of Windows 7

Paddling With Linux

Linux ‘splashtops’ – or Instant On OS’es – will become an far more prominent feature of new computers. These mini-Linux OS’s provide all the ‘vital functions’ of an OS but within seconds of pressing your computer’s power button.

Splashtop OS’s aren’t designed to replace full desktop environments, but rather provide instant access to e-mail, internet, skype, Instant Messaging, Music and Video.

Why bother waiting over 30 seconds for a full OS to boot just to check an e-mail?

Linux splashtops are being included on most new Motherboards so will see a Linux market penetration like non-before.

Netbooks: Battle On!

Whilst Windows 7 has been optimized to run on netbooks, Linux, including a possible Android Netbook variant, will continue to ship on Netbooks. With Ubuntu netbook remix and the Ubuntu Mobile Edition leading the way, we’ll start to see Linux mature in areas such as Touch, unified applications and interface (already work done on this in the next Ubuntu release with the notification framework).

Windows 7 will like XP probably prove to the more popular netbook OS choice for most people. However, those who want cutting edge, flexibility or maximum performance will go with Linux.

With Canonical’s Ubuntu having almost reached sustainability, the impetus of the Linux community will grow and continue to refine and promote their OS.

‘Word of Mouth’ they say is the best form of advertising…