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Time for a Vista Do-Over? 746

Posted by samzenpus
from the better-luck-next-time dept.
DigitalDame2 writes "'There's nothing wrong with Vista,' PC Mag editor-in-chief Lance Ulanoff tells a Microsoft rep at this year's CES. 'But you guys have a big problem on your hands. Perception is reality, and the perception is that Vista is a dud.' He goes on to confess that the operating system is too complex and burdened by things people don't need. Plus, Vista sometimes seems so slow. Ulanoff gives four suggestions for a complete Vista makeover, like starting with new code and creating a universal interface table. But will Microsoft really listen?"
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Time for a Vista Do-Over?

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  • by QuickFox (311231) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @08:55AM (#22245108)
    Indeed there's nothing wrong with Vista. Except of course the operating system.
    • Re:Nothing wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

      by belthize (990217) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:25AM (#22245326)
      That was pretty much my reaction, read premise: "Nothing wrong with Vista", read
      conclusion: "Completely rewrite Vista". Errm .... read middle. Ahh the premise
      was wrong ... gotcha.

      Belthize
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday January 31, 2008 @10:30AM (#22246000) Homepage Journal
        "...Won't get fooled again."

        These are the words of our Dear Leader and they apply just as well to Microsoft Windows Vista. It's not going to be my job to "give Vista another try" even if MS gives it a complete makeover. I'm gonna need a fair amount of greasing up before I lay out my money for a new Microsoft OS. Maybe dinner and a movie. Some flowers would be nice. Definitely, a deep price reduction.

        "SP2"?? What, do I look like I just came in on the turnip truck? Like I just came down with the rain this morning?

        Tell you what, Microsoft: You come up with an OS that outperforms XP Pro SP2, has some useful new features, is efficient, compatible, maybe even costs less, and then blow me, and I'll give your new OS a try. How's that sound?

        I mean, I don't want to sound bitter or anything. I'm willing to let bygones be bygones.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PReDiToR (687141)

          Tell you what, Microsoft: You come up with an OS that outperforms XP Pro SP2, has some useful new features, is efficient, compatible, maybe even costs less, and then blow me, and I'll give your new OS a try. How's that sound?


          Sounds like you haven't found ALL the great things about Linux yet.
          • by node 3 (115640) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @04:53PM (#22252096)

            Tell you what, Microsoft: You come up with an OS that outperforms XP Pro SP2, has some useful new features, is efficient, compatible, maybe even costs less, and then blow me, and I'll give your new OS a try. How's that sound?
            Sounds like you haven't found ALL the great things about Linux yet.
            I've highlighted three things which I don't think really apply to Linux over Windows. The first one is the biggest problem with Linux in general. I can't think of any "useful new features" Linux has ever provided for the end-user. There are plenty of such features for the sysadmin and programmer.

            The second item is not so bad as to be a critical shortcoming, but it's difficult to call Linux more compatible than Windows for anything other than old hardware (which is one of Linux's strengths, but this doesn't carry over to a general claim of better compatibility).

            As for the third item... Maybe I'm just trying the wrong distros.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TheNetAvenger (624455)
          Tell you what, Microsoft: You come up with an OS that outperforms XP Pro SP2, has some useful new features, is efficient, compatible, maybe even costs less, and then blow me, and I'll give your new OS a try. How's that sound?

          Networking (Pre SP1)
          http://www.geekzone.co.nz/juha/2070 [geekzone.co.nz]

          Raw CPU Use
          http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/xp-vs-vista-uk,review-2067-5.html [tomshardware.co.uk]

          Gaming Performance (Especially after the Beta Driver Releases in Jan - Check out reviews from June to now - Drivers are faster than XP 99.9% of the time)
          http: [firingsquad.com]
      • Re:Nothing wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

        by s_p_oneil (795792) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @11:12AM (#22246542) Homepage
        My thoughts exactly. The "like starting with new code" comment was so blatantly over the top, it makes it clear that the comment that "There's nothing wrong with Vista" was only tossed in there in an attempt to avoid losing income from Microsoft ads.
    • by netdur (816698) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:27AM (#22245336) Homepage
      there's nothing wrong with Vista
                        [deny] [allow]
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:29AM (#22245350) Homepage Journal
      At least the disc it comes on is pretty and shiny. Unless it came preinstalled on your computer, in which case, you probably don't have a disc, so, errmmm...scratch that.

      I was tryin' to say something nice about Vista! Honestly!

      • Re:Nothing wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

        by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:35AM (#22245398) Homepage
        Are there any numbers that detail the number of vista machines that are due to retail sales, vs. those with vista preinstalled. And of the ones with Vista pre-installed, how many of those had XP as an option.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          personally have never met a person who has actually purchased Vista in a store. I have fixed lots of computers with Vista on it and I don't hate it as bad as many people, but I will not use it myself.
          When XP was newer I would meet lots of people who purchased it off the shelf, still waiting a year later for one person to have bought Vista.
          • by cream wobbly (1102689) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @11:01AM (#22246406)
            Yes. I bought Win2k and WinXP. It was a phase I was going through: I also bought retail versions of SuSE and RedHat. Something to do with a 56k modem and the high price of ISDN in England (DSL and cable weren't an option then).

