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Microsoft Developing Windows for Low-End Machines

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the no!-make-them-buy-new-hardware! dept.

Microsoft 610

Jeff writes "According to the Washington Post, Microsoft is developing a version of Windows to run on old machines that currently run 95 or 98. It would be very similar to XP, but run faster on the older hardware. The move is to appease businesses and universities that don't want to scrap the old hardware. This is likely aimed at preventing Linux from gaining market share where MS is currently alienating their customers."

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Oh geez, thin clients again. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580522)

Still in the early stages of development, Eiger will run a bare-bones set of programs directly from the desktop. The list will include the Internet Explorer browser, Windows Media Center, a firewall and antivirus software. Most other programs, however, will run off a central server.
So they aren't actually stripping down Windows like they should, but instead doing some kind of funky thin-client thing. they still need the processing to be done somewhere, so I'm not seeing the savings for the schools.

Nice that at the end of TFA, the exec still told people to buy new computers.

Re:Oh geez, thin clients again. (5, Insightful)

jpk236 (885232) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580580)

I think the point is that buying 1 new central server will be cheaper than buying hundreds of new desktops.

Re:Oh geez, thin clients again. (1, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580615)

It's a ploy to get people not to buy Linux (or Macs, which happily run the latest OS X and get faster with each release).

I imagine this "Eiger" implementation will be half-assed, because PC sales have slowed, Bill Gates rushed to the defensive and declared that the PC was not dead, and Microsoft has amped up Longhorn's system requirements to the 3Ghz area just to appease hardware manufacturers. So releasing this conflicts with Microsoft's hardware agenda of getting people to buy new computers to run Windows Longhorn. Expect this to therefor suck and have arbitrary limitations ala Starter Edition.

Re:Oh geez, thin clients again. (1, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580630)

Oh geez, thin clients again.

I think they envision a world where we can interact with discussion boards, access our banking information, send and receive emails, and even read newspapers, all through a thin client interact tool, which I believe they call a "web browser".

I, for one, look forward to this day when PCs don't need a swath of fixed-purpose thick-client software. Hopefully it happens within our lifetime.

Re:Oh geez, thin clients again. (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580753)

I, for one, look forward to this day when PCs don't need a swath of fixed-purpose thick-client software.

Do you also look forward to not having the option of "owning" any of the software you have on your machine? To needing to pay a monthly subscription to use your own computer, just like phone, cable, or power bills today? To having the possibility that whoever controls the server will decide to do away with a package you consider absolutely critical, and you have no recourse whatsoever?


I, for one, do not. I'll put up with needing to maintain my own PC, as long as I get to call it "my own pc" and have it function how I want.

Re:Oh geez, thin clients again. (4, Funny)

operagost (62405) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580781)

I, for one, embrace our new thin-client-wielding overlords.

Re:Oh geez, thin clients again. (2, Insightful)

thparker (717240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580790)

I think they envision a world where we can interact with discussion boards, access our banking information, send and receive emails, and even read newspapers, all through a thin client interact tool, which I believe they call a "web browser".

"Even read newspapers"? Such a lofty goal.

If that's all you're doing with your PC, maybe thin-client computing is for you. I'm using mine in environments where I still need to be able to do my work offline. And I also use my computer to digitize video, edit it, render it, etc. I really don't want to hand those tasks off to some server somewhere. I have some great software that handles the task quickly and efficiently.

Thick and thin both have their places.

MS Product Activation V2 .. (3, Funny)

essreenim (647659) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580644)

Still in the early stages of development, Eiger will run a bare-bones set of programs directly from the desktop. The list will include the Internet Explorer browser, Windows Media Center, a firewall and antivirus software. Most other programs, however, will run off a central server.

Does anyone else smell what I'm referring to in subject!

I wanted to say positive but all I see is a central server controlling our desktops more than ever before.

Re:Oh geez, thin clients again. (5, Funny)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580705)

the Internet Explorer browser, Windows Media Center, a firewall and antivirus software.

If they didn't include the first two, they wouldn't need the last two.

Buhdum-PISH. Thanks, I'll be here all week - and tip the waitress, they pay her less than me.

Re:Oh geez, thin clients again. (1)

supabeast! (84658) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580763)

I doubt this will do much for schools - most of what students need to do doesn't need the power to justify the backend server, so any cheap PC would do. In the corporate world, OTOH, thin clients are still great technology.

