Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Microsoft: scared or stupid?

With a reactionary title like that, you might imagine that I have a hard-hitting article full of insights and interviews and evidence.

Microsoft has released a beta version of their next OS, imaginatively dubbed "Windows 7." I actually don't mind the name that much; I think that XP and Vista are silly names for versioned software. "What version are your running?" "Butter Hammer Pecan Movement!" Naturally, everybody and their dog wants to see about the next version of Windows; chances are that they will have to, anyway, once Redmond stops supporting their OS of choice or their hardware fails or their machine gets too old and crusty.

For quite a few years now, people have used peer-to-peer programs, applications, and networks to transfer large amounts of data semi-anonymously. Remember Napster in the Bad Old Days? Nowadays, most people use BitTorrent to transfer large files, and rightfully so; the algorithm is pretty efficient and makes great use of limited network bandwidth by spreading around the traffic burden in a sensical manner. A lot of Linux distros have used BitTorrent, since they operate on a limited budget and bandwidth costs. I know that other projects use BT to spread around large media files.

Also there's something about piracy and porn. Whatever.

So either Microsoft doesn't want to use BitTorrent (if so, my guess is NIH syndrome- look at Silverlight, their response to Flash) or they don't know about it (seems amazingly unlikely, but possible; perhaps the decision-makers don't get good info). Folks are using BT to distribute the Windows 7 beta anyway. Be nice to legitimize it, right?

I'm at a loss.

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