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PC Makers Offering a Bridge Back To XP 523

Posted by kdawson
from the bridge-too-far dept.
The Telegraph is reporting on efforts by PC manufacturers to give customers buying systems pre-installed with Windows Vista a much-sought way to downgrade to Windows XP. ( A few months back we discussed Microsoft's similar concession for corporate customers.) "It took took five years and $6 billion to develop, but Microsoft's Vista operating system, which was launched early this year, has been shunned by consumers — with computer manufacturers taking the bizarre step of offering downgrades to the old XP version of Windows."
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PC Makers Offering a Bridge Back To XP

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  • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:09AM (#20738579) Homepage Journal
    "It took took five years and $6 billion to develop"

    Who's took? He must've been a genius to develop Vista with only $6 billion! :P
  • by victorvodka (597971) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:17AM (#20738647) Homepage
    I'm a computer-using professional, (a web developer, actually) and I haven't bought a computer in years (who needs to? a five year old Pentium IV does everything anyone needs a computer to do!). So I was amazed back in July when a friend and I went to a Circuit City and then Best Buy on a "cheapest laptop we can walk out with" quest. XP was already gone and the pimply-faced Nerd Patrol/Geek Squad/FireDog/CatFucker people all told us that installing XP on these computers was impossible. They said they'd tried and it couldn't be done. I remember wondering if perhaps this was the end of the Microsoft Universe, since there was no way we'd be getting a Vista computer. The only use for multiple cores and 4 gigs of RAM is if 80% of your CPU cycles are given over to DRM and Norton 360.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by JanneM (7445)

      The only use for multiple cores and 4 gigs of RAM is if 80% of your CPU cycles are given over to DRM and Norton 360.

      Postprocess a 10mp RAW file and you easily use upwards of half a gig and one core (the other core making sure your other apps don't stutter while you're running some heavy processing script). Do a panorama from 22 of those images and a couple of gigabytes (and a good deal of patience) comes in handy.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/jannem/449271968/ [flickr.com]

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AuMatar (183847)
        And less than .5% of users do either of those things. Less than that do any for of photo editing at all. For the vast, vast majority of users, a pentium 300 or so is more than enough.
    • by UncleTogie (1004853) * on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:34AM (#20738785) Homepage Journal

      XP was already gone and the pimply-faced Nerd Patrol/Geek Squad/FireDog/CatFucker people all told us that installing XP on these computers was impossible.

      Vic, those overglorified PC monkeys are yanking your chain. You have a number of OS choices. Fraggin' suits and their "unofficial" quotas...

      As for XP being a "downgrade" from Vista, let's consider Merriam-Webster's definition of UPgrade:

      : to improve or replace especially software or a device for increased usefulness.

      Note the "for increased usefulness" part. Until Vista somehow offers a marked usefulness over XP, it's not going to be able to justify the price tags...ESPECIALLY Ultimate...

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by paganizer (566360)
        Increased usefulness?
        So the ultimate Upgrade is Win2k? I already knew that. I just wish they would release the damn 64-bit patch instead of keeping it Enterprise-only.
    • Either they are outright lying, or they suck.

      That, or they are selling some VERY unique laptops.
    • by djupedal (584558)
      Not the cheapest, but XP can be run on a MacBook, ya' know...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MadUndergrad (950779)
      Here's what you do: make a bet with the guy. If you can get a copy of Windows XP installed on the computer, he'll sell it to you half off. If you can't (in, say, a day) then you'll buy it full price. Since it can't be done he should have no qualms about accepting, right?
    • by Christopher_Edwardz (1036954) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @01:06AM (#20739035)

      It makes good business sense for the PC manufacturers.

      If they're seeing squawking clients in the valuable before-christmas season, they should do something. And if a downgrade to XP is what it takes... then so be it.

      The manufacturers might be partners with miker$of when it is convenient, but a friend-coerced is a pretty fair-weather friend. I imagine that business arrangement works both ways and miker$of is under some pressure from stockholders to sell their product.

      For the record to someone that mentioned a PC on which XP wouldn't run... I recently had to reload a spanky-new gateway *shudder* PC at the office. It had linux on it (which ran like a champ as a SERVER for HUNDREDS OF USERS (database, app server, web server, samba, DNS, and so on) and we were reloading it for a developer to use as as desktop. I know it will barely run Vista and make his life miserable.

      XP won't run on it because Intel doesn't make (a working set of)drivers for the board's SATA controller. Not for XP. I tried Professional, Home, and even Server 2003 to make sure. Won't run. Bluescreens before you see the GUI. Tried both pre and post DRM versions (Original, SP1, and SP2 ++DRM). No XP "love". Looked on their website and they sorta support XP, but couldn't find a way to order one with that OS. (I was going to order one, clone the HD's magic partition, and take it back.)

      The company didn't want to buy a PATA drive to put on a single chain with the UDMA66 DVD-ROM. I don't blame them.

