One more reason to use Windows 7?

I'm not a big Microsoft guy. I use their products, I support XP, Vista, and Server 200*.

I'm not a big Microsoft guy. I use their products, I support XP, Vista, and Server 200*. It's hardly a passion, though and I don't usually write articles singing the praises of Windows XP Home on the average netbook. I don't tend to get really excited about paying for software either. However, it does appear that the company has put together a pretty solid operating system in Windows 7, impressing reviewers even in beta form.

I, however, am also an ed tech guy, with an eye toward the cheap, easy, and useful. Cheap continues to lead me towards netbooks (obviously), and I utterly bristled at Microsoft's 3-application limit for the Windows 7 Starter Edition that will be bundled with most netbooks.

While it's true that most folks would rarely use more than 3 apps on a netbook, it wouldn't be too hard to hit the ceiling. At the moment, for example, I'm running Firefox, an IM client, Skype, and Xournal. That's 4. Of course, I'm running Ubuntu, so I have no such limitations.

Now it looks as though Microsoft will be lifting that limitation, making Windows 7 a more attractive deployment option in our 1:1 and netbook programs. Previously, I struggled to justify licensing costs when the Starter Edition would leave my users (especially older students) wishing for more. Now, what I hope will be the relatively low cost of entry for Starter Edition and the extraordinarily large Windows ecosystem will make Linux a tougher sell.

To be honest, unless Microsoft includes a reconfigured desktop along the lines of Moblin or Ubuntu Netbook Remix, I won't be personally jumping on the Windows 7 bandwagon. However, it will certainly be a tougher call for larger deployments. It remains to be seen precisely how Microsoft will differentiate Starter Edition; other limitations might still be more significant (domain-join, for example).