Saving your desktop from Microsoft without getting off XP (or the Diet Coke Desktop)

Every year we have to replace our desktop machines, or at least upgrade them. Every year we have to reinstall WINDOWS, deal with a virus attack and battle adware. Today’s New York Times piece by my friend Saul got me to thinking about how I’ve been able to triumph over the “WINDOWS is productivity killer” meme that is circulating in the blogosphere.

How have I been able to make my machine lightening fast and spyware free?

Simple, I’ve kicked out all of my Microsoft products and replaced them with Open Source products. So, I get the benefit of being on an OS that is used by 90%+ of the people out there without all the headaches. If I need to use IE or WORD I do, but 95% of the time I’m using Firefox, Notepro (not Open Source), Thunderbird (still getting the hang of it), and now Gaim. Take a look at this chart I created by hitting CTRL-ALT-DEL and looking at Processes in teh TASK Manager. Note: I tried to do the same thing in each application and loaded each from scratch (i.e. loaded Google.com in both browswer, no documents in each word processor, same number of emails in each mail client folder, etc).

Category

Microsoft

Other

Savings

% Saved

WP

25,184

14,436

10,748

43%

WORD

NotePro

IM

58,000

16,000

42,000

72%

AOL/MSN/Yahoo

Gaim

Browser

45,848

22,682

5,562

20%

IE

Firefox

Email

45,848

20,384

25,464

56%

Outlook Express

Thunderbird

Total

157,276

73,502

83,774

53%

Now, a lot of saving abovehalf in factcomes from consolidating my IM clients, but you can still save about 40-50% of the memory your system uses by going with “light” version of popular Microsoft software.

The time is now for Microsoft to release Office Lightthe Diet Coke of the Desktop world. Come on guys, we want speed and stability over features. I use 5% of the features in your products, but my desktop is slowed to a crawl because of the other 95%. Can’t you start your products in light mode and have a switch that turns on the other features?

If Microsoft doesn’t respond to the marketplaces need for light, low-cost applications you’re going to see them loose massive marketshare I believe. There is no reason why a company could not toss out IE for Firefoxin fact most companies should it they want to keep up productivity. It is only a matter of time before this trend moves over to the Office space.

Now, this is a huge opportunity for Google and Yahoo. I’ve been saying this for five years, but Yahoo would get another 20% of my desktop time if they gave me a notepad that saved to my briefcase on Yahooand I would pay for it! Come on Google, same with you guys. Where is your IM program? When are you going to come out with an Office suite? The web is the new desktop, and light applications are what the world wantsit’s not a feature race no more! Get in the game guys!

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