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Windows 7 To Come In Multiple Versions

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the win-7-ready dept.

Windows 821

Crazy Taco writes "Tom's Hardware reports on newly discovered screenshots that reveal Microsoft is planning to release their newest version of Windows in multiple confusing versions ... again. The information comes from the latest version of the Windows 7 beta, build 7025 (the public beta is build 7000), and shows a screen during installation that asks the user which version of the OS he or she would like to install. Who's up for guessing what the difference is between Windows 7 'Starter' and Windows 7 'Home Basic?'"

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821 comments

Survey says.... (5, Funny)

TheMidnight (1055796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633105)

Windows Starter edition comes without the Pipes screensaver?

Re:Survey says.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633139)

Windows Starter edition comes without the Pipes screensaver?

But that's the best feature!

Re:Survey says.... (1, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633225)

Windows Starter is for netbooks. They've said as much multiple times.

Re:Survey says.... (4, Informative)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633409)

Where?

XP and Vista Starter edition were cut-price, limited versions for developing markets, to combat piracy. I've seen no evidence that Microsoft plans on making Starter a netbook version- that would be a bizzare branding change.

Re:Survey says.... (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633479)

I've seen no evidence that Microsoft plans on making Starter a netbook version- that would be a bizzare branding change.

And that is in what way a change of policy?

Re:Survey says.... (4, Insightful)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633589)

XP and Vista Starter edition were cut-price, limited versions for developing markets, to combat piracy.

That never made sense to me. Why would anyone put up with a hopelessly-crippled-to-the-point-of-being-nearly-useless version of Windows when they could buy a bootleg of a Pro/Ultimate edition on a street corner for almost nothing or even torrent it for free?

Re:Survey says.... (4, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633489)

Then why don't they call it "Windows Netbooks"? If "Windows Starter" is supposed to be the netbook edition, then they've managed to give it a name that actively misleads you as to what it's intended for.

Re:Survey says.... (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633277)

"Starter Edition" just lets you install Windows 7, and when it reboots, it pops up a dialog where you must either shutdown, or type in your credit card information to pay for an upgrade to "Home Basic" edition.

Re:Survey says.... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633279)

Vista in a not-so-shiny new wrapper.

Re:Survey says.... (5, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633339)

The confusion is quite ridiculous. I mean really, when the fscking salespeople need to look up tables to determine which windows versions include which features, you can tell someone somewhere in marketing has screwed the pooch badly.

Maybe MS is preying on the fact that most consumers will be too stupid to know they're buying more than they need, or too elitist to buy just what they will use instead of getting "Ultimate". Either way, they make more money.

I have nothing against them making money, but hawking feature incomplete operating systems at rock bottom price just to artificially create the appearance of choice drives me nuts.

Re:Survey says.... (5, Insightful)

tubegeek (958995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633607)

It's gotten so bad, it's not even any fun to mock them anymore - machine-gunning fish in a barrel is a challenge by comparison.

Re:Survey says.... (5, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633421)

Windows Starter edition comes without the Pipes screensaver?

The XP Starter edition was a crippled version of XP intended to reduce piracy in countries where people couldn't afford full-priced versions.

It was limited to 800 x 600 resolution, classic mode only - no theming, only three applications running, and a network restricted to an internet connection, not home networking.

The press at the time called it "cut-rate," "cheap," "crippled," and "futile. Users in emerging nations ignored it and continued pirating XP.

Expect the Windows 7 Starter Edition to have similar restrictions.

Re:Survey says.... (4, Funny)

beav007 (746004) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633439)

Windows Starter edition comes without the Pipes screensaver?

I believe it still comes with the "Tubes" screensaver though.

To start the "Tubes" screensaver, open the program with an icon that looks like a blue 'e'. Click around to different places for a little while to enable all the features.

The "Tubes" screensaver takes the appearance of the Windows desktop, getting covered with overlays that flash and blink, show pictures of naked women playing with animals, and games where you get to hit monkeys.

"Tubes" has been included with Windows since Windows 95.

