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Ballmer Calls Vista 'A Work In Progress' 345

Posted by Soulskill
from the truth-in-advertising dept.
shanen tips us to a Seattle Post-Intelligencer story about comments from Steve Ballmer at a conference earlier this week during which he referred to Vista as "a work in progress." He also admitted that the 5-year release cycle wasn't a good idea. Despite the approaching deadline for the end of XP sales, Ballmer's remarks about the older operating system were more ambiguous: "Vista is bigger than XP. It's going to stay bigger than XP. We have to make sure it doesn't get bigger still, and that the performance and that the battery life and that the compatibility, we're driving on the things that we need to drive hard to improve. I know we're going to continue to get feedback from people on how long XP should be available. We've got some opinions on that, we've expressed our views. ... I'm always interested in hearing from you on these and other issues."
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Ballmer Calls Vista 'A Work In Progress'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 20, 2008 @11:26AM (#23134646)
    ...beta software I've ever heard of.
    • by rsmoody (791160) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @11:31AM (#23134674) Homepage Journal
      Beta? More like EARLY alpha software! What I don't get is how in the hell they can get away with charging customers over $300 in some cases to alpha test this shit for them. Wonder if this comment will come around to bite him in his big sweaty monkey ass. Wonder if he will yell and scream and jump around then or just throw another chair.
      • by Presto Vivace (882157) <marshall@prestovivace.biz> on Sunday April 20, 2008 @11:37AM (#23134724) Homepage Journal
        Also, maybe you shouldn't release a work in progress.
        • by blowdart (31458) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @12:14PM (#23134912) Homepage

          Why not?

          Software is never perfect; releases tend to be when it's "good enough". If you wait for perfection it never gets released. Linux is still a work in progress, if it wasn't there would be no more kernel updates. As long as there are patches then a system isn't finished. MS even released a feature pack [istartedsomething.com] for Vista this week for bluetooth and networking. SP1 improved sleep and startup times. Visual Studio is getting regular feature additions these days, the asp.net ajax stuff is a good example.

          When *isn't* something that is still "alive" and used a work in progress? Heck if you shouldn't release work in progress goggle wouldn't have any apps; and putting daily builds/feature based check ins on sourceforge wouldn't happen either.

          Disclaimer: I was in the audience; the conference in question was the MVP summit.

          • by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @12:46PM (#23135086) Journal
            You're right that software is never done, but considering the revelations of what was happening in the final months before Vista's release, even die-hard Microsoft apologists have to admit that it was a victory of marketing over engineering that got an operating system like Vista through the starting gate. It wouldn't be so bad if it was labeled that way. I've installed bleeding-edge Linux kernels in the past out of pure curiousity, but never in my wildest dreams would I dare throw one on a production server or on to someone's PC.

            That's exactly what happened with Vista. It simply wasn't ready, and worse, it appears that the backroom way which Microsoft works with major hardware companies even knocked it back a few notches. It's not surprising to me, as I had heard some rumblings long before the revelations a few months ago. The marketers wanted an operating system ASAP, the teams didn't think it was ready, but the marketers won, and now Microsoft's credibility has fallen through the floor. Even worse, for most people, there's no point to the upgrade. As awful as it sounds to the marketers in Redmond, and maybe even to a lot of FOSS fanatics, Windows XP is a stable, mature product that works properly on today's hardware.

            But Microsoft doesn't survive on stable, mature products. It survives on its unholy hardware alliances and marketing department, which push for unrealistic (and pointless) upgrade cycles. The problem here is that Vista is a resource hog. They say 1gb of RAM should be enough, but I can tell you that Aero runs, but does not run all that well, on 1gb of RAM. Only now are we seeing what I would consider legitimately sufficient hardware being released that runs the Vista "experience".

            But it doesn't end there. Rather than admitting that Vista was a disaster, Microsoft still appears determined to kill XP, despite the fact that most business and many consumers don't want Vista. The only reason the operating system can even be considered a success is because of Microsoft's long-standing darling, the OEMs.

