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Vista the End of An Era? 446

Posted by Zonk
from the dinosaurs-die-out dept.
mikesd81 writes "The Times Online has an article about the uncertain future of Windows. Even Microsoft, it seems is admitting that Vista will be the last OS of its kind. With the push towards a constant presence on the internet, and the churn that entails, the company has admitted that even with a two year delay 'it is not really ready'." From the article: "Security experts are acknowledging that Vista is the most secure of Windows to date. However, 'The bad guys will always target the most popular systems,' Mikko Hypponen, of F-Secure, the security group, said. 'Vista's vulnerability to phishing attacks, hackers, viruses and other malicious software will increase quickly.' But the current fear is that the Internet will kill Windows, with Google being Public Enemy No. 1: 'Microsoft is way behind Google when it comes to the internet,' Rupert Godwins, the technology editor at ZDNet, the industry website, said. 'Building Vista, Microsoft is still doing things the old way at the same time as it undergoes a big shift to catch up.'"
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Vista the End of An Era?

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  • Not gonna happen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NineNine (235196) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:30PM (#17188044)
    All of this "The Net IS the OS" stuff is just ridiculous. This kind of thing doesn't even have a chance until broadband is as ubiquitous and as reliable as electricity. I think that we're still a good 10 years out from this even beginning to happen.
    • by Ngarrang (1023425) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:36PM (#17188104) Journal
      This ignores the reality that old OSes never die and go away. As long as older computers continue to exist, the older OSes will continue to be used. The open-source community is also proof that the traditional OS will never die.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chess_the_cat (653159)
        Never is a long time. Or do you belive that in 100 years when we're all wired with processors in our heads there'll still be point and clickers? No? Well, 100 years isn't anywhere NEAR never.
        • by evilad (87480) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:39PM (#17188610)
          Maybe not, but you can rest assured that somewhere in my head I'll be running DOS to play Full Throttle just one more time.
          • by aetherworld (970863) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:56PM (#17188730) Homepage
            You intend to live that long? ;)

            That's the main problem here. All this 'never' talk merely concerns our current generation. And maybe the generation after us. Do you think your grandchildren will know DOS?

            What would have happened if you told the people in 1800 that in 1876 bell would invent a telephone which would make it possible to talk with everyone in the world. Would they have believed you? No. What if you told them, that only 100 years later everyone would have such a telephone, only then it would be called cellphone and you could carry it around with you and even see the person you're talking to. They would have laughed at you. Would someone have believed you in 1900 when you would have told people that in only a few years, there would be television. Soon in color. Transmitted via satellites in the sky. And small silver discs where they could fit several movies on. They would have taken you for a poor lunatic.

            Do you believe people now when they say in 100 years you won't sit in front of computers anymore because they're wired into your neural system and use wireless power? Or that we will have colonized several planets? :) Probably not...
            • by NeMon'ess (160583) * <flinxmid@NOSpam.yahoo.com> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @09:11PM (#17188834) Homepage Journal
              So maybe the /. crowd is the exception, but thanks to your examples, we ARE willing to seriously consider what you're suggesting. The immense technological gains of the past century have shown even everyday people that many things are possible that previously were unbelievable. With a combination of breakthroughs in physics and materials science we really could be colonizing several planets by 2106. Private enterprise would be doing far more in space right now if they could just get people and cargo up there more cheaply by an order of magnitude. Then they just need a better way to get to the planets.
            • by csnydermvpsoft (596111) on Monday December 11, 2006 @01:31AM (#17190964) Homepage
              Do you believe people now when they say in 100 years you won't sit in front of computers anymore because they're wired into your neural system and use wireless power? Or that we will have colonized several planets? :) Probably not...

              Another lesson that goes parallel to the one that you mentioned, however, is that the predictions that are made tend to be unrealistic and way off base. I'm still waiting for my flying car, but few people in the 1950's were talking about anything resembling the Internet. One thing that we have learned is that the technologies that we think will exist in the future probably won't, at least in the form we think they will.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Sique (173459)
                Another lesson that goes parallel to the one that you mentioned, however, is that the predictions that are made tend to be unrealistic and way off base.


                Stanislaw Jerzy Lek put it that way: Nothing is faster outdated than the future.
            • by Kadin2048 (468275) <slashdot...kadin@@@xoxy...net> on Monday December 11, 2006 @01:32AM (#17190974) Homepage Journal
              I think maybe you're not giving those folks back in centuries past too little credit. From the New York Times, December 17, 1906 [earlyradiohistory.us]:
              [T]he telephone is a nuisance as well as a convenience and a blessing without which, it seems now, life would be almost impossible and business quite so. When we ourselves "call up," of course it is all right, but when others do it the rightness is often rather deeply veiled, and we resent not a few of the demands upon our time. And yet everybody "answers the 'phone," interrupting almost any occupation to do it. How will it be when we're told, not that somebody's "on the wire," but that somebody's "on the air," and we are exposed to answer calls from any part of the atmosphere?
              That statement was made an easy 80-90 years before cellphones became ubiquitous, but yet easily foresaw the convergence of two distinct and at the time emerging technologies (the telephone, just reaching critical mass at the time, and radio, relatively new).

              So anyway, a bright person a century ago would probably have believed, given sufficient explanations, most of the technology we have today. Cellphones are just radios plus telephones; televisions just small movie screens; automobiles are significantly faster but still easily recognizable for what they are. It is only when you start to drill down into the underlying technology and infrastructure that enables modern devices that they truly would astound someone living a century ago.

              The "futurists" of the late 19th and early 20th century predicted many of the technological developments of the past 100 years remarkably well (obviously not in detail, but conceptually in many cases they were right on). You would have to go back further than that, to eras when people were not used to continuous change -- where it was not expected that the world one grew up in would be different than the world one's children would inherit -- in order to find people who would be unable to conceive of our current state.