The savings of thin clients come from reduced administrative headaches and the ability to handle a lot of processing on a capacity-on-demand backend server. This makes it great for big corporate environments where you need a solid, stable networked system where users are doing stuff like data entry. It's a great concept, but it has traditionally come from big Unix vendors like Sun, whose thin client setups cost more per user than PCs. If Microsoft pushes a cheap thin client architecture with serious support from Dell this could actually bring the whole concept back to the corporate world.

Something doesn't make sense here... (5, Insightful)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580526)

According to the Washington Post, Microsoft is developing a version of Windows to run on old machines that currently run 95 or 98. It would be very similar to XP, but run faster on the older hardware.

Wait, since 95 and 98 barely ran on the old hardware, how is Microsoft going to make XP, a system that normally takes at least 4 times the hardware compared to the old systems, going to run at any workable speed in this scenario? Microsoft really only has two code bases for their systems (the 95/98/ME code base and the 2000/NT/XP/2003 code base), so this new system must be a pared down version of the XP code base, especially since (according to the article) service pack 2 fixes are in place for this future system. So, if they can do this for XP on old hardware, why can't they do it for modern hardware? Is it that Microsoft is simply admitting XP has a load of unnecessary crap in it?

Re:Something doesn't make sense here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580568)

you should spend less time thinking & typing and more time reading. I refer you to the FP above.

Re:Something doesn't make sense here... (3, Informative)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580723)

I normally don't respond to AC's but in this case I'll make an exception...

Windows XP requires an absolute minimum of 64 MB RAM with corresponding minimums for CPU speed, graphics cards, hard drives, etc. This is before any applications are added (don't forget, IE is so tightly integrated into the system that it is always there). Windows 95 required an absolute minimum of 4 MB of RAM, etc., and you actually could remove IE if you wanted to (although, the 4 MB requirement assumed IE was still there). That is a 8 fold difference. I was being nice when I said it took 4 times the hardware.

So, I reiterate...exactly what crap am I being forced to run in my XP system that could be removed?

Re:Something doesn't make sense here... (5, Interesting)

W2k (540424) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580675)

Of course XP has a load of unnecessary crap in it. That's how people want their OS. However, you shouldn't assume that just because an OS is based on the modern Windows codebase, it won't run on old hardware. My point is that if you shave away the "crap" in XP that won't be of any use in a school environment, offload all heavy tasks to a central server when possible, then remove all the eyecandy and trim what's left down a bit, you will have a Windows NT/2k/XP/2k3-codebase system that runs quite well on an old Pentium or something like it. At least so long as all you're using is Office and IE (or OOo and Firefox...). I tried this myself by slimming down Windows 2000 Pro to the point where it would run beautifully on a Pentium 133. It's quite doable, and would be great for all those systems still stuck on 95/98/Me.

Re:Something doesn't make sense here... (1)

hoggoth (414195) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580715)

Because this is going to be a PC that only runs IE and a Terminal Services client (RDP) into a big server.
You practically don't need ANY OS if it's restricted to JUST IE and Terminal Services Client.

Everything else comes off the big server.

Re:Something doesn't make sense here... (4, Interesting)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580742)

Ok... last year, Microsoft sued Lindows because the name had a 1 letter difference from their own Windows... and now, they're making an OS code-named Eiger... ... ...

I can only hope Apple sues the hell out of them...

not two but three (2, Insightful)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580754)

You are forgetting Windows CE. Should perfectly run on old hardware. Already has IE. Some tweaks and a citrix client....

Riding high on the FUD train (1)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580791)

Is it that Microsoft is simply admitting XP has a load of unnecessary crap in it?

I see this as part of a long-term Microsoft strategy for taking on Linux. Since this is Microsoft we're talking about, the core of the strategy revolves around marketing. If they can get the mainstream media to buy into the notion that Linux is only valuable on older hardware, then they roll out a new "Windows Lite" OS for use on old hardware, they've taken a bite out of Linux mindshare.

Of course, this strategy won't work, because as you so well put it, Microsoft isn't exactly adroit at making lightweight operating systems. Plus, the Linux seed has already been planted, and it's too late for Microsoft to define the field of battle. They lost that one a long time ago.