            Wait, am I suggesting that if I'd had broadband available, I'd've downloaded Windows? Point is, I would never download Vista, but that's mainly because of the incredibly effective antipiracy measures. Namely that it's shit and I don't want it.
        • Re:Nothing wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

          by GWLlosa (800011) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @11:56AM (#22247252)
          As much fun as it is to bash vista, I'd have to stand and be counted with the whole "had XP, and went out and bought Vista" crowd. For whatever reason, I actually LIKE the whole 'cancel/allow' mechanism that is UAC. I like getting buzzed when someone like Adobe Acrobat Reader decides that they own my system and just sets about installing crap. I like getting alerted with a little dialog box saying 'are you sure you want to do this' when mucking about with system settings. I have all kinds of network activity and computer monitoring gadgets in the Windows Sidebar. The whole Media Center thing is quite handy for watching TV and listening to music, which I store on one PC and can stream from every other PC, transparently, through the media player interface. Finally, Vista Home Premium came with IIS7, which is turning out to be quite handy and easy to use for my 'hobby' website. I have 4 computers in my home. 2 came with Vista. All 4 have legal Vista installs at this point.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            I went from XP SP2 to Vista Ultimate when I rebuilt my main desktop. Frankly, I'm not sure why everyone bags on Vista so much. It works fine for me. It was really slow the first day, which made me worry, but once the initial indexing was done it's been pretty snappy. I even changed the plans I had to dual-boot and just run Vista alone. I really like the new media library stuff, and although my peripherals are several years old they all had 64-bit Vista drivers available and work fine.

            If UAC bothers you that
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by pembo13 (770295)
            So you don't have a single feature that those of us using Linux as our desktop OS don't have. Did you at least get Windows Vista for free?
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Most of the original "Switchers" to OSX back cira 2001/2002 where guess what: Linux users. Can linux do all those things? Yes, but after how many hours of fuddling with drivers that maybe work some of the time and compiling, then recompiling programs only to still have only half the advertised feature set actually work (and even less work well). I never did get Linux to play nicely with my soundcard on my last beige box.

              Now I know things have changed and are better than they were six years ago. (Hell,

          • Re:Nothing wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

            by adisakp (705706) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @04:11PM (#22251206) Journal
            Adobe Acrobat Reader decides that they own my system and just sets about installing crap.

            One of the things I hate most about living in a Windows World is that every program has a second program that installs as a system service that does nothing other than check for updates... and these programs load at boot and stay resident eating memory and occasional CPU cycles. You have the Adobe update, Java Update (JUSCHED.exe), iTunes Update, Antivirus update, etc. If windows actually had a common update notification API (you have version X software installed and registered with the computer and it checks website Y if there's a version newer than X), we could probably get rid of a dozen programes running on every computer. These update programs take memory and slow down boot time and they mainly exist because 99.9% of windows software ships so buggy you need autoupdates to be on.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by BitZtream (692029)
            UAC really isn't the problem by itself. Its the right thing to do for the most part.

            The problem is the end result. To many apps/developers think its OK to modify the system. It isn't.

            Add to the problem that far too many apps assume the user on a Windows machine has administrative rights and put things where they don't belong. Apps that have no business putting crap in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE or the windows directory because its EASY, not because thats where those things belong.

            It takes more effort to seperat
      • by QuickFox (311231) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:44AM (#22245490)

        At least the disc it comes on is pretty and shiny.
        The box looks nice too.

        Let's be honest and give Microsoft credit where credit is due.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        scratch that

        That's what the walmart staff are for!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by nschubach (922175)

        you probably don't have a disc, so, errmmm...scratch that.
        I thought that was rather well placed wording.
      • by halber_mensch (851834) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @10:11AM (#22245756)

        At least the disc it comes on is pretty and shiny. Unless it came preinstalled on your computer, in which case, you probably don't have a disc, so, errmmm...scratch that.
        I think your conditional is backwards, let me correct it:

        At least the disc it comes on is pretty and shiny, so, errmmm...scratch that. Unless it came preinstalled on your computer, in which case, you probably don't have a disc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Just yesterday we had a presentation from a MS rep on Windows Server 2008 (command line based server! - now I have to find a new catchphrase at work instead of the usual "Real servers don't have mice"). At one point he asked who in the room was using Vista. Out of 20 people, 12 haven't even tried it, 7 installed and used it for a while before going back to XP, and one was still using it and liked it.

      Of course at the end of the presentation when he started handing out Vista Ultimate discs, we all jumped o
  • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @08:56AM (#22245116)
    You mean like POSIX [wikipedia.org]?
  • bah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tritonman (998572) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @08:57AM (#22245122)
    Every 2-bit nerd thinks he knows what's best for Microsoft, why should Microsoft listen to him? Because he has a blog and people read his blog? Like they don't already have qualified people working on their PR problems.

    At any rate, Vista's bad image isn't due to perception, I have Vista Ultimate, running on a machine that can definitely handle it, it runs HORRIBLY, this great PC has become my secondary PC which I now rarely use. I'm not the only one like this, I know a couple other people with the exact same "perception" that they got by actually using the operating system.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by canUbeleiveIT (787307)

      At any rate, Vista's bad image isn't due to perception, I have Vista Ultimate, running on a machine that can definitely handle it, it runs HORRIBLY...

      I agree. After the old Toshiba died recently, I bought a new dual-core notebook. Unfortunately, it was not offered with XP and I could not find all of the drivers, so I guess that I'm stuck with Vista. I will admit that Vista has a pleasing interface and now my XP machine's graphics look so old-timey, but damn is this Vista machine SLOW.