            Here's a tip to Microsoft. Keep XP on the shelves. You're stuck with supporting Vista, but maybe Windows 7 will be an improvement, but only if a) you refuse to take hardware vendor's calls when they demand support for their low-end shit and b) fire 9/10s of marketing department, they're the incompetent evil morons that have created this disaster, and they should be shown the door. As well, as a sort of sub-point to that, the developments should always win automatically against marketing demands. Vista may have been released six months late, but you wouldn't have the black eye you have now.
            • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:06PM (#23135192) Journal
              The power of trusted computing:

              Worried about the illegal acts your company has been engaged in being leaked to the public? Trusted computing can make it impossible.

              Hospital behind on their software payments after those budget cutbacks and the legal system won't help you enforce? Shut them off at the push of a button.

              Someone at a news agency release information that compromises the governments position? Revoke the signature key, now it will not play even if someone does try to redistribute. Censorship after the fact.

              They put the hardware on everyones desktops quite some time ago, just needs the right software support. That is what Vista is. It'll also be embedded in every set-top box after transitioning everyone away from analog television.

              Now, imagine you were a powerful government or among the richest companies on earth, and someone approached you and offered to bring this scheme to reality. How much would that be worth to you? Billions? A place in the regime? All of the above?

              Connect the dots.

              The general population will not believe this is happening until the pieces are all in place. They can't. It's too big, and it means discarding everything you thought you knew about the way the world works. But it's still happening nevertheless.

              The end user? Show them something flashy and keep dropping the price. Get it out there into the market at all costs. Do it while you've still got the influence to pull it off.
              • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:25PM (#23135276) Homepage Journal

                The end user? Show them something flashy and keep dropping the price. Get it out there into the market at all costs. Do it while you've still got the influence to pull it off.
                Perhaps. I've had similar thoughts as well. In the end, though, if this were really the case, they'd still have the do one final thing: they'd need to eliminate FOSS. From what I've seen, although I've seen some push out of Microsoft against FOSS, I've also seen some government embracing of FOSS, and even Microsoft showing some willingness to work with FOSS (though, take that with a grain of salt -- all those itsatrap tags aren't entirely off the mark)

            • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:54PM (#23135434)

              I work as a dev at Microsoft, although I've never worked in the Windows org. Still, I know plenty of development people over there and have heard plenty through the grapevine about what happened with Vista.

              It wasn't a victory of marketing over engineering in so much as it was a total failure of engineering and management.

              Too many interdependencies, poor project management and Windows' notorious 'cowboy culture' ultimately lead to delays and the cutting of big features like WinFS. What would become Windows Vista was supposed to originally ship in 2003. By 2006, everybody knew that Vista had to be completed so that the nightmare could end and work could begin on the next (hopefully better handled) version. There's a saying at Microsoft that "shipping is a feature". Management cut other features so that Vista could just be done with and ship after 5 years of dragging ass.

              Once Vista was pushed out the door, marketing came in and did what they always do--advertise and sell the completed product. Marketing doesn't drive engineering at Microsoft like it might do at other companies. These failures were not about engineers failing to fend off demands from marketing, but rather about engineering from bottom to top scaling back an out of control project enough that it could actually be completed.

              • by ruiner13 (527499) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @03:31PM (#23136032) Homepage

                Too many interdependencies, poor project management and Windows' notorious 'cowboy culture' ultimately lead to delays and the cutting of big features like WinFS
                But I thought THEIR ECOSYSTEM ROCKS!!! [youtube.com]
              • by jollyreaper (513215) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @03:31PM (#23136038)

                Too many interdependencies, poor project management and Windows' notorious 'cowboy culture' ultimately lead to delays and the cutting of big features like WinFS. What would become Windows Vista was supposed to originally ship in 2003. By 2006, everybody knew that Vista had to be completed so that the nightmare could end and work could begin on the next (hopefully better handled) version. There's a saying at Microsoft that "shipping is a feature". Management cut other features so that Vista could just be done with and ship after 5 years of dragging ass.
                I take it no steps are being taken to correct the management culture before Windows 7 scarfs the cock as well?
              • Winfs (Score:5, Interesting)

                by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @04:16PM (#23136336)
                has always been the promised killer feature for the next gen Windows. It has been that way since 1995 or so and will probably stay that way forever.

