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Did the Netbook Improve Windows 7's Performance? 440

Arnie87 writes "One Microsoft Way has an interesting article suggesting that the reason Microsoft is focusing so much on speed with Windows 7 is the whopping sales of netbooks. The article concludes by saying: 'If you plan on adopting Windows 7, you have the netbook to be thankful for, because Vista's successor would be a very different beast if Microsoft had less motivation to pursue performance.'"
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Did the Netbook Improve Windows 7's Performance?

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  • by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:10PM (#27284977)

    Face it, the real reason that Windows 7 is leaner than Vista is that Vista was a market flop because it tried to do all sorts of things that Windows users were simply not ready for.

    There is nothing seriously wrong with Vista, and Windows 7 is mostly an optimized version 2 of Vista. So it's no surprise that with the codebase stabilized in Vista SP1 that Windows 7 will be able to build successfully upon that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:16PM (#27285019)

    Face it, the real reason that Windows 7 is leaner than Vista is that Vista was a market flop because it tried to do all sorts of things that Windows users were simply not ready for.

    Such as force users to give up applications that ran perfectly fine under previous versions of Windows.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:17PM (#27285021)

    Yeah, because 3 years ago when Microsoft started the work that went into Windows 7 (remember MinWin?) they were smart enough to anticipate netbooks and so they did the performance work up front that would be necessary to make netbooks work well.

    Or maybe, just maybe, they realized that Vista's performance sucked rocks and they decided to fix it and Netbooks were a happy beneficiary.

  • Bloat (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ritz_Just_Ritz ( 883997 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:22PM (#27285053)

    I dunno...Microsoft isn't the only faction that's suffered from some serious code bloat. Computers have gotten so much faster at such a rapid pace. Linux + Gnome and OSX have gotten rather porky as well....

    I'd be happy to forego all the eye candy if it would speed up the work that I actually care about.


  • by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:23PM (#27285065)
    I give credit to the OLPC and the push it gave to the computing world to come up with something lightweight but functional. And that was long before Vista shipped. The Netbooks were a result of the global awareness the OLPC gave to a need for cheap, portable, functional computing.
  • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:28PM (#27285095) Homepage

    My guess is this will be more of 'ready for Vista' underpowered desktop, now just in windows 'craps' (what version is it anyhow, up near 13 by now) for netbooks. Sure it will run windows, just barely, but run any applications on top and you'll get to re-experience that whole vista feeling all over again.

    Personally I want my netbook to come basically complete with all the applications I will ever need at a very 'competitive' price, so when I drop it, drown it or some one pilfers it, I can just buy another one restore the data, not have to futz around with re-installing software or paying for B$ software licences bound to dead or missing hardware.

    Netbooks are going to suffer a pretty hard life and the last thing you want to get caught up in, is buying the same software over and over again and you certainly don't want to end up paying three times the price in software versus what you are spending on hardware.

  • Maybe, Maybe not. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Reed Solomon ( 897367 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:38PM (#27285151) Homepage

    While they claim (and reports indicate) Windows 7 will be faster than Vista, I wouldn't put it past Microsoft to shoot themselves in the foot as soon as it's released.

    And I don't think its the success of Netbooks that is making Microsoft focus on speed on netbooks. It's the fear of Linux/Android taking over where Windows Vista cannot work that is making them focus on speed for Windows 7. Amusingly enough, if Arm based netbooks take off, Not only is Microsoft screwed, but intel too.

    Then again, Via Nano based netbooks are also starting to be rolled out, and they are comparable to the atom chipset. We'll see.

    Nobody has made a netbook where when the lid is closed you have an e-ink screen for dual use as an ebook reader. This is totally pissing me off. I'm not the only person in the world who wants this or has thought of this.

  • i finally get it! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:40PM (#27285169)

    slashdot's windows logo, they are all broken!


  • by wisty ( 1335733 ) on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:44PM (#27285199)

    Even so, 10% is pretty damn good. Ask BMW, or Steve Jobs.

    I'll agree - KDE is doing a lot of attractive stuff, with it's whole interoperability of user data focus. And the default theme looks better than Leopard.

