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Giving the Vista Devil its Due

So I wasn't looking forward to it.... The big technology "it" this year. Deploying Vista. You've all heard the horror stories, horrible driver support, unresolved bugs, stupid security alerts that are annoying as crap... but so fun to mock.

And I'm sure all the personal horror stories are true (I know I've fought several myself) but I have to give Vista 1 very large prop. They FINALLY fixed networked printing. Back in 1987 I could go to a Mac, browse all the printers on the network, pick one then simply print to it. (You know... and have it actually work.)

It took Microsoft 20 years to figure out how to do it but it finally works and I must say, it works well. I had a client who bought a new Laptop with Vista and when it came time for me to install his 3 networked printers, he said "Oh, printers? I'm going to run next door for lunch do you want anything?" He knew it would take a while

I had the 3 printers installed and caught up to him before he had even been seated. It was astounding. I must say the whole networked printer install thing is great.

Other than that, mostly they just rearranged XP, put in a few more pretty windows (which means you need to click 3 more times to get anything done) and added that annoying security popup thingie. Really there is nearly nothing much different than XP other than maybe the sidebar widget thing...

Frankly if I where Bill Gates and it took over 10,000 employees 5 years and over $10,000,000,000 to do so little, I'd feel ripped off. -- I'm not being overtly critical but really, it was a colossal amount of money for not much change.

If you're reading below the jump, I'll add they also FINALLY fixed the absolutely horrific embarrassment of a search tool. Other than that? -- meh


Comments (17)

Now that Vista is out, we'r... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Now that Vista is out, we're upgrading to XP where I work.

Now that Vista is out I'm e... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Now that Vista is out I'm even happier I have a Mac. Aren't those Mac ads the best?

Vista is a big reason that ... (Below threshold)

Vista is a big reason that I am preparing to switch to Kubuntu Linux.

I won't go Mac cause I don't wanna have to buy all new hardware (one big Achilles' heel of Macs), and the Ubuntu family--of which Kubuntu is a part--is completely free... no more spending $200+ for an OS upgrade.

I'm not defending Bill Gate... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

I'm not defending Bill Gates for spending so much and getting so little with Vista, but there are some significant changes most users won't notice. I'm told by one of the gamers I know that the video card management is much better on Vista than on XP. I also have found that Vista works much better when reading CD's that have really long path names.

My major complaint about Vista is that it seems to be a Band-Aid solution to a growing security problem. The major solution seems to be to pop up a message the user must respond to in the affirmative in order to run anything out of some narrow band of trusted processes. That way when you hose up your Vista system it will be your fault for letting some obscure program run.

Long term Microsoft is going to have to abandon backward compatibility and make a major shift. My advice would be to follow Apple's lead (again) and create a version of Windows that sits on top of Linux. The real reason Apple and Linix don't have so many security problems is because they are not the target Windows is. That's partly do to the image of Microsoft with the hacking crowd, but mostly do to the overwhelming numbers of Windows machines. A Linux based version of Windows wouldn't likely be any more secure than Vista, but it would pull the security threats into the Linux world and destroy the illusion that Apple has a more secure OS. The advantage for Microsoft is that it has the infrastructure in place to address new security threats on a daily bases and having to do so would not damage its reputation. That's not true for Apple. Microsoft would take away some of Apple's competitive advantages.

I don't what to get into an argument about Linux security. It's open source, so hackers can study the code to find it's weaknesses. Those who have contributed to the code base may have left weaknesses in on purpose in case they need to gain access in the future. I have personally seen a hacker gain root access to a Linux server in 5 minutes. That server was properly set up and in a remote location and was unknown to the hacker prior his attempt to break in. Sorry to blow anyone's bubble, but there are security holes in all operating systems more complex than DOS.

I think the visuals are wel... (Below threshold)
DJ:

I think the visuals are welcome change, regardless of the hefty hardware required to run. Another improvement I thought was impressive (yet overdue) was ASLR in the kernel. Just about all of the really big day-one exploits have targeted buffer overflows to hijack a kernel function (think SQL slammer, etc.). ASLR pretty much makes that a non-possibility.