      The XP desktop boots in half the time and the applications crack right open. On the Vista machine, Opera and Firefox crash regularly and even Outlook hangs up too oft

      • Re:bah (Score:5, Funny)

        by chrish (4714) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:22AM (#22245310) Homepage
        This is the nice thing about new Windows releases; it makes the previous version seem insanely fast.
      • Re:bah (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Firehed (942385) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @10:08AM (#22245728) Homepage
        Have you ever considered it's all the other shitware that came pre-installed on the laptop? My mother's HP laptop runs like crap, but at this point it probably has better specs than my once-top-end desktop which I built. When both running Vista, mine runs immeasurably faster.
    • Re:bah (Score:5, Interesting)

      by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:11AM (#22245232) Journal
      I don't think I'm a 2-bit nerd, but I can say this, watching MS languish in the mire that is Vista is somewhat satisfying. Not just because it's good to see goliath having a bad hair day, but because for every day that this continues, more people will begin to realize that F/OSS is not only usable, but valuable. Hopefully, gone are the days when windows defines home computing and the desktop experience.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by psbrogna (611644)
        I think you're right on with the "realization" comment. But I suggest there's two realizations: 1. the value of the two different kinds of software & 2. (the more imporant one I think) the value of the respective development models. To me, the latter is the more interesting: how much more rapid and efficient the development models typically used by F/OSS projects are than their commercial counterparts. What I'm taking away from the last 20 years is that regardless of the state of given F/OSS project at
      • Re:bah (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jellomizer (103300) * on Thursday January 31, 2008 @10:20AM (#22245876)
        Except... Trends show people are switching to Macs... Which in some ways is even more closed then Windows is. You need Apple OS and Apple Hardware. Yea OSS is getting a few new converts but overall F/OSS comunity has really dropped the ball. Its current poster child Ubentu Linux, (which I never have gotten a sucessful install of btw..., But Debian, Slackware, Fedeora... all seem to work right out of the box) while has all the elments of a modern OS it just doesn't have it in the right place. eye candy for the sake of eye candy is useless. Examin Mac OS X it has eyecandy but it has a pourpose that to help people understand what is going on. OS X pages Finally after many years and decades of existance in Linux/Unix they just this year have virtual screens. When you change virtal screen there is a quick scroll where you see the windows shoot up/down/Left/Right/diaganaly depending how the virtual screen is set and a little box shows which screen you are moving to. Ubentu has this huge 3d Cube thing. It looks way cooler sure, but it isn't as functional because you can only really see up to 3 virtual screens at once and you need to rotate the cube to see the others. Looks cool but less useful, it is just an example of all the parts are there just not in the right spot. Vista seems an attempt to copy Linux and bring eyecandy for the sake of eyecandy, unlike for the most part in Mac OS (There are exceptions) eyecandy is there for a reason not just say cool.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gad_zuki! (70830)
        >more people will begin to realize that F/OSS is not only usable, but valuable.

        And most people have absolutely no idea what youre takling about. If anything they'll either just ask for XP to be installed or just buy OSX, which is not anything near 100% f/oss. If you have problems with the decisions of MS management, then you're just going to love being controlled by the whims of Jobs.

        Slashdot assumes that anything bad for MS must be good for f/oss or Linux specifically. I dont see how that has been or ev
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by podperson (592944)
        "more people will begin to realize that F/OSS is not only usable, but valuable."

        We never really left the days where Apple defined the home computing and desktop experience. It's just that, for a while, Windows was "nearly good enough" that people didn't realize that they were looking at an imitation of an Apple product. Nowhere does the original article's writer say "gee, the next version of Windows needs to be more like Linux", but he does mention Apple several times.
    • Re:bah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zeromorph (1009305) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:12AM (#22245240)

      At any rate, Vista's bad image isn't due to perception,

      I think you can count that as captatio benevolentiae [wikipedia.org] of the author, just as a device to get MS to listen to him or to sound more balanced to some audience. As you can see he goes on to advice them to do a complete make over:

      Ulanoff gives four suggestions for a complete Vista makeover, like starting with new code and creating a universal interface table.

      I think he actually says: Vista is completely flawed. I mean, come on: "starting with new code." He just wraps it into some rhetorics.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Two9A (866100)

        Note the cunning tactic employed here: paste in a Wikipedia link to a random Latin phrase, and instant +5! As they say, quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur; looks like it works on us.

        That said, it seems that Vista is taking a real drubbing (here and elsewhere); even my workplace isn't moving to Vista, and we're internally a Microsoft shop. There's Exchange, 2k3 Server, the whole nine yards in the server closet, but the boss has reformatted his new laptop to XP because Vista was such a dog.

      • Re:bah (Score:5, Interesting)

        by peragrin (659227) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @10:09AM (#22245740)
        >>I think he actually says: Vista is completely flawed. I mean, come on: "starting with new code." He just wraps it into some rhetorics.

        This one really gets me. Vista was supposed to be a complete rewrite with all new code. when MSFT bought virtual PC I became happy as I saw it as a sign that backward compatibility would be handled by VPC sandboxing XP. MSFT kept bragging about how new Vista would be I had hope.

        When Vista RC1 was released and immediately hit with a virus in an image library that had been directly ported from XP I knew Vista was doomed to be crap. The rewrite never actually happened they just ported the code and added yet another layer of crap on top.