Great News! (5, Funny)

k96822 (838564) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580528)

The best thing about this is that they will be forced to make their code more efficient to work on slower PC's. They'll integrate that code into future versions of the OS and we'll feel that efficiency and increased quality. This will also force the competition to do the same thing, building a culture that leads to more efficient OS's. Best news I've read all day.

Re:Great News! (1)

ChaosCube (862389) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580593)

I don't know. I don't really see it your way. It's too positive given MS's softare over the last two decades. It will probably just be a stripped down version of XP, modified to run at lower processor speeds and with less RAM. I don't think there will be any actual improvement, just a bunch of duct tape on the OS. Of course, we won't know until it's released, but I see this scenario as more believable than your scenario.

Re:Great News! (1)

mbelly (827938) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580622)

I'm guessing that the performance boost will come more from not having 85 extra things running in the background that are on standard XP. This would free up bunches of RAM on an older system, giving it a big boost in performance. The centralized server can possibly swap out programs that are not being used anymore and install the current one you are using on the HD. So if they could provide an easy way to get rid of that overhead on this new OS, I'm sure they can do it in future SP's and releases.

Re:Great News! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580646)

RTFA, they are doing a funky kind of terminal server here... the bloated code is still there, just not on the low end machines.

Why just old machines? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580531)

why not just make a 'faster windows' all around, that runs fast on both old and new hardware? /boggle

Re:Why just old machines? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580652)

because that would require actual work on the part of microsoft

Good move (3, Insightful)

yotto (590067) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580537)

I think this is a good move for them. I have linux running on two machines that could otherwise run windows if an even remotely modern version of windows would run on them.

Sadly, since installing linux on them I've fallen for it and wouldn't change back unless there was some compensation involved.

Re:Good move (1)

harley_frog (650488) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580599)

I have Linux installed on several workstations (mostly public access points) and would not go back to Windows on any of them even with a 155mm Howitzer pointed at my head.

A day late and a dollar short (1)

mediocubano (801656) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580538)

It is already too late! I already had to move a few of my machines over to Linux b/c they were so old and did not have what it took to run Windoze (RAM mostly). And now that I'm free of that Windows virus I'm not going back!

This will be good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580540)

Many of us in the higher ed space have to use older machines and the RAM/HD requirements are painfully cost-ineffective to try and run XP Pro.

kick ass (1)

grahagre (459342) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580541)

i'm actually pleased to see microsoft doing this. having gnu/linux run on old pc's as network clients isn't always the best (because come on, most people think windows is the only os ever made). why the hell didn't they do this 2 years ago?

Re:kick ass (1)

grahagre (459342) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580575)

wow, thats an embarrsing typo having pc's. don't even flame me on this. i know.

Microsoft is not safe (5, Funny)

jaymzter (452402) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580543)


Folks, this Microsoft thing just isn't taking off. So many versions of Windows and code forks. For business reliability and maximum TCO, take a look at Linux!

Re:Microsoft is not safe (0, Troll)

DaHat (247651) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580571)

And there are fewer forks/versions of Linux than there are of Windows?

Re:Microsoft is not safe (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580607)

Wow. That joke almost hit you. You ducked just in time!

Re:Microsoft is not safe (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580700)

And there are fewer forks/versions of Linux than there are of Windows?

Bay Windows, double pane Windows, aluminum Windows, and that's just off the top of my head.

Re:Microsoft is not safe (1)

geoffeg (15786) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580669)

I really hope/think you mean "minimum TCO".. you don't really want to maximize your Total Cost of Ownership.

Re:Microsoft is not safe (1)

ComputerSlicer23 (516509) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580779)

I'll bet he really meant "maximize your ROI".

However, if really wants to maximize his TCO, I'm more then willing to do some very expensive consulting for him.

Kirby

Should have been a criterion all along (4, Insightful)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580545)

According to the Washington Post, Microsoft is developing a version of Windows to run on old machines that currently run 95 or 98. It would be very similar to XP, but run faster on the older hardware.

Umm.. Shouldn't improving performance always a metric for systems developers? Really. Apple manages to make new versions of OS X that run and perform better on the same hardware. Is it too much to ask that MS, who has significantly greater development resources, try to improve the performance of their OS?

Re:Should have been a criterion all along (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580629)

Yes, but do the objectives of the systems developers and the marketing people correlate?
Microsoft has always been about power and ease of use. Need performance? Buy more hardware.

