Jeremy Sands

Res publica non dominetur

My incredibly long overdue (nearly A YEAR!) Windows 7 House Party report

In case you didn’t see my prior post New Windows 7 FUD: Faking User Delight, I signed up for a Windows 7 House Party, with the intentions of ALSO showcasing Linux to the curious people who showed up. I put out some flyers at USC Upstate and told the Computer Science faculty. So, what happens when you mix a Windows Party City sampler pack and single copy of Windows 7 Ultimate with Linux? Read the details after the jump.

Microsoft entered well armed:

So I came with CDs/DVDs of Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Fedora, and Arch Linux. In addition David Nalley of the Fedora project sent me some Fedora swag, and Deb Nicholson of the Free Software Foundation sent some anti-DRM and Bad Vista stickers. My scrounged materials:

I installed Windows 7 Ultimate into a VirtualBox VM on my Thinkpad T61 (which came from the factory with OpenSuSe, though currently runs Arch Linux), and prepared to “party hard”.

So what happened? Two of the CS faculty showed up to take a look at Windows 7. One of them had a Windows 7 House Party pack themselves. They were underwhelmed, and commented that it seemed alot like Vista only somewhat faster. They were the only ones who came to see Windows 7. Five students showed up hoping for free copies of Windows 7. When they found out none were to be had they left. But most amusingly, eight students showed up just to take a look at Linux and had no interest in Windows 7. One even brought a spare laptop to have Ubuntu installed on it, which was done successfully and easily. Final score:

Windows 7: 2
Freebies: 5
Linux: 8

As a closing bonus, when the dust finally settled I got no less than TEN emails from Microsoft. A sampling:

“Congratulations… You are a Windows® 7 Launch Party host!!

Because you were among the first host finalists to set up your party online, you are confirmed as a host and will be receiving a free party package to share with your guests shortly before the party.
Packages will be mailed in time to arrive before your party date. Check your free party site regularly for news on what’s in your package, when it’s been shipped, and when you can expect it to arrive.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to use the free Guest Manager tool to manage your invite list.
Use it to send invitations via email so your guests can join your online site when they RSVP. Don’t have their email address? No problem — use the print option, or just create a name-only record for them so they still appear on your party list.
And while you’re online, be sure to check out and upload fun photos and videos, post comments to the national party blog, and look around for other cool features.
Please remember that information you post on the House Party website may be visible to the general public, so we advise you not to post any personally identifying information (such as last name, address, email or phone number). However, the information in your party invitations will only be visible to your guests.
Thank you for hosting a Windows® 7 Launch Party!”


“Two Special Offers for Launch Party Hosts Available Now!

Let Corel help you get the party rolling.

Before October 22, you can save 70% instantly on both Corel® Digital Studio™ 2010 and Corel® WinDVD Pro 2010.
Corel® Digital Studio™ 2010 is optimized for Windows® 7, and features easy to use photo, video, playback and burn software – all together.
Corel® WinDVD Pro 2010 is the world’s #1 Blu-ray & DVD playback software.
Visit and enter coupon code [redacted] . Act now; this special host-only offer expires October 22, 2009.
Norton Internet Security 2010 – Designed for Windows 7
Since you are hosting a Windows 7 Launch Party, please enjoy a free copy of Norton Internet Security 2010. Norton Internet Security 2010 is designed from the ground up for Windows 7. The 2010 versions of our products deliver security that is both light on your system and extraordinarily effective. See why Norton Internet Security is recommended by both PC Magazine and CNET . Download now from
This special host-only offer expires October 22, 2009.”


“They Came. They Discovered Windows® 7. They Loved It.

Party day has come and gone, but worldwide, launch hosts and guests are still buzzing about the Windows® 7 Launch Party!
Check out the PartyTalk™ to find out what others are saying — and be sure to add your own comments:
What did the partygoers enjoy most?
What was everyone’s reaction to Windows® 7?
What was the highlight of the party?
Did you upload photos and videos to the party website?
Did you like the party pack? Any suggestions?
Visit the site. Share everything that made the party a success.”