              To be perfectly honest, I think many a person from the early 20th century would be a little disappointed if they were suddenly transported forward to the current day. Although many things have changed, a great many other things have not or are at least recognizable equivalents of devices or activities present 100 years ago. Someone who expected the rate of progress seen during the period from 1800 to 1900 to continue and increase, might find life in 2000 startlingly familiar (and sadly devoid of flying cars).
      • by perlchild (582235) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:43PM (#17188648)
        For microsoft, a company that makes no money on support, but on initial licenses, those older OSes haven't just ceased to exist, they are a threat to their business model.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Almahtar (991773)
          Makes no money on support?!?!?! Do you have any idea how much Microsoft charges for tech support? It's off the charts! Honestly, the more people need to call Microsoft for support, the better. The only point at which it's a good idea for Microsoft to pull the plug on a product is when it's so vastly inferior and horrible that the money they make from customer support will be less than the money they lose in sales, and given their rates it takes a LOT of sales to make that happen.

          It's my guess that th
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Actually what's funny is that the whole availability and popularity of open source is made possible by the internet. Linux's collaborative development model is much more of an example of "the internet being the OS" than even Google could dream of.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by briancnorton (586947)
        There's a couple problems even 100 years down the road that no technology on earth will solve. The first is that hardware will still need a software layer to GET to the internet, we refer to this layer as an operating system. the "Internet OS" is really an internet application suite. Semantics aside, what is the benefit to consumers? Corporations have IA concerns and they already do this in most places. (shared drives, sharepoint, etc) Trying to make a computer into a service is not only a bad idea tec
    • oh no, not again (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rucs_hack (784150) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:45PM (#17188172)
      Vista cannot be the last major OS of its type from microsoft. While it is likely that they might want to produce something significantly different, a major shift would take years to produce. A company that needs such a large team just to work on the shutdown menu isn't ready to innovate in the way they claim. Innovation is nothing more then a word they use to sound cool, they haven't managed it for years, all they do is patent minutiae

      Sure, microsoft *say* it would take les time to make the next windows iteration, the plain fact is that they are no longer working from the position of having no competition. Therefore they have to do a whole lot better then just improve security, they've got to move a long way forward beyond the competition, improving everything and introducing things people can't get elsewhere. Right now Gnome is catching up with the XP interface, I think it's better in fact, and that's free. KDE I don't know about, I barely use it.

      GNU/Linux, good though it is, is nowhere near ready to take on microsoft for home users. The simple reason being that in spite of its wealth of applications, it has shitbar games when compared to windows. Game producers aren't building their products in linux for a first iteration. That will be the big problem for linux for a fair few years.

      Once games creators switch, or rather, produce for linux too, hardware manufacturers will start working in linux more, and mmicrosoft will see a real challenge.

      Then there's Office. OpenOffice is good, but not as good as MsOffice. Well it does compare in many ways, but OpenOffice doesn't have salesmen ready to cajole existing customers and offer vast discounts. We're still at the stage were companies will mention thinking about switching just to get those discounts.

      Games are the only thing that keeps windows installed on my machine, I use linux for all serious stuff, but I won't give up my games, and I'm not alone. I gave up Office a long time ago. For simple docs I use Vim, and for complex docs I use Tex.
      • Re:oh no, not again (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Ajehals (947354) <a.halsall@pirateparty.org.uk> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:56PM (#17188276) Homepage Journal
        If we start seeing companies go down the software as a service model, we may well see vista as a cut down but free product, with Microsoft's revenue coming from on-line productivity services. Games will be relegated to the console (where they can also be locked to the hardware or only available on-line).

        This would be good for the companies that are currently seeing losses due to copyright infringement, just imagine if all your media was only available on-line - you could only rent it, it would be playable on your PC but only if the platform had sufficient technical measures in place to prevent you from copying it. You couldn't copy Office or Photoshop because its run directly from someone else's server. This would be a dream for software providers as they could charge you on a per use basis, and lock your data into their services. No more trying to sell upgrades as you wouldn't have a choice.

        The only thing that stands in the way of that is a decent and mostly feature complete open code base, something that would allow you to do what you want with your computer, your "Intellectual Property" and the media you buy, or already own. We are seeing the end of the huge revenue streams for those people who provide a product that is easily reproduced. Those providers are looking for ways to re-generate those revenue streams, and I dont think the scenario I have outlined above is too outlandish for them to consider.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          That would be fine, the open-source community would immediately boom again like it did a couple of years ago, and very quickly overtake the market, because the vast majory of people quite literally can't afford that type of computing environment unless the cost of everything drops considerably. This is, of course, what most companies attribute to "losses due to copyright infringement".
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Reziac (43301) *
          At the Win2K road show in late 1999, M$ said pretty much the same thing -- their goal was to have everything done over the internet or network, very much as you describe. The audience of 1000 or so IT types all developed identical angry frowns.

          And it does appear that we're headed back to the dumb terminal for the desktop, and specialty appliances for everything else. Given another couple hardware/software iterations, it'll penetrate consumer-space as well as business-space.

        • by geobeck (924637) on Monday December 11, 2006 @01:14AM (#17190860) Homepage

          ...we may well see vista as a cut down but free product, with Microsoft's revenue coming from on-line productivity services.

          I can see it now: "Oh, you want to right-click? That's a $15 add-on feature. Can I interest you in a bundle that includes right-click, scroll bars, the Start button, and Excel for $150?... I'm sorry; the Start button is only available with the Excel productivity bundle."

