Please don't take our XP away from us!

The users are asking, ok screaming, to Microsoft to please, oh please, don't take our XP Pro away from us. So far the big dumb company from Washington state is ignoring their customer pleas.

Of course, Microsoft already backed off killing XP Home once they figured out that Linux was eating their lunch in the hotter than hot UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) market. If they have any brains - questionable these days I know since Mr. Bill is leaving -- they'll revive XP Pro too, since XP Home is useless for business network users.

Well, Microsoft may not be able to buy a clue, but the big OEMs aren't half as dumb, not do they have to try defending the crapware operating system known as Vista. So it is that Hewlett-Packard, Acer and Lenovo, that's number 1, 3, and 4 in global PC sales, will continue selling XP Pro until June 30th. Dell, number 2, will stop selling XP Pro systems on June 18th.

Even after June 30, most vendors will be happy to let you upgrade - or as Microsoft would have it downgrade - to XP Pro from either Vista Ultimate or Business. The difference is that you'll need to specifically ask for the OEM do this for you. For more details on how upgrading from XP to Vista will work, see this poorly written MSDN (Microsoft Development Network) posting.

You should note, however, that if your PC normally comes with Vista Home Premium or any other version of Vista, you don't have the right to get XP Pro instead. You and your vendor can probably find a way to pull it off, but you'll probably end up paying more.

In fact, I see Microsoft's restrictions on XP Pro, amounting to yet another Microsoft tax. To get the Windows you want, you're going to need to pay for either an expensive version of Vista-Ultimate or Business-or buy both Vista Home Premium and XP Pro.

If you're sick of paying Microsoft for operating systems you neither want nor need, let me point out that you don't have to buy Windows for a great desktop these days. The days when you needed to be a tech guru to run Linux are ancient history. HP sells laptops with SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop). Dell offers Ubuntu 7.10 on several of its systems and Dell will soon be offering Ubuntu 8.04 on its PCs, laptops, and its forthcoming UMPC. Acer will soon be offering Linpus Linux on its UMPCs and laptops. Finally, I personally love running SLED on my Lenovo ThinkPad.

In other words, you can still have a brand-name computer running a top desktop that can work with your business network and pay a lot less than you are now. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a good deal to me.

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