Re:Survey says.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633547)

Windows Starter edition comes without the Pipes screensaver?

Yes, but you have to rub the Start button just right.

how is this news? (5, Informative)

Omega996 (106762) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633119)

I mean, my copy of the beta from TechNet says right on the login screen 'Windows 7 Ultimate'.
That would imply a product selection similar to Vista...

Re:how is this news? (2, Insightful)

Khuffie (818093) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633419)

It's so we have an excuse to flame Microsoft, as per usual.

I really have no problems with multiple versions, however...I do think Microsoft needs to cut down on the number of versions they had. The need for 'starter' is for netbooks or 3rd world countries, sure. Other than that, there should be just "Home" and "Business".

The difference (4, Insightful)

Rewind (138843) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633135)

If I remember right, starter is a stripped down version they just sell in developing countries at a big discount in at attempt to combat some piracy by giving users a low priced option. Home would just be home again like in XP. Business would be enterprise. It is the ones after that where it gets pointless and confusing. They would do better to stick with home and pro. Then an ultimate after that if they just MUST toss in extras.

So... (3, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633187)

Starter is basically the version you ask for if your going to replace with Linux.

Priced low enough that you couldn't be arsed to ask for a refund

Re:The difference (1)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633231)

I would rather see a home and business versions, with expansion packs on top of that. So you can start with home basic, then add on ultimate if you find that you need it (otherwise you have to choose up front, not knowing if the extra features on ultimate will be needed).

Re:The difference (2, Insightful)

Tassach (137772) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633319)

I'd rather see them go back to having a single version that doesn't have features arbitrarily crippled. Or at worst, a server and a workstation edition like in the NT4 / Win2K days.

My one remaining Windows box runs Win2K. I see no reason to upgrade. It runs the 2 windows-only apps I care about and a couple of games.

Re:The difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633449)

You mean like "Mac OS X" and "Mac OS X Server"?

another crippleware outrage (5, Insightful)

spankyofoz (445751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633145)

I've got big issues with artifically crippled software, where all versions come on the same install media.

It's like buying a car with 12 cylinders and having a switch hidden under the hood somewhere that controls the number of cylinders used. You buy the budget model, still have to cart around the weight of all 12 cylinders, but only get to use 4 of them.

Re:another crippleware outrage (4, Insightful)

rm999 (775449) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633233)

Your analogy doesn't work. By stripping out features, an operating system can actually run faster. My only experience is with XP, but the Home addition stripped out features most people wouldn't need, and ran faster out the box. At an extreme, a highly-regarded (but of questionable legality) version of Windows called tinyXP speeds up Windows considerably by stripping out tons of features and services 90% of people will never use.

I prefer an operating system to come lean and fast, and to allow me the option to add features I want.

Re:another crippleware outrage (4, Interesting)

humphrm (18130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633593)

I wouldn't mind the stripped down version if features could be added piecemeal. For instance, I prefer a stripped down, lean running Home Edition of XP on the one Windows box I run. But, I'd also like for it to sync my SAMBA-served home directory automatically. There's a sync tool that MS distributes separately, but it doesn't work the same, it's basically a file copier. Unfortunately I can't get the sync tools built in to Windows without upgrading to a version that has a lot of features I don't need.

THIS is why I don't like the Windows sales model.

Re:another crippleware outrage (2, Informative)

hardburn (141468) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633367)

It's more likely that they don't ship on the same install media (at least in this case), since they're likely compiled with different options. For instance, desktops want low latency premptive multitasking, while servers and (sometimes) workstations want high throughput, which could be done with a different config at compile time (it is on Linux, though the Windows kernel is a bit further towards the microkernel side of things).

It also used to be that a lot of closed source software for servers limited how many CPUs they could run on, which I'm sure was usually done with a #define in the code. Once you can run on 2 CPUs, it's usually pretty easy to run on 4 or 8, so this was purely a marketting ploy. This has gone out of style since multicore CPUs started becoming common.