        Windows 7 will have a really awesome mini kernel, and then they will shove everything into the kernel so it runs as fast as possible.
        • Re:bah (Score:4, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 31, 2008 @10:21AM (#22245886)
          5 years into the future...

          Windows 7 will have a really awesome mini kernel, and then they will shove everything into the kernel so it runs as fast as possible.
          This one really gets me. Se7en was supposed to be a complete rewrite with all new code. when MSFT bought virtual PC I became happy as I saw it as a sign that backward compatibility would be handled by VPC sandboxing Vista. MSFT kept bragging about how new Se7en would be I had hope.

          When Se7en RC1 was released and immediately hit with a virus in an image library that had been directly ported from Vista I knew Se7en was doomed to be crap. The rewrite never actually happened they just ported the code and added yet another layer of crap on top.

          Windows 8 will have a really awesome mini kernel, and then they will shove everything into the kernel so it runs as fast as possible.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bombula (670389)
      I may be a nerd by I know nothing of the real inner workings of OS software. Can someone please explain in detail why Vista runs slowly even on new machines? To me - in my ignorance - it seems that the power of hardware (processing and memory in particular) has vastly outpaced the demands of software. Since it doesn't seem like Vista is doing things that are 1,000+ times more demanding than the things 3.11 did, I don't understand why it doesn't perform all its functions more or less instantaneously.

      Eve

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by GlL (618007)
      I have a Vista laptop from Dell, provided by my work, with a 3 Ghz processor and 4GB of Ram, and this thing runs incredibly slower than my XP at home with a 1.8Ghz processor with 1GB of RAM. It takes 5 minutes to boot up, and when "idle" uses more resources then my XP at a full load. The virtual machine that I set up with XP runs faster on my vista machine then Vista does! And I limited it to 512MB of ram and 10% of processor! If any MS shill is watching this thread, please explain this phenomenon to me. Th
  • New Code? (Score:2, Insightful)

    C'mon. Starting over from scratch on something like Vista seems a bit drastic. How about some fixes instead? Most widely-used software doesn't come into being whole-cloth in v1.0. Most of it is grown on top of inferior prior versions. Eventually it turns into Windows ME and it's time to start over. But by then the start over (NT) had been through a number of releases.
    • Re:New Code? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by baldass_newbie (136609) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:06AM (#22245174) Homepage Journal
      I see your name is apt. Do you even understand what you just wrote and how it conforms to what has actually happened in Windows releases?
      Widely-used software is usually paradigm shifting and has feature sets that people not only want but feel they need. Word 6 made a splash because you could open/edit/save in either Word or WordPerfect format - something the folks in Orem scoffed at. Excel had the ability to use either Lotus or Excel keystroke commands while the 1-2-3 folks were wondering whether mouse support was that important.
      I tell folks that if they get a Mac they don't have to buy DVD burning software, picture management software, music tools, backup software, etc. and they say, "Wow - that's hundreds of dollars of software I don't have to buy." Plus they hear how stable OS X is and that seals the deal.
      It's perceptions and paradigm shifts.

      And like it or not, Vista was started from scratch and went the wrong way. Monolithic kernels ain't the answer hence MinWin.
      • Re:New Code? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Yetihehe (971185) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:31AM (#22245364)

        tell folks that if they get a Mac they don't have to buy DVD burning software, picture management software, music tools, backup software, etc. and they say, "Wow - that's hundreds of dollars of software I don't have to buy."
        Just wait till they hear about linux, this is anoder hundreds of dollars they don't have to spend.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sucker_muts (776572)

        Monolithic kernels ain't the answer hence MinWin.

        To be more exact, it's not the kernel itself that's so bloated, but the multiple layers around it to provide a 'basic' operating system, API's for userland apps to run, DRM management in sound and video subsystems, probably lots of code to make truly important software to run (like they did various other times [joelonsoftware.com]), ... that make Vista so slow on 2+ year old hardware.

  • But will Microsoft really listen?

    Somehow I'm pretty sure they've heeded the market's opinion but you won't see the consequences of it before Windows 7. Which makes me bet they won't wait 5 years to release that one.

  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:03AM (#22245152)
    Lance sez:

    Perception is reality, and the perception is that Vista is a dud.


    You know, Lance, many of us have first-hand experience with the "reality" of Vista. To argue that "perception is reality, and the perception is that Vista is a dud", in the same sentence as "there's nothing wrong with Vista" gives the impression that our perceptions are not based on reality (to put it mildly). To put it not so mildly, you're calling us either deluded, or liars. Is that really what you want to say, Lance?
    • by idiotnot (302133) <sean@757.org> on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:33AM (#22245376) Homepage Journal
      Ah, that stupid catch phrase.....

      I tend to ask people who utter it the following question: "If a tree falls in the woods, and there's nobody there to hear it, does it ever fail to make a sound?"

      Reality exists despite perception. Vista isn't a great product. Vista isn't a horrible product, and I'd argue that it's far better than XP was when it was released. And that should be the real comparison. XP was a pile of excrement until SP1. Even then, it wasn't secure until SP2. Vista is stable and secure, although the performance needs help in some places. I've been running it since March, and the only problem I've had was with the stupid mp3/network thing.
      • by darkwhite (139802) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @10:32AM (#22246022)

        Vista isn't a horrible product, and I'd argue that it's far better than XP was when it was released
        WHAT???

