Smoothwall Firewall project

Sunday 10 August 2008

Microsoft's current software strategy is bad for the environment

Microsoft software development for as long as I can remember has seemed to work on the basic principal that computer hardware speed and performance will grow infinitely to accommodate their sloppy and wasteful programming techniques.

I have read article after article about the latest software offerings from Microsoft, which have all increased in installation footprint, but have only offered performance increases if you use the latest hardware. Vista is a particularly apropos example of a machine resources hog, with a requirement for at least a multi core processor and at least 2 GB of RAM and 10 GB of harddisk space, just to run the operating system.That is a computer that uses a lot of energy, your money, just to run the basic system that would allow you to do anything. The days of ignoring this are gone, just look at your fuel bills and you will see why. So these machines to run Vista are more expensive to buy , to run and cost the environment more in manufacture.

This seemed to be the way things have always been , and would continue to be, until Intel and Asus combined to create a whole new breed of PC, the netbook or mini laptop. This post is coming from an Asus Eeepc , and with the plethora of other manufacturers jumping on this hot bandwagon, you will be able to get one of these diminutive devices in laptop or desktop format. The intel Atom units have very good battery life, and consume little power compared to a 15" Vista Behemoth laptop.

This however is the crux of this post: The Intel Atom processor and it's VIA counterpart use a fraction of the power of the older generation processors, work perfectly with Linux, require far less internal memory to have the operating system to function properly, and work with solid state hard disks. They are basically green computers, and the more people who use them, the less the environment suffers. Microsoft has got it very wrong for the energy requirements of a modern IT departments demands, and is beginning to look like the General Motors of the software world, building products for a previous age. If I were a CEO of any large company, and my CTO was not investigating the use of low power workstations running Linux, I think I would be looking for a new CTO.

Apple saw this coming, thus the Apple Air and their new mini laptop, so why has Microsoft got this so wrong? I think it tells you a lot about the company, that they always seem to be on the backfoot, technologically, and it is only the lack of action by corporate buyers that keeps there money machine turning.

Microsoft has no software in this arena apart from it's five year old XP, so yet again they have been caught cold when a market changes quickly, and I doubt Windows 7 has currently been designed for this market segment either. I fully suspect that will change, or they may modify their mobile operating system upwards, but they will be playing catch up yet again.

You can also wonder why you might waste money on a super powerful machine, that you then need to spend a small fortune on software for, after your initial purchase, just for it to be vaguely useful. While you can get one of these new machines with everything already installed and ready to go for £250-£300. Yes there are games players and power users who will always need the extra power of a true workstation, but I suspect that 90%, if not more of net users just do not need that type of machine anymore. The prospect of cloud computing with all your applications being supplied on-line, will also drive this market.

So save the environment , do yourself a financial favour and buy a small energy efficient ,useful mini PC with Linux installed.


Unknown said...

Fighting the god fight as ever Papa! xx

Unknown said...

sorry i meant "fighting the GOOD fight" - you would never think that proof-reading is part of my job!