As seen on Slashdot, Microsoft has recently started selling “Windows XP Starter Edition” in far-eastern countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. One of the larger limitations is that you can only run three applications at any one time. In a breathtaking example of positive spin, Microsoft say that this limit “helps [users] stay organised and reduces confusion.”
I predict a resurgence in the popularity of the kitchen-sink Mozilla Suite and various associated extensions :-) That is, of course, assuming that the removal of half the networking capabilities doesn’t stop it from working altogether. How’s our Thai support? (Oops. Not good.)
Ironically, Gartner think that this move will frustrate users (well, duh!) and increase piracy.
At any one time, Windows is running more than three applications. What does it consider an application? Just install a bunch of Java applications and create a Java launcher program so that you can run say 20 applications, but they are all one process to the OS.
I think the point is that most people using Windows Starter Edition will be people who don’t know how to set up a java launcher or use the Mozilla Suite. Those people will be using the real windows.
I guess that by “applications” they mean what’s listed in the Application tab of the Task Manager. I got three there right now, although the only taskbar application is Firefox… I’d have to kill my firewall to use MS Word! ;-)
Remember the MS proclamation that IE is so closely tied in Windows code, it’s totaly impossible to tear it out and sell Windows without it. Take in the account this fact together with same-way impossible tearing out the other functionalities and you must come to the conclusion, the functionalities are there, but only disabled. I guess that as soon as the crippled Windows arrieves a description of how to hack it out into full blown Windows appears on the Net.
AIUI, this arose an arrangement to get money out of the Thai government. They refused to pay for their licences (as MS had no jurisdiction), so MS negotiated to sell them very cheap (possibly cut down) versions. This seems to be to justify the accesability of the MS platform to weaken the argument for OSS whilst strengthening that for creating a precedent for prosecution of pirates. I doubt they expect many people to actually use the nobbled version. Remember: sales to MS = tax. Very beneficial to some parts of government, if not government (and certainly not the people of the country) overall.
As for IE, they integrated it with the file manager. They’d have to write a new file manager to take it out. That’s not true of other sub-systems.