One of the best investments I’ve ever made is in the Microsoft TechNet and MSDN programs. For a few hundred dollars per year, I have access and multiple license keys to test practically every bit of software that Microsoft makes: applications, operating systems, you name it. Aside from participating in beta tests, these programs often get early access to upcoming Microsoft products. That’s what’s happening with the Windows 7 Release Candidate as well: it arrives on April 30th for TechNet and MSDN subscribers; the general public will see it five short days later.
The timing of the RC is actually perfect for me. I just downloaded and installed Ubuntu 9.04 on my netbook yesterday and I’m thoroughly amazed with it so far. I’ll have more thoughts on that later as I get my hands a little dirtier with it, but from a netbook standpoint, comparing Ubuntu 9.04 and the RC of Windows 7 should prove useful. You actually can compare them side-by-side with a dual-boot setup, although even in that case, you can only run one of the two at any given time on the same hardware. I actually did set up a dual-boot yesterday: Windows 7 beta was already on my MSI Wind and Ubuntu gave me the very simple option of installing in a dual-boot configuration. As I said about Jaunty Jackalope yesterday: it’s most impressive and may well have caught up with Microsoft Windows in many ways. Based on the commentary from that post, many others seem to agree.
Anyway: mark your calendars for the release candidate of Windows 7. With Vista not necessarily the best option for netbooks with relatively meager hardware, Windows 7 is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated operating systems out of Microsoft since Windows XP back in October of 2001.