        How can you argue that a bloated piece of shit that takes up literally ten times the disk space and 3 to 4 times the RAM of its predecessor, while offering absolutely nothing new in the way of end-user features, is better than a significant improvement on a smashing success that Windows 2000 was, with lots of UI and performance/reliability improvements (even if a couple of them looked so awful they had to be disabled)?

        Sorry, XP - with or without SP2 - was way better in terms of user value than Vista can ever hope to be. Vista may incorporate a lot of good work in the libraries and APIs that might be used in the future for significant improvements, but that is very well hidden behind the mountain of shit that the rest of Vista is.

        I recall actually waiting for Windows 2000 and XP with interest and anticipation. Those products fit their install image into 300 MB of space and packed new features by the hundreds. What happened to that?
        • by Cid Highwind (9258) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @11:06AM (#22246466) Homepage
          You must not have been here for the /. XP release party. It was thoroughly derided for being slower than Win2k, taking up more disk space, needing ten times the RAM, being full of security and stability compromising hacks to make old win3/9x code run, and having a garish Fisher-Price "My First Computer" icon theme.

          The only difference is that this time the tech media is listening to the skeptics instead of MS's marketing department.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jadin (65295)
            True, and how many people on here still think Win2k is the superior OS?
  • Soooo. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by samael (12612) * <Andrew@Ducker.org.uk> on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:08AM (#22245192) Homepage
    He wants them to throw away all the backward compatibility that all of the big corporate customers really care about.

    And he wants them to sell a version that doesn't play music out of the box.

    Is it me or are these both _really stupid_ ideas?
    • Re:Soooo. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gruntled (107194) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:41AM (#22245448)
      I agree with you that Microsoft's entire business model is based on backward compatibility (you can't count on upgrade sales if your users have to replace all their applications). But this model has locked Microsoft into a death spiral; their code must become increasingly complex, cumbersome, and buggy to be able to guarantee that users can still run that package written for 3.11 in some fashion. Plus, the only real way for Microsoft to address its security issues is to completely rewrite their OS code.

      I think Microsoft could solve this conundrum by taking a page from Apple's playbook. To make the transition to a unix environment practical for its users, Apple designed a "transition system" that allowed applications for its old OS to run in a virturalized environment. Now, Apple has a completely redesigned, rock-solid, relatively secure OS, and they did it without abandoning their customer base.
  • BS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:09AM (#22245196)
    Perception is part of reality, but it's not all of it. Regardless of public perception, either Vista will, or it will not, have drivers for some particular video card. It will, or it will not, let you watch a HD movie over a non-HDCP video channel.

    The problem with Vista isn't merely perception. It's the fact that in this case, the general public's perception of crappiness is a pretty good predictor of the reality that Vista is going to cause you, as an individual, lots of problems.
  • by arivanov (12034) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:10AM (#22245208) Homepage
    All this does not matter.

    Labels love it and they are happy with it and its top-to-bottom DRM. This is what MSFT wanted, this is what it got. Now they will happily shovel it down our throats do we like it or not.

    It a repeat of the sad story of Media Center Edition of Microcrapware. If you deliberately remove all functionality that users are interested in you should not expect something to sell. Pick up a MCE Remote and look. It is missing "My Videos", "My Music" and any hint of fetching existing content from the hard disk. Yep. Right, We peones are not supposed to have content that has not been approved and blessed for distribution by a label ya know. Only recorded content for ya. Dumb, idiotic, no-seller from day one, but labels are happy.

    Microsoft is not doing pesky Apple (or Hauppage) things and offering the users what they actually want. That is good ya know.

    Vista is the same, just on a bigger scale. An OS made to order for the labels. No wonder it is crap.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Now they will happily shovel it down our throats do we like it or not.
      The more intolerable they make windows, the more attractive they make Apple & Linux.

      Let them keep pumping rounds into their foot, I say.
    • by zerofoo (262795) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @11:19AM (#22246672)
      I was looking to buy a Media Center recently. Microsoft's view of the way "TV" should be sucks. Every Media Center PC I looked at had a large case, loud fan, and hugely complicated remote control or worse, a wireless keyboard.

      Great for geeks, horrible for the rest of the people living in my house.

      I bought an Apple TV, and I couldn't be happier. Sure, it doesn't record live TV, but for $9.00/month I get an HD DVR from my cable company.

      I put all my DVDs, music, and photos on the Apple TV, and it is easily navigated with a simple remote.

      Microsoft just doesn't get it. They need to fire their product designers and hire some guys that think like normal humans do.

      -ted
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by arivanov (12034)
        I have a media center. Using Microsoft components. But running Linux.

        One huge box tucked away in the loft with storage (2TB and counting). Diskless clients hanging off it. No noise. No heat. A P3 with a AGP Nvidia can easily drive A 1366x768 Screen (most common size in HD-ready EU TVs in the 22-30in zone). For a smaller screen you can even get away with a factory made thin client. Cost - around 120 quid per client, 400 quid for the storage.

        Works a treat. Video and Music the way I want it at the touch of a r
  • by rbonine (245645) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:10AM (#22245212)
    I've been running Vista 64-bit for over a year. No bluescreens, no incompatible hardware, no problems with media files of any type - divx, xvid, mp3, wma, etc. I don't have any intention of going back to XP.

