back to article What if you had a launch party and nobody came?

If there's one standout feature about Microsoft's launch of Windows 7 this week, it's the abundance of other compelling tech news. It used to be that the PC world stood still when a new Microsoft operating system was launched, literally and figuratively. People really did queue around the block for Windows 95 - or at least …


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  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Not so much as O/S launch

    ... more a bootable and long overdue service pack for XP. And somehow MS have managed to persuade a few people to pay for it. In that respect it's newsworthy enough. However an operating system (whatever it's called - or who makes it) is not that big a deal. So long as it "just works" and lets people get on with their work, or play, without sticking it's oar in I can't see any reason why anyone would want to get worked up about it.

    Now, if it was to provide something radically new: an application that no-one had seen before, yet somehow everybody needed, or a brand new interface that no-one else had (such as a driect brain interface that worked) *THEN* it would be worth getting interested. As it is, it's just a new engine in an old car body. Meh.

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Jobs Horns


    The bald one will not be mocked

    that is all.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    "It's been a truism to say Windows 7 is the last big operating system launch before all our software ends up on a server parked somewhere in Iceland."

    Or people & businesses start turning to Linux ...

  4. Jerome 0
    Thumb Down


    Unexciting though the Win7 launch may be in the grand scheme of things, I'd hardly say Apple's announcement of a few product updates and a particularly silly new mouse pisses all over it. Farts in its general direction perhaps, and that's being generous.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    "directing a stream of piss all over Microsoft's big day."

    drink up, monkey boy

  6. Dave Murray Silver badge

    Icelandic Servers

    "It's been a truism to say Windows 7 is the last big operating system launch before all our software ends up on a server parked somewhere in Iceland."

    Funny, arguably Iceland's biggest software, EVE-Online, runs on servers parked in London.

  7. Jamie Kitson

    I don't know...

    MS's strategy of letting users slowly get used to Windows 7 and allowing a lot of leaks has meant that there would never be a big bang on release day, and I think after the perceived fail of Vista people didn't want to expose themselves to possible disappointment. I think there was excitement over the Vista release and I think there will be excitement over further MS releases.

    All this from a Linux user.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if nobody came?

    then from the tone of most postings I've seen from people signing up for win7 parties then this would be a major result ... people seem only to be signing up due to the promise of a free copy of win7 ultimate and if no-one turns up then you can avoid the expense of having to provide them with some food and drink.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Twelve years on, and how does it repay its onetime saviour? By directing a stream of piss all over Microsoft's big day."

    Give that person a pint, a cigar and the day off work. Beautifully descriptive literate work; and oh, so true.

    Windows 7 has come too late, when games are played on consoles, music and video are played on media savvy mobile devices and low cost/low power green machines like the ION, Linutop, etc. deliver the web browsing and webmail access that is all that the majority of the population actually needs. Traditional desktops are becoming irelevent to the consumer.

  10. regadpellagru
    Thumb Up

    Good one

    Nice article, looking at how things used to be and are now ... different,

    for MS.

    Good step back.

    I'd like to see more of this at El Reg.


  11. whiteafrican

    @Joe Fay: Why the Apple reference?

    "Twelve years on, and how does it repay its onetime saviour? By directing a stream of piss all over Microsoft's big day."

    Dude, nobody but the Fanbois gives a crap about what Apple announced yesterday (and if you'll take the time to read the comments on Gizmodo, DVice, etc. - and even here at El Reg - you'll see that the biggest single topic of conversation on Apple's announcement was the mouse that looks sort of cool in a minimalist way, but which appears to have really poorly thought out functionality).

    Apple is still a minority player. By a LONG way. Microsoft dwarfs Apple in the OS market by more than 10 to 1. No serious business will buy Apple's machines unless it can justify the expense... and the market demonstrates that, in most cases, they can't.

  12. Ted Treen
    Jobs Halo


    With the greatest respect, old lad - utter bollocks.

    "Serious" businesses usually run a hodge-podge of entry level Dell/HP tiny boxes, often still running Windows2000 with a few "advanced" users on XP.

    It's more a case of few IT departments recommend Macs because they need so much less support, so the IT Head's little empire will shrink.

    Turkeys don't vote for Christmas - but it appears they spew anti-Apple invective...

  13. gjw
    Jobs Horns

    It's been a truism—

    It would be nice to look back in, say, 12 years only to find out how wrong the 2009 truisms have been. Especially those involving IT.

