Shiny New Chrome on Old Windows?

So, using Firefox 3.0, I tried to install Google’s Chrome browser. I was told that I needed to install Windows XP Service Pack 2 first. I admit that I should have done this a while ago on this seldom-used desktop.

So, off I went to download SP2. I was told that, in order to download it, I would need to use Internet Explorer (or allow automatic updates). So off I went to Windows Update. But to use that site, I have to be using a current version of Internet Explorer. Yes, that does seem like a joke to me, but apparently Microsoft mean it.

So off I went to Internet Explorer Get It Now. You’re probably ahead of me here. IE7 and IE8beta each require… SP2.

I think I’ll wait to get my hands on the newish laptop downstairs before kicking the Chrome tires.

Good News for Microsoft About Windows

You didn’t misread the title, and April Fool’s day is indeed 13 days behind us. The good news for Microsoft is that it has some customers who are passionately attached to Windows, some eager for the new version, and, I think it’s safe to assume, some who fall into the intersection of the two sets.

One of my sources for this, and the place I saw the word passion used to describe attitude toward Windows, is an article by AP’s Jessica Mintz. She refers to the Save XP web petition organized by InfoWorld journalist Galen Gruman.

While XP arouses passion, Windows 7 arouses eagerness. This is because it is expected to address the criticism that Windows is too monolithic. Gartner Group’s recent version of this criticism gathered a lot of print and pixels. Matt Asay’s (perhaps partisan) pixels arranged themselves to suggest that Windows needs to become more like Linux in order to avoid such criticism.

So, let’s sum up (by the way, did you know that sum up comes from the Latin for over-simplify) about three generations of Windows. There’s the passion-inducing one (XP), the excessively-monolithic one (Vista), and the eagerly-awaited one (W7). If Microsoft listened to Meatloaf, they’d realize that two out of three ain’t bad. Trying to force Vista down throats that lack the need or hardware capacity for it, on the other hand, could turn out very badly.

Linux on the Laptop

There’s an excellent article by Glyn Moody in Thursday’s Guardian. It’s about the ASUS Eee PC (which I want still, by the way), its likely effect on Microsoft, and lots of good points between.

The size of a paperback, weighing less than a kilogram, with built-in Wi-Fi and using Flash memory instead of a hard drive for storage, the Eee PC has been winning positive comments… it’s so small, the build quality is high, it boots up quickly, it just works… One thing that is almost never mentioned as a problem is the fact that the Eee PC is running not Windows, but a variant of GNU/Linux…

One of the signal achievements of the Asus Eee PC is that it has come up with a front end that hides the richness of the underlying GNU/Linux.

GNU/Linux has always been less successful on the desktop than on the server side. Now we see that it can work on the laptop, and not just for geeks. It requires less memory and storage than Windows, and much less than Vista. This is particularly important for the Eee PC, which uses flash memory.

More generally, solid state drives are a better fit for battery-powered devices than are disk drives, with their fragile and power-hungry moving parts. And solid state prices are falling quickly…

In fact, the article bears the rather lame title “Why falling Flash prices threaten Microsoft.” In my unbiased opinion, any of the following would have been a better title.

  • Hasta la Vista, Windows: Linux Eats Your Laptop Lunch
  • Linux Leaps to Laptop, Deferring Desktop Dominance
  • Linux on the Laptop