  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) * on Saturday March 21, 2009 @11:51PM (#27285249) Journal

    Even so, 10% is pretty damn good. Ask BMW, or Steve Jobs.

    Instead ask Yugo, because Linux netbooks tend to be the elcheapo models.

    What's happening is that Windows users have found higher-end netbooks to be workable laptop replacements and not just internet appliances.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22, 2009 @12:02AM (#27285329)

    I never saw an OLPC here in Australia or anywhere else in my travels (including 2 trips to the US last year and 3 months in Europe).

    I /did/ see a lot of eeePCs. Not all of them running Linux, but the day my parents came home with their shiny new eeePC running Linux, I thought to myself "Microsoft must be SHITTING BRICKS".

  • by koro666 ( 947362 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @12:09AM (#27285361)

    Such as force users to give up applications that ran perfectly fine under previous versions of Windows.

    They ran perfectly fine because Windows let them get away with whatever dirty tricks they were doing — which wasn't the case with Vista anymore.

    Give me an application that is coded correctly and that does not try to be "more clever" than the operating system by using undocumented structures, functions, registry keys or whatever else, and I'll show you an application that runs fine on Vista.

  • by hemp ( 36945 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @12:39AM (#27285509) Homepage Journal

    By optimized you mean they have DRM turned off. Expect DRM to be in place for the final release candidate.

  • by master811 ( 874700 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @12:48AM (#27285557)

    RAM is there to be used, that's the whole point of it. Vista has considerably better memory management than XP ever had so the fact its using 800MB is a non-issue.

    Vista pre-caches often used apps, which makes it sooo much better than XP (just cos it uses more RAM doesn't make it worse). It's using that RAM because it is there, not because it needs to, there's a difference.

    The fact it takes 15 mins to boot means there is something very wrong with your PC and it certainly isn't Vista (dodgy driver/startup prog) perhaps?

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @12:53AM (#27285591) Homepage Journal
    Recycling FUD. Maybe. Then again, maybe you are another MS Fanboi? I test drove Vista. Performance sucked. Maybe it didn't take 15 minutes to boot, but it certainly took three times as long as XP - no bullshit, no exxageration. In the time it took Vista to boot, I could have booted Ubuntu, started a virtual machine, and booted WinXP. Or, started Ubuntu, and booted Win7 inside the same VM. 15 minutes? I don't know for certain, but it seems the guy was exagerating, slightly.
  • by D Ninja ( 825055 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @12:55AM (#27285601)

    adding more people to the team will always be counterproductive since they'd only slow down the people who need to be 100% focused on finishing things up

    Fixed that for you.

    If there are any manager types reading this - THIS IS TRUE. More people does not make a project quicker to market. In fact, it has the reverse effect for a variety of reasons. A great book about this is The Mythical Man Month by Frederick P. Brooks. Please. Read. Do it for all of us techs-types who already know this.

  • by theillien ( 984847 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @12:59AM (#27285613)
    Agreed. OLPC wasn't meant to be a market-changing piece of hardware. It was designed to provide inexpensive options to countries with limited resources so that students could get a relatively modern education. Initially, that it ran Linux is why it was able to be made so small. They were able to keep it small when XP was introduced on it by using a scaled down version. The eeePC is what became the market changer because it was more consumer focused.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:04AM (#27285655)

    There are lot of problems with portable applications which try to write into the directory where .exe file is installed.

    Do portable progs on your fav linux distro do the same? That is, they write their configuration files to /bin or /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin or whatever.

    What happens when an app with no root priviledge tries to write its configuration files in /bin? It fails spectacularly of course.

    I don't like vista but isn't this double standard?


  • Speaking as an IT manager, I'll be dancing in the street the day that the last app stops this.

    If I had a penny for every time a user lost data because some app decided to be clever in the manner mentioned above and not save it in the users profile directory...

    Truly, if you were writing a linux app would you expect this to work? It's the same thing. Your app needs to expect that it can write to the user's home directory and temp locations. Fini. Done. Need to write somewhere else, make sure you set up the proper permissions during install time, when you'll be running with privs to access those directories.