Re:Should have been a criterion all along (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580693)

Microsoft has always been about power and ease of use.

That was sarcasm, right?

Re:Should have been a criterion all along (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580751)

OSX only has to run on 1 evolutionary line of hardware (AKA the Mac from the first with reasonable specs to the latest). Microsoft have to make windows run on ALL system set ups.

The two arn't even comparable.

Re:Should have been a criterion all along (1)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580767)

Is it too much to ask that MS, who has significantly greater development resources, try to improve the performance of their OS?

No, but Microsoft's business model is entirely based on selling more PCs. That's why they don't care about bloat, and most likely encourage a corporate culture of bloat.

Think about it, Dell charged a Windows tax on every computer sold. Try and buy a consumer PC from them without Windows and you'll see what I mean. It's in Microsoft's best interest to make every version of Windows require an entirely new computer, because then their customers will have to buy a whole new license, and not just an upgrade.

Not only that, I really think this is why MS has waited so long to solve the spyware problem. They could have solved it a long time ago, but the fact of the matter is that most people don't know how to deal with it, and they might even buy a new computer just to get rid of all the spyware that keeps coming back, so they'll pay another Windows tax.

If Apple were a monopoly, they could use this same business practice, but I would hope they'd be a little less evil.

So (3, Insightful)

Daedala (819156) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580546)

Is this due out before or after Longhorn?

The OS will only run IE and Windows Media; everything else will be on an application server. I do not think this solves the actual problem. We have terminals.

Re:So (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580734)

But I could run Linux and use a terminal server to do this couldn't I?
Man this seems like a really bad idea all the way around.

standalone? (4, Interesting)

Coneasfast (690509) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580547)

Still in the early stages of development, Eiger will run a bare-bones set of programs directly from the desktop. The list will include the Internet Explorer browser, Windows Media Center, a firewall and antivirus software.
Most other programs, however, will run off a central server.


so can this replace old stand-alone machines that aren't connected to any useable server?

why not use it on newer hardware then? (4, Interesting)

ecklesweb (713901) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580548)

If it's made to run faster on old hardware, then why wouldn't I prefer this speedier system on my new hardware? Sounds like they could just take some of the bloat out of Windows XP and come up with an altogether better OS, rather than forking.

Let me be the first to say.... (3, Funny)

AnObfuscator (812343) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580549)

from TFA:
"SEATTLE -- Microsoft Corp. is working on a new Windows-based operating system designed to help companies make older machines run better."

bwa ha ha ha ha ...
I'm sorry, I just can't read any further; if I laugh any harder, I may rupture my appendix.

Dell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580550)

The people at Dell aren't going to like this. Why buy new machines if the old one works just fine?

is this it? (0)

justforaday (560408) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580561)

Is this going to be the stripped-down barebones version of Windows that many of us have been wanting for years? Here's hoping so. Now maybe I'll just go off and RTFA...

How? (4, Insightful)

bobbis.u (703273) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580563)

Are they going to do this by stripping out features (Windows Starter Edition style) or making it more efficient?

If the former, then I don't see it being popular for the usual reasons (see any thread on Starter Edition). If the latter, then why don't they just release a new version of Windows XP that runs more efficiently for everyone? It seems stupid that a (presumably) cheaper version of windows would run faster than the full price version.

Windows that "runs" or "doesn't suck?" (3, Interesting)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580570)

Check out the specs below. What, are they going to make another "thin client" or just a version of Windows XP that runs on something slower than a Pentium 233? These are the requirements for Windows XP Pro, from Microsoft's own site. They say it'll *run* but what they don't tell you is that it'll run slower than cold syrup trying to flow uphill (both ways) in December in Minnesota.
It'll run, but once you try to open an application, you'll wish you hadn't.

"Here's What You Need to Use Windows XP Professional

PC with 300 megahertz or higher processor clock speed recommended; 233 MHz minimum required (single or dual processor system);* Intel Pentium/Celeron family, or AMD K6/Athlon/Duron family, or compatible processor recommended

128 megabytes (MB) of RAM or higher recommended (64 MB minimum supported; may limit performance and some features)

1.5 gigabytes (GB) of available hard disk space*

Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher-resolution video adapter and monitor

CD-ROM or DVD drive

Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device"

Re:Windows that "runs" or "doesn't suck?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580802)

For sp2 256MB is not enough to make it non sucking, 512 made it snappy. Thats with antivirus running.

