Choose Your Operating System

Someone is thinking of decoupling the operating system from the hardware when it is being sold.

Computers in the European Union should be sold without a bundled OS, according to this submission to the European Commission. It says that the bundling of Microsoft Windows with computers is not in the public interest, and prevents meaningful competition in the operating system market.

It sure will give equal opportunity to the competition. This will help in breaking a push from Microsoft to endorse its products by the manufacturers. I am tired of seeing clauses like “… recommends Windows …” or “built for Windows …”, when other OSs work perfectly fine on them, sometimes even better. This will even encourage the hardware companies to release drivers for other platforms. Although this sounds anti-Microsoft, I think this will let the users give a serious thought to the decision and probably appreciate the OS more. There more than just a couple of cases, where people have chosen to use an older version or a completely different OS.

Zoli Erdos asks if this is good for you, the end user? This is like a shift of responsibility from the computer manufacturers to you. There can be three scenarios – either you are interested in selecting an OS, or you consider it to be a hassle, or you simply cannot choose one. In the first case, you will get a chance to learn about other options and inform yourself. In the second case you can go with Windows, in case that is your default. But in either case this lets you make a conscious choice, instead of picking up what is available.

The problem will be in the last case, when choosing the OS will be big enough hurdle to just not buy the PC. Another big problem will be the support that you get from the machine manufacturers. Most of the OS queries will be rejected right away because they will not be responsible for your choice. This is the biggest disadvantage of shifting the responsibility from the manufacturers to us. And I am sure more dynamics that will change.

I am not sure whether the recommendation is good or not. I am biased with my preference that I do not use Windows, and I end up reinstalling over it. But at the same time I am aware that many are not in a position to choose an OS, and a pre-installed machine is necessary for them. Maybe this will warrant another layer between the manufacturer and you which will provide the service of helping you select the OS and making the machine ready with it. What do you think? Will this help or hurt?

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. indyank said:

    If the PC manufacturer isn’t going to support other OS and the PC manufacturer is not going to be responsible,wouldn’t it affect its reputation and business?

    introducing another layer will add up to costs and that is going to hurt the consumer.The best is for the PC manufacturer to certify the OSs tested on his machine that will let the consumer know the risk of using an unsupported OS…

  2. Tony said:

    What’s gonna end up happening is that instead of the discount OEM software, the store will sell you the same copy of Windows for the full consumer level price. They will charge another $50 on top to install it for you.

    So the type of uses that buy a new PC when the old one accumulates too much malware.. they’ll end up paying more for the same thing.

    Anyone who knows what they are doing though, will probably save.

    As an added bonus, more college students can work part time, installing OS for friends, neighbours, and relatives 😉

  3. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    Interesting points there indyank and Tony. A cost increase might pose this against the user’s interest. It seems like we are looking at two kinds of computer users – people who know what they are doing, and the ones who do not, or do not want to know. And these approaches seem to be for only one of them. Can we come up with a balanced approach?

  4. Nitin said:

    This is indeed such a refreshing change. As one who has recently suffered because of the MS lobby – there wasn’t a single laptop available in the market with Windows XP instead of the Windows Vista, and I wanted XP. It is time we got pro-active about our choice in this matter.

  5. amj2007 said:

    as I said before on other websites, it could oblige other software computer companies, microsoft included, to come out with their OWN BRAND of computer like Apple@ computers did. E.g. Microsoft Peaches@ computers.

    but would it be compatible with each other, that’s another matter…

  6. Gramps said:

    The argument that the computer manufacturers will not support their systems is based upon the fact that they will not support the operating system unless it is the one that they chose to install as default. By eliminating the “default” choice, we give these manufacturers the capability of returning the support of Microsoft’s systems to Microsoft who should be supporting it anyway because they built it, or screwed it up, depending on your point of view.

    Elimination of software support from the manufacturers’ costs could and should result in lower hardware costs.

    And then there is the possibility that being forced to support their products just might make Microsoft build them correctly. (No, I won’t hold my breath.) For most of us, even Microsoft users, the support method will remain “search the WEB”.

    The only thing that I see as a requirement for OS systems is that they must develop and include a Wi-Fi control application that allows the user complete control of the Wi-Fi connection, and includes by default WPA(2) security.

  7. Nitin said:

    The “default” system that ships with the operating system is just an example of the marketing muscle power of the big daddy companies.

  8. OS Market Share | iface thoughts said:

    […] upgrade for the majority on Windows, and is offered by many manufacturers as default, which might change. Popularity of an OS is affected by two factors – marketing and education. Apple has improved on […]

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
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