    Then I know where the user's data will be and can plan backups accordingly, without playing scavenger hunt with however many hundreds of apps my users are using.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:10AM (#27285687)

    The OEM price for netbooks is more like $20.

  • by MrNaz ( 730548 ) * on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:10AM (#27285689) Homepage

    I fully agree.

    For years we (the FOSS community) have been bemoaning Windows' poor, totally broken security model. Now, when MS attempts to fix that and inevitably breaks applications that rely on the previous totally broken security model, we want to whine and moan about backwards compatibility?

    Are we going to whine the same way if IE8 standardizes but breaks web pages that rely on IE7/IE6?

    Seriously, there are some among us that simply will not be satisfied, and they are making the whole FOSS community look like a bunch of children.

  • The nature of software and progress.

    Both Linux and OSX are far worse than Windows on backwards compatibility.

    Adobe's creative suite still doesn't run properly on OSX (weird print driver conflict with HP Design jet, effects InDesign is a known problem, Apple admits it, but yet 10.5, and still running it in Rosetta to print).

    I recently just gave up trying to get Majesty to run on mycomputer (after downloading a new installer, and updater), and from what I read, it would be easier to get the Windows version running (assuming the Linux one would run at all).

    OS 10.4 had it's own issues with compatibility too.

    When Windows 95 came out, and it didn't let application trounce all over memory (as much anyway), a lot of apps stopped working. This was a good thing. For an example of a great system that still let the apps spew all over the place see Amiga OS (old school ones), apps brought it down constantly.

    I am willing to bet that many of the sloppy apps that don't work in Vista, would also fail in a proper XP set-up (un/low privileged user), now that Vista forces a decent user setup, and Windows 7 appears to be better optimised, my life at work will be better.

    At home I will continue to use Linux, and keep an eye out for the Windows versions of games I purchased Linux versions of, trying to support a Linux shop (oops).

  • thank the netbook? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:36AM (#27285873) Journal
    Yeah - godferbid they just make a quick efficient OS because it's a good idea...
  • Pretty Convincing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LuYu ( 519260 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:41AM (#27285899) Homepage Journal

    This whole thing seems to support earlier rumours that MS was deliberately bloating Windows code in order to make people keep buying new computers. Now that the market has spoken, all of that bloat can be easily removed. Everything in Windows seems to be necessary until MS is forced to remove it.

  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) * on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:44AM (#27285921) Journal

    The comparison was with BMW, not the loss-leader they throw out there at $299 to bait you into buying the more profitable windows models.

  • by kaiwai ( 765866 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @01:54AM (#27285973)

    WARNING: Intense rant built up over years of raging against boy wonder dickhead programmers who think they're top shit.

    Here is a great hint for all those boy wonders who write shit applications that spray their shit applications everywhere - fix your damn applications up.

    It pisses me off when I see vendors spray DLL's everywhere, from their own directory to the Windows directory to the user directory and everything in between.

    1) Keep your fucking application exe and all the bundled DLL's in your application director - leave the fucking Windows directory alone. It is not for YOU to place YOUR shit into. It is for Windows and Windows only.

    2) Don't write shit to your application directory; if it is a universal setting then you should ask the user for permission and write it to the global registry. Is it a user related setting then save it to the user profile. No if's, no buts.

    3) Don't use undocumented API's and hacks. You aren't cool, you aren't hip, it doesn't make you gods gift to the world because you're using private API calls never intended by Microsoft to be used outside their operating system development teams. Its private for a reason - private meaning it is not for you to fucking use. Hack away at Microsoft's private api's and I'll hack away at your privates.

    Do the fucking job properly the first fucking time and stop turning a clean and pristine Windows installation ito a fucking dogs breakfast because you think you're top shit when clearly you're not.

  • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @02:05AM (#27286005) Homepage

    GNOME and KDE are painfully slow on machines with Netbook type specs, though. KDE4, in particular.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22, 2009 @02:23AM (#27286073)

    The issue that bugs me with Vista's memory management and 'cache everything' approach is that all that cache has to be moved out of the way when the active application needs more memory.