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by leabre (304234)
          There's something else that stands in the way of how widely software as a rent model will work: cost. Right now, most people know that if they pay for software then it'll work for at least as long as the OS is maintained in most cases and if they need an upgrade, they can wait until they are ready to pay for an upgrade.

          But if *all* software was "leasted", then there comes a point where people have to decide how much money to part with on a *regular* basis. A few lucky companies will remain popular in this
      • by pilgrim23 (716938) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:38PM (#17188600)
        When Microsoft got started, two guys wiht a Basic were pedalling wears to hobbyists. Two other guys ina guarage we building a computer to runt h 1st two guys basic. None of these guys had an R&D budget. Today, Microsotft like most companies, feel that a huge R&D budget will inovate them out of their self dug hole. Look how well PARC servered Xerox after all....
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by chromatic (9471)
        GNU/Linux, good though it is, is nowhere near ready to take on microsoft for home users. The simple reason being that... I won't give up my games, and I'm not alone.

        Hey, look--a hasty generalization!

        Count the number of home desktops last year. Count the highest-selling PC game last year (sold-through, not sold-in). Compare. I bet the second number is at least an order of magnitude less.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by rucs_hack (784150)
          Not a generalisation from my point of view. I know a lot of people who use linux, and they *all* keep windows as a gaming platform, just like me.

          Which sector of computer users is it that drives the creation of higher spec graphics cards? was it aol users? corporate desktop users? email/browsing only users? Nope, gamers.....
      • by massysett (910130) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:31PM (#17189528) Homepage
        GNU/Linux, good though it is, is nowhere near ready to take on microsoft for home users. The simple reason being that in spite of its wealth of applications, it has shitbar games when compared to windows.

        First, most computer users don't care about games in the way that you care about games; second, Linux has the games that a vast majority of users care about; third, even if Linux had the sort of games that you care about, it won't see widespread adoption on home desktops in rich countries.

        Most computer users don't care about big budget games. They're too complex. They take too long to learn. They're too expensive. I know multitudes of computer users. None of them play big budget games like Half Life, Neverwinter Nights, WoW, or even the Sims. I don't play any of them either.

        When eliminating the big budget games that appeal to a small subset of users, Linux has great games. KDE and GNOME both come with the sorts of little puzzle games that people whittle away at for a few minutes each day. They are the analog to Solitare, probably the most popular Windows app of all time. My dad had never used Linux before in his life, but he sat down at my Gentoo box and within minutes had discovered one of the GNOME games on his own. Furthermore, lots of people pass the time at online games at places like Yahoo Games. These run just fine on Linux right inside Firefox.

        But, let's set aside the fact that Linux is an excellent gaming platform for the majority of people who just like a simple game every now and again. Even if Linux had a perfect port of every single bloated, big-budget, proprietary computer game out there, we still won't see widespread desktop Linux adoption on home desktops in rich countries. People in rich countries can afford Windows, and they see no compelling reason to switch away. Linux won't provide a compelling reason for most users to switch. They'll switch to Mac before they switch to Linux.

        In short, the lack of Linux desktop adoption has absolutely nothing to do with game availability.
        • But, let's set aside the fact that Linux is an excellent gaming platform for the majority of people who just like a simple game every now and again. Even if Linux had a perfect port of every single bloated, big-budget, proprietary computer game out there, we still won't see widespread desktop Linux adoption on home desktops in rich countries. People in rich countries can afford Windows, and they see no compelling reason to switch away. Linux won't provide a compelling reason for most users to switch. They'll switch to Mac before they switch to Linux.

          Ding ding ding! Seriously, you should get a prize or something.

          You can't replace Windows with Linux, when a lot of Linux development seems to be centered around making Linux as much like Windows as possible. As bloated and generally inelegant as Windows is, most people just don't have a very compelling reason to switch away from it. And cost isn't a big factor, since most people don't 'see' the cost of Windows in any direct fashion anyway. (And the people who do see the cost directly -- principally barebones builders -- can just pirate it and always will.)

          As long as Linux is trying to 'catch up' to Windows, it can't ever surpass it and provide any convincing reasons for people to switch.

          Apple, over the past 5+ years, has done a good job of giving users reasons to switch to their platform, and they didn't do it by trying to emulate the market leader. They picked a few things that they thought they could do better (multimedia, "digital hub" functions, ease of use) and concentrated their effort there. When you use a Mac, you know you're using a Mac -- they don't attempt to 'out-Windows' Windows, and that's what I see a lot of Linux distros trying to do. (Look at KDE's default skin and tell me that's not the out-of-wedlock child of Windows 98 and XP.) The Mac OS, love it or hate it, makes a stand and seems proud to not be Windows-y; many Linux distros seem embarrassed and suffering an identity crisis by comparison.

          I'll end with one small anecdote: the most consistently impressive way I've found to show Linux to Windows diehards, is to show them a MythTV/Knoppmyth box. Why is it so impressive? Because it's something that their Windows PC just can't do (admittedly, I suppose MCE+SnapStream is close, but most people have never heard of it). You're not going to win admiration and envy by showing a Linux machine running OpenOffice and editing a spreadsheet; acting proud of that just makes Linux look like a joke. (Again, it's somewhat cool that it's all free, but not that impressive to most people.) But when you show a Linux machine doing something that most people's Windows desktops are just never going to do, and suddenly it looks a lot more interesting. And at that point, you can just drop in "oh yeah, it does all that Office-type stuff, too."
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by grcumb (781340)

      All of this "The Net IS the OS" stuff is just ridiculous. This kind of thing doesn't even have a chance until broadband is as ubiquitous and as reliable as electricity.