                Your last paragraph is the critical one. A 5 year timescale is impossible to manage without having milestones. With a 5 year window, people only start feeling the need to integrate and consolidate after 4 years. No wonder Winfs is always killed: too much effort for not enough feature.

              • by sjames (1099) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @06:48PM (#23137272) Homepage

                I can well understand wanting to just make it go away, but if development made the decision to ship a product that simply wasn't ready just to get rid of it, it's WORSE than caving in to pressure from marketing.

                So let's recap. "Longhorn", the killer new OS that was going to crush Unix under the weight of it's power and features went into the shredder after several years of hard work because they just couldn't make it fly. Then, the new killer OS lost feature after feature in a desperate attempt to get it out the door. Finally they gave up and just released the thing ready or not (mostly not).

                So in that sense, Vista is the culmination of two failed projects in a row. Seven years of work and thay can't even replicate the quality level of their last success. Unless they make some major changes internally and get them just right, Windows 7 isn't looking so good...

                Of course, really, Longhorn was the "lowered expectations" of "Blackcomb". It may not be fair to call that the 1st of 3 serial failures in that line since they at least had the sense to scrap that one before it got too far.

            • by jollyreaper (513215) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @03:29PM (#23136024)

              You're right that software is never done, but considering the revelations of what was happening in the final months before Vista's release, even die-hard Microsoft apologists have to admit that it was a victory of marketing over engineering that got an operating system like Vista through the starting gate. It wouldn't be so bad if it was labeled that way. I've installed bleeding-edge Linux kernels in the past out of pure curiousity, but never in my wildest dreams would I dare throw one on a production server or on to someone's PC.
              My rule of thumb for keeping customers happy.

              #1 Never take away functionality in the new version. You will only piss off people who have come to depend on the features.

              #2 If you have a tiered product model, i.e. same software with more features turned on for basic, regular, pro, etc, NEVER bump a feature from a lower tier to a higher one, thus making the upgrade more expensive. This will only antagonize.

              #3 In general, the new version should AT LEAST work as well as the previous one. But it SHOULD work better and have a compelling reason for someone to upgrade. Playing the "year as version number" ploy and making people think they have to upgrade when nothing new is offered is LAME. Intuit does this with Quicken now and I think it's even more shameful than Microsoft. At least they wait a few years between Office releases, it's not like we have to buy Office '07, '08, '09, etc.

              Vista compares poorly with XP, let alone presenting any "omfg I gotta get it!" coolness for the customer. Epic fail.
            • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 20, 2008 @07:08PM (#23137376)

              ...even die-hard Microsoft apologists have to admit that it was a victory of marketing over engineering...
              Close. But wrong.

              That's exactly what happened with Vista. It simply wasn't ready, and worse, it appears that the backroom way which Microsoft works with major hardware companies even knocked it back a few notches. It's not surprising to me, as I had heard some rumblings long before the revelations a few months ago. The marketers wanted an operating system ASAP, the teams didn't think it was ready, but the marketers won, and now Microsoft's credibility has fallen through the floor.
              What really happened is a complete failure of engineering, not a victory for marketing. With the immense armies of developers swarming like locusts across the vast Microsoft campus for years and years and years, they couldn't build jack shit. Even after top management did an about face by removing every innovative promise from the product in order to reduce the OS to something you could spoonfeed a baby, the engineering group still could not build jack shit.

              All those people in all those buildings for all those years earning all that money. For nothing. It's a crime. A business crime. Especially as your gnat-size competitor has an amazingly superior product for years which they find a way to grow by leveraging the popularity of a portable music player. And, in the far off distance, Linux desktop begins to be something other than vaporware.

              Your fly is unzipped and you've got nothing to show.