    This is fine if the application requesting more memory is designed to not stall waiting for RAM and allocates memory in fairly small chunks. But when you have something that needs to be semi-realtime like Everquest2 trying to load zone actors several hundred MB at a time, Vista needs to clear out Firefox, Photoshop and Fallout 3 data from cache so that the request can be honored. While this garbage collection is running, EQ2 stalls.

    SuperFetch et al. are good ideas in theory. The implementation, however, seems to have not been tested with all use scenarios. I realize that the example I gave above is based on gaming and that gaming is not what drives the purchasing decisions of major business clients. The problem with neglecting gaming to optimize for Word and Excel is that games push the OS and the system and they show us when the OS pushes back.

    During the day, Bob in accounting still gets paid whether Excel opens in 1 second or 2. But at the end of the day he gets pissed when he gets lag killed by some kid in Nebraska because at the vital moment when he needed to twitch for the frag, that moment when the kid came into view, that moment when a couple thousand textured polygons needed to be moved to his GPU, his system stuttered.

    Does Bob have decision making power at work? Will Bob separate game performance under Vista from work performance under Vista?

    MS should have made SuperFetch smart enough to realize that if a program or application frequently allocates large chunks of RAM while hitting the disk that it needs to keep other, inactive, data out of the way so that it won't have to garbage collect and write to the pagefile at the same time that program is allocating RAM and reading from disk.

    As for the "using that RAM because it's there" argument, imagine using a football stadium as a homeless shelter between games. Now imagine that every time a paying fan comes in, you have to get one vagrant out and the fan can't walk past the ticket booth until the guy he's replacing is completely out the door. Personally, I'd rather just keep the seats empty until they're needed rather than making sure that they're always filled on any given moment, day or night.

  • by the_womble ( 580291 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @02:47AM (#27286177) Homepage Journal

    What makes you think that the people complaining about backwards compatibility are the same people who complained about the Windows security model?

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @03:13AM (#27286239)
    By optimized you mean they have DRM turned off. Expect DRM to be in place for the final release candidate.

    Let's put an end to this nonsense, shall we.

    The Windows netbook has an Atom CPU, 1 GB of Ram and a 160 GB HDD. These specs are good and they going to get better. Much better.
    The performance "hit" in managing DRM - the trusted path - whatever you chose to call it - isn't worth worrying about.

    But if you want shelf space at WalMart, your product must deliver licensed media play out of the box.

  • That's all well and nice, but there's one problem with that.

    I'm just your average user, not a developer. Intuitively, when something is saved, especially something like a game save, I EXPECT it to be written to the game's fucking application directory.

    Your sense of organization clashes with common sense, however I do agree with forbidding the assholes to write to system/system32 and other system-critical directories and spewing DLLs all over the place.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22, 2009 @03:48AM (#27286345)

    Yea, because the W3C has a long and established history of releasing feature complete, coherent standards on time every time.

    MS breaks standards because, GASP, there is a business case to do so, or because they wanted a feature that the W3C was still bike-shedding over the syntax of.

    I hate MS as much as the next guy, but at least I'm realistic about it.

  • There is no 'we' (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @03:53AM (#27286365) Journal

    Wonder why 'we' are never happy here on slashdot? Why no matter what MicroSoft does, they are vilified by 'we'?

    Here's a hint: take your user Id, and subtract 1. That's about how many DIFFERENT people registered here before yoi did. Each with their own ideas about priority and values, and what to lambaste MS for.

    I lambaste them for lame things like email not working right with IMAP4 servers in WinMobile 5, 6, 6.1, and 6.5. That's 3 YEARS that some as simple as deleting an email hasn't worked right in a device primarily bought to (ahem) read email.

  • by philipgar ( 595691 ) <pcg2.lehigh@edu> on Sunday March 22, 2009 @04:05AM (#27286403) Homepage
    Hell, both are pretty nasty at times. Have you ever tried installing software that's 5-10 years old from source on a linux machine. Oh wait, the source relies on ancient versions of gcc, and doesn't work with libraries you currently have installed, etc. It's definitely not a trivial problem. If you download all the old compilers and libs first, you might manage to get it working, but this is far from a simple solution.