Re:another crippleware outrage (4, Insightful)

carlzum (832868) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633401)

I don't mind a distinction between workstation and server versions of an OS, or a cheaper basic version stripped of bundled crap like media software and bad productivity suites (like MS Works).

But I find the Vista versions really objectionable. It's a dishonest scheme to milk PC buyers. The buyer wants to know what version is right for him, and the salesman says "you want a great looking interface for that great computer you just bought, right? Well, you'll need the Premium Edition. How about backups, you don't want to lose your files? OK, you'll need the Business Edition. Wait, you want backups and be able to create DVDs right? Great, I'll ring you up for the Ultimate Edition."

Re:another crippleware outrage (1)

isnoop (239143) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633441)

Audi and several other car makers do this to a lesser extent. If you want the "performance tuned" car computer software, you can go to a dealer and spend several hundred dollars to have them flip a switch.

You can enable a trial version of this performance tuning on your own that automatically disables after X miles.

Re:another crippleware outrage (2, Interesting)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633561)

There was an old saw about IBM mainframes I remember hearing. Don't know if it's true...

Essentially, somebody with an IBM mainframe had decided to upgrade to the next higher level and gave IBM a big hunk of money to do so. One day, the FE arrived to do the upgrade. He went over to the mainframe, pulled out a circuit board, and cut a resistor.

*POOF* 50% faster.

not the main problem (1)

immakiku (777365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633159)

I don't think the main problem with Vista is the multiple versions. Having different versions at different price-points is a legitimate form of price discrimination. It's just a slightly more advanced version of having to choose options with your automobile purchase.

Also if you think about it, the leading alternatives all force the user to make certain decisions on what features they get or not (linux).

Re:not the main problem (4, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633293)

Except your car comes with all the features, it's just that they disable the ones you didn't pay for, and call the cops on you if you get them working by yourself.

(The Vista/7 DVD has the same content for all versions, your product key controls which version is installed. Thus if you choose to skip key entry at install time, it has to ask you which version you want to install.)

Re:not the main problem (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633361)

I think the main problem with multiple versions, in this case, is that previous versions of Windows had several versions, at different prices, without actually including something that fully justified the extra cost.

The idea of having different versions for different users is a good idea, but when it is confusing and pointless it becomes just another strategy for getting profit from nothing.

If Linux was sold like Vista/7 (3, Funny)

Seraphim_72 (622457) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633417)

Salesman: Now, I can sell you this command line only version of Buntu, but of course you want more than that don't you? You are a Man who knows his Linux. Am I right?

The Mark: Um, yeah.

Salesman: Good, I can also sell you this full version of Ubuntu, all the Gnome goodness one could ask for.

The Mark: What about Amarok? Does it come with ...

Salesman: OOOoooh, you want Kubuntu then? Not a problem, we can sell you that too.

The Mark: But, I like the partition editor in Gn....

Salesman: Buntu Pen-Ultimate...gotcha, just a little more cash for a Gnome/KDE love fest.

The Mark: That sounds great .. but 'Pen-Ultimate?'?...

Salesman: Oh, you want the goodies, like an SSH server, and extra packages?

The Mark: Yeah, I um..

Salesman: Not an issue my good man, we even have financing!

The Mark: Does that include things like databases and Apache?

Salesman: Oh, no. That is just a bit more, sorry. Tell you what though, you have pluck, I like that. I'll cut you a deal.

The Mark: Really!?

Salesman: Sure, Lets see....2000 add 98 carry the 7 and ME oh my! Lets go talk to our finance department, do you prefer a 5 or 7 year loan? Things are rather tight these days I hope you have colateral like a house?

===



Epilogue



===



Friend: So the price was ... bandwidth, you have to share the release till you have handed out 4 full copies?

The Mark: Yeah, go figure.

Friend: For 7 years?

The Mark: Releases, but they come out twice a year, so 3 and a half.

Friend: Harsh, I am just going to spend my $300 plus software costs on 7.

The Mark: You do that man.