    Evil Steve, because truism has it that he won't be leading Apple in 2021...

  14. Number6
    Jobs Horns

    Sorry, Steve

    If Apple annouced something yesterday then I missed it until reading this article.

  15. Tom B

    There's a "Danger" here somewhere.

    All our software moves to a remote Microsoft server somewhere, huh? Sure, that'll happen. Microsoft has proven itself quite capable of handling that one. Pah-leeze. IT control freaks have been trying to tell us that Network Appliances are the "wave of the future" ever since the Mainframe lost the hearts and minds of just about everyone. If your data's important to you (and you like buying software instead of renting it), ignore this "Cloud" fad and hold on to your stuff using your own hardware.

    Trust no one!

  16. Richard 102

    A Couple Points

    As bad as things were for Apple in the mid-late 90s, they still had over $4 billion in the back at that point and some promising technology. What they needed was someone to come in and say "I'm here to eat candy canes and kick @ss, and I'm right outta candy canes!" (*) Which happened. As for the MicroSoft money, that was part of the Canyon software case where Apple had MicroSoft over a barrel and MS knew it. Dan Dilger, with his usual style of writing, had a pretty good review of the history of that at Roughly Drafted. A lot of things from that time have been forgotten or incorrectly remembered, and whatever one thinks of his perspective, he covers the facts well. In fact, this was when mighty MicroSoft had 98% of the desktop OS market and tiny, dying, irrelevant Apple smacked them down. Might have been the first chink in the armor.

    And whiteafrican, while Apple is still a minority player, they are an important and interesting minority player. They're like a small, bespoke car company that has never been bought by a big international conglomerate and still makes interesting, quality, beautiful cars that are well-made and do things no one else has done, or is the first to do them right. Ford or Toyota might dominate, but that doesn't matter to them because it's not their business. Just ask yourself this: whom do other companies try to copy these days, Apple or MicroSoft? Afterall, the sincerest form of flattery ...

    (*) Mystery Science Theatre 3000, "Santa Claus"

  17. fishman


    Today CentoS released the update to CentOS 5.4 - I guess they are also directing a stream of piss at MS.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    re: Truism?

    "Or people & businesses start turning to Linux ..."


    Oh wait, you were serious... Sorry.

  19. whiteafrican

    @Ted Treen, @Richard 102

    @Ted Treen

    OK, while your comment that lots of people still use Win 2000 is true (I probably should have added Win2000 to my list of Vista and XP) your statement that,"Macs [...] need so much less support" is complete nonsense. It's almost never the OS that needs support (be it Windows, OSX or Linux). It's almost always the user. For example, have you ever watched an average office worker try to use a MacBook for the first time? Within 5 minutes, they give you a litany of questions like "Where's the delete key?", "How do I right-click?" "Why won't my [software of choice] install on this?" The fact is, most people, and most businesses, are used to Windows. The support cost of migrating to OSX (and answering all these questions) would be massive. So they don't do it.

    Secondly, you appear to be suggesting that using Macs would reduce the IT dept's workload, and that the IT manager doesn't want this for some reason... do you actually know and IT managers? If presented with the option, they always take the option that is likely to generate the least future admin work for themselves. The fact that they almost all pick Windows over OSX should tell you something.


    @Richard 102

    My gripe is not so much with Apple itself - as you point out, they have a pretty decent product for the market it's aimed at. My gripe is with fanboi reporters who over-hype Apple's products unnecessarily, and give their press releases more importance than they really have, without any justification.

    And people copy Microsoft more than you'd think. For example, OpenOffice copies loads of concepts from Word and Excel (don't get me wrong - I'm not calling OpenOffice itself a copy - it isn't - but it does copy some of the better concepts). Also, Palm famously tried to "do a Microsoft" by splitting their hardware and OS businesses... and look how that turned out... By the way, if you believe the fanboi rumour sites, Apple are bringing out a tablet computer - now who's done that before? Surely not the Windows OEMs?

  20. Big Al

    Meanwhile, in the rest of the world...

    "It's been a truism to say Windows 7 is the last big operating system launch before all our software ends up on a server parked somewhere in Iceland."

    This won't be happening for a LONG time in an awful lot of places with less than stellar connectivity and bandwidth availability. And for even longer outside one or two 'advanced' countries.