  • by shellbeach ( 610559 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @06:20AM (#27286799)

    like kill -9 `pidof firefox.exe`

    killall -9 -r firefox is much easier :) (The -r option makes the name argument a regexp search, and is very, very powerful ...)

    As for *nix directories, whether you use /usr or /usr/local or /opt it really doesn't matter, provided the relevant directories with executables in them are in your path. That's the beauty of the system, and that's why these analogies between Windows and *nix are meaningless.

  • Ok I'll ask (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MMInterface ( 1039102 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @06:56AM (#27286971)
    "ask a kid who's been raped by his priest for 5 years if he thinks what the priest is doing is wrong; you'll be surpised to find that the kid EXPECTS that from priests and thinks that priests who dont rape him dont really love god."

    Do you think what the priest is doing to you is wrong?.
  • by LingNoi ( 1066278 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @07:26AM (#27287077)

    Then you do what Mozilla does and put it in this-feature-mozilla so when the standard does come along you don't screw up the web with your unstandardised features.

    MS breaks standards because, GASP, there is a business case to do so

    Yeah, ruining the web for everyone who's not using IE.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 22, 2009 @08:00AM (#27287163)

    um not 100% accurate.

    if you said binary rpm tar maybe.

    Source ( even back to 01 ) builds unde latter gcc's/libc's

    if the code uses some odd methods you may see more warnings during the build.

    most of the time though things are very sane.

  • by doshell ( 757915 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @09:43AM (#27287573)

    1) Wouldn't it be as simple as establishing a couple links or scripts named specific things, which apply to most distros? If file-browser is KDE's varient on one distro, and Gnome's varient on another, it doesn't matter, since you don't need to know the name of the executable - only the guy that made the script needs to know. When anyone executes file-browser, they get Nautilus or whatever program is the default one...

    Wow, you think application names confuse users, and yet you believe the intuitive way to run a file browser is to do [Some menu]->[run command]->["file-browser" <enter>]?

    Cut the crap already. What you need is a start-menu-like shortcut that says "Text editor" but actually executes /usr/bin/gedit. Which by the way is what Ubuntu does by default, so I really don't understand what this discussion is about...

    <flame>Perhaps if people actually knew Linux instead of spewing out what they heard about it back in 1996, we wouldn't have so much pointless discussion here...</flame>

  • I'm just your average user, not a developer. Intuitively, when something is saved, especially something like a game save, I EXPECT it to be written to the game's fucking application directory.

    Why? What's wrong with saving it inside C:\Documents and Settings\pino\Application Data\SomeCompany\SomeTitle\SavedGames\? That can be backed up with the rest of your home dir^W^W user profile, and it doesn't interfere with the saved games of other users on the same PC.

  • Mostly the fact that I know those people have no real grievances with Windoze; they're just OSS mujahadeen out to flame Windows for anything and everything they can.

  • by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Sunday March 22, 2009 @02:36PM (#27289467)

    The thing you have to realize is that most of the people who gripe about how lousy Windows is (or any Microsoft product) never actually use Windows. Or, alternatively, they haven't used Windows since Windows 98 and somehow think that it hasn't changed at all in a decade.

    These are the people who complain about "constant bluescreens" in 2000, XP, Vista. The same type of people who don't realize that Windows has *two* CLI environments, one of which is admittedly quite poor (but only intended for backwards compatibility), and one of which is far superior to bash. And, over a year after IE7 added tabs to IE, I kept seeing posts on Slashdot saying that Firefox was a superior browser because it had tabs and IE didn't.

    It's not just time, though. They also gripe about tools they don't use. For example, geeks here who rarely, if ever, use an office suite will go to great lengths to explain why the Office 2007 interface is far inferior to OpenOffice's interface. And frequently make statements like, "Office 97 had all the features anybody ever uses." They're not qualified to speak on this, of course, but they'll do it anyway.

    In short, take everything you read here with huge grains of salt.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.