      Agreed. But consider that this is a failed conclusion from an observation which is emphatically true, and whose weight increases with every passing day: Microsoft Windows, as it is currently constructed, cannot compete in the long run with low- or no-cost software that is platform-neutral. The realisation that Microsoft is facing is this: T

      • by 0racle (667029) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:15PM (#17188424)
        So let's just file this story in the same folder with our nuclear-powered flying car promises, and get back to the real question: How is Microsoft going to follow Vista?
        Simple, complete and ship everything that slipped from Vistas release.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Merusdraconis (730732)
        "Microsoft Windows, as it is currently constructed, cannot compete in the long run with low- or no-cost software that is platform-neutral."

        The fact that it's not doesn't mean it can't. The Internet as a platform is mostly successful because of its killer apps (Youtube, blogs, Wikipedia et al.) Consumers don't care about platforms nearly as much as IT professionals think they do or should.

        This doesn't change the fact that Microsoft is boned because it's losing to the Internet, and it doesn't change any of th
        • by grcumb (781340)

          "Microsoft Windows, as it is currently constructed, cannot compete in the long run with low- or no-cost software that is platform-neutral."

          The fact that it's not doesn't mean it can't.

          Uhmmm, I think we're in screaming agreement here. That's the 'as it is currently constructed' part. 8^)

          But again, the question isn't 'Can Microsoft do anything?' That's silly. The question is 'What then, will Microsoft do, faced with a business model that is doomed to fail?' This story paints a picture of Internet pie

    • Exactly. Companies like Sun and Oracle have been preaching the gospel of the "Network Computer" since 1996. Ten years later, very few people are using smart terminal environments at work, and even fewer people are using them at home. The cost advantage over cheap PC's still isn't there yet, and there are still network reliability issues.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by zeromorph (1009305)

      I agree it won't happen - and in my opinion GoogleOS won't happen either. But the article focuses more on MS's business strategies after Vista because producing OSes is getting less manageable, less profitable, not on the scenario of vanishing OSes as such.

      But what I would think is more interesting:

      How is the free software/open source community dealing with the changing landscape?
      (Is e.g. Linux heading into the same problems as Windows?)

      What is the future of free/open source software in a world with

      • Re:Not gonna happen (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Ajehals (947354) <a.halsall@pirateparty.org.uk> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:16PM (#17188428) Homepage Journal

        How is the free software/open source community dealing with the changing landscape?

        Sorry I'm only going to respond to this small part of your post :) . The open source community has the advantage that at present everything is much much more modular than in the world of windows. there is no requirement for any of the disto's to maintain the entire code base that their distro relies upon. Further more the producers and providers Open Source code are generally not looking at their product in terms of monetary value. Debian don't have to include features to entice SUSE or Red Hat users over to their distro, nor do they have to worry about Ubuntu using their code base and passing it off as something else entirely.

        In my opinion the open source landscape is so different from that which Microsoft inhabits that the issues facing Microsoft will simply not figure on the OSS radar. There will certainly be other issues to contend with (such as driver support, copyright and patents) but most of these are also issues for Microsoft. So in short, how is the FOSS community dealing with the changing landscape? well it deals with it in an asymetric way, it is made up of a huge number of small cells, each one more able to adapt to change than the monolith that is Microsoft. (Just realised that that makes the FOSS community sound like an insurgent / Terrorist group, but that may infact be more accurate than I would have thought.)

      • Re:Not gonna happen (Score:4, Interesting)

        by IWannaBeAnAC (653701) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:55PM (#17188726)

        How is the free software/open source community dealing with the changing landscape? (Is e.g. Linux heading into the same problems as Windows?)

        Well, F/OSS grew up with the internet, for us the landscape isn't changing, rather it is tending to validate the whole approach as being essentially correct. Microsoft have always had a problem with the way they design software, as monolithic intertwined, horrendously complex packages. In the past, the marketing (and black-ops?) departments at Microsoft were enough to gloss over these problems, but as the complexity of all software systems increases, the Microsoft approach must become unworkable. The stupid car analogy would be trying to build a modern hybrid by progressively adding bits onto a model-T until it looks, to an outside observer, like a Prius.

        Due to its essentially distributed nature, F/OSS software is inherently modular. This is its greatest strength, but also a problem as everyone can (and does!) choose their own slightly different way of integrating all of the parts together.

        What is the future of free/open source software in a world with more and more advertisement financed, huge server based services?

        Hmm, there may be a few such large servers around, but are they really going to dominate the industry? What is stopping a proliferation of home users running their own servers? 3 things: NAT, poor security, and asymmetric connections with poor upload rates. The solutions to this are, respectively, IPv6, anything-other-than-Microsoft, and customer pressure on ISP's (and to some extent technology will solve this problem anyway, as broadband rates improve generally the class of services that can be run on the bandwidth of a basic connection will increase).

        Don't you think that the fact that all search engines are proprietary and closed source is as bad as the situation in the OS-sector before Linux?

        Yes, it is unfortunate. It would be great if google's searching stuff was all Free Software. Imagine, instead of linking to a google.com search on your website, just use a mod_google extension to the webserver to automatically keep an up-to-date index of your website stored locally. But the history of Free Software suggests that eventually, someone will write a free replacement and, eventually, it will come to work better than the proprietary alternatives. But it isn't clear that something like a distributed database replacement for google is even technically possible, although in niche areas it surely is (for example: scholar.google.com is pretty good for searching journal articles - but this is something a consortium of universities could get together and provide themselves).

        MS is searching new ways, but what are the visions of the FOSS community?

        F/OSS doesn't need a vision. While programmers scratch their itch and write code, artists and designers improve the look and usability, and end-users give feedback, F/OSS will grow. It isn't any more complicated than that.

    • by LionKimbro (200000) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:02PM (#17188334) Homepage
      I think what you, and the others who are saying things like you, are missing, is what the conversation is all about.