Sera

Not a surprise really... (5, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633165)

I always wondered why they didn't just call it Windows 7 or whatever code name and then distribute it with application packs, which would include application packs such as:
server app pack
home/media app pack
basics/offic app pack

The way they do it, joe public can't really be sure what version they have. Hell, there are a lot of end users that don't know if they are currently running XP or Vista (but you can tell by complaints about performance LOL).

I think that Ubuntu, Fedora and others could use with that sort of packaging also. By simply distributing the basic distro and setting up repositories for each application pack. That would make it easy to get a media server based on abc linux set up and maintained.

Re:Not a surprise really... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633329)

The way they do it, joe public can't really be sure what version they have.

You're assuming that they want us to. Be unconfused, that is. They obviously make more money by confusing the fuck out of people.

Re:Not a surprise really... (3, Interesting)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633481)

Hardly. Microsoft makes probably 1% of its revenue from boxed copies. Most people will have no clue what version of a half dozen options their Dell came with.

Re:Not a surprise really... (5, Informative)

tchuladdiass (174342) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633331)

Actually you can kind of do that with Fedora. Instead of downloading the full ISO, just download the 5-meg ISO image which contains just the anaconda installer. Then select a fedora mirror as your install server, and choose the package groups that you need as they are presented to you.

Only thing is they don't make it obvious where to grab the small ISO image. You have to browse through the the repository a bit. For example: "/pub/fedora/linux/releases/10/Fedora/i386/os/images/boot.iso"

If they screw this up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633191)

...you may actually see people start to give Windows up.

Whatever (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633201)

I love it when FOSS advocates rag on Microsoft for having several versions of Windows. How many versions of Linux are there? And how do you tell the difference between them at a glance?

Just remember, if you're buying Windows and you're at all, just go for anything that has "Ultimate" in it and you'll probably come out OK.

Re:Whatever (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633407)

There is only one Linux kernel. The different distributions, to oversimplify, are like software bundles. Different window managers etc. And for telling the difference, there's always distrowatch [distrowatch.com]. It even highlights beta components in red.

Re:Whatever (1)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633609)

Just remember, if you're buying Windows and you're at all, just go for anything that has "Ultimate" in it and you'll probably come out OK.

Sure, but should I go for Ultimate, Ultimate Basic, Ultimate Home, Ultimate Business, Ultimate Premium, or Ultimate for Workgroups?

Oh stop complaining (1, Insightful)

GF678 (1453005) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633207)

Who's up for guessing what the difference is between Windows 7 'Starter' and Windows 7 'Home Basic?'

Why guess? LOOK IT UP. If you're uncertain about Vista differences for example, there's plenty of info (Microsoft's site and wikipedia's entry for Vista) about what a certain version has or doesn't have. Yes some versions are useless (eg. starter), but Microsoft isn't trying to trick anyone, all the info is publically available. Has been for Vista and I'm sure Win 7.

Don't anyone bother doing a little googling before buying something? It's not that hard. One size doesn't always fit all.

Re:Oh stop complaining (1)

gbarules2999 (1440265) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633385)

Well, they are trying to trick people by getting you to buy an OS (Vista Basic) that lacked quite an astounding array of features that made Vista worth upgrading, if there were any. So hopefully MS made some changes to that scheme, because Basic isn't worth the disc it's printed on. That's what he's asking here.

Re:Oh stop complaining (3, Interesting)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633583)

Well, they are trying to trick people by getting you to buy an OS

Thats all you had to say.

What else is new? (1)

KatAngel (1454415) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633215)

This just in: cookies now come in multiple flavors, people will be coming in multiple skin tones, and TV is going to come with multiple channels!

Same as Vista is now (1)

freakyfreak2 (613574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633221)

This may just be copying some of the vista bits. I hope not but still it may be what we get. Consumers in the US will probably never see Starter. It is just for developing countries.

I wish they would just get rid of Home Basic and just go with Home Premium as "Home" so then we would have 3 versions, Home, Business and Ultimate.

Every time I help someone that has Home Basic my first advice is to upgrade to premium and the normally do and are rather happy with it.