      I poked around both intel's and gutway's sites (which is kind of like sticking your hand in a public toilet by the way...) for an hour or two to no avail. Google-is-evil-ified the motherboard and SATA controller to see if anyone had other ideas. Lots of problems and no solutions later I ditched this idea.

      Intel provides Linux support, why not XP? They have an XP driver listed, and I tried all 3 choices (which loads the same driver *sigh*), but still I get the friendly BSOD I know so well.

      I won't rule out the idea that I might've missed something, but the probability is sliding fast towards nil.

      I didn't have a copy of vista, and won't be having one. A glance at the side of the PC says that it is for Home Premium Two-Steps Left or some such version. Gutway doesn't do recovery CDs, putting the image on a recovery partition at the front of the disk for the client to burn. It evidently got erased before I received the PC.

      as an annoying sidenote, the thing doesn't have a floppy drive, so I had to open the side of the case and connect a floppy before I could mash F6 to load a driver from floppy.

      Anyway, I won't give the developer vista as he's already had the black feather pointed at him (the only one in the shop, because some of our clients downgraded to vista). He just looks pitiful when someone suggests he might be getting vista again. Everyone in the office has stopped teasing him about it because... well... it is meaner than tasering a mental patient in a wheelchair.

      CE.

    • Well, yes and no (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @01:12AM (#20739071) Journal

      I recently upgraded my computers, my windows xp game machine from a P4HT and my linux dual P3 machine both to Core 2 Duos and 2gigs of ram. The windows machine used to have 1 gig of ddr and the P3 had 512mb of that ram that failed.

      Both were okay machines in their own right, I am currently playing a lot of LOTRO and the frame rates weren't too bad with pretty decent settings. The problem was lack of memory, ddr is expensive compared to ddr2 and I had all full slots.

      So, with two new machines, am I experiencing what you claim? HELL NO. For one thing, bios boot time (before the OS starts loading) have dropped to mere seconds, often so fast I can't even hit del fast enough. While the machines themselves idle most of the time, they respond a lot faster when I actually want them to work.

      BRING OUT THE CAR ANOLOGY

      If you drive you car one hour a day at 240 miles per hour (lets keep the math simple) then you claim that a car with a top speed over 10 miles per hour is wastefull since obviously on average your car only drives 10 miles per hour in a day period.

      Computer speed is not just about total capacity, it is about how fast it can do the tasks you ask it to do. If I boot my computer, I wanted to work on it NOW, every milisecond it is not ready is wasted time. If I open a document I want to work on it. Don't matter that a 10 second load time ain't that long, it is time I spend waiting.

      That is the secret of why powerfull computers make for better productivity, NOT because we need them to constantly be performing heavy workloads, but because we want them to do what we want them to do quickly so we can do our work in the flow we want it too.

      I remember the days when if you wanted to print a document you went and got a cup of coffee while the computer got ready, and then you went an hour later to the printer room to get your document from the pile. It worked, but your workflow was being dictated by the hardware/software. Not a good thing.

      BRING OUT THE SECOND CAR ANOLOGY

      Old diesels had to warmup before they could be driven. Not too much of a problem, just make it part of your getting ready routine to go outside and start the car before you actually leave. But god, those petrol cars with their instant usuable engines were handy, and we curse when we have to scape the windows when there is frost. We want the car to be ready when we want it to be ready, not when its hardware is ready.

      I agree that getting a new powerfull computer and then wasting all its cycles on crap is not progress, but just because a new powerfull computer spends most of its time idling does NOT mean it is useless. Same as your car that spends most of its times doing 0 miles per hour is NOT wasting all that horse power.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Let me take your car analogy a little further. Remember awhile back, Ford had 2 main Mustangs - the GT and the LX? You could get both of these with a 5.0L engine. Now, which one would you want to get if you want the faster of the two? That's right - you would get the LX. Why? Because the LX is the stripped-down leaner version. You had all this extra weight on the GT. It bogged down the car. Now why do the same to your OS? You want to pick the OS that does not bog down your machine.
    • by spyrochaete (707033) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @09:11AM (#20741933) Homepage Journal
      My sister just bought a laptop with a fair number of bells and whistles - webcam, fingerprint scanner, touch screen, portrait/landscape image flipper, and more. The machine comes with Vista preinstalled and although it comes with no reinstall disks it has a dedicated image partition with instructions on how to burn your own recovery disks. (pretty chintzy, eh?)

      Naturally, she got an email from her university just after buying her laptop, saying that Vista is incompatible with many features on the Blackboard scheduling and class management system. I decided to install XP for her since she's more familiar with it anyway. No dice. Much of her hardware, including, surprisingly, her GeForce Go 6150 video card, has no Windows XP drivers developed! I searched for many drivers but could only find message board threads featuring questions about where the heck the XP drivers were. Long story short, my third attempt to recover the system worked and she's back to Vista.

