Feeds

Ubuntu's Shuttleworth praises Windows 7, welcomes fight

End of an 'awkward situation'

High performance access to file storage

Mark Shuttleworth is looking forward to a good, clean netbook fight with Microsoft following the release of Windows 7.

Speaking with The Reg, the founder of popular Linux distro Ubuntu and chief executive of Canonical called Windows 7 a great operating system.

Great? Doesn't Shuttleworth work for the competition? Shouldn't he be building up Windows 7's hidden weaknesses?

Apparently not. "I'm not going to 'diss it", he said categorically. So there.

In fact, Shuttleworth believes a good version of Windows will end the current phony war between Windows and Linux in the high-growth netbook market and reignite the fight on features and capabilities.

Shuttleworth believes that a decent edition of Windows will mean Microsoft finally has to charge full price and that Redmond will finally stop allowing OEMs to use low-cost copies of Windows XP instead of paying full price for the full version of the official flagship - Windows Vista.

"We are in an awkward situation now because they are giving away XP in the netbook market - they are literally giving it way to OEMs," he claimed.

"You can make the argument Linux is more expensive that Windows XP because Microsoft has been very aggressive in licensing," Shuttleworth said.

Windows Vista has seen lower than anticipated levels of adoption - we know that. Its clunky performance has been too much for those small form factor netbooks, while the price is a challenge for OEMs licensing the operating system in a netbook market famed for low sticker price. Windows XP has been given a new lease of life, with a price and performance that suits netbook makers.

While Microsoft isn't exactly be subsidizing Windows on netbooks, the existence of Windows XP is undercutting the flag-ship product.

OEM and system builder copies of Windows XP SP2 home and professional on Amazon are listed at $129, but a 32-bit, single-user edition is a mere $94. Windows Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate - both SP 1 - are listed at $159, but they can be had for $105.

Why are netbooks so important? It's a market tipped to grow, recent economic woes aside, and it's a market not yet dominated by Windows to the exclusion of all other operation systems.

"I've kicked the tires on the [Windows 7] beta for a few hours and it was good," Shuttleworth said. "They've put concerted attention on the user experience with the shell.

"I think it's going to be a great product, and every indication is we will see it in the market sooner rather than later."

Linux will need to raise its game in the face of this revived Windows experience, he said. And according to Shuttleworth, that's what's planned with Ubuntu 9.04, codenamed Jaunty Jackalope and due in May.

Jaunty Jackalope will see improved alerts on the desktop. Alerts have been notoriously disruptive in Windows Vista, but will be improved by Microsoft in Windows 7. Shuttleworth said, however, that work on Jaunty Jackalope is broader in scope than "just" alerts. It's part of an experiment that - if successful - will lead to broader changes in the design and build of Ubuntu in version 9.10, scheduled for October 2009.

"We've made some bold proposals on how you can make notifications less disruptive and less intrusive, and more elegant. At the same time we want to narrow the scope of notifications," he said.

"That's quite controversial. We are taking that carefully. We are working with folks to make that experiment... If we do it elegantly that will bode well for the additional stuff we've got lined up for 9.10."

He would not provide more details and would not elaborate on 9.10. Shuttleworth, though, has said before that the Linux desktop had to beat Apple at its own design game to see greater uptake on the desktop. That involves improvements to design, capabilities and interface, and integration with services.

Linux on the desktop has a tendency to favor those who've built it and pay grudging acceptance to mainstream users through both functionality and accessibility in the interface.

Meanwhile, on the server-side, 9.04 changes are planned to make it easier to deploy Ubuntu on Amazon'e Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and for EC2 to work with Ubuntu, Shuttleworth said. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.