Microsoft has recently announced updates to what will be restricted in their upcoming update to Windows Vista "new" version of Windows 7, specifically their starter edition.
They have removed the 3-application limit, which is good news for whatever unfortunate soul happens to have to suffer through the OS on a machine. However, they still have some rather unusual limitations in place.
Some of these restrictions I agree with, although for different reasons then why M$ is implementing them. The ones I agree, at least in part with, are mainly the media centre choices. M$ is excluding media centre from the starter edition, which prevents users from viewing DVDs, music, or any other media for that matter. This may sound like an absurd idea for an OS to do, but in the aspect of what an operating system SHOULD be... On OS should not be loaded with a huge amount of extra junk, nor should the OS dev team have to concern themselves with such software. Windows is an operating system, not a media suit. If you want quality media playback software, look into VLC Media Player; it's faster, supports FAR MORE codecs, more user-friendly, and loads lighter resource-wise. What M$ should do is sponser some development from them, seeing that they are OSS; then just bundle that optionally when the OS is installed. Saves them dev time, money, and the user will get a better product!
Another feature they are excluding is their Aero Glass, (no, windows7 isn't just Vista re-labeled....), which I agree with because it's really only use is providing semi-transparent window borders at the cost of tremendous GPU resources. This was also another attempt by M$ to copy already existing software (Compiz Fusion [formally known as Compiz and Beryl], and Quartz), but of course failed miserably due to a complete lack of features.
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A few other features, which are arguable, include AD domain support, multi-user logins, and multi-monitor support. The AD support I see as they want corporate customers to purchase the more expensive versions, although this probably could have been done better via their EULA instead of hard restrictions. Multi-user logins probably isn't a huge deal, as many of the machines barely will have enough resources to support the oversized hog that windows has become, let alone multiple instances of it. Multi-monitor support however probably should have been included. This is one rare area where M$ did something right. Multiple monitors are usually picked up quickly and easily enabled, something just recent to the *nix variety of OSs, (at least if you're lucky enough to be running an nVidia card). I guess their thinking here is that if people can't play movies, (because of course there is no other media player other then THE Media Player...), they don't need to display anything on a TV either.
However, the last feature that I have to comment on is their choice for the desktop wallpaper. They have opted to prevent the user from changing it, same with sounds and color schemes. WTF is M$ thinking with this move, (other then the obvious 'irritate the user into giving us more money for BS glitchy software'). Despite the fact that the starter edition is designed to be the base limited version, this is still a bitch move.
Now, these arguments are all null and void in respect to the argument that multiple subversions of the same piece of software are redundant, pointless, and just end up annoying end users and aggravating techs who have to deal with the complete lack of administrative tools in their lower end releases. This however is another h8.
If you would like to read the full article straight from the M$ blog, Check it out on windowsteamblog.