      It seems that she doesn't even have the option to revert to XP. I hope she doesn't need much troubleshooting (that's wishful thinking) because my few experiences with Vista have been befuddling.
  • "It took took five years and $6 billion to develop" Yep, and it took me FIVE DAYS to decide to dump it off of my machine, and go back to XP Pro.
  • Downgrade? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TW Atwater (1145245) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:17AM (#20738655)
    I wouldn't consider Vista to XP a downgrade. You end up with a faster box, better selection of drivers and less DRM. How is that a downgrade?
    • Limited Lifespan (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nymz (905908) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:36AM (#20738805) Journal

      How is that a downgrade?
      Support for security patches and feature upgrades will end April 2009.
      • by pembo13 (770295) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:43AM (#20738849) Homepage
        corrected the subject for you.
        • Artificial How? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Nymz (905908) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @01:02AM (#20739007) Journal

          Artificially Limited Lifespan
          How so? If someone contracted you to work for 90 days, paying you in advance, would you continue working past 90 days, for free? When those 90 days are up, it's not an artifical deadline, but a real one.
          • I'd be able to hire another contractor to work for me, if the first one wouldn't prolong. With proprietary software, you don't have that option. You are artificially limited by whatever CEO "vision" governs the providers business plan at the moment.

            Using proprietary software for any mission critical part of your business is reckless.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Ubergrendle (531719)
              "Using proprietary software for any mission critical part of your business is reckless."

              I'm sure Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, Dell, Siebel, SAS, Intel, AMD, Apple, and CA will be revising their mission statements shortly.

              Perhaps the most idiotic comment I have ever seen posted on Slashdot, ever.
      • Non-MS Patches? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Frosty Piss (770223) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:51AM (#20738925)

        Support for security patches and feature upgrades will end April 2009.

        I know that it's a unacceptable solution for "enterprise" / "corporate" users to pick up random Windows patches from "non-trusted" sources, but I wonder if there would be a market for a "legitimate" company to start offering such support after Microsoft abandons XP users?

        • So, where do they obtain the source code from? I sure as hell doubt MS is going to license every line of their code to some random company, much less that the goal of the company is to keep a product alive that MS wants to let die off so the successor can take the throne.
          br And even if your hypothetical company managed to reverse engineer it themselves or obtain it from MS somehow, MS would instantly sue the living hell out of them - not so much for actually caring about their IP, but again, because it wou
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Paul Jakma (2677)
            I sure as hell doubt MS is going to license every line of their code to some random company,

            They can be made to do so. (They're a monopoly, antithetical to free market economies, so they no longer deserve the freedom to run their company for their own benefit).
  • I'd actually welcome the opportunity to get some XP recovery disks for the laptop I purchased last month. It's my first experience with Windows Vista. Over the past month, I have seen that Vista has changed everything that was good about XP, and left all the bad parts untouched. Everything from network browsing to hibernation support has been subtly altered for maximum annoyance. Maybe Vista is a ruse to bump up sales of XP, because I've certainly been considering a self funded downgrade. And yes, Linux run
    • by hackshack (218460)
      Well, if you're having video and suspend issues, then it's not really running like a dream now, is it?
  • Give me a moment while I do my happy dance of Microsoft humiliation.
  • by Glowing Fish (155236) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:18AM (#20738669) Homepage
    The following comments will be posted by various people to this article
    • Someone saying that this is the end of Microsoft's monopoly.
    • Someone saying that the exact same thing happened with XP, and people will have to change over the next Holiday season.
    • Someone complaining that their very common hardware doesn't work with Vista
    • Someone saying that they have managed to get all their equipment running right out of the box with Vista, including some obscure piece of hardware.
    • Someone complaining that even on a 2 GHz processor with 2 gigs of memory, Vista crawls
    • Someone saying that people should stop complaining about Vista performance, because they got it working on a P2-266 with 128 megs of RAM.
    • Someone saying that with Vista's failure, this is the year of Linux on the desktop.
    • And someone saying that until Grandma can write an e-Mail, Linux isn't ready for the desktop.

    All of the parties will provide various slightly off-topic and apocryphal anecdotes and statistics to support their position.
  • Yeah but (Score:5, Funny)

    by farker haiku (883529) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:20AM (#20738685) Journal
    Is that 6 billion in excel dollars?

    According to some excel functions, that's really only 3,932,100,000.
  • I wanted to upgrade from Vista to XP when I bought my laptop a few months ago. Where was this offer then?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by User 956 (568564)
      I wanted to upgrade from Vista to XP when I bought my laptop a few months ago. Where was this offer then?

      This offer was still around, it was just only available through Bittorrent.
  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:24AM (#20738717) Homepage
    Ok, I've been using Vista Ultimate (Yes, I PAID for it. Shut up already) on my Acer Ferrari 3200 lappy. Why? Two reasons.