    Time for a reality check.

  21. zbxyfbmsxi
    Thumb Up

    Windows 7 Party

    You can all come I don't mind! Oh hang on, I sold my free Windows 7 Ultimate Edition on FleaBay Opps Piss Take! :)

  22. Dale Richards

    Microsoft's Big Day

    Blast it with piss.

  23. Dibbles

    Sample bias

    So you're saying that the announcement of a Linux tie-up overshadows the Windows 7 launch? I didn't even know about the Linux announcement, let alone be able to tell you what it's about. In consumer-land, Windows 7 is still making a fairly big splash, I would suggest.

  24. N2 Silver badge

    The message I continue to get is

    Were Microsoft & you the customer? youre worthless to us.

    After several years of having the same crap foisted on us, its no surprises that few want to take note of their melancholic drone.

    After all, its an operating system & why change when Windows 2000 does the job?

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Move to LINUX...if you enjoy pain

    Why is it the linux-tards think everyone will be moving to linux anytime in the near future?

    Linux is garbage at the desktop - plain and simple. Until stuff like drivers and software can be installed properly by Jo Punter without sudo'ing in a bloody terminal session, Linux has a snowball's chance in hell of getting on "IT non-literate" desktops - and lets face it - that's most of them.

    Apple have got the "double-click-to-install" down pat, so why can't ubuntu/fedora etc as well? Oh and don't gimme that "...all you have to is install application xxxx" stuff or something like "...just setup a new repository in package manager and do xxxx". Why do I need to! No! It's rubbish! It's horrible! Just stop it!

    LINUX = "put me back in! I'm not done yet!"

    no Devil Penguin Icon? Maybe I can install one by pulling up a terminal session (that's even assuming I got X/KDE/Gnome to run in the first place) and typing in some cryptic bollox to make one.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    @Sample bias

    "Windows 7 is still making a fairly big splash"

    tempting though it would be to carry on with the "piss" analogies, I'll resist.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "If presented with the option, they always take the option that is likely to generate the least future admin work for themselves."

    If that were really true, they'd have gone for Netware and NDS. We've also swapped Groupwise for Outlook (not by local choice) and our users are screaming; they want Groupwise back.

    The real drive is because all the applications are coming on Windows servers only, and that is it. Only the serious software is coming on a range of OS platforms. Very few managers have the balls to turn around to a software supplier and say, "We're a Netware/Linux/MacOS house and unless your products work on our systems, we're not buying your hacked together garbage that requires us to also have an Office installation on the server so that you can use the modules that your crapy software has been hacked together on."

  28. OkKTY8KK5U

    @ AC 15:15 GMT

    I'm a linux user, and I sadly agree with this - mostly. There's a major exception you're not considering, though: if someone else is sysadminning your assigned corporate box, it basically doesn't matter what the OS is. At all.

    Remember that Jo Punter basically regards computers as incomprehensible Deep Voodoo no matter what OS is on it. Windows is far more resilient to that sort of thing than linux - it might end up bogged down with malware, but a totally clueless doof can still keep a Windows box minimally operational. But again, if the user isn't responsible for his or her computer, the situation changes.

    In any sort of corporate kind of environment, you're basically just giving Jo Punter a cribsheet, "here are the things you click to do your job," and that's that. Other than colour scheme, Jo Punter probably can't tell the practical difference between operating systems. Assuming you don't have a clear need for OS-specific software, what matters is whether your IT department knows the OS, not whether the user does.

  29. whiteafrican

    @Michelle Knight

    Of course, that's true. Sometimes IT managers aren't free to make the best choice (e.g. because of "business needs"), and sometimes are and they just get it wrong.

    Nevertheless, as you point out, they more or less stick with Windows because that's where the best level of software compatibility is. Which I guess was my original point - Windows is, the dominant OS and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. The irrelevant garbage in the original article about Apple's press release in some way obscuring MS's product launch was, well, irrelevant garbage.

  30. Jason Yau

    @ AC 15:15 gmt

    If the cost of using linux is using sudo to install applications, I'm more than willing to sacrifice my windows machine crashing everyday for that.

  31. Penguin007


    echo "Ypv bsf bo jejpu" | tr [b-z] [a-y]

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    It's funny...

