I read an interesting post and comments over at Download Squad recently. It was entitled “What programs do you load after a fresh windows install?” and it outlines many great programs to improve your desktop experience. Most I had heard of, a few new gems I hadn’t.
Two things struck me. One, now that I use my Zonbu as my principle home desktop, I don’t load things. I don’t worry about things. They’re just there. I don’t re-install windows. In fact, I just bought a brand new fancy-pants quad core PC, almost exclusively for gaming. I haven’t hardly loaded a thing on it except Call of Duty 4 and Test Drive Unlimited. I do all my nuts-and-bolts stuff on the Zonbu.
And secondly, as you look down the list of apps that the authors and subsequent comments suggest, the vast majority are freeware and/or open source. In fact, most of them are available on Linux (with the exception of the spyware and anti-virus tools).
What that left me with was the distinct impression that the operating system itself is largely going away and applications are going cross platform…
Moreover, it gave a good check list for the Zonbu product managers to run through and benchmark against. If I was a product manager for Zonbu I’d go buy a base model PC from Best Buy (say $500 budget) and then load on the suggested applications from that article. I’d note how long it took me to locate and install them all, how many reboots were necessary and what functionality I had at the end. Then I’d benchmark the Zonbu against it, being brutually honest about where it is above, similar too and below the Windows experience. Then I would set about adding and updating any apps that the Windows machine proved more effective and optimizing performance to match or exceed the Vista Home box.
I feel that Zonbu has moved in to the 90% realm, where they have 90% of the desktop right for what it claims to be (which is a staggering achievement). If they can push further in to that last 10% I think they will be unstoppable.
A few things still on my requirements list are web cam support (this is critical and Skype 2.0 may provide the answer), the Pidgin 2.2.0 instant messenger update (with Zonbu icon customizations etc), serious improvements in flash performance or at least a tool to allow me to have MPlayer play my flash content from other sites, not just YouTube (which reminds me, what the heck did http://www.thestreet.com do to their feeds? They used to work on the Zonbu now they are horrific). The Photo editor, the GIMP needs to go to 2.4 and font support needs to be fixed so I can annotate photos and perhaps some of the clip art and other extras from the Oxygen Open Office spin-off of Open Office could be added (or perhaps avaialble via a special Zonbu online storage/download on demand function).
Aside from the webcam issue and the on-going video driver/flash video performance challenge, I think the other items are largely secondary. That being said, this is a critical time for the Zonbu and now is the time to shine. Keep those updates coming and you’ll keep us happy.
You can read the post over at Download Squad here: http://www.downloadsquad.com/2007/11/16/what-programs-do-you-load-after-a-clean-windows-install-ask-dl/