    I wonder how many of the "Vista sucks" crows are trying to run it on outdated hardware. Vista does like a lot of memory - I wouldn't touch it without at least 1.5 GB - but this isn't 2001 any more. There should be an expectation that a modern OS will require more RAM and CPU than an OS released 7 years ago. (I have a Pentium D CPU, so I'm nowhere near state of the art, but I have 2 GB RAM).

    • by ledow (319597) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:45AM (#22245502) Homepage
      Stick it in a domain-networked environment (such as, ooh, every office in the world). Now try to use it without your hundreds of users moaning like hell because they can't get simple things done... like, e.g. log in locally once a PC is connected to a domain without having to know the PC's EXACT name. Being able to switch off all that UAC etc. junk and have it just work as XP did on a Windows network. Not have to upgrade every PC to something approaching twice what you could get away with on XP (so, that's a 25% upgrade cost per-PC, multiplied by the number of PC's, adding the hours worked by the technicians in upgrading it OR all-new PC's and the associated rebuild-etc. costs for doing it out-of-cycle). Invest in more disk space because every PC image now takes 15Gb of useless crap before you start compared to about 4-5 on XP - servers with large pre-build images love this one, you just multiplied the size of some of their largest single files by 3.

      Now you have done all the "technical bits", wait and see how much legacy software that is mostly out of your control just stops working, or requires workarounds, or slows down (despite the computer upgrades). Watch your network graphs dip in correlation to the playing of music/video files on the PC's (although in a properly managed network, that shouldn't be a concern). Oh, and then you have the minor, obviously-we-should-be-there-by-now-anyway, of DVD-sized installation disks (and therefore network-shares, etc.), the fact that virtually everything you were running on XP runs with no difference or gets worse and that you have nothing really "new" to show for all that hard work and hassle. It's still an OS, it still just runs Word, it still just prints and saves on network shares. But for some reason you've had to change everything along the way to get to that point and the only thing you'll see difference is a dip in your client performance graphs. Oh, and to turn off all the whizzy new features to stop your users playing with them, you're really talking about waiting for Server 2008 with all the upgrade costs that involves.

      It doesn't really matter what you use at home. You could use anything from MythTV to Windows Vista, Windows ME to MacOS. Nobody really cares so long as it gets their work done. What matters is what do you choose when you need to change. You try justifying Vista upgrades in a business environment, or to a little old granny who types up the minutes of the church council meetings. The problem is not "Why are people slating Vista?" but more "What does Vista actually DO that it didn't before for the average user?". 64-bit? Who cares. All that means is that drivers are harder to come by and some older stuff might not work. More than 4Gb RAM? So what? Doesn't crash any more than XP? Why did I have to move off XP then? UAC? Ha. The mental equivalent of "Yes to All" defeats that quite quickly.

      Really, there's not much left. Home use, because it came with the computer? Fine. Use it. Home use upgrade? You can find a million reasons not to bother but we'd start with cost and what advantages it brings. Business use? Not until it's a de-facto standard. And there's not much chance of that happening while XP Pro disks and Vista->XP downgrade rights still exist.
    • by LehiNephi (695428) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:50AM (#22245560) Journal
      There should be an expectation that a modern OS will require more RAM and CPU than an OS released 7 years ago.

      Why should this be an expectation? I would expect that a modern OS would use less CPU and RAM (due to optimization) than one released several years ago, unless it is providing significantly improved functionality. I think this is why people are so down on Vista. It asks for much more, but only gives marginally more, than XP.
  • New Code (Score:4, Funny)

    by A beautiful mind (821714) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:11AM (#22245228)

    Ulanoff gives four suggestions for a complete Vista makeover, like starting with new code(...)
    Brilliant idea! I think it needs a catchy name though. I got it! They could name it after a breed of cattle to signify strength, like the Texas Longhorn.

    Oh wait...
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:12AM (#22245238) Journal
    Lance Ulanoff, like most other people, make the mistake of thinking the people who fork over money to buy Vista are the customers of Microsoft. Sorry, Lance, that is not true. They are not. They have been vendor locked into MSFT "environment" and it would be impossible for them to get out without paying a lot. So them getting ticked off is not a major concern for MSFT.

    On the other hand, if MSFT can show that it plug the "digital hole" and tell the media giants that "Windows is the delivery platform for digital content that cant be pirated" then all of them will provide content only in MSFT approved format, and they will achieve a vendor-lock in the media sphere similar to the vendor-lock they got in the corporate world. So the thinking goes in Redmond. So they add layers and layers of stuff, signed drivers, protected video path, protected audio path etc etc. MSFT is trying to sell vista to media companies. Not to the poor dolts who own/buy the PCs.

    Some of his suggestions look quaint. "Start all over, and forget 100% backward compatibility!" he urges. Vista has already given up on compatibility. So much of old software, libraries and drivers don't work in Vista. Active X is dead. OpenGL support is being eviscerated to supplant it with MSFT owned rendering schema. Office2005 SP3 just announced it is going to stop importing Office97 files due to "security concerns". (Just when OpenOffice started rendering and saving Office97 format files better than MSFT itself. coincidence?). No. It is a myth that the backward compatibility makes MSFT code slow.

    MSFT never had long term focus. It flits about from this latest thing to the next latest thing in a desultory manner. As long as the vendor-lock in Office product keeps pumping money into its coffers it does not have any real incentive to find the managers who manage the projects well and those who build empires under them. Right now the bee in the bonnet of MSFT is to get a lock on entertainment somehow. It compromises everything else for that goal. And that is why Vista sucks as a computing platform.