    1. Acer abandoned XP driver support on my laptop shortly after launch. I've had to scour the net for updated Wifi drivers from HP and other places that supported my ATI mobile 9700. Windows Vista OTOH, supported all my hardware on the first install.

    2. I support Windows servers and desktops. I figured now would be a good time to learn Vista including all of its quirkiness.

    How did it go? Well...Vista is a POS to be blunt. It's slow to boot up, next to impossible to access work group resources, application compatibility issues, and next to no 3rd party VPN app support. It's a good thing I kept my collection of XP drivers for this laptop, cause I'll be nuking the drive and loading an XP SP2 build within a month.
    • I have had the same problem with Asus not providing XP drivers for the new F3 series notebooks on the Santa Rosa platform.

      There are no XP drivers for it, and one of my clients was given 3 of them as part of a grant.
      Unfortunatley the applications that need to run on them don't work in Vista so they are sitting there gathering dust till either

      A) Asus release drivers

      or

      B) the developer supports Vista, which they have said they are not doing till SP1
      • sounds like your friend will be a skeleton sitting there next to those laptops collecting dust himself before they offer driver support for Windows XP. Is it possible to run the applications that he needs with Wine [winehq.org]? If so then Ubuntu [ubuntu.com] awaits, either that or he can eBay the vista laptops and bid on a used XP laptop (or at least one that has hardware with XP drivers available). Heck, the Vista debacle may even increase the value of good used XP laptops...hehe he better bid soon if that is what he decides to do
    • by DAldredge (2353)
      It takes less than 45 seconds for my system to boot into Vista Ultimate from a cold start. Specs 2 GB RAM, Pentium Dual Core @ 1.6 GHZ, 300 GB HD, Intel Built in graphics and sound. What apps did you have trouble with?
      • Laptop specs are as follows:

        AMD Mobile Athlon 64 2800 (1.6 GHz), 1GB PC2700 DDR, 80GB 5400RPM drive (upgrade), and an ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 with 128MB of dedicated video memory (AGP 8x).

        From cold boot to a quite/stable desktop enviroment takes about 3 to 4 minutes. The only items I have set in the system tray is AVG anti-virus. I've turned off pre-boot caching features normally enabled by Quicktime, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Java Runtime. I suspect it's the Windows Defender wanting to do "quick" scan of
      • Jesus, 45 seconds? My 2yo (2GB ram, single core athlon) box boots XP in under 30. I'd call 45 slow.
    • next to impossible to access work group resources

      It works if you change a 1 digit key which doesn't take long. What took me so long was the 3 hours on Google to find what key to change. After that, it connects to password protected workgroup SMB shares just fine.

      The two tasks were simple for my Wife's new school laptop.

      1 Copy the backup documents folder off a SMB share to the new Vista machine. Time to connect and transfer >3 hours.
      2 Connect to an IPP printer on my LAN. Again a big Google search req
    • by pembo13 (770295)
      Therein why Microsoft is rich. They long ago found out that people are more than happy to pay for a product, regardless of if they themselves think the product is a POS.
      • by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @01:05AM (#20739021) Homepage
        No, they're rich because of an industry established OS momentum in place. I pay for their products so I can support them for other's who paid for them. As for the corporate user, they hate change and don't like the idea of an entire IT overhaul be it going Apple or Linux platform.

        I knew Vista was going to be problematic. You know, typical Microsoft OS growing pains. I did *not* know how much of a PITA this Vista Experience was going to be. I gave it a chance above and beyond what feel is to be expected. But I'm sorry, I'm dropping Vista like a bad habit. It'll be better for my health too.
    • It's a good thing I kept my collection of XP drivers for this laptop .. I misread that as "good thing I kept my collection of porn".. Freudian slip I suppose.
    • by plierhead (570797) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @01:33AM (#20739213) Journal

      My own little experience with Vista...

      I was happy enough with XP.

      Then some mofo lowlife stole my laptop so have just been forced to get a new one. The shop said they "can't" provide machines with XP, so I was forced to use Vista (with hindsight I should have shelled out for a copy of XP and downgraded the machine).

      The weird thing is, you can sense the stirrings of some actual respect for decent security underneath the glittering, laquer-coated turd that is Vista. But sadly, the actual implementation is just as bad as I feared.

      My first 2 hours were lost just trying to get an ssh shell working again.

      - cygwin doesn't run (easily) - file permission problems. Need to become Administrator to fix them.

      - turns out that under Vista, just because your account is an "Administrator account", does not mean you are an Administrator. No, there is an actual Administrator (root) user, which has been thoughfully disabled.

      - you can google plenty of instructions for turning on the Administrator account - but because I have the artifically crippled "Home Premium" edition, those menu options are simply not there. I eventually work out that I need to go to the dos box and type "net use blah blah". Finally I can log in as Administrator and change file permissions.

      - despite all this, I still find I need to disable UAC to do things from time to time - and of course, reboot whenever I change it. But at least finally cygwin works.

