By now you have no doubt heard of Microsoft’s newest incarnation of computer Operating System software. Windows Vista has hit retail stores and is forcing users to upgrade their computers to meet its new strict baseline requirements.
This is the same process every 4 or 5 years with almost all computer systems since we have been using them.
The difference this time is that the impact is larger than it has ever been.
While Microsoft boasts the highest installation base of any Operating System in the world, of a user base which is rapidly growing daily; change brings a darker view out the window.
I read an article this morning on the Green Party UK website where Siân Berry, Green Party Female Principal is quoted saying:
“There will be thousands of tonnes of dumped monitors, video cards and whole computers that are perfectly capable of running Vista – except for the fact they lack the paranoid lock down mechanisms Vista forces you to use. That’s an offensive cost to the environment.”
“Future archaeologists will be able to identify a ‘Vista Upgrade Layer’ when they go through our landfill sites.”
Computer systems have been advancing according to Moore’s Law for quite some time now but their computing power has started to plateau, forcing chip makers to radically alter their designs and switch to new architectures such as multi-core computing.
Meanwhile we have hundreds of millions of perfectly good computers, which still do what they did when they cost $5000 from Dell or Apple, but will be unable of running Vista due to bells and whistles added to drag the consumer’s wallet down.
The DRM issue is an issue none-the-less, but either way, it looks like if you own a PC, you’re up for another new one with a license for Vista, or switching to Apple; both the entire cost of a new computer system and both requiring more time and energy re-learning how to use your computer for the same old tasks.
Somewhere in the darkness stirs another computing force. Some liken it to communism, with its free ideologies and group contribution model. It is Linux. It’s free as in beer. It runs on that computer you gave to grandma that lies flat on the desk; instead of upwards like today’s mighty Capitalist computer towers. It’s more user friendly than you think.
I don’t think changing operating system environments at this time, is for everyone. However when the cost to consumer, business and environment outweighs the improved productivity of tomorrows slightly better, but just as expensive as last time, endless consumer driven computer re-cycle; something’s not quite right.
A grim Outlook on Vista’s dark shadow.
Pun most certainly intended!