Re:Same as Vista is now (1)

penginkun (585807) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633297)

Or they could just get rid of all of them and just sell us Windows 7. One version. Would that be a bad thing?

Re:Same as Vista is now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633341)

If they did that, you'd just see the Linux fanboys whining that MS was forcing people to pay extra for features they don't need and that they should offer a stripped-down version.

Price? ;) (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633229)

Who's up for guessing what the difference is between Windows 7 'Starter' and Windows 7 'Home Basic?'"

Are people still buying Microsoft? (1)

kawabago (551139) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633247)

Why? Just download ubuntu and play with it, you'll figure it out in no time.

still not POSIX?.. (0)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633255)

I had really thought they would have finally made the move on this one.

You hear that Mr. Anderson?.. That is the sound of inevitability.

Oh well, keep fighting it MS. Your only going to have to play catch up, that much more in the end..

Re:still not POSIX?.. (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633465)

.Net was invented for several reasons. One of those, if you scolled down the list far enough you'd find on the page 7, on the back of the page, was to kill off POSIX. Indeed .Net was a big "fuck you" to POSIX by reinventing the wheel.

Why would Microsoft want to make it easy to port apps to/from MS? Instead by creating .Net and only officially supporting their platform, they give the impression that you have multi-platform capability. Its just not /their/ fault your platform isn't ready yet.

Me, I'm a Qt fanboy, and I'll just keep using that and the platform abstraction therein thankyouverymuch.

Probably something like this ... (2, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633305)

Who's up for guessing what the difference is between Windows 7 'Starter' and Windows 7 'Home Basic?

"Starter" won't do much more than, well, start, and "Home Basic" will let you get your email.

When you don't know what you're doing (1)

BigBuckHunter (722855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633321)

It does appear that MS is making the same mistake again, though take the following into consideration.

As an SA, I do my fair share of on-call support for systems that I have no idea how to operate. It's not that I'm dumb, it's just that I don't have time to learn the intricacies of the 50+ custom written J2EE apps running in my enterprise. One person cannot be a MSSQL, Oracle, MySQL, Bea WLS, Tomcat, Apache, Jboss, IIS, ATG Dynamo, Unicenter, CFengine, Nagios, Zabbix, and Samba expert, and if they are, they make more than me.

Anywho... When I receive support call, I do what anyone else that doesn't know WTF they are doing should do. I look at the ticket, ctrl-c the relevant bits of the stack trace, and put that string into the JIRA (our ticket system) search box. From there, I do exactly what the last on-call SA did to fix things.

This ensures that if it was done incorrectly before, it is done incorrectly again in _exactly_ the same way.
I have a feeling MS is stealing my work methodology.

BBH

Re:When you don't know what you're doing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633411)

If you're still earning your salary, maybe Microsoft won't go bankrupt either ;)

Re:Bill Gates 2002 testimony (5, Funny)

speedingant (1121329) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633463)

He left.

Re:Bill Gates 2002 testimony (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633597)

Ballmer is going to run MS into the ground. I suppose at this point that would be just as well.

(I once had a dream that he was plotting world domination from a war room hidden the basement of an antique store in Ballard.)

Re:Bill Gates 2002 testimony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633545)

What changed? Bill left.

Re:Bill Gates 2002 testimony (1)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633551)

Nothing changed, you just didn't read closely enough. The problem was the proposed plan to let PC Makers customize different versions of Windows. Such a task is best left to the OS developer, not some jokers at Dell, HP, or Gateway.

Microsoft knows best how to offer different versions of the same OS with bonus applications (Media Center) and capabilities (Bit Blocker) without causing comparability problems between programs installed between different flavors.

Re:Bill Gates 2002 testimony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633559)

Right... because releasing windows with or without a set of standard features (which by the way, they were already doing with Windows XP when that article was written) is the exact same as allowing third parties to release custom distributions of your core operating system.

Come to think of it, Linux does it that way. Hrm, Bill might have been on to something there....

