Windows 7 launches officially next week (22 October), and to mark the upcoming event, three bulky packages arrive from publisher Wiley. Yes, Windows 7's assault on the world's forests is underway.
First out of the heavy-duty jiffy bag is Windows 7 Secrets (£29.99) by Paul Thurrott (he of the SuperSite for Windows) and Rafael Rivera (who is behind the techie WithinWindows blog). Weighing in at 1.58kg and 1,080 pages, there's more here than most users could possibly want — and it's definitely user-focused: the chapter entitled 'IT Pro: Windows 7 at Work' starts on page 984. But do you really want to thumb through a weighty tome such as this rather than explore the authors' web sites? We do appreciate the writing style, though. Here's Thurrott and Rivera on IE: 'To say that Internet Explorer has an ignoble history is perhaps an understatement'. Can't argue with that.
And so to the second tome, Windows 7 Bible (£26.99) by Jim Boyce. This pips Windows 7 Secrets by clocking up 1,248 pages and tipping the scales at 1.6kg. That's pretty much a small tree (a sapling anyway) all on its own. Another user-focused book, 'Bible' is drier in tone than 'Secrets' (as befits a Bible) and there's not even a nod towards the IT pro, but otherwise it's equally comprehensive.
Wiley has no fewer than 20 books on its site with 'Windows 7' in the title. It even segments the 'silver surfer' market, with Computing with Windows 7 For the Older and Wiser and Windows 7 For Seniors For Dummies. You'll certainly be a lot older if you plough through this list. Wiser? We can't possibly comment.
Amazon UK currently lists about 90 Windows 7-related books. Let's make some (tenuous) calculations. The two tomes mentioned above run to about 1,200 pages and weigh 1.6kg, which gives us 1.33g of paper per page of Windows 7 wisdom. If we assume an average of 500 pages per Windows 7 book, that gives us 60kg of paper for one complete 90-book Windows 7 library. Print runs? No idea, but let's be conservative and say 1,000 copies of each book. That gives us a grand total of 60 metric tons of paper devoted to Microsoft's upcoming OS.
Now Wikipedia tells us (I said these calculations were tenuous) that it takes about 24 trees to produce a ton of paper using chemical pulping or 12 if mechanical pulping is used. Let's assume a mixture of methods and go for 18 trees per ton of paper. Still with me? So it looks like the entire English-language Windows 7 oeuvre will cost the planet around 60x18=1,080 trees.
So think carefully before you turn over a new leaf, branch out from XP or Vista, and go rooting around for printed info on the latest Windows.