From earlier this week, a report that Windows is producing a limited version of Windows 7 that will be cheaper and faster for netbooks to run. The big difference being discussed? You can run a maximum of three applications at a time….
The company claims most users wouldn’t be affected by the three-app limit. “We ran a study which suggested that the average consumer has open just over two applications [at any time],” Painell claims. “We would expect the limit of three applications wouldn’t affect very many people.”
However, Microsoft told journalists at last year’s Professional Developers Conference that 70% of Windows users have between eight and 15 windows open at any one time. “That’s probably talking across all users,” Painell says. “That’s talking across enterprise and business as well, which is a very different segment.”
I would love to see that study, just to know how they measured “applications”. I have seen elsewhere mention that antivirus software will not count, but what about other background processes like network monitoring tools? How is this being counted? If I pull up the calculator, does that count against me or is that just part of the OS?
Also, who were these users and what were they doing with their computers while being monitored? I absolutely grant that much of my computer usage falls in the high-usage category and thus Microsoft would be perfectly happy expecting me to use the more powerful (and expensive) version of their OS. But right now, I’m sitting on my sofa with a cup of coffee (okay – half coffee half hot chocolate) reading my email while doing some web surfing (and writing this) and looking over the assignment I wrote yesterday to catch any final typos. That is three applications right there before you count that I have my IM client open and one of my emails I just read had a pdf attached to it.
This is the part where not being an OS expert could be the problem, but I also have a hard time seeing how capping the number of apps leads to a more efficient operating system. Is the idea that the OS would run intolerably slow on a netbook with more than three apps going so users are just being kept from putting themselves in a context that will make the OS look bad? Or are there games that you can play with simplifying your caching algorithms or processor allocation that work if you are capped at three apps but fail when you have the possibility of twelve apps to deal with? Basically – is the cap just a cap, or does the cap enable them to actually change the way that the OS works in order to get efficiency advantages?