So it seems Microsoft is trying to make a push for Windows 8.1 being released in a couple of weeks by offering Windows 8.1 free upgrade (for Windows 8 users) or full-blown Windows 8.1 and 8.1 Pro installations and not upgrades from existing Windows. (source) Of course if you are installing 8.1 and not upgrading from Windows 8 you will need to install all of your applications and files afterwards. If you are doing this on a build-it-yourself computer or on an already blank box then this is a non-issue.
- Free upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1
- $119 for Windows 8.1 installation DVD (not an upgrade)
- $199 for Windows 8.1 Pro installation DVD (not an upgrade)
I am not shy about saying that if MS Office was made available for Linux natively (100% compatibility) I would be willing to pay for it but it doesn't quite work yet and it doesn't include my wanting Visual Studio and/or WebMatrix for my web development. I haven't quite been happy with the solutions on Linux yet.
So the temptation is that for only $199 I can get a Windows Pro installation DVD, so I don't have to upgrade from XP to 7 beforehand, compared to $264.59 (free shipping) for Windows 7 Professional from Amazon. I could be saddled with Windows 7 Home for less than $100, but I have already run into the issue of Home's inability to back up to the networked hard drive (Professional or higher version required). Not that I am looking at changing that system to Windows 8.1 (I think my wife would kill me ;) ).
Windows 8 is very touch-focused and the idea of working with it on a non-touch device is not a very enticing. In fact, I dreaded the idea. With Windows 8.1 you can automatically go into the more familiar Desktop mode and have a Start button available giving it essentially a traditional Windows-like interface with the option of Windows Store apps and the Metro interface. Some argue that Windows 8.1 should have been what Windows 8 was released as. Oh well, at least it is here now.
Tempting, but we'll see. Now I wonder about dual-booting.... :)