  • by Bilby Baggins (1107981) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:35AM (#22245392)
    I started using Vista Home Premium when I bought my new Toshiba laptop, about 5 months ago. At first I was going to just install XP on the system, as I was quite apprehensive about Vista's compatibility issues with much of the software I need to use day to day. But, as an IT contractor, I knew I would have to start supporting Vista sooner or later, so I took the plunge.

    I also expected that the first thing I would do is turn off all of Vista's "pretty" including Aero, and make it look as much as 9x/2k as possible. That's what I'd done with XP (Blue...ugh!) and I figured Microsoft's latest UI-gloss would be the same. Based on what the media had told me, I thought the DRM would be horribly intrusive, the security ever-present and annoying, but useless.


    Ehm... whoops! I was a bit surprised. Vista runs quite well on this new but definitely not top-end laptop. It's a bit slow to fall into sleep mode or wake up, but not bad considering the 2GB of ram it has to deal with every time I close the lid. Bootup isn't too slow, and although shutdown is a bit laggy, I shut the system down rarely so that's not much of an issue.

    As for DRM... what DRM? I have MP3 files, DivX, MPEG-video, watch DVDs and listen to (and rip) CDs quite often, and have not had it bother me yet. I don't use the frankly horrific Windows Media Player or it's associated store, nor do I use iTunes. Using either of those will of course result in DRM and associated DRM-related issues, but that's YOUR problem, not mine. My CD-quality ripped MP3 files have no DRM, thank you very much.

    The security screen that darkens the window when you are installing, uninstalling, updating, changing, or even just copying files into the Program Files directory is a bit overused, but the implementation is great- as far as I can tell, it does a system "stop" and holds everything until you make a decision, possibly stopping malware from auto-installing as easily as in the past. I wish I could select when I want it to happen more specifically then "on" or "off" but maybe in a future patch that'll happen. "Run as Administrator" is a bit vexing in that you can't log in as "Administrator" (AKA root) but you can make shortcuts automatically run specific programs as administrator (Netstumbler requires this as it needs low-level access to the wireless NIC).

    The wireless and network connection screens take a little getting used to, as they are new since XP, but the ease-of-use and controllability are still present, and I do prefer it a great deal over Apple's over-simplified system.

    Oh, and Aero? Shiney! I actually rather enjoy the transparencies, and most of the transitions are quite unobtrusive. The new start menu is nice in some ways, although I wish it responded faster to opening folders, which is perhaps more an issue with the laptops slow drive speed. Making the task bar 2 level tall works very well, and the start icon expands slightly to fill it's area better.

    My major annoyances have mostly to do with the aformentioned wireless connectivity, and with IE7. For some reason, when I load media-rich websites sometimes that window will crash. This doesn't happen on any of the other Vista or XP systems I run IE7 on, so it may be a driver issue. The wireless has problems connecting to open APs sometimes, and for some vague reason doesn't like the occaisonal brand of AP (SonicWall seems to be the worst). I think both of these issues will be fixed shortly, and neither are hugely problematic for me.

    Overall, I rather like Vista, for all of it's shortcomings. I wish I had it installed on a powerful-enough system to play games on, though. DirectX 10, anyone? I AM looking forward to Windows 7 though, if Microsoft pulls off most of what it wants to do for that OS, it should be quite the system.
  • Listened too much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ZeroExistenZ (721849) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:40AM (#22245444)

    I remember the cries "OH no! Windows sux because of running as an administrator. That's why we have virii!". Now we're stuck with annoying popups. If I want to perform a "ipconfig /release", I have to create a shortcut to cmd, right-click and "run as Administrator" to be able to do that task.

    "Oh no! Windows users are too stupid to protect themselves from hackers and spyware!", so now we have by default this "spyware remover", running on the background, doing most of the time nothing but hogging up memory.

    "But they're so stupid, they install everything in their email attachments! YOu cannot trust the internets!", so now I have to "allow" whenever I click a program installation.

    After all the criticism, most "features implemented", you now say "yeah, that's cool. But it was better before, when I had all these remarks."

    I dislike working with Vista, it's counterproductive, when it should be more productive, and makes me feel less in control of what's going on in my PC; if something hangs, I haven't gotten the slightest clue. "Which obscure process now is behaving badly? Just when I reboot I get a "check for a sollution online", so halfly sell my soul to MS raping my bandwidth sending the dumpfiles to get a "no currently known sollution.".

    The seem to have listened to all this whining, and those whining the hardest seem to have been the most hardcore PC user; "oh no, I don't like to spend all this time in managing my PC! Do it for me!" But when they do "ANTI TRUST!" or whatever they come up with. Pounding their chest to distinguish themselves from the "illiterate computer users who need to be protected for themselves on the internets", yet ending up with the same sollution being frustrated they've gotten what they asked for.

    In the end, it's still Microsoft. Their implementations will still suck, they'll still have talented people -wherever you can see that or not- who are motivated in what they do (I cannot believe a programmer or project manager is thinking how to fuck you over best, or make the most money. They are motivated to "make a difference", just like many people inhere.)

    And yes, most of their products suck, I don't like their marketting strategy. That doesn't change the fact there are geeks working there.

    Vista was marketted as "the built from scratch", but it also required to exceed the expectations of a "next generation OS". You can't start over with "DOS Aero" and expect people to wait another 10 years for Web 2.0-like GUI.