      Nobodies seriously arguing that "OS'es don't matter," or that OS'es will somehow magically, poof, up and disappear, somehow. If you think that's what the message is, you're almost certainly misinterpreting.

      There will always be stuff that people will only entrust to their own computer, and run on an OS, and so on. Like the fellow who replied to you first said: "I don't want to authenticate, just to edit a word document." Quite right.

      What they're saying, or one of the things they're saying, (since "they" are quite large and nebulous,) is that the era of the super-important dominance of the OS is at an end.

      That is, that software developers, around the world, are never going to go back to the heady days of 1995, where every new platform change to Windows or Apple was the compelling subject of the magazines.

      It's sort of like in Linux. Who cares what happens to the kernel anymore? It's all about the desktop efforts.

      Sure, the old stuff never went away: There are still innovations in the Linux Kernel, and, there are communities of people who keep up with what's happening in kernels and so on, and the myriad activities and so on. Even exciting things still happening there. But it isn't the focus of the discussion.

      The primary discussion, the things businesses and users and developers and so on are concerned about, is something different.

      So, this is the context in which you interpret: "The net is the OS."

      They mean something very big and complex, but when you put a message into the political sphere, it's gotta be short. You have to apply the context to decipher the message.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by The_Wilschon (782534)
        So what you really mean is that instead of being about the details of the kernel, it is now about the userland apps that you use to actually Do Stuff(TM)? I think that this has been the case for a very long time already. Even in 1995, the details of the kernel were not that important. The important thing then was the user interface. Windows 95 had a GUI! weehoo! People got excited about Word 6.0, not about drivers. Since the very early days, it has been about the apps. At least ever since Visicalc.
    • by Jessta (666101)
      I agree. Also, 'The NET IS the OS" fails to take in to account that you need an OS to run your web browser, provide the base system libraries for your applications that you don't wish to write in javascript. Web applications are still way behind desktop applications in terms of portability and interoperation.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StikyPad (445176)
      More importantly, people (and especially businesses) don't want their private data to be on "the internet." Ford doesn't want its latest CAD design on the net, Becky doesn't want her "Lilac Tears" on the net (ok, maybe she does, but she's too ashamed to put it there on purpose), Bob doesn't want his finances online (the fact that it's already there and his computer has been r00ted already aside), and GAMERS don't want their refresh rate to be a factor of their ping time. It may be in an intangible form, b
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by monoqlith (610041)
        I think you're giving people way too much credit on the whole about their privacy sensitivities. You're forgetting that we're in a country where we allowed the Patriot Act to be signed. Do you really think people are, as a general rule, vigilant regarding their privacy? Not that this is a good thing, necessarily. People should worry about their privacy more. The fact is, they just don't. Some even eagerly give up their privacy in exchange for guarantees of safety and, more unsettingly, convenience. The numb
  • by Scareduck (177470) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:30PM (#17188046) Homepage Journal
    If by that they mean software-as-a-service, well, good luck to them. I have no desire whatsoever to be forced into downloading their product whenever I need it, or authenticating myself to Redmond when I want to open a spreadsheet.
  • by porkThreeWays (895269) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:33PM (#17188074)
    I have a really hard time believing any claims like this. As far as I can remember everyone (on both sides) has claimed that this one will be different. That it will either be the greatest windows release ever or the worst. And everytime it's somewhere in the middle. Every release of windows since windows 95 has been marginally better. Tack on service packs and updates. Release next version that's marginally better and different than the last service pack of the previous release. The next version of windows probably will be more modular, but I don't think it will be radically different than the final service pack of Vista.
    • by theLOUDroom (556455) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:35PM (#17188574)
      Every release of windows since windows 95 has been marginally better.

      What about Windows ME?

      I think you'd find a lot of people disagreeing with you on that one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537)

      You're right. Microsoft has been talking about taking a radical new approach ever since Windows 95, which actually was a radical change from Windows 3.1. I remember when Windows 2000 was going to have a totally different interface, filesystem, etc. Little by little, news came out that the more radical changes were going to be pushed out until the next version, and Windows 2000 would focus on transitioning to the NT kernel. Same with XP, and same with Vista.

      You want to know, what? I don't think it's th

  • I love my desktop (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jfclavette (961511)
    Yeah, the internet is cool. Yadda Yadda. Standalone computers/OSes are a thing of the past and dumb-terminals/browsers/web services are going to kill them. I've heard that back in '95. At the end of the day I still prefer desktop apps for anything I do even remotely often. Graphics intensive games will always run on the desktop. If PC games get killed in favour of game consoles, then we've just switched to a different kind of desktop. Wake me up when it happens; I suspect I'll be long dead.
  • by erbbysam (964606) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:35PM (#17188094) Homepage
    Vista's 50 million lines of code have cost an estimated $7.5 billion to assemble. I think that this is getting to a point where as the number of lines grow, there's a limit to the manpower that can be applied to make it secure, or even write it in the first place that is still profitable to the company.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thc69 (98798)
      Uh-oh...time to change my machine to run VMS, then. Linux is catching up to Windows, according to http://www.dwheeler.com/sloc/ [dwheeler.com] which says of RedHat 7.1: "It includes over 30 million physical source lines of code (SLOC)."

      It also says: "They found that Debian 2.2 includes more than 55 million physical SLOC", and "Debian 3.1 ("Sarge") had grown to about 230 million source lines of code".

      And for other Windows versions: "Windows NT 5.0 (in 2000) was 20M SLOC, Windows 2000 (in 2001) was 35M SLOC, and Windows XP
      • by thc69 (98798)
        Finally, it links to a Dilbert strip that describes other types of security vulnerabilities: http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/dilbert/ [unitedmedia.com]
        Er, well, actually, that link was to today's strip. I don't know why the link was described on the page as the August 26, 2003 strip. Today's strip is coincidentally relevant, though.
      • by killjoe (766577)
        It's interesting how your comparison of debian (linux + 3000 apps) to the bare install of windows codebase has been modded up to four despite being misleading and or ignorant.

