When I thought Microsoft was going to extend XP's lifetime to better slug it out with Linux on Ultra Mobile PCs and Mobile Internet Devices, I was afraid Linux was going to have to fight hard for the low-end of the desktop.
Now that we know that only XP Home is going to have a longer life and Microsoft is going to have to contort itself over what systems can and what systems can't get it, I'm much happier. XP Pro was much more troublesome in my mind.
You see while XP Home will keep, well, the home users happy, XP Home has always been useless for businesses. It all comes down to one simple fact. You can use XP Pro on a business network, but not XP Home.
As my colleague Joe Wilcox over at Microsoft-Watch put it: "Ultra low-cost PCs and MIDs aren't Windows PC companions, they're replacements-for many end users. And Linux will deliver the enterprise capabilities lacking in Windows XP Home."
With Linux UMPCs and MIDs you can use the full power of the enterprise network. Ironically enough, Linux-powered UMPCs and MIDs will be better at working with Microsoft's AD (Active Directory) than their XP Home twins.
Programs such as Likewise Open already make it easy. And since the EU recently forced Microsoft to open up its network protocol goodies to the world, we can soon expect to see free, full AD compatibility thanks to Samba.
So thanks Microsoft. I should have had faith in your ability to blow it. With Bill Gates at the helm, we could always count on you to crush the competition, not to mention anyone else in the immediate area.
Now, though what with disasters like Vista, Windows Home Server and now only giving XP Home a new lease on life, I'd like to thank you for continuing to give Linux and Mac OS every possible chance to grab the desktop from you.
Oh, and by the way, keep delaying XP SP3 while you're at it? OK? OK!