Those that have followed my blogs over the years know full well that I'm operating system neutral. At work I use Windows and Linux right next to each other. At home my family uses a mix of Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux PCs. I have my likes and dislikes with each operating system. I don't drink the kool aid with any of the systems as I'm not easily impressed with what I see.
During the past couple years, I've been extremely disappointed in Windows Vista and consider the experience delivered by the operating system to be just as bad as Windows ME. It has long been my view that if Microsoft screwed up Windows 7 we could kiss the Windows line goodbye and for evermore be just as happy with both OS X and Linux (with Ubuntu as my favorite Linux client). However, it looks like Microsoft's developers have responded well to the criticism and Windows 7 is going to deliver the goods consumers and enterprises need in their operating system.
I've been testing Windows 7 since Beta 2 and currently have the Release Candidate version on my desktop. It is a great operating system and delivers on the performance and stability improvements Microsoft promised but didn't keep in Vista. Surprisingly, my favorite feature in Windows 7 is the task bar. The task bar is a delight to work with and in my opinion outshines the outdated Dock in OS X. Windows 7 is such an improvement that I just don't see myself complaining about this operating system in the same way I did with Vista. Those days are coming to an end.
However, I do have some complaints against Microsoft with regards to how they're delivering Windows 7. Doesn't Microsoft understand the concept up keeping it simple for the consumer? I'm talking about the multi-editions of Windows they insist on marketing to customers as well as the lousy upgrade path from XP or Vista 32 bit. Seems like a lot of commentators are agreeing that Microsoft is making the complicated even more complicated.
I just wonder if the operating system itself is enough this time around for consumers to ignore the cost of doing business with the Microsoft bureaucracy. Apple and the Linux open source communities still seem to have an edge on Microsoft the Complicated by responding better to the needs and desires of customers. Microsoft recognized the need to improve their operating system, but will they recognize in time the need to improve how they market and package their products?
Despite the licensing, multi-editions, price, and upgrade issues being pushed by Microsoft...Windows 7 the operating system rocks. Below is Seth Rosenblatt's CNET video which does a great job in explaining the new features in Windows 7.