      Despite all of these new annoyances, MS has thoughtfully retained some of the quite annoying features of XP (and probably of the devil's spawns that preceded it). eg if you leave a network drive connected, then go to another network, then doing "file open" in an app such as Word freezes for a few minutes.

      I think MS has had little choice in releasing Vista. Their bad designed decisions in the past - always favouring absurd "one click and its running" ease of use over normal security procedures - have come home to roost, forcing them to paint themselves into the corner they're in now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by donaldm (919619)
      When I got my new laptop (2GB memory and dual core cpu) it came with Vista Ultimate 64bit. I did not notice any performance issues since it booted up reasonably quickly. I very quickly noticed that it basically had nothing except a 3 months free subscription to some virus protection software and plenty of vendor crapware. Some of my colleagues were impressed by the new (for want of a better word) desktop and were a little shocked when I informed them that I was going to install 64 bit Fedora 7.

      I did make
  • Wheels coming off? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lawpoop (604919) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:33AM (#20738779) Homepage Journal
    Are we finally seeing the wheels coming off of this tired old monopoly? This sounds like the Soviet Union in the 60s and 70s, where nobody cared about the revolution anymore, nobody pitched their 'fair share' any longer, and the whole economy is collapsing.

    MS seems to have been able to push crap out in the past. The only way they got away with it was monopoly position, user lock-in, favors of the press, and the ignorance of the general public about what computers were actually capable of, at the time when MS was releasing its features.

    Seven years, how many thousands of programmers, evil genius and chair-throwing asshole at the top, and it's still not ready? Perhaps modern OS development is a task so complex that traditional human organizations -- the hierarchical corporation being the most powerful to date -- can no longer tackle it. Is open-source collaboration the next big thing in societal evolution?
    • Seven years, how many thousands of programmers, evil genius and chair-throwing asshole at the top, and it's still not ready? Perhaps modern OS development is a task so complex that traditional human organizations -- the hierarchical corporation being the most powerful to date -- can no longer tackle it. Is open-source collaboration the next big thing in societal evolution?

      I doubt being unable to implement the IEEE standards for multiplication is too complex for traditional human organizations... A far mor

  • Shocker? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thatskinnyguy (1129515) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:33AM (#20738781)
    The only difference between Vista now and in the beta stages, besides stability, is the system requirements for a well-running system. I was in no way surprised when businesses balked at the minimum system requirement. I can't tell you how many IT departments I've seen out there that have machines that run XP but only barely. Now, a machine that is a year old can't run the latest OS. Hmmm. If the average company would want to upgrade to Vista, they would have to make some massive capital investment to replace things that haven't completely depreciated in order to have IT just for the sake of IT.

    XP is a good operating system. And after SP2 came out, it got even better. My place of employment plans to keep using Windows XP for the next few years. It's not that we don't want to upgrade to Vista. It's that we would have to change the whole computer system for each of our 200 seats in order to run it. If the transition was as painless as the jump from Windows 2000 to XP, I don't doubt that we would be in the middle of implementing it right now.
  • by Hadlock (143607) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:34AM (#20738783) Homepage Journal
    Shopping with my mother for a new display to replace the broken one on Sunday, my mom pointed to a "Works with Vista!" sign attached to a LCD monitor and said "I heard that's (Vista) not very good". I was quite proud, and a little shocked, that quite possibly the most technophobe and technologically backwards person I know (my mother) was even aware of how bad Vista was, even if only through the grapevine.
     
    That said, even with that kind of bad PR, Vista will no doubt make headay in to the market in 1-2 years time. It took at least that long for XP to really have good market penetration.... and by that time, computers should be able to run Vista reasonably.
    • Oh Lord! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Torodung (31985) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:50AM (#20738919) Journal
      Oh-oh. It's not good when a desktop OS's rep gets to the "mom can't e-mail" stage. That argument is usually employed against Linux distros (and rightly so, IMHO).

      There's even a potential bumper sticker/T-Shirt market: "Even your mom knows Vista sucks."

      Man alive, if that anecdote's even remotely true, it flat-out trumps the more technically oriented reports in indicating that Redmond is in serious trouble.

      --
      Toro
  • The Time Has Come (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:34AM (#20738789) Journal
    At some point even Microsoft's best-paid shills are going to have to admit that there's a serious problem, that Vista is not what Microsoft has come to expect from their business plan of periodic forced upgrades. I don't expect Microsoft to admit it, because it's marketing department is filled with well-paid liars, but somewhere in that behemoth in Redmond there must be some folks getting nervous.

    I was assured by my Dell rep last week that XP will be available well into next year. I think Microsoft has a serious problem, and is finding that, at the end of the day, it is the one at the whim of the manufacturers and consumers, not the other way around.
    • by 2ms (232331)
      Gates been nervous for years and that's why he distanced himself from company and transfered his name and ego to The Gates Foundation stuff. That's my personal opinion.
      • Re:The Time Has Come (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Torodung (31985) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @01:41AM (#20739253) Journal
        My take on it was that Gates realized that all the easy money to be made had been made, and there was no point, with his net worth, trying to make yet more money for Microsoft. Besides, at that point, with near complete market dominance, the only place MS had to go was down.