Windows 2000 (1)

tedhiltonhead (654502) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580573)

I've seen Windows 2000 Pro work great on machines as slow as PII-300's. Very stable, and no slower than 9x.

Re:Windows 2000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580712)

And, I've seen (and still make use of) x86 based *nix systmes work without missing a beat on a 486. Your point (besides the one atop your head)?

Faster on older h/w ? (1)

anandpur (303114) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580579)

It would be very similar to XP, but run faster on the older hardware.

Why do not thay change GUI (theme) of Windows 9x to look like WinXP

One Word (1)

dsci (658278) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580804)

Security.

Such as it is, security of XP IS better than that of 98.

Craptacular (1)

kaje103 (828985) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580583)

I find it funny how it's easier to just build an OS similar to XP, but will run quicker on lower end systems than to patch their already created Win95 or 98

don't tell me... (1)

namekuseijin (604504) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580584)

... it's the same stupid WinXP Starter Edition they were trying to get down the Brazil's government throats? Thankfully, Brazil ditched the stupid software -- whose features, among other things, a limit to the number of simultaneous windows open at the same time, 3 -- in favor of Linux for the project in question: popular micros with government finance...

Brilliant (1)

tjmcgee (749076) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580586)

It's a great idea. I don't want it, and anyone that knew a thing or two would be better off with Linux, but most people will think this is great.

What will it come bundled with? (3, Funny)

Virtual Karma (862416) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580598)

What will it come bundled with? I hope it comes bundled with atleast IE so that as soon as people install it they can get on the web and download FireFox ;)

Already Covered This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580608)

Isn't this just Started Edition? The one that WILL NOT BOOT on Pentium 4s and Athlons?

Re:Already Covered This (1)

namekuseijin (604504) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580716)

... and opens just 3 windows at once.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580610)

If I must run Windows on my older hardware I'll just stick with 98SE. I know they quit supporting the product, but atleast I'm familiar with all of the bugs. I can't imagine the hack job they're going to release (I picture Windows ME Redux), but what do I know? I'm just the user.

The world needs 12 versions of Windows. Really. (1)

Stick_Fig (740331) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580611)

You know, wouldn't it just be in Microsoft's best interest to create a version of Windows that works really well on most computers, rather than cluttering the market with thinware? Also, how is this version different from the one that they're shipping out to third-world countries right now?

UNIX will do! (1)

jasper-la (866654) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580617)

If I wish to keep using an old computer I install OpenBSD or Slackware. That works for me! I just set up an pc with 32 mb of ram and an 500Mb harddisk. OpenBSD had absolutely no problems with it and with 30 minutes I was up and running.

WinXPs requirements overrated (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580619)

I have successfully run WinXP Pro on a 350Mhz Pentium 2 with 96MB of RAM... that is below the specified requirements, but it ran just fine. It even played DVDs and some (albiet older) games. I would think that if they just used XP Pro, maybe with some customized pre-set registry stuff, it would scale just fine down to 200-250Mhz machines. And I'm sorry, but if you are using a sub-200Mhz machine still... ouch. Ouch. And did I say OUCH? Get up to speed.

Re:WinXPs requirements overrated (1)

TummyX (84871) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580785)

I've run it on a K6-200 with 96MB of ram. Slow to boot but works much nicer than 9x.

In order to run an OS well on an older system (3, Insightful)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580625)

One simply needs to remove all the eye candy.

This is true for XP.
This is *especially* true for Linux.

Business Practices (1)

tholomyes (610627) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580634)

It would be nice if they were doing this because it came from the old-school initiative of "wouldn't it be cool if..." rather than as a business tactic to "respond to the Linux threat". And maybe, just maybe, they are.

Is it the corporations or the industry analysts that suck the life out of otherwise interesting projects like these?

which tends to confirm (1, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580635)

...that Microsoft is in cahoots with hardware manufacturers to maintain the "software update == hardware update" status quo and force people to constantly buy new hardware. Because evidently, with this announcement, they *can* create a "diet-Windows", it was just not in their best interest to do it before Linux started gnawing at their pant legs.