    • Netcraft confirms it - the OS is dead.

      Not very likely in general. Hell, my apps would work better with faster FSB and memory, Internet bandwith isn't even close. That said, there is probably some business case for a Joe Sixpack Internet Machine (JSIM) that boots something little and safe (obviously some form of linux....), Does email, browsing, games, wordprocessing, etc on the net and has some form of secure, encrypted net storage. The Googlebox.

      Not everybody spends their entire life doing email an

  • by maetenloch (181291) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:37PM (#17188114)
    There's a lot that Microsoft can learn from Google, but I just don't see Google competing with Microsoft at the OS level, especially with an OS based off the internet. Ulimately you need code executing on a local processor and here there are already several established competitors. Even if most applications are pulled from the network, there still are issues of performance, latency, and security. Plus not every system is always connected to a network. I can see Google possibly competing sucessfully with MS Office products, but not as an OS.
  • Ok, they're pushing "software as a service" now everywhere. They already call upon the "end of operating systems", but I'm asking myself: if they say, the internet IS the OS, what will the internet run on? I don't think Microsoft will switch over to Linux. Or they could build an "OS" that is solely a web browser. IE-OS, anyone?

    If this software-as-a-service thing is going to be big in the future, what would they say if anyone would dig up an old machine from this era and find out, that it runs all of it's s

  • by WilliamSChips (793741) <full.infinity@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:40PM (#17188136) Journal
    Not even Microsoft has the resources to continue the desktop Windows line. The costs are ballooning.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by N7DR (536428)
      Maybe I'm simple-minded.

      1. Compare XP and KDE on Linux circa 2001.
      2. Compare XP and KDE on Linux in 2006.
      3. Compare expectations for Vista and KDE 4 on Linux in late 2007.
      4. Extrapolate the relative improvements in Windows and KDE and Linux to 2010.

      I don't care what resources Redmond has. They simply cannot compete with a bunch of determined individuals. No one can. It's just a matter of time.

      KDE 4 running on Windows will probably speed things up, but even without it, Windows' days are truly

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by NorbrookC (674063)

        I don't care what resources Redmond has. They simply cannot compete with a bunch of determined individuals. No one can. It's just a matter of time.

        CP/M. DR-DOS. Amiga. BeOS. Ring any bells? No? A small selection of the OS's that were from groups of determined individuals and companies that were supposed to be major competition for an MS operating system. Somehow, Microsoft outcompeted them. Crushed, rended, destroyed. Remnant development and fond memories are pretty much what's left. What you

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bcrowell (177657)
        I wish I was as optimistic as you are. Some factors working against us:
        1. Installing an OS is way too hard for most people, and MS has monopolistic deals with hardware comanies to keep them from preinstalling anything but Windows.
        2. People have their data locked up in proprietary file formats, which can't be easily migrated to Linux and OSS.
        3. The cost of Windows is hidden in the cost of the machine, so people don't even get presented with a price tag for $300. They don't realize that $300 of the purchase pri
      • by drsmithy (35869)

        Extrapolate the relative improvements in Windows and KDE and Linux to 2010.

        You assume the rate of improvements will remain constant. A shaky assumption at best.

    • Not even Microsoft has the resources to continue the desktop Windows line. The costs are ballooning.

      Yet it does still generate billions of profit every year. Higher costs certainly are the goal but even if a product costs 10 trillion to produce, as long revenue from the product exceeds that amount the company will be happy to continue it until they can find another method which will promise even more profit.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kmkz (1022021)
      Well Vista took $7.5 Billion to make. Windows XP made over $10 Billion last year ALONE. I can assure you that if Vista sells anywhere near the number of units that XP sold then Microsoft will still be rolling in cash. Everyone needs an OS, and if they supply it people will buy it.
  • by CrackedButter (646746) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:46PM (#17188178) Homepage Journal
    when we use somebody else's face for the BillyBorg Slashdot Icon.
  • by Ajehals (947354) <a.halsall@pirateparty.org.uk> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:46PM (#17188188) Homepage Journal
    So the future is the web, we will in the future all pay a monthly fee and access our documents and media on-line (where consequently it easier to control what we have access to). Then 10-20 years down the line the on-line model will be seen as legacy and we will all jump out and buy a new fangled computer that lets you keep your content locally again, without paying an access fee, all by just buying a software license of an OS and some applications...

    Or we could just not bother going with the latest fad designed to keep us spending, and preventing us from actually owning anything. As long as the good folks at Debian continue to produce a great distribution, and as long as people are willing to write software, I think I'll stick to what I know (and what I don't have to pay through the nose for.)

    • by mikesd81 (518581)

      So the future is the web, we will in the future all pay a monthly fee and access our documents and media on-line (where consequently it easier to control what we have access to).

      That's an interesting point I never thought of. On top of that...who would get the money? The ISP? Google? MS? Imagine that cash flow. Or maybe all of them. We pay the ISP.....but to use Office now you pay MS too. And then to get your e-mail you pay Google? So your statement of paying through the nose (which I didn't paste

  • "Way behind"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Durandal64 (658649) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:48PM (#17188206)

    "'Microsoft is way behind Google when it comes to the internet."

    What does this even mean?