        The only options: Maintenance, diversification, or decay. The American stockholder does not suffer maintenance, even if you've reached 100% market saturation, and diversification couldn't have been particularly interesting to a guy who fell in love with the personal computer. I doubt he gives a darn about the X-Box and the Zune beyond pride in his own company. The only thing that Microsoft is doing right now that seems to fit with his personal style is Silverlight.

        So he packed it in and decided to do something useful with all that money. He is secure in the fact that he won. He pretty much achieved his stated goal of a world of personal computers, all running Microsoft software, and we all know that 100% is reserved for God. He won even to the point of getting a degree from Harvard, and that's all Bill really cares about as far as Microsoft is concerned.

        He won, and he was too smart to hang around to wait until someone could make him lose. I don't think he was distancing himself from a bad company. He just quit when he had achieved what he wanted.

        Smart guy.

        --
        Toro

        (Wow. That came out a lot longer than I intended.)
  • by shanen (462549) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:35AM (#20738793) Homepage Journal
    Unlike the Linux competition between distros, there is no real competition driving innovation within Microsoft Windows. They sort of notice it, but why bother? They'll continue squeezing blood out of the turnips forever even if they fire *ALL* of their development programmers and just retain a skeleton staff of maintenance programmers. Actually from what I've seen of Vista, maybe that's what they did. In terms of real innovations Vista looks and feels like it could have been done by a couple of guys in their spare time. Less innovation than between the three Linux shells I've tried.

    Most of my experience has been with Ubuntu. Functionally, it does most of what I need right after installation. (I'm including the basically simple Flash, Java, and codec installations that really should be included in the baseline installation.) Most users want email, Web surfing, and basic document editing, and Ubuntu delivers all of that. On its own merits, it should have roughly half the market, except that it's cheaper, too, so it should have more than that.

    What's wrong with this picture? The problem is that most Linux people have a cooks-first mentality, and when a regular diner comes along with a question or any comment except for extreme praise, the standard answer translates into "Why haven't you read the cookbook yet? The answer is right there." Well, the reason they didn't read the cookbook is because they just want to eat a tasty Linux sandwich, not to become a master chef.

    There's nothing wrong with the open kitchen concept--but the Linux people keep trying to force people into the kitchen. Sorry, but my time is limited, and even though I made my living as a programmer for some years, I've had enough of it--and most 'diners' want even less than that. They just want it to work and help them get their computer-related tasks done.

    Of course Microsoft's cooking model is a closed and locked kitchen, with no health inspectors and a complete waiver of liability printed on the back of your receipt--and you accepted all of the terms and conditions when you sat down at the table. However at least Microsoft is interested in the diners' money, even if they don't care about poison software.

    Anyway, I'd love to see Vista flop in the dirt. I want some real choices, and most of the time I'm at work I'm forced to use Windows. Freedom is about real choice, and Microsoft is dedicated to eliminating freedom, no matter what their ads say.
  • As I understand it, XP is the last of a series of upgrades dating back to DOS.

    I suppose it is mostly based in code that was designed to maximize performance since early systems didn't have the resources to waste with modern day code.

    Does this mean Vista was written with no care whatsoever to memory management and CPU time?
  • Good thing (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:39AM (#20738819)
    It's a good thing I decided not to pirate Windows Vista. That would have been embarrassing.
  • by Entropius (188861) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:41AM (#20738835)
    So, I am a grad student, TA'ing a class in computational physics.

    Said class is taught in the only lab in the building with Windows machines; everything else is Linux. The old Athlon XP boxes do just fine; I've got Monte Carlo running on some of them right now.

    These computers are state-of-the-art: dual-core Pentiums, 2GB RAM, and ... Vista Business.

    1. Half the time you can't log in because "An error occurred contacting the User Profile Service."
    2. Sometimes you can't log in because of some other error I forget.
    3. The things take forever to boot.
    4. The first thing the students do when they get into Vista is ... ssh to a linux machine, so they can do their work. The *same* Linux machine, able to handle a dozen students numerically integrating shit without a problem.
    5. We use some shitty software called Excursion that lets you get X graphics back through a Windows ssh session. Trouble is, it sucks and crashes all the damn time.

    So we're using ~$2k of Windows licenses and a bunch of spiffy hardware to ... run ssh badly. Lovely. And then the students submit their writeups as .docx's, and I have to fuss at them and ask for something I can read.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      So, I am a grad student, TA'ing
      I'm sorry, your English is way too god for you to be a TA, please turn in your faculty/staff ID and pass on the access key to the new TA who will be arriving in this country in 3...2....1....

