As Microsoft releases various betas of Windows 7 and new betas get leaked weekly, it looks increasingly like we'll see Windows 7 in 2009. The question for this blogger is, should Windows 7 make its way into Ed Tech in 2009? The answer, in the spirit of 2009 predictions and resolutions, is no, for a heck of a lot of reasons.
The first, of course, is that Windows 7 won't see the light of day before the fourth quarter, most likely. While that may or may not actually come to fruition, if it does, we all know the wait for the first service pack rule of Windows adoptions.
That being said, since Vista hasn't been as successful as Microsoft might have hoped, is Windows 7 a better choice for new hardware than Vista? That's a fine question, isn't it? My thought, however, is that the devil you know is usually a better choice than the devil you don't. Most of us have worked out the quirks of Vista and found ways to optimize the OS for security and performance, whether we actually like the OS or not.
Others have implemented systems based on Windows Server 2003 and 2008 and Windows XP desktops are ubiquitous. These systems are generally stable and, especially those based on the two latest server technologies, work quite well.
Then, of course, there's Linux. Netbooks work just brilliantly with Linux and Linux on the desktop has matured to a point that it's far easier to justify installations in an educational setting than it was even a year ago. An increasing number of Windows-only applications run under Wine, as well. So why install Windows 7, Windows Vista, or even go with the Mac OS if a free operating system works just as well? As soon as I finish writing this, I'm going to start installing Fedora 10 on my Acer Aspire One to experience a full Linux distro on a netbook. We'll see how that goes.
The point, though, is that if an existing Windows infrastructure is in place, there certainly won't be a compelling reason to roll out Windows 7 in 2009 (or, potentially, at all). If it's time for an upgrade/refresh/general change, then it's also time to consider Linux. While Linux is not the be all to end all, it has proven to be a cost-effective, solid solution in many educational settings.
What do you think? Talk back below if you think that Windows 7 is a non-starter, for 2009 or any year.