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Will anyone ever come up with an alternative to Microsoft’s operating system?

Recently, I have been hearing more stories of woe in connection with Microsoft Vista. Only this time, they have not just been gripes about five-year old printers not working. Instead, Vista’s lock-down security seems to be stopping programs from running. Now, I do not know which programs are affected, but I do know that the problem is serious enough have more than a few people wishing that they had never had a Vista experience. Most of these unlucky people would willingly install Windows XP if they could.

I know that Windows XP caused problems initially, usually driver problems and often problems with the speed of the then memory hungry new operating system, but by and large, backwards program compatibility was acceptable. Not with Vista. In some respects, I suppose that it is just about impossible to ensure that a new generation OS like Vista can be expected to run programs that ran fine on Windows 95, et al. And one day Microsoft had to get round to ending its attempts, and probably hobbling its new creations, in the name of backwards program compatibility. It would seem as though, with Vista, this day has finally arrived. The trouble is that many people are perfectly happy with programs that are 5 to 6 years old, because they simply work. Such people, and myself included to an extent, just don’t see why they should have to shell out money to end up with something that really offers them very few advantages.

New Microsoft Office suites do not really add any desperately needed functionality, so it is likely that many users will look towards cheaper, or even free alternatives, such as OpenOffice. Although, I have to say that while OpenOffice’s Word equivalent does a good job, its Excel and PowerPoint alternatives are not yet up to scratch for those who need and exploit the full functionality of these applications. At least OpenOffice tries to remain compatible with MS Office, so that you can work with the rest of the MS dominated known world. What Microsoft needs is a true competitor. A competitor that can offer an operating system that is a viable, and more innovative alternative to Vista and the like.

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About the only competitor, and really worthwhile alternative, to MS at the moment, is Apple, but to get the Apple OS, you have to buy an Apple computer. If only Apple could get its operating system installed on other makers’ computers. With the new Appletel computers it may even be possible to give users the alternative to install either the Mac or Vista OS at the time of purchase. It would be nice to have another alternative though, a totally new and original operating system that is innovative, intuitive and secure. And, in order to help users out with the arrival of future new operating systems, maybe the software producers could offer a special low cost transitionary program upgrade to registered users whenever a new version of an operating system comes onto the scene. This would make the change more bearable. Of course additional program upgrades that take place during the life of a particular OS could be priced at a more realistic level, and perhaps attempt to recoup some of the cost of the initial new operating system program upgrades.

I think the world is getting a wee bit tired of Windows, and a well crafted alternative would be snapped up. Linux, I hear you shout. Yes, I would reply, but not many serious software houses produce applications for this otherwise excellent system.

Will anything actually happen? Will we see a new OS in the next few years? I don’t really know, but I reckon the Chinese and the Indians are up to the job, and something may well emerge from on of these two countries. India, as I understand it, has been producing top quality IT experts, programmers and the like for some time now, so maybe some enterprising Indian will come up with a Microsoft beater. How about it, my ex-Paolo Sarpi, reader of this blog from India? Do you think this may happen?

I hope so.

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