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zantetsuken (935350)
      You guys might wanna check out Xming [straightrunning.com]. It's a standalone X server compiled for Windows, so you'll still need to use something like PuTTY. I haven't tried it on Vista, but it hasn't crashed once on me in XP - it does at least claim Vista support, but again, I can't say about that. One of the good things I like about it is it doesn't have any Cygwin dependencies. The other thing I like about Xming is that unlike some of the commercial X servers for Win32 I looked through (Hummingbird Exceed, etc) is that this
    • by friedman101 (618627) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @01:54AM (#20739329)
      I wonder if my equally anecdotal success with Vista will get the same sort of mod points the parent did...

      Out of the box everything worked. Period. Wifi connected and downloaded my graphics drivers from Windows Update. After some reboots (admittedly more than I would like) everything went smoothly. I have only had a few freezes in my four months of use. The systems hibernates and restores without any trouble 100% of the time (more than I can say for ubuntu). The battery seems to last longer as well. Everything is snappy and I think the accelerated window manager is more subtle and tastefully done than compiz or beryl. Don't get me wrong, I love linux and use it whenever I don't need access to windows apps but there's no point in pretending like Vista is garbage. In my opinion it's a substancial upgrade over XP.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pherthyl (445706)
        It's a mixed bag. Obviously it will work for some people, otherwise it would have never been released in the first place, but that doesn't make the people for whom it doesn't work liars. For them, Vista is pure garbage. The fact that it works for you has absolutely no bearing on that fact. Conversely, the fact that Vista is useless for them doesn't mean it can't work perfectly for you.

        For me, Vista is completely useless, and I've had it on my laptop for the past 6 months, trying it every few weeks or so
  • Vista is (Score:2, Funny)

    by pair-a-noyd (594371)
    the new Edsel.
  • Windows ME again? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mike610544 (578872) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @12:59AM (#20738975)
    I've heard some people say: "Everyone said the same thing when XP came out." That's bullshit. When XP was released, everyone here on Slashdot was saying: "Wow, this is actually pretty good; I haven't had a single crash; They finally delivered on their promise to release a consumer OS with the NT core."

    Maybe in a few months Vista will be a good upgrade, who knows, but right now I can't see one feature that I want.
  • history (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @01:00AM (#20738989) Journal

    In the early 90's, MS nearly blew it. MS was pooh-poohing the Internet. Windows 95 was going to ignore the Internet-- the Internet wasn't important. However, Bill Gates realized the importance of the Internet, and singlehandedly turned the company attitude around. He "got it".

    This time, with Vista, MS has blown it. They've been pushing DRM. They didn't learn the right lessons from the WGA fiasco. If all that Vista's DRM did was stop a few DVDs from being viewed or CDs being ripped for the 10 seconds needed to circumvent the protection, the DRM wouldn't be a big deal. But no, DRM is so deeply embedded in Vista that it casts its shadow on everything Vista does. Vista runs slower. Vista breaks more often. Hardware capable of supporting Vista's DRM schemes is more expensive. Security concerns have been deliberately conflated, with security for users from viruses being handled with less concern than security for MS and the MAFIAA from the users. And MS insults users' intelligence with lies about _all_ the security being for their own good. It's not possible to just turn off some sort of "DRM service" and have Vista just work, because Vista really is defective by design. In exchange for putting up with all those inconveniences, people receive in return less than nothing.

    This time around, MS doesn't have Bill Gates in there, getting it right. He's busy trying to save the world from diseases. Laudable, and I wish him the best. But I wish he'd put some of these charitable impulses towards making MS kinder and gentler. I don't know whether Gates would get it this time, as he did in the early 90's. But no one else of consequence at MS is getting it right, and that's scary that a behemoth like MS can make such a blindingly obvious idiotic blunder. Perhaps corporations are inherently flawed systems in this way, susceptible to bad groupthink. They may wake up before they bleed too much. Sic transit gloria MS.

    • Revisionism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tony (765) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @01:58AM (#20739355) Journal
      No, it wasn't Mr. Gates who "Got it." Gates was pushing MSN as an AOL alternative, as a standard closed environment separate from the internet. He was part of the reason Microsoft *didn't* respond to the internet in a timely fashion.

      It was new kids coming in to Microsoft from college who "got it." It was the cover articles in Time and Newsweek who "got it." Microsoft only "got it" because they had no other choice. If they had followed Mr. Gates' plan, they would've missed it entirely.
  • Buys Linux time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @01:25AM (#20739165)
    The longer XP stays in circulation, the more time Wine, Samba, Kerberos, OpenLDAP, Fedora DS, and a myriad of Linux producers have to target Windows. If Vista really has mass rejection by consumers and businesses, it buys Linux oh so precious weeks, Days, and hours, to try and overtake Active Directory.
  • by GreatDrok (684119) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @01:40AM (#20739245) Journal
    I bought a cheap (really cheap actually, NZ$600) Compaq PC the other day. AMD Sempron 3600+ with 512MB RAM, on board graphics, ethernet and sound and an 80GB SATA disc (where the hell they found that I don't know). It also came with a copy of Vista Basic so for a laugh I fired it up to see how it worked.

