The pre-beta version of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system released to developers at the Professional Developer Conference has already made it onto prominent BitTorrent sites, where thousands of enthusiasts around the world are currently downloading it.
(Credit: Pirate Bay)
Well known BitTorrent sites such as The Pirate Bay and Mininova were at the time of publication hosting multiple downloads of the newly aired operating system — both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
On The Pirate Bay, one copy of the 32-bit build had over one thousand people uploading it, and almost 7,000 people on the way to downloading it. The 64-bit version was less popular, with the earliest copy available on the site having only around 100 people hosting a copy and around a thousand still downloading it.
There were complaints that the version offered wasn't the latest build, but instead the stable one given the delegates and therefore didn't have the revised taskbar. Complaints also abounded about how slow the download was considering the lack of people seeding the file.
The most popular link for the 32-bit version of Windows 7 on Mininova had a similar number of people downloading and uploading the file as that on The Pirate Bay, although the 64-bit version on this site was a rare breed with only one copy boasting 30 seeds and around 150 leechers.
Some people weren't excited. "There is nothing [sic] new in it," wrote one commenter. "I wouldn't recommend this to download. Waste of time. Happy with Vista."
Others called for a reality check. "Seriously people. This was just a PRE-beta release that was given out at a trade show so writers would write about the new version. This SHOULD NOT be downloaded with the intent of using it as an everyday system. It is just so writers could get a feel for what was to come."
Businesses might wonder what the new operating system will mean for their business. "I was in Redmond three weeks ago and had a sneak peek," said Peter Menadue, who holds the role of global director of solutions and technology, Microsoft solutions business within systems integrator Dimension Data.
"I think they've done a stellar job. Sinofsky's a genius," he added, referring to Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky, senior VP, Windows and Windows Live engineering group.
He said that what didn't come out in the press coverage about Windows 7 were all the bits of the operating system which would be interesting to enterprise, with aspects like application security, data security and application deployment getting a facelift.
The support for virtualisation was something Menadue flagged as being of interest to business as well as Microsoft's pledge to maintain application and driver compatibility with Vista.
Dimension Data will get the M3 code for Windows 7 before the end of the year, which will allow it to start an early deployment program internally.
Menadue said there had been a lot of interest in the operating system because there had been much less information than there was on previous releases, with Microsoft carefully controlling what reached the press, but added that with the current climate, companies were focused "on the here and now".
These comments were echoed by Jo Sweeney, advisor at analyst firm Intelligent Business Research Services. "What tends to happen [in times like these] is that IT professionals get much more focused on proving and not improving," he said. "People will [move to] Windows 7 because if they can put greater management features into it, it will solve some of the problems of desktop computing."
Over 80 per cent of IT costs go into the day-to-day running of IT, Sweeney said — keeping all the PC's running, making sure everyone has the right patches — and Microsoft's dynamic IT strategy, in which Windows 7 is a part, will make that easier, by allowing the separation of applications and user profiles from the operating system. This will allow anyone anywhere on the network to access their profile.
People doing best practice desktop management will already have realised those improvements, Sweeney said, with Microsoft's direction being a reaction to the market, although he admitted it was a good one. "How do they execute?" he asked. "Question mark."