Also: 32 and 64 bit (4, Insightful)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633343)

To confuse things further: many of those versions also come in both 32 bit and 64 bit flavors.

Why Win7 is not purely 64 bit is beyond me - any recent machine can run the 64 bit version, any older machine should be running XP anyway.

Re:Also: 32 and 64 bit (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633429)

Why Win7 is not purely 64 bit is beyond me - any recent machine can run the 64 bit version, any older machine should be running XP anyway.

Because when Vista came out there was incredible buyer resistance towards buying new machines, and given the current economic environment Microsoft does not want to make the new version of Windows irrelevant again??

Re:Also: 32 and 64 bit (2, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633437)

Why Win7 is not purely 64 bit is beyond me - any recent machine can run the 64 bit version, any older machine should be running XP anyway.

There are probably some people who buy recent machines for performance or some specific features, but who still need to run peripherals for which only 32-bit drivers are available. My Mustek scanner, for instance. First they said they would never write Vista drivers. After lots of moaning from customers they finally did, but only 32-bit. Vista x64 requires 64-bit signed drivers for all hardware.

Re:Also: 32 and 64 bit (2, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633647)

Why Win7 is not purely 64 bit is beyond me

So you probably don't know about driver compatibility.

Ugh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633351)

Oh Christ. When this came up in my RSS Feed I let out an audible groan. They still have time to wise up and hopefully they will.

linux (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633353)

WINDOZE! i use linux. im better than you

It's not that complicated (2, Informative)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633369)

If you really want to know the different, pop into add/remove windows components on Windows 7 beta. You'll see a motley connection of odds and ends relating to business and home use. Most of them aren't installed and are somewhat irrelevant to you.

Basic is baseline (like XP home)
Home Premium includes media center (like XP media center edition)
Business is basically XP Professional
Ultimate is XP professional + media center

They didn't actually add any new editions except for Ultimate. I am sure the home users will really be lamenting their lack of NFS client/server capabilities.

Most of the guification will remain and all the desktop essentials are now under the Live Essentials umbrella, so the versioning should be irrelevant to everyone except people on slashdot who make it into a massive philosophical crisis.

Oh my god! They've made spins of their operating system with a feature relevant to the market and usage scenario!
Oh my god! Media center costs extra!
Oh my god! enterprise-level networking features aren't included on my mom's compaq!

This is a COMMERCIAL operating system. This is similar to the complaint that Ubuntu and Kubuntu are separate distributions because they have different software sets except they cost a different amount of money because commercial systems COST MONEY.

Let's break this down further:

Basic is for low-end bargain PC's
Home Premium is for middle-high end PC's
Business is for Business PC's
Ultimate is for enthusiasts (like beta testers and people with pony tails and translucent panels on the side of their tower-- it exists because some people will pay for it)

By offering different levels of product at a different price point, they've made their product more accessible to people who would rather pay less and just have an operating system. If you use mostly F/OSS on your windows system, you should get Basic. It's not that complicated!

Conveniently posted. (2, Funny)

Composite_Armor (1203112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633377)

It is interesting how this post came directly after the one about US UAV flight control. cough.. cough... windows7 mobile: seek and destroy cough...

Your OS tells who you are. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633393)

Windows Basic - everybody's doing it, can't hurt to try, right?
Windows Money - Big money! I'm going to improve my profits with this! I made $10000 last week!
Windows Ultimate - My monstrous wad in my pocket does all the thinking for me!

Descriptions are Gratis! from g0st. :P

we all know what the starter version is (1, Funny)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633415)

Starter - Ritalin - for the tweeny or parent who just wants to use a controlled substance without getting too caught up in the culture.

Home Basic - OxyContin - You still aren't going to make a commitment to the drug culture, but you need a stronger fix. Because it comes as a part of package, you don't need to find a dealer. If you are arrested, you can always claim it was prescibed or that the arrest is politically motivated.