    It's funny how somehow the DOJ actually got what they wanted. Microsoft is now a powerless entity in the computer world, something unimaginable 10 years ago. I've even heard Microsoft called "the underdog" in comparison to Apple. While that may be a stretch, the ironic thing is that the government simply traded Microsoft's power in for another Microsoft in the making. In the future, Microsoft may not matter, but the oligopoly of Google, Apple, and Facebook will be much worse because nobody sees that they are becoming just as large and more dangerous to the consumer as Microsoft ever could have been.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, Mark Zuckerberg is the next Bill Gates: he stole code to build Facebook, just as Bill stole from Apple to build Windows (who actually stole from Xerox to create the Mac GUI). If you don't believe me about Facebook, "Google" for ConnectU. Or use Bing to search for ConnectU if you trust that Google hasn't already started taking over as their own name has essentially become a legitimate verb. Say what you want, but Microsoft was merely a pebble in an ocean compared to how badly Facebook, Google, and Apple will brainwash the public into giving away every bit of personal information and sell their lives (or proverbial souls) to Google and Facebook; all the while Apple collects whatever money they have left to sell them overpriced, outdated technology.

  33. Jesse Dorland

    We can all dream

    It's nice to dream, but in real world this doesn't work that way. I would love to see Linux crushing Microsoft for good. However, this will not happen, simply because at the moment big blue is too powerful to be stopped by ants -- nonetheless, ants normally win at the end because they work together. Microsoft is will control the market -- but not forever.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    @ AC 23/10/09 03:10 GMT

    "who actually stole from Xerox to create the Mac GUI..." If you call a rights issue in exchange for technology that the board of directors a Xerox were not taking particularly seriously stealing. It was to create the Lisa GUI by the way. Even if Apple had have stolen this techology, it still wouldn't excuse Microsoft! The list of their thefts is long and continually growing; DOS - the bug for bug copy of CP/M that Bill conned SCP into selling for a paltry 50000. As already suggested the WIMP GUI - based on the notion of the GUI that was actually conceived by Doug Engelbart and his team at the Stanford Research institute many of whom went on to work at PARC and then Apple. The Microsoft Store - have you see the pictures? It's one thing to open a store to compete with a rival (thing is, they are competing with brands like Best Buy and Target, not Apple), but to copy exactly the styling and the concept of the store really is too much. These are just a few, the list is much longer. I'm all for pointing out the failing of sensationalist journalism, and this read like a interview piece for the Daily Mail, but making one of the most litigeous and immoral companies in history to be all innocent and hard done by is just too much. It's bullshit.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    I do wish ...

    ... that the people who harp on about linux would actually do a bit of research before condemning it left, right and centre.

    For example, you don't need to sudo anything to install software on Red Hat (and it's clones), Fedora or Ubuntu -- you click away on some graphical thing. A lot of work has gone into those graphical things to make them easier to use because there's a heck of a lot of software available.

    "Linux will never be adopted by business" (or something along those lines). Yeah, right. And I suppose Red Hat's undoubted success and growth is on the basis of hot air. And I know Oracle is on-record as saying that all its internal systems run on Linux and have done for some time. There are a lot of people who have moved and are moving to Linux and quite a few companies deal exclusively with Linux.

    Oh yes, and why does OpenOffice mimic MS Office? That's easy. If it was too different the retraining costs for the people who care would be too great. That's mainly Sun in this case. Given the choice of re-training, say, 10,000 people and being able to provide an interface that doesn't need re-training which way would you go? There are lots off office-type offerings that never make any impact because MS has dominated the market for far too long. I don't know why MS think that re-training costs are something they can ignore though.

  36. Jamie Kitson

    Or Vice Versa?

  37. Anonymous Coward

    @ AC 10:28

    "Some graphical thing"? Care to explain which one? That's hardly proving your LINUX knowledge or evidencing the argument you just made. Did you mean photoshop maybe? That does graphics...

    Ive just downloaded a, how do I make it go? Oh wait, I need to uninstall the old version first...I'm assuming that'll only take a couple of clicks too?

    Or how about explaining how this "graphical thing" will let me install my new ATI drivers without resorting to the CLI? I'm assuming I just double-click on the .gz and follow the instructions like I do on windows/OS X...?

    oh wait, no - that doesn't work. i've just got another window. Maybe if I click that didn't work either...maybe this file? that looks like an exec file....hmmmm no. Oh wait - this one's opened up an application...which I can barely read or use because I'm stuck at 640x480.

