Start me up, Windows

It’s not just me then:

I also look forward to its successor, because while advocates of cloud computing, ultra-thin clients and distributed systems argue that Windows 7 marks the last major release of a Microsoft operating system, and perhaps of any operating system, I am not so convinced.

Some see a world in which Google’s Chrome OS or something similar provides a lightweight, network-oriented set of services and a translucent user interface, offering trouble-free access to a range of applications and tools in an always-on world.

Although I used to share this vision, I’ve started to feel differently.

For the last few weeks I’ve been living the life of a digital nomad as I’m between houses. I’ve relied on the kindness – and the network connectivity – of strangers and friends.

Although I’ve managed to get most things done, the pain of the slow wi-fi on a recent train journey from London to Newcastle, the general unreliability of my 3G dongle when away from the centre of large towns, and the continuing inability of O2 to provide decent data coverage for iPhone users have cast me into the fourth circle of network hell on far too many occasions for me to feel comfortable about the cloud.

I’ve come to rely more and more on the applications and data that reside on the hard drive of the laptop that I carry everywhere. So I can see why Microsoft’s decision to walk a careful line between a full operating system loaded with all the applications you can ever need and its Azure cloud platform makes sense.

Windows 7 is not going to be the end of the line for Microsoft operating systems.

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