Toxic Vaporware (5, Insightful)

Kiaser Zohsay (20134) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580637)

Puh-leaze. Yes, this announcement is obviously aimed at preventing adoption of Linux on low-end hardware. The real question is whether or not a product will ever emerge from the vapor. How many times has Longhorn slipped? And what kind of bleeding edge hardware specs does it have? Microsoft can't build an OS with a blank check for hardware specs, so how are they going to do it on a budget?

About time (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580643)

It's nice to see a company making a program that is optimized for LESS powerful hardware, rather than the other way around. It gets old having to upgrade hardware year after year because you can no longer run the software you want to. I think it's a great idea for companies to sell "lite" version of their flagship products.

I think I've seen this before... (4, Interesting)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580645)

Microsoft is developing a version of Windows to run on old machines that currently run 95 or 98. It would be very similar to XP, but run faster on the older hardware

Hmm... I think I saw this once, and it was called Windows 2000... I can run Win2K just fine on my 233MHz PII laptop w/64MB of RAM.

Re:I think I've seen this before... (1)

tekiegreg (674773) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580708)

Really??? I've tried running Win2k on my PentiumII 350 w/128MB RAM, pretty damn slow (though theoretically doable if you have patience). Mostly it seemed 128MB RAM was inadequate granted there was frequent disk swapping. The motherboard I have could go all the way to 512, so I'm thinking about doing that.

What's wrong with the OS they run now? (3, Insightful)

TommydCat (791543) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580648)

I mean really -- my wife's uncle has a business that uses several machines from the early 90's still running DOS applications. They haven't stopped working since then and work perfectly for the tasks they do. No, they don't run the latest and greatest MS Office, but there's absolutely no reason for them to.

So... why upgrade them? If doesn't make sense to me other than MS is trying to sell more software to an already_tapped_once market.

What a waste. (3, Insightful)

jube_fl (701837) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580649)

How cheap is hardware getting these days? I mean really, I can build a brand new AMD system for less that 300$. Why would I want to run a stripped down version of XP on an older system? Half of older hardware (video/sound, etc..) drivers are not even supported in XP due to the companys being out of business. Most people only use Outlook/IE/Office and that runs fine under XP on a Pentium 2 300 with 256mb ram. This just looks like a way for Micro$oft to market XP-Lite in the US. Hardware is Cheap, It's all the damn software that is expensive. That will still be the problem for people wanting to upgrade to XP. It's all the custom DOS accounting packages/etc.. that do not run under XP is why most of my customers are still running 98 anyways.

a good idea on microsofts behalf (2, Insightful)

tont0r (868535) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580653)

while im not a fan of their practices, but from a business standpoint, its a great idea if they can actually pull it off. its a market that they have never tended to and has been a feeding ground for linux. the company i work for deals with places that have 'old' computers that dont run linux. so they end up with these systems that chug through win98. if MS can make windows XP efficient enough to run on older systems then good for them. i really dont like the fact that they are basically saying 'we loaded useless crap onto XP and we are just now getting around to it' but hey, better late then never. toNt0r

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHahahahahaha... *ahem* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580658)

please excuse me..... I haven't heard a good
joke like that since I ingested 6.5 grams of some really groovy shrooms. ROTFL

Seriously though... they think they're gonna, Whaaa?
LOL

Why? (1)

xv4n (639231) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580660)

What's wrong with DOS 6.2?

Oh puleeeeze.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580789)

What's wrong with DOS 6.2?

It's not a patch on DOS 6.22

(But 6.22 is patch on 6.2).

Here's an idea (1)

Vidael (809720) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580663)

How about writing an effecient GUI/WM with features that can be disabled by users so that you don't need a "special" version to run on "slow" hardware. There aren't separate versions of Linux/BSD for "slower" machines.

I understand that all GUI/WMs are becoming "prettier", which requires more memory, processing power, etc, but all of these features could be toggleable (is that a word?) so that when someone wants to ugprade their computer they don't have to switch to the non "low-end" version of their OS. Geez.

great news for owners of antique systems! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580676)

now your 1ghz p3 with 2gb of ram can run windows xp....

"run a bare-bones set of programs directly from the desktop."

surely the problem with windows isn't the apps running from the desktop, it's the built in "everything" resting on everything else that's the problem?

if I was that desparate for a windows thin client, maybe I'd investigate how folks have been running win98 netbooted....

