It just goes to show you that sometimes enough hullaballoo can cause even the biggest of dogs to change its bark. Case in point: the hue and cry that followed the disclosure earlier this year that Microsoft’s Windows 7 Starter Edition would be limited to 3 simultaneous applications while running. Ed Bott showed that this wasn’t really a hard and fast limit anyway, because it included as many browser tabs as you might want to open in a single window, and apparently didn’t charge for use of OS-based utilities (Windows Explorer, Microsoft console programs, Accessories, and so forth).
Nevertheless, I’m pleased to report that on May 29, Windows 7 product manager Brandon LeBlanc posted to the Windows Team Blog an item entitled “Let’s talk about Windows 7 Starter.” Among other tidbits of interesting info, includes the news that Windows 7 Starter will no longer impose any arbitrary limitations on the number of apps it can run at the same time. Of course, given the kinds of machines that are typical for the netbook platforms at which it aims, I suspect that CPU limitations will still play a role in the number of apps anybody will want to keep open at any given moment.
What’s just as interesting about this posting is the list of things that Windows 7 Starter does NOT include, which I quote verbatim from LeBlanc’s posting:
- Aero Glass, meaning you can only use the “Windows Basic” or other opaque themes. It also means you do not get Taskbar Previews or Aero Peek
- Personalization features for changing desktop backgrounds, window colors, or sound schemes.
- The ability to switch between users without having to log off.
- Multi-monitor support.
- DVD playback.
- Windows Media Center for watching recorded TV or other media.
- Remote Media Streaming for streaming your music, videos, and recorded TV from your home computer.
- Domain support for business customers.
- XP Mode for those that want the ability to run older Windows XP programs on Windows 7.
To me, most of these limitations make a lot of sense. The only one I’d complain about is the multi-monitor support one: given that most netbooks offer resolution of 1024×600 or so (especially those with 10.1″ screens or smaller) it strikes me as cruel and unusual to keep me from hooking up an external monitor when one is available. The hardware includes a VGA (or equivalent) video out port, so why should the OS restrict its use?
Let’s make some more hullaballoo! Maybe we can get MS to back off on this, too. I’ve already posted this observation to the comments on the blog. Perhaps you could, too?