    Stop whining, if you want perfect software, play Duke Nukem Forever. It's been perfect for years now :)
    Thank god for opensource.
  • Will MS Listen? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by darkvizier (703808) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:42AM (#22245462)

    Of course MS isn't going to listen to anyone asking them to rewrite an OS from scratch, when they just spent nearly a decade doing so. That's absurd. Now some suckers have participated and provided feedback for their public beta... cough, I mean *release*, they're going to tweak things here and there, maybe rewrite some major problem areas, strip out some of the bloat, and release their next OS.

    Anyone else notice where their programming languages are going? Extensibility, re-usability, modularity, and *really* good library support... we're finally seeing an effective implementation of what object oriented programming claimed to be all along. I would not be surprised then, to see that they've taken the same approach with their operating system design.

    Their next OS will be better, and though we might complain, most of us will end up with it running on our machines. And you know, after a few years we might actually start to like it. That's my prediction.

  • first thoughts (Score:3, Interesting)

    by psbrogna (611644) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:43AM (#22245474)
    My first thought on seeing the title (without reading the post or article) was "I'm sure the Edsel team would have liked a do-over also." After reading the wikipedia article on Edsel & the parent Vista post, I wonder if there are parallels that could be drawn between the failures (design flaws, misalignment with market needs, timing, perception/buzz, etc). Both projects were very long, complex & represented significant investments with disappointing payoffs.
  • New code??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by trailerparkcassanova (469342) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:43AM (#22245476)
    If someone told me I needed "new code" I would be sure I was listening to an idiot. What "new code" would you like? Sheesh......

  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:56AM (#22245600) Homepage Journal
    Quantifying perception -- that's where things get squirrely. True, gratuitous changes can give bad first impressions, but Vista's more serious problems do nothing to dispel those impressions.

    Take a statement like "Vista is slow." There is no single thing that is "speed" when it comes to operating systems. Vista isn't
    "slow" in the sense of failing to do many units of computational work per unit time on average. It's "slow" in the sense that you can't rely upon it to respond to input in a consistent amount of time. Serious work has a rhythm to it; you can adapt yourself to a tool that is slow, but effective, but you can't to a tool that doesn't behave in exactly the same way every single time you use it. Using Vista is like dancing with a partner who has a lot of fancy moves, but can't hear the music.

    Most of Vista's faults you can adapt to, like it's unnecessarily complicated and cluttered file dialog box. But you can't adjust to the fact that it really needs far more memory than its claimed minimum if you don't want to deal with a user interface that freezes every so often because of swapping. I know swapping is the case because I'm writing this on a laptop with 2GB of RAM that is almost unbearable to use without 2GB of ReadyBoost flash. I'm running pretty much the same workload as was acceptable under 1GB on XP or Linux but as I type this, I can see the access light on the flash drive almost continually blinking as the OS goes for cached pages.

    Microsoft probably could make Vista a viable platform if they simply made 4GB the minimum required RAM. Or if they could make it possible to use Vista with the rated minimum RAM requirements. I had an open mind, because people always complain when Microsoft changes things, excepting maybe Windows 2000 where they were ready to try anything after the stability nightmare that was NT 4. And maybe Windows 7 will be that kind of improvement over Vista. But for now I can say I started with an expectation that Vista would be at least OK once I got to use it, but after almost a year I have to say it's the first operating system I've ever used whose performance is a serious problem for my productivity. These are greatly alleviated by ReadyBoost, but even so it's a relief to boot into Linux and not feel like I'm constantly fighting the operating system. In fact, I've begun to boot into Linux and do my work in an XP virtual machine, which feels faster than running the same user tasks directly on Vista.
  • by balthan (130165) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @09:59AM (#22245636)
    I think Vista really did get a bad rap. I've been using it for a year now. I believe one of the major sources of complaints was early driver support. Even some big name companies, like NVidia, had really shitty drivers at first. This is not really an issue any more.

    The other major complaint, UAC, really ceases to be a problem once the system is configured. Sure, when you first set it up, you get a lot of pop-ups when trying to change settings, but once things are pretty much the way you want them, you rarely see a UAC pop-up anymore. About the only time I see them is when installing a new program.
  • by zerofoo (262795) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @11:07AM (#22246474)
    I've been supporting and administering Microsoft networks for over a decade now. With every new Microsoft operating system release I can think of (except Windows ME) there have been a few features that could sell the operating system.

    This time, with Vista, there are none. I don't really know what Microsoft spent 5 years developing, but from a user's perspective, there isn't much reason to buy Vista.

    I've got Vista in the lab right now, and I can't really justify the expense to start moving our network (a mix of machines, some approaching 5 years old) to Vista.

    That's Vista's real problem.

    -ted
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday January 31, 2008 @11:09AM (#22246510)
    Windows 7 is the working title for Vista's successor. Microsoft has now released the official name of their new operating system. May I present to you Windows Mulligan.
  • Remove Features... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by psychicsword (1036852) * <The@@@psychicsword...com> on Thursday January 31, 2008 @01:33PM (#22248640)
    I think that vista is good...
    *Ducks*
    But I think they need to remove most of the features in the initial install but include the option to install those features later. Or at the very least an option to select what features to install when first installing the OS from the disk. With these improvements in the installer than maybe the vista would seem faster because there are less features.

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