PCs will always be at a disadvantage to a Mac for reliability simply because of device drivers. Apple dicates every single piece of hardware in a mac, with a PC you can slap just about anything in it, buy one from any of thousands of vendors, or build it yourself from a hodge podge of spare parts. Drivers are the root cause to nearly all BSODS on a windows machine (granted MS shouldn't let anything other than the bare necessities run in kernel mode, regardless of the performance advantage).

Linux is nice, but will never be mainstream unless it gets a LOT more friendly. Taking support calls from parents concnering windows issues is trivial, having to deal with a PPP dialer and an X86Config file because they got a new monitor and decided to ditch dialup would be something else.


Needed a new laptop and fou... (Below threshold)
wave man:

Needed a new laptop and found a Vista machine a week after they came out. The interface took some getting used to, and the machine was terribly unstable the first week. Then MS did some updates, and the stability problems disappeared.

Other than some 3rd party problems [Sony, for example, who says my digital video camera is compatible with Vista, but has no idea when they will offer drivers], I've been very happy with it.

I agree that if MS is going to improve stability, they are going to have to eliminate most backward compatibility. I read somewhere that with Vista it's now down to about 30% of old sofware. Time for companies to bite the bullet and get rid of some of those 80s and 90s software packages with their unstable databases. I used to administer a system with a Btrieve database, and it wasn't that reliable back then.

The major solution... (Below threshold)
wave man:
The major solution seems to be to pop up a message the user must respond to in the affirmative in order to run anything out of some narrow band of trusted processes.

Posted by: Mac Lorry at May 11, 2007 08:47AM

That anoying popup appears less and less as the machine learns what you are doing. The first couple of weeks I couldn't do anything without it appearing, it seemed like. Now I only see it occasionally.

Paul, I want to thank you f... (Below threshold)
Eric Forhan:

Paul, I want to thank you for beta testing this so that in a year or so when I switch it'll be running better. ;)

Aren't those Mac ads the... (Below threshold)
al:

Aren't those Mac ads the best?

Yep - they are great at convincing the clueless of the Mac's computing nirvana experience.

I think they're pretty funny. Incredibly misleading but funny.

That anoying popup... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
That anoying popup appears less and less as the machine learns what you are doing. The first couple of weeks I couldn't do anything without it appearing, it seemed like. Now I only see it occasionally.

But that's not good news. The only thing worse then security and reliability problems are the stability problems cased by Microsoft's half baked attempt at artificial intelligence. What they always end up with is artificial stupidity instead.

But that's not goo... (Below threshold)
wave man:
But that's not good news. The only thing worse then security and reliability problems are the stability problems cased by Microsoft's half baked attempt at artificial intelligence. What they always end up with is artificial stupidity instead.


Posted by: Mac Lorry at May 11, 2007 10:38 AM

True. But if you had to answer the popup everytime you try to do anything, which is essentially what happens the first couple of weeks, I'd have thrown this thing in the trash in disgust. I'm talking about repetitious things, which is what most of us do anyway. I don't need to answer the question in addition to all the other routine questions anytime I need to download my transaction info from Wachovia to update Money, etc.

MS has a lot of security issues, but I personally believe that their system is no more insecure than Apple, Linux, etc. When you are deranged to begin with, are you going to target the system with 3% of the market, or the one with around 90%? I get more publicity and wreak more havoc when I toy with the big guy.

Wave Man, I think ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Wave Man,

I think you might be misreading the cause of the fewer pop-ups. I don't think it is learning, it is just that when you get a new machine you do all the set-up stuff that trips the alarms. (like installing your software and printers for example)

As you get out of that phase the pop-ups decrease.

I say this with some level of confidence because that's the way my workflow is in *nix too... ie: When I first set up a server I just log in as root for the first day or two. (SUDO be damned ;-)

As I get the system the way I want it, I don't need root as much.