Alienate high-end users instead? (1)

GrouchoMarx (153170) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580688)

OK, so they release a version of WinXP that runs on a Pentium II 300, finally, but still has all the stability and connectivity features of "real" WinXP. So.... why buy the "real" WinXP for your 2.4 GHz P4? If WinXP-for-old-stuff is more efficient than WinXP-real-version, then it will run even faster on that 2.4 GHz system.

Which means that WinXP-for-old-stuff will have to be reduced functionality, too, in order to avoid cannibalizing their existing OS revenues. Just how much and what features I'm not sure, there's plenty to choose from, but expect another "Starter Edition" fiasco.

I'm confused now. (1)

Schwartzboy (653985) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580695)

Quoth the blurb:
This is likely aimed at preventing Linux from gaining market share where MS is currently alienating their customers."

So...everywhere, then? It's much easier to just come out and say that than to string all those other words together, you know.

Stop.. (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580703)

Stop charging a ridiclous price and I might buy XP, untill then all the games I want run fine on Windows 98 and I'm not switching to any OS except dualboot Linux when I get a new modem.

Dupe! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580713)

This a dupe of Microsoft to Release a Thin-Client Windows XP [slashdot.org] By RTFA, this isn't a "lite" XP to run on old hardware, but a thin-client XP to run on old hardware with the help of a server. Big difference

Did anyone read the article? (3, Informative)

Nytewynd (829901) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580719)

They aren't really making a faster version of XP for old machines. They are making old machines into dumb terminals that run things off a central server. It will look like XP in terms of interface, but isn't anything close.

My guess is that this won't work especially well with older apps anyway. That central server would also have be orders of magnitude faster if you want to allow multiple people the ability to run their apps at the same time.

What you might see is a situation in which small offices could either upgrade each machine for $500 and get way better performance, or purchase some high end server for tens of thousands of dollars and still be limited by the junk machines you have around. Also, any PC that old has to be near the end of it's life anyway. Any money you might save by converting these PCs will probably be lost when you have to replace all of the parts over the next year.

Great for gamers (3, Funny)

zr-rifle (677585) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580724)

Will this version of Windows be the hardcore gamers OS of choice?

A stripped down, bare bones version of Windows XP is what the gamer masses have been claiming for since years. As long as there is the latest DirectX, this means more horsepower for resource intensive games without the hassle of tweaking Windows till it bleeds in order to acheive the maximum horsepower for resource intensive games.

Hell yea, bring it on! Since I do all my work on other operative systems, I'd be willing to part with some dough to add it to my multi-boot as the gaming OS of my rig, at least for those games that don't run well under the latest Cedega.

If Microsoft really cared about it users, this version would be available free of charge for registered Windows XP Home and Pro users.

Linux on old boxes... (2, Insightful)

thoolie (442789) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580725)

You know, I used to think that, "Jeeze, I have an old box (200Hz, 32Mram) and XP runs like crap on it, why don't I use linux?"

Well, I run off and pick up a nice copy of Mandrake X.X (because I like the pretty GUI and the eazy use). So, I'm thinking that linux is going to run SO MUCH faster on this old box than WinXP while still retaining all of the nice things about XP (e.g. GUI, windowing, etc). Well, turns out a high end Linux distro with the bells and whistles doesn't run any faster than WinXP PLUS ol' Mandrake doesn't have all the legacy driver support that Windows has.

My point being, I could run a stripped down version of Linux on an old PC and get good performance. But, I may as well run Win98Se and get the same speed plus better driver support for the legacy hardware. So, I don't think that Linux would be taking over the legacy PC world anytime soon, so long as people can still get 98SE. If you're not a 3l33t (or however that is spelled), Win98SE works just fine for legacy hardware and, IMHO, does not have a MUST SWITCH TO LINUX clause when the WinOS is X many years old.

OTOH, I really think old boxes work great for learning the linux basics and running a stripped down Linux if your goal is to learn and play around, not to do world processing and email.

Just my .02$

Re:Linux on old boxes... (1)

taustin (171655) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580771)

As soon as you use a graphic interface, the advantages of Linux on old hardware pretty much disappear, in my experience.