    • by Jugalator (259273)
      I assume "Google's web services are way beyond Microsoft's".
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AVonGauss (1001486)
      IMO, it means industry analysts just like most users don't really have a good concept of what the future will be for computers and communications in general. Personally, I would describe the article as possible FUD with taking things out of context and presenting it in a hype fashion so that it generates ad revenue. The IT industry has been changing quite a bit this decade, some of it deals with the Internet but a lot more of it deals with the incorporation of the technology in to practical uses.
    • The "way behind" statement is very vague.

      The way I read it, they expecting MS to integrate more Internet technologies - or create new Internet technologies- and integrate it into Vista. If so MS is already underfire for security problems in Vista. Adding more Internet related programs/code help into Vista would only hinder the security. IMO, I wouldn't want more Internet bells and whistles integrated into any OS. And besides, more integration means more scrutiny under the EU and DOJ.

      From the article"Once in
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Virgil Tibbs (999791)
      one of the only things google is better at that M$ is not screwing around with what the customer wants...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Cheapy (809643)
      Google is on level 11 of the Internet. Microsoft is still stuck on the boss of level 3.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The hard drive is not the expensive part of a computer. They don't even use much power nowadays. The operating system, or at least the one I'm typing this on, is free. Moving from fat to thin clients doesn't make economic sense, even if many apps can be more conveniently delivered as web pages.
  • The only way is down.

    The only way to stay on top is to defend all of the mountain. That is incredibly time consuming, maintaining and upgrading the fortifications.

    Warren Buffet said he would not invest in Microsoft, because he couldn't understand the long term future.

    Prediction: Microsoft will break itself up.
  • by salesgeek (263995) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @07:57PM (#17188284) Homepage
    Back in the '80s MS built it's success by making computers accessible and usable by the masses. Prior to the 80s useful computers were usually leased mini or mainframes. Often they were timeshared services that were paid by monthly subscription. They were pushed aside by a model led by Microsoft: I own my computer and can use it how I see fit. Recently, they seem to feel because others build web service driven models, that they should too.

    Microsoft is now vulnerable because they believe things have went full circle. They see people building new ideas and new markets that don't include them - or need their software. What MS misses is that people don't want their software when it doesn't do something of great value. The days of people marveling at the convenience of a multitasking GUI or amazing their boss with a pivot table are over. Problem is that Microsoft's current innovation isn't being driven by customers or users, but by a bad combination of developer arrogance and greed. The result: you get products that people just don't want like Zune. You get a company selling out it's users for a buck they may never get from the music business. You get ideas like Live Update and Genuine Advantage that hurt legitimate users because your bean counters want to squeeze every dime out of their market. You get ideas like threatening patent litigation for ideas that are almost as old as most college grads instead of inventing something worth patenting.

    For MS to come back all they have to do is recognize reality: people actually do like and use their software. Focus on what you can add (or remove) that will make it better. And remember that USERS not the music, movie, media or any other industry makes the buying decision. When you add a feature to the OS, make it a benefit to the USER. Everyone is in love with the idea of being a landlord. MS would be wise to remember that they made their way to success by putting the landlords out of business.
    • If I had mod points, i'd certainly give you a +1 insightful for that comment. That's a very valid and interesting way to look at the situation.
    • by Tony (765) *
      They were pushed aside by a model led by Microsoft: I own my computer and can use it how I see fit.

      Uhm. Yeah. See, the Apple ][ was out a long time before the IBM PC. Did you get the memo?

      Microsoft didn't lead anything. Nothing at all. Back then, their best product was Flight Sim on the Apple ][. (I used to play that game for hours, flying up until the world was a postage stamp. Great game.) They had more popular products, of course, like various versions of BASIC and whatnot. I just liked Flight Sim.

      But Ap
    • by MeNeXT (200840) on Monday December 11, 2006 @12:35AM (#17190544)
      I have mod points and I generally agree with your comments that it's about the users but MS had nothing to do with the success of the PC.

      At the time the first IBM PC (8088) came out with "IBM DOS" (MS DOS), the home computer was already on it's way. Apple was already there, as were others. The reason the PC took off and surpassed the Apple ][ was due to IBM opening up the hardware specs, which permitted innovation and later competition with the arrival of clones. IBM the gorilla tried to impose it's will which opened the door for MS.

      As far as I can remember the software side was always about tie-in. WP, IBM, NOVEL, APPLE and especially MS. MS can't "come back". They never cared about the user. From the start they only cared about sales. They haven't changed and they don't know how to, or if you prefer, the markets will not allow them.

      FLOSS has come around to resolve the final issue. Users creating software for users.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:06PM (#17188364)
    "Security experts are acknowledging that Vista is the most secure of Windows to date."

    I realize this isn't a thought original to me, but - this would appear to be a ridiculous statement on its face. Only time will determine whether Vista is "the most secure Windows". We heard these sorts of statements at the release of XP as well; those were obviously incorrect until SP2 came around (after how many years?).

    Steve Gibson (I know, I know, right there people turn off) pointed out the problems Vista's rewritten stack encountered during Vista's beta testing. We really have no idea how good of a job Microsoft did right there - again, only time will tell. But the initial experiences don't appear to be encouraging.

  • by SurturZ (54334) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:07PM (#17188374) Homepage Journal
    From TFA:
    Vista's 50 million lines of code have cost an estimated $7.5 billion to assemble.


    That's $150 per line of code! I reckon the Microsoft devs have been playing WoW on company time :-)
  • by iamdrscience (541136) <michaelmtripp&gmail,com> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:11PM (#17188394) Homepage
    Even Microsoft, it seems is admitting that Vista will be the last OS of its kind.
    It is official; Microsoft now confirms: Windows is dying One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Windows community when Steve Ballmer confirmed that Windows' market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 100 percent of all servers. Coming close on the heels of a recent Microsoft survey which plainly states that Windows has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Windows is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test. You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict Windows' future. The hand writing is on the wall: Windows faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Windows because Windows is dying. Things are looking very bad for Windows. As many of us are already aware, Windows continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood. Windows Vista is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Windows developer Bill Gates only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Windows is dying.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:21PM (#17188460)
    Our company did last year, cities of Vienna and Munich did, it should work out very nicely for you too. Our former XP users love KDE.