Home Premium - Meth - You are know a dedicated member of the drug culture, maybe supporting pro drug use sites [stopthedrugwar.org]. Maybe you manufacture a few extra copies in your barn and deal them up on ebay, hoping the copyright police don't catch you.

Business - Cocaine - You are moving up in the big league. Money is not a problem, uoi just need the fix. You have dealer contacts, and long term contracts. Life is good.

Ultimate - Trip to Amsterdam - You have an office to make the plans, an expense account to pay for the trip, all you have to do is fly high.

But seriously, I know I am going to have to move from XP at some point, just like I had to move from NT and before that 95. It just does not give me a lot of confidence when more work may have been done creating various and arbitrary builds to meet certain price points than creating a stable OS. I mean, creating a single stable OS is hard enough. In Windows 7, MS has to build, debug, and correct dependencies of 5 different OS.

Not to be an Apple shill... (4, Insightful)

sstpm (1463079) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633457)

...but the single, common user experience is a big selling point for fruity products among people I know. Microsoft obviously can't attain a similar degree of this without controlling PC hardware, but having a single version of Windows 7 would help immensely. Joe the User won't understand why his PC is different from his wife's under the same operating system. Most people can't be bothered with learning about the different versions of the same thing. Windows should be Windows should be Windows.

Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633485)

Yes, different versions of Vista and Windows 7 are far more confusing that the 233 different *buntu versions or 29,015 Linux distros in general.

a different number to go with that different name? (1)

miserere nobis (1332335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633491)

Will one of the versions be numbered correctly? There is no reasonable numbering scheme that lands on 7 with Windows 7. Consider:

1. Windows 1
2. Windows 2
3. Windows 3.0/3.1/3.11/etc.
4. Windows 95
5. Windows 98
6. Windows ME
7. Windows XP
8. Windows Vista
9. Windows 7

Are they trying to consider 95, 98, and ME to all be one version? That seems silly from the perspective of the consumer, because they were definitely not presented to the outside world as the same version, and yet Windows 7 is an outside-world marketing name that breaks with the earlier marketing. Why not just go with Windows 9?

Or, perhaps they are pretending 95, 98, and ME never existed, and putting NT 4.0 in one slot between Windows 3 and Windows XP? It is odd that with all the hype I've seen around Windows 7, I've not once seen anyone take up the question of why the heck it would have that number.

Re:a different number to go with that different na (1)

evenmoreconfused (451154) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633651)

Not true.

The version numbers have been very consistent through the years, as has always been reported by ver at the command prompt.

The line of Windows that ran on top of MS-DOS was a different product with different version numbering (3, 3.1, 3.11, 95, 98, ME). Windows NT uses the following version numbering:

1.0: initial release (useless)
2.0: second release (nearly useless -- competitor to IBM's OS/2)
3.0: first useful release
3.5: beginning to be pretty useful, actually
4.0: NT4
5.0: Windows 2000
6.0: XP
6.1: Vista
7.0: Windows 7

At least I think that's all correct....

PS: note that Vista wasn't even considered a major release!

how many Linux versions again (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633523)

So, let me get this right... we'll have about ten versions of Windows, considering 5 editions each in 32 and 64 bit flavours.

Now, remind me how many editions of Linux there are again? "But there is more than one vendor" is no excuse - what matters to the user and developer is how many you have to adjust for.

Fat, smelly, self-centred, zealot Linux users scoffing at the number of Windows versions is the darkest coal face calling the kettle black. It's such a shame that Linux, like OS X, is an impressive feat of engineering spoiled by an overwhelming number of idiot groupies.

So what should they do then? (1)

evenmoreconfused (451154) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633541)

I know everyone here thinks they should offer Windows free -- or just disappear from the universe -- but if you were them, how would you structure your pricing?

We all know the same code base can run anything from a simple (i.e. "starter") PC running Wordpad, Outlook Express and Firefox to an enterprise server running AD on 32 cores managing thousands of workstations.

Would you (as a "for-profit" company) price the former at $1,000? Or the latter at $100?

What other alternatives do they have for a pricing structure?