Same thing only different in Vista. -- I think. lol

===========
and thanks al, it wouldn't be an OS post without the requisite idiot.

>I'm not defending Bill Gat... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>I'm not defending Bill Gates for spending so much and getting so little with Vista, but there are some significant changes most users won't notice. I'm told by one of the gamers I know that the video card management is much better on Vista than on XP. I also have found that Vista works much better when reading CD's that have really long path names.

lol, Mac, that's sorta my point. It's housekeeping at best.

I googled up "reasons to switch to Vista" and (again from Bill Gates' chair} it was embarrassing. One site (uk register?) had 15 whole reasons to switch...

#1 was a new audio stack.

#2 was a new networking stack.

(I'm really not trying to be a jerk here...)

That's just embarrassing... 99% of users don't know (or care) what a network stack is.

The kicker -from my chair- is that most of the stuff is just 3rd party application level stuff... All the security popup stuff has been on XP basically since the day it was shipped. (but 3rd party) MS could have written it for XP a whole lot cheaper.

I'm serious when I say that I look at this wearing my project manager hat and I'm amazed this represents 5 years and 10+ billion dollars.

Much of Aero is actually cool but really... 6 months, free

dunno, I still don't "get" where the money went.

Disclaimer: This open, but it was written as part of a DISCUSSION with Mac. I wrote this to Mac because he has a brain and is not an idiot. If you too have a brain and are not an idiot, you're welcome to share your thoughts too... If you are an idiot, please don't pick here to prove it. The grownups are trying to talk.

I got Vista on day one -- j... (Below threshold)
Paul Hamilton:

I got Vista on day one -- just as I have with every new OS since Win 95 -- and I'm very happy with it. The changes from XP are subtle, which is why so many haters seem to go after it so much, but they are meaningful in everyday use in ways that a lot of flashy stuff might not be.

And even when Vista goes belly-up, as my wife's computer did this weekend, it does so with grace. Rather than losing everything when you re-install, your old, broken installation is saved and you can rescue vital information such as your bookmarks and Outlook information. From the time I put the Vista disk in to begin re-installation until I was completely finished, including all the other software installs, only five hours passed. This compares to at least twice that with XP.

I agree Paul, that most of ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

I agree Paul, that most of what is new and nifty in Vista is under the covers. Now if that makes it less prone to instability problems then it will have value, but it will be a while before users come to appreciate it.

My pet peeve with Artificially Stupid Schemes is that they do things I don't want done. In fact, I would rather take care of certain tasks manually than clean up after some ASS has made a mess. Case in point. IE 7, which comes with Vista likes to pop up little messages at the top of the window to tell you that it has blocked something or warn you that your security settings are too low. If you get the message about your security settings you can select to have Windows automatically fix them. After you have done that you'll notice the ASS also sorted your Favorites folder, well at least some times it does. How does the order of my Favorites improve security other preventing me from quickly finding some site I wanted to open?

I have also noticed that with Vista the user seems to have the lowest priority. On one occasion Vista was totally ignoring my attempts to shut down, so after three tries I got pissed and used the power switch to make my point. Sorry, there's only so much back talk I can take from a computer.

Personal: Intel Macbook (no... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Personal: Intel Macbook (no dual boot), Ubuntu box (Feisty Fawn is nice).

Work: Craptastic Dell running XP. No upgrade to Vista anytime soon (too bad since they surprisingly fixed network printing - I thought that was a feature ;). Anyway, doesn't seem to be much there. Definitely not worth the time and money put into it. Besides, which do you choose?

Oh, and Beryl is very cool.

Linux is nice, but will ... (Below threshold)

Linux is nice, but will never be mainstream unless it gets a LOT more friendly.

Most of the modern Linux versions I've come across in my research have snazzy user friendly GUIs just like Windows. One of the most popular ones is the K Desktop Environment (KDE for short)... you can see screenshots here.

One of the big Linux advantages is, if you don't like a given interface, like KDE, you can swap it out for another with relative ease... such as, for instance, Gnome, without changing the underlying OS.




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