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One thing that the release of the Windows 7 beta proves is that the users of its predecessor are always waiting for the ultimate - though what feature-set would comprise that mythical system is not clear.

I'm really not sure what features one can keep adding to a computer operating system or to its applications in order to make it a compelling upgrade these days. What do people want - triangular windows? Or is just anything new - which this brilliant spoof from The Onion illustrates?

I was somewhat mystified by the rush to download the beta of Windows 7 and the somewhat unholy speed at which reviews of this new toy appeared on so-called tech news sites. Some of these "reviews" were written without the writer even having downloaded and installed the system. The experiences of others are quoted without a blush.

If this were something esoteric - like riding in a spacecraft - it is understandable, for not everybody can afford to have first-hand experience of such things before writing about them. But to experience all the goodness (?) that Windows 7 offers, one only needs an internet connection, a blank DVD and a PC on which to install said system.

Thanks to iTWire, I have a PC which I can abuse repeatedly by installing any operating system that needs to be examined. Windows 7 is now installed and running on that box.

A few observations follow - this is not a review. In my opinion, one cannot review anything without using it for at least 14 days - as I did for Vista, without its first service pack and with it .

First off, the certificate on the Microsoft download site was dodgy - I had to make an exception in my browser to access the page. Then, after providing all the details needed and receiving a few emails to prove the "genuineness" of my email address, I gained access to a page which had a very pretty download button.

But clicking on that button did not bring any joy - I had to view the source of the page, copy the link to the .iso image and paste it in a browser tab. Then only did my download begin.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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