 

Why not one version? (2, Interesting)

swb (14022) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633567)

Can someone explain to me why MS doesn't win by releasing one "loaded" version at some low price ($49 or something)?

The low price would work against people who might be inclined to pirate it to get some more "loaded" version, one version without artificial limitations would make it easier to support both at the end-user organizational level as well as at Microsoft level, as well as promoting a unified, less bullshit-enhanced image for Windows 7 as compared to Vista, which was an incomprehensible Medusa of marketing and phony choices.

I work for a SMB VAR and the XP home/pro split actually loses business for Microsoft when customers with a half dozen or so XP home PCs decide whether they want something like SBS and we tell them it will have limitations with XP home clients. They don't want to buy new XP licenses for the same hardware already running XP Home on low-cost boxes bought retail, but they have to if they want domain mebership and some of the gee-whiz features that come with it. They often opt out of the SBS option because they have Home and can't join machines to the domain. Seldom does anybody spring for more than 1-2 XP Pro licenses to clean up the XP Home installs.

Thus, MS loses SBS sales and almost never gets XP Pro upgrades from XP Home, either. Stupid. If there was only one version, I can think of at least 5 customers off the top of my head that would have spent money on servers & OS licenses.

I can live with the "Server" and "Desktop" OS differences, which are probably just as artificial as Home/Pro desktop if you think about it. Those seem legitimate or at least based around rational reasons and purposes. But it would be nice to rid ourselves of the Pro, Deluxe, Media Center, etc. subdivisions within each category.

New Boss Same as Old Boss (5, Insightful)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633575)

Windows 7 is a marketing attempt to remove the negativity associated with the Vista marketing campaign and name. Instead of rolling out vista with a new service pack, they are rolling out "windows 7". In reality, windows 7 is a bunch of delayed features and vista bug fixes. They HAVE to keep the same versioning system as windows vista becuase of licensing tools already in place and the way the development teams are setup. The vista team is working on the Windows 7 stuff too, as opposed to having a seperate dedicated team (which will come later). So from a business standpoint, the internal resources have no need to be rearranged for a simple marketing change.

MMxtra (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26633579)

Here is a thought... Make a OS that doesnt suck instead of many that are all useless like with vista...

Old version list (1)

ArrantPrac (1006987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633585)

From one of the comments for the article:

If you download Windows 7 via MSDN, there is a note when you retrieve your Windows 7 Beta key, which reads:

Product keys made available for the Windows 7 Beta program are for the Windows 7 Beta Ultimate edition which is the only real beta edition being made available. Please install Windows 7 Beta Ultimate edition and use the Ultimate edition with the product key provided. The SKUs you are seeing in the checked build are legacy SKUs of the Windows Vista SKU plan, and do not represent the Windows 7 SKU plan. We recommend and encourage you to focus testing and development on the Ultimate edition only.

Astro Turfin' (3, Insightful)

BlueBoxSW.com (745855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633633)

(Sung to Surfing USA)

Everybody is turfing',
Cross the USA,
Everybody is turfing',
Turfing' USA.

What a non-story. Windows 7 should be the next service pack for Vista, but then they wouldn't get to charge for it.

Left out... or relieved? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633635)

With all the advancements in Windows 7, especially the new taskbar, we can't help but think that users of the lower-tiered versions of the OS would feel even more left out if such new UI changes were excluded.

If it means the Ribbon gets left out, I'll go for Windows 7 Base Bones Budget version, thanks very much.

More Crippleware from Microsoft? (4, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 5 years ago | (#26633639)

Sad news. I hate their tiered approach. They purposely cripple the cheap versions so that some key function you need requires you to pay a hundred bucks or more for a single feature.

I'm actually pleased enough with Ubuntu and Gnome that I think I have installed my last Windows image at home, except for my work box, and that license is paid for.

MS has simply become too expensive for too little in return, and the options out there in Open Source, and even on the Mac side with it's more up front cost for hardware offer more bang for the buck with less stress and lost time spent fixing the OS.

Thanks but no thanks...
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