A person I know recently wrote a nice little blog piece about how Windows 7 is a Crossgrade. They made some really nice points, but missed the mark on a bunch of others.
First off, the statement that you do not “own” your copy of Windows is correct, this statement is also true of OSX. From the EULA for OSX, “The software (including Boot ROM code), documentation and any fonts accompanying this License whether on disk, in read only memory, on any other media or in any other form (collectively the “Apple Software”) are licensed, not sold, to you by Apple Computer, Inc.” This is why its called Licensing, and while even the GNU Public License allows one to modify the source code, there are still restrictions as to what you need to do for distribution otherwise you have broken the agreement. This is not inductive of owning the software itself.
The next thing is about viruses. I do not deny that Windows has more Malware made for it than any other Operating System, but in this case its about security through obscurity. The people who are writing the majority of viruses now seem to be doing it for money, a way to get personal information and sell it. The best and easiest way to do this efficiently is to target the weakest link, which would wind up being the end user. The majority of end user machines run Windows software. Now to be a bit more fair, Apple has finally started recommending that its users get some sort of anti-malware protection. As a matter of fact there was an OSX Botnet that was found to be active last year. Heck even Linux has a botnet which winds up distributing Windows Malware. So much for that argument.
Apple did a great thing with the $30 upgrade to Snow Leopard, and yes it has Windows beat on the price point there. Microsoft did have some good short term deals when Windows 7 came out such as special student pricing and family packs, but it does cost a bit more to go to Windows 7, and in the long run for an everyday user, it would be more efficient to get a new machine. Of course last year there were a number of companies that would send you Windows 7 for free if you bought a computer from them, a free upgrade from Vista.
Finally, is Windows 7 perfect. No it is not perfect, but it is better than prior versions, and is a step in the right direction. Nobody gets it 100% correct (Snow Leopard shiped with an old version of Flash with a major flaw), but they try. Honestly Microsoft’s OS is closer to Linux than Apple’s in my opinion, considering how much more guarded Apple is about allowing people develop for it. Speaking of Linux, I do use Ubuntu, and I love it. I would love to see more people use it, but I know that comes with some risks and more chance for it to become scrutinized more. I look at Firefox and see what could happen to Linux if it became more mainstream. Linux, I feel, first needs to become more homogeneous so people don’t have to worry about what flavor of Linux they get.
There are pluses and minuses to every OS out there, and not everyone is going to agree on everything, but at least look at things logically and thoroughly first.