    <repeat until frustration invokes a XP disc insertion and full re-install>

    Yeah, I might get more problems/less reliability with XP, but at least they'll be problems I can solve in minutes with a mouse, without resorting to trawling the internet for hours for answers and a CLI session. For every single problem.

  38. Scott 71

    @AC 14:42

    Wow, such a profound lack of reading comprehension and knowledge on a subject!

    "Click away on some graphical thing" clearly refers to a GUI installer, not an image manipulation program, the context makes this obvious. And no, there's no downloading tarballs and dealing with the CLI for APT to obtain most common programs on the popular desktop Linux distributions. The user simply has to go to the "add programs" menu item, browse through the categories, click on the program, and it installs. All dependencies and kernel module building are handled behind the scenes, invisible to the user.

    Moreover, at least with Ubuntu, the most recent stable proprietary ATI drivers are in the repository. The user only has to upgrade when the software update notifier determines there's a newer version available. I believe the proprietary NVIDIA and ATI drivers have been installed by default for a while now on K/Ubuntu, with the option to switch to the "free" drivers for those who insist.

    I'm also guessing that someone hasn't done a Win XP install recently on newer hardware. It just starts out with frustration when the XP installer can't find your hard drive because it doesn't support many storage controllers (especially SATA ones) which have come out within the past 4 years or so, and the networking chipsets also require drivers because the ones built-in to XP are so outdated. It's kind of difficult to download your network drivers when you're in a Catch-22 like that. So let's just face it-- your nonsense is just that. It generally takes someone who knows what they're doing to install and configure ANY operating system from disc. Well, except that K/Ubuntu and other Linux live CDs often just work and don't need any geek help until a user gets beyond the most common things desktop computers are used for.

  39. elderlybloke

    Move to LINUX...if you enjoy pain-Mk2

    I am using Ubuntu 9.04 and I feel no pain.

    Will upgrade to 9.10 very soon, I expect to feel no pain there , according to the reports by users of the Beta version.

    I have been content with Ubuntu for 2 years , after getting pissed off with the trials of re-activation via the so called help desk in India.

    I wonder why any business who want to keep their customers , use India .

    Nice people , but it would be good if those who are there to help actually speak understandable English.

  40. crypt

    Bad trolling - Try harder

    @ Anon 22nd October 2009 15:15

    its called a .deb , you download it , you double click on it

    you enter your password

    you click ok

    Is that too hard?

    @ Anonymous Coward 2009 14:42 GMT

    lets assume your using ubuntu

    so click on

    system ->admin -> synaptic package manager

    that would be your graphical installer

    you have ati drivers

    if your using ubuntu you will want to

    click on

    system -> admin -> restricted drivers manager

    that will sort you out.

    "Yeah, I might get more problems/less reliability with XP, but at least they'll be problems I can solve in minutes with a mouse, without resorting to trawling the internet for hours for answers and a CLI session. For every single problem."

    Unless you need to flush your dns cache, dump winsock , reset tcp/ip , ping anything (off the top of my head)

    Any genuine ubuntu newbs - come over to - I will happily help you

  41. scub


    "oh wait, no - that doesn't work. i've just got another window. Maybe if I click that didn't work either...maybe this file? that looks like an exec file....hmmmm no. Oh wait - this one's opened up an application...which I can barely read or use because I'm stuck at 640x480.

    <repeat until frustration invokes a XP disc insertion and full re-install>"

    Been here many a time, first time was with Debian68k on an A4000, Very painfull (wvdial, heh, no resolv.config??). Each time it does get easier tho`. Last time for me was Knoppix (HD installed), surprisingly good, however you can imagine how much fun I had discovering the latest ATI 3D drivers(of the day) dont work with the default journalling file system. Q3A ran fine as did ET, so there was a little reward for my efforts :)

    I conclude Linux users enjoy all those shell enviro`s, thats the bottom line. Makes em feel somehow better than everyone esle, Social elite if you will. Hat off to all who see this and try to make changes within the platform.

    Tried ubuntu (k?KDE). didnt survive a power cut so it was quickly binned. (Love KDE :o) )

    Not in anyway sticking up for Mac`s BTW :o/

    not sure which icon to pick, hmm, that game where you race down the icy slopes with the penguin was pretty darn good. Good to see it on those little asus netbook thingys..

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