    The long and the short of it is that if I bought this machine to run as a Windows PC it would have gone right back as unfit for purpose. Just getting the thing through its configuration took about 1 hour. Add a couple more hours for downloading and installing updates/patches. Then, restart and it takes 10 mins to get to a usable interface. Start more than one program at once and it slows to a crawl (eg explorer and IE7 at once) and the screen locks up. Simply awful. The shop told me that many people have complained that it was slow and their response was that it was a cheap machine. Well yes, but seriously, XP would function well enough on it. CentOS 5 spins along at a perfectly usable rate. Vista Basic. Nope.

    MS has seriously lost the plot with this thing. Sure, stick a lot more RAM in and it will work OK but come on. Why is MS allowing companies to sell these woefully underspecified machines. It has a sticker on it saying it was designed for Vista but it really can't run it well enough for real world use. I know Compaq is to blame too, surely they could have tested these things. Even the lowest spec Mac will run Tiger nicely. Once you bump the RAM up on one of these Compaq things you could have bought a low end Mac mini which would still run better.

    This machine should have come with XP. It is not Vista capable.
  • Downgrades? (Score:4, Funny)

    by kimvette (919543) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @02:00AM (#20739373) Homepage Journal
    Downgrades?

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @02:21AM (#20739505) Journal
    I start a new job on Wednesday, even though I got the official "Welcome Aboard" on Friday.

    Why?

    They have a laptop with Vista that I could use. Only problem is, I'm to be working on HD-DVD. Microsoft makes a free HD-DVD simulator for Windows, it even goes so far as to verify your WGA status before installing.

    And the fuckers still haven't ported it to Vista.

    Yes, even Microsoft doesn't feel like supporting their newest OS.

    So, even though it's almost entirely an MS shop, I have to wait till Wednesday to get the XP downgrade for the thing. (My guess is, they're shipping a physical copy -- where's that "Windows Anytime Upgrade" now, huh?) And I can't do any work until then.

    For anyone who actually follows my posts, yes, I'll be partitioning it with Ubuntu, and maybe the HD Sim will work under Wine. I will laugh my ass off if it does. If it doesn't, I'll dual boot, maybe try virtualizing, whatever works best -- of course, all of this on my own time.

    Of course, I can't tell you if it's going to be like XP -- if by Service pack 2 (or 3, or 4), it'll be good enough that we'll all be telling everyone to upgrade. But I can't wait that long.

    As far as I'm concerned, Vista is still Beta, and shame on Microsoft for making us pay for it before it's done.
  • Vista... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pontifier (601767) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:04AM (#20739741) Homepage
    I have 3 laptops. 2 run ubuntu. The third, with vista, sits in a drawer.
  • Bad quality PR (Score:3, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 (956391) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @03:25AM (#20739857)
    Microsoft said: "We understand that our [original equipment manufacturer] partners are responding appropriately to a small minority of customers that have this specific request. But, as they have said before, the vast majority of consumers want the latest and greatest technology and that includes Windows Vista."

    (emphasis mine)

    That sounds horrible. Aside from their attempt on every second word to scale back the perceived failure of Vista, they know very well what they say isn't true.

    To get mammoths like DELL and Lenovo to consider a "small minority" of customers so quickly, at the potential to sell overspecced machines loaded with Vista (something they waited patiently for over 5 years), then they're not a small minority at all.
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @08:25AM (#20741429)
    With the release of XP, Microsoft started that delightful policy of dissuading manufacturers from including stand-alone install media with new computers (of the kind that frequently ends up on eBay). If you want to reinstall Windows, you have to use the system restore disks to reinstall everything, OEM crap and all, and we all know the only realistic way to get rid of all of it is to format your hard drive and reinstall the OS alone. I'm still toying with finding a warez copy of Home OEM and trying the product key on my old laptop's XP sticker and seeing if I can get that to work.

    Vista, supposedly, has the same problem, but that little "Windows Anytime Upgrade" disk that comes with your new computer, conveniently (and undocumentedly, of course) works as install media. When I use it to reinstall Vista and use the product key on my new laptop, I always end up having to call Bangalore to finish activation, but it's still more than what I can accomplish with an OEM XP install.

    With that said, I'd still throw on one of my retail XP licenses instead if I could find drivers for everything.
  • by paj1234 (234750) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @01:49PM (#20746121)
    Original Windows XP Pro SP2 OEM packs with the installation CD and the product key / licence sticker are hot sellers on eBay. They're going for around GBP 50 (100 USD), while the Buy It Now price is up to GBP 75 (151 USD). Plus postage. See here:

    http://search.ebay.co.uk/search/search.dll?from=R40&_trksid=m37&satitle=windows+xp+licence [ebay.co.uk]

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