The Gartner Group has warned users to avoid Windows XP Starter Edition, the cut-price, feature-light version aimed at Asian markets. Analysts Dion Wiggins and Martin Gilliland don't think home users will miss LAN and file and print sharing features, but warn that users will dip back into the black market because they don't have a legitimate, discounted upgrade path from XPSE to the full-featured version.
"Microsoft has not enabled XPSE to grow with the user as he or she gains experience," they write. "Gartner believes that this will likely increase software piracy, because the only upgrade path offered by Microsoft requires that the user pay full the retail price for XP Home."
XPSE also limits the user to three applications at any one time, and doesn't allow individual local user accounts to be created. Gartner commends Microsoft for adding tutorials and revamping the help system for first-time users.
Meanwhile, the pan-Asian project backed by the governments of the Chinese Republic, Japan and South Korea to create desktop and server operating systems based on Linux, will launch its first products within six months, according to Lu Shouqun, president of China Open Source Software Promotion Union. Shoqun denied that this was a breakaway "Asian Linux", and said the software, which will be licensed free to local ISVs, will adhere to existing standards. Distributions are aimed at the public sector and intended to encourage the local software market. ®