Where Linux shines on old hardware is server or firewall functions where you don't need anything more than a command line. I run eleven firewalls, almost all of them on P-133s with 32MB of memory, one of them with ten VPN tunnels. Works beautifully. No Windows product could possibly do that.

This is likely bullshit! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580745)

This is likely aimed at preventing Linux from gaining market share where MS is currently alienating their customers."

This is likely bullshit as Almost any Linux distribution today requires more hardware horsepower to run as fast as Windows XP.

Now, I know that you will all jump up and down screaming at me and moderating me a troll but try this:

Perform a dual boot install of XP and your favorite version of Linux. Then with Firefox installed on both operating systems time how long it takes from the Grub menu screen until you can see the Google search page. No matter which distro you use, Windows XP will be there at least 15 seconds before the Linux disto and in some cases XP will be as much as a minute before. And this is on the SAME hardware!

KDE doesn't do too well either (2, Informative)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580746)

Have you tried running KDE on a low-end machine lately? Or Gnome? And I mean a 100MHz pentium here with 16M of RAM. Modern Linux desktop is certainly not much of a competitor with Windows 95 on that hardware.

Obviously it's to stall Linux adoption (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580752)

in any company facing having to upgrade all it's hardware to run the latest and greatest...

Microsoft's salesmen must be having major problems out there in the market... what with no offering to keep people from switching to Linux with thin client so that they can keep their existing hardware...

so announcing this means that the salesmen can now offer a solution to those companies contemplating switching to Linux which will mean that they can stick with the nice soft fuzzy blanket of the devil they know (Microsoft) rather than the leap into the unknown of Linux...

Geriatric. Windows XP (1)

kyoko21 (198413) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580756)

I already run Windows XP on a IBM Thinkpad that is only 266MHz. The laptop's was made in 1997. And it runs fine. A bit slow but it will get you there, like a senior citizen. :-) But it's reliable.

Wait... (2, Insightful)

airjrdn (681898) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580766)

You mean there's a major popular Linux distro that runs (with GUI) fast on older hardware? Where can I get this marvel of coding technology? Obviously we're not referring to the latest versions of Redhat, Mandrake, Suse, etc. as I've NEVER seen them run responsively on older hardware.

I get so sick of the "WinXP is a hog!" whining when there's no "real" alternative that requires substantially less RAM/HD space, and runs as responsively as WinXP on newer hardware.

Fragmentation (1)

rnturn (11092) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580770)

It's why you should avoid using Windows.

Eiger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580773)

Anyone find it odd that Eiger is only letter from "Tiger"? Even funnier - E and T are two of the most commonly seen letters in the alphabet (at least, in English).

What Microsoft should do (1)

NextGaurd (844638) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580775)

Is make Windows 2000 available without charge. Just about any Win98 machine can be upgraded to Win2000 and it's quite stable. The problem, of course, is that people would use it instead of XP.

Strippie Windoz (1)

jskline (301574) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580778)

This is another oxymoron that potentially will be a bomb for them economically. Fact is that if you still have legacy hardware with a legacy OS on it, you are not likely to upgrade or repair any of it in the first place. It's the old addage of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Microsoft's not going to trudge on that.

So THATS what happened to it... (2, Interesting)

rhu (702367) | more than 9 years ago | (#12580780)

EIGER was a version of Unix being reworked by SCO when they bought whatever it was they bought from Novell. It's dealt with specifically in the contracts.

Let's see...MS needs something that runs on oldder machines and is more secure than Win95/98...yep, sounds like a version of Unix would work just fine.

Maybe that's what MS bought from Caldera/SCOGroup for $50M...?

Not gonna fly. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12580796)

This is a Bad Idea TM. A machine to "just surf the Web" sounds great in concept but in reality does not cut the mustard. Look at the Web these days. People want to watch video, read big PDFs, and do it all with "teh snappy," in other words fast page renders.

And rare is the employee who can get work done exclusively on the Web. Most will want one of: Word, Excel, PowerPoint. And for sake of compatibility they'll want versions that can read docs created by the most recent version without pain.

With a new Dell starting at $299 [dell.com] , why would one invest in

*Employee training to use the new centralized/Webified OS and workflow
*Licenses for the client OS
*License OS for the server
*Buy hardware for the server

All to keep poking along on the same old hardware? Are corporations really this short sided? A new copmuter is less than a tenth of one month's pay for someone making just $30,000 per year.
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