    No need to put yourself through pains when you can improve security, save money and achieve a good deal of vendor independence all at the same time. Why support the Microsoft monopoly by paying ridiculous prices for bug ridden software with DRM restrictions, when you can run Free software on the industry standard (and thus inexpensive) hardware?

    Knowing everything I know now, I only regret that we did not migrate to GNU/Linux sooner.
  • Summary misleading (Score:5, Insightful)

    by proxima (165692) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:26PM (#17188496)
    From the summary:

    [...]the company has admitted that even with a two year delay 'it is not really ready'.

    where "the company" is implied to be Microsoft. However, from the article:

    [...]but even after a two-year delay it is not really ready, Michael Silver, an analyst at Gartner, said.

    I think that's a rather important distinction.

  • by MrCreosote (34188) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:28PM (#17188518)
    Whenever I hear or read someone saying that the latest version of Windows is 'the most secure to date' I am reminded of the Groucho Marx line from 'Animal Crackers' - "Why, you're one of the most beautiful women I've ever seen, and that's not saying much for you".
  • Heard it before... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GeorgeMcBay (106610) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:29PM (#17188524)
    Anyone who has been paying attention to the tech industry has heard this same argument in different forms since just about forever. Larry Ellison was going to sell us all network computers to replace our Windows 95 boxes, because Windows was obsolete. Sun seems to pull out this idea once a year to spit polish it, toss it out there, and hope somebody will pay some attention to them, etc. Even if there may be some truth to the argument behind this, after hearing it for so long and having all previous claims be proven completely wrong, you just can't help but filter it out, ala the boy crying wolf story... I look forward to reading about how Windows Vista 2010 Special Edition will be the last version of Windows when the time comes.
  • I'm not convinced that the article was right, but things are rapidly moving toward Mark Andreessen's prediction that the browser will be the desktop. As I look at the wealth of Internet apps, and envision the possibility of httpd being built into every NIC, with kernel functionality (microcode, anyone?) in every motherboard, and I see the traditional OS as being irrelevant. Y'know, LEGO could make a number of computer components about the size of a Linksys 5-port switch, and we could just stack our computer
  • I agree with the sentiment here--OSes will never be completely irrelevant. However, the profitability of making them soon will. It's only a matter of time until a Dell or an HP starts selling Linux boxes, fully supported, because they're sick of paying the MS Tax. Once MS is in an environment where it actually has to compete for its OS sales, they'll no longer have the luxury of blowing $7.5 billion over 5 years for their next version. The average consumer doesn't believe in paying for an OS. It came "
  • You simply cannot spend 2 years cranking out a dot level upgrade to an OS and expect thundering success. Because in the final analysis there isn't much new to Vista
  • no... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bluesman (104513) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:41PM (#17188630) Homepage
    Google doesn't make Windows irrelevant. Windows is here to stay.

    It's here to stay because no matter how little their operating system changes or improves, it will always be at least a little bit better than the previous version, and as such it will always be the default on new machines.

    Microsoft is saved by the fact that PC's are now a commodity, and people don't mind throwing old ones away every couple of years for minor performance improvements. The newest version of Windows will always succeed, because it's the default. All Microsoft has to do is maintain backward compatibility.

    The only way Windows will ever be displaced is if another competitor offers something significantly better, which is unlikely. Operating systems are now a commodity, so the possibility that one could be significantly better than another on the same hardware is remote.

    Another possibility is that a new hardware platform could displace Intel, but that is so unlikely because the economies of scale almost guarantee that the Intel architecture will always dominate desktop computing.

    That is, until we hit a threshold where the hardware can't be made much faster. Then we might see some real innovation in hardware and software.

    But until then, learn to love Windows.
  • by dangitman (862676) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:47PM (#17188668)

    No. 1: 'Microsoft is way behind Google when it comes to the internet,' Rupert Godwins, the technology editor at ZDNet,

    Godwinized before it even began. When God wins, humans lose.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:55PM (#17188722)
    Windows is not insecure due to it's popularity. It is due to it's design. A secure system can withstand what comes at it because in it's design, these anomalies were accounted for. Stop pimping that excuse.
  • Heh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by strider44 (650833) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @09:02PM (#17188776)
    Remember that people don't like risks that they don't control? I hereby predict that as soon as someone in a company like Google abuses the power of having and controlling documents then there will be an enormous backlash against it.

    Currently that's why I don't use Google's doc and spreadsheet programs. I can't stand not having control of my own documents.
  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday December 11, 2006 @09:35AM (#17193396) Homepage
    Vista's vulnerability to phishing attacks
    WTF does that mean? Every OS is susceptible to phishing attacks because it's not actually the OS that's the problem. It's the person operating the computer. How do you design an operating system that stops people from typing their password for one site into another site? It's not a software problem. It's a user problem. It's like trying to make a program language that doesn't let you make bugs in the code. It's impossible, and trying to solve it in software makes the users even more susceptible to the problem, because they figure they no longer have to learn anything. Passing the blame for phishing attacks on to the operating system, as well as viruses, and other malware, will only further the problem. Education of the users is all that's necessary. Apart from the worms that works it's way into the computer through an unnecessary open port, or browsers that allow code to be executed, or mail apps that execute stuff when they aren't supposed to, most of the blame falls on the user. So, there is some things that can be done to cut down the number of attack vectors, the stupid user will always be the easiest to exploit.

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