              It wasn't a marketing victory. It was top management desperation to output anything -- anything at all -- to give the appearance of relevance, stave off stock price drops, and otherwise throw glitter in the eyes of those who might point out the emperor had no clothes.

              I'd fire the entire line of engineering staff. Baby and bathwater. Wholesale. Cut the cancer out.
          • gruel (Score:4, Funny)

            by patiodragon (920102) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:36PM (#23135338) Homepage
            Please sir, may I have some more.

            If you, kinda like, wouldn't mind, just putting a *little* more work into the product I purchased, I would ever so much appreciate it --not that I'm not grateful for the opportunity to use it, I mean, just if you don't mind a little work on the whole "make it work" thing. Thanks ever so much good sir!
          • Very simple... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Joce640k (829181) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @02:53PM (#23135780) Homepage
            Microsoft told us time and time again that Vista would be released "when it was 100% finished, not before". The the reason it was so late was that they wanted it to be perfect, etc., etc.

            It was pretty obvious that in the end they rushed it out for Xmas when it really needed another six months/year.
          • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @04:49PM (#23136518)

            You're right in the point that you make. There's absolutely nothing wrong with works in progress. I enjoy when my favorite software gets some cool new features, or companies like Google release neat new products. I expect continual improvements from things like the Linux kernel to enhance support for new hardware.

            The problem is that this isn't a "work in progress" in common usage, but rather in PR terms. This is a "work in progress" that leads people to question if it is even ready for its intended purpose yet. As other posters pointed out, this is beta-quality software at best; the bugs are getting in the way of your everyday use of the product, rather than it being ready to roll and new things and enhancements being dropped in later.

            Worse, it's a "work in progress" that the company is going to force upon you, with no guarantee that it will be ready even then. The fact that people and business see so little value and/or quality in this product that a monopoly is having trouble getting it out is strong evidence that this was not "good enough" for release. Add to that the fact that they removed all of the features that would have made it interesting and still couldn't hit their release dates and there's an even stronger indication that this product was rushed to market before it was ready.

            I don't like Microsoft as a company because of the things they do and the manner in which they do them, but I have no problems with XP; I use it on my laptop and linux on my desktop, so I'm not just a Microsoft hater. But this is silly, and calling Vista's shortcomings a "work in progress" is disingenuous at best.

      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @12:33PM (#23135028) Journal
        No, I'd say after using Vista for a few months that it's probably a reasonable first or second beta release. Most things work, but it's the annoying bugs (like the constant disk use which kills laptop battery life).

        At the end of the day, other than a few neat things in the UI, I still don't see the point of it. It offers little or nothing that's all that compelling. It's not like it really runs any of my software any better, and simple things like trying to install Apache and MySQL turn into major headaches.
        • by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Sunday April 20, 2008 @03:12PM (#23135908) Homepage
          I hear Win2008 Server is actually quite good.. although I haven't had chance to install it yet (will try that in a bit). It's vista without the crap, basically, and they let you optionally turn the crap back on if you really want to.

          Vista pre SP1 is definately an early beta. Vista post SP1 isn't that bad - I'd put it down as a reasonable release with a few glitches that still need fixing.. of course it took them a year to get there.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by syousef (465911)
          Most things work, but it's the annoying bugs (like the constant disk use which kills laptop battery life).

          From personal experience: Don't even think about using Vista restore unless you're prepared to have your partitions wiped and nothing restored. Details: Dell Laptop, Vista and XP partitions dual boot.
      • by leamanc (961376) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @12:57PM (#23135148) Homepage Journal

        Beta? More like EARLY alpha software!

        You've got a point. A point that Microsoft should really be considering. If you can't get past Alpha quality in six years (people like to talk about Visata's five-year cycle, but six years later, we're at SP1 and it's still not ready), then you need to consider some options:

        • 1. The project you are working on (Vista, in this case) is hopeless and should be abandoned
        • 2. You should seriously revamp your software development team and associated processes
        • 3. Maybe you should get out of software development altogether

        Like a lot of us here, I'm the "techie guy" who helps everyone with their computer problems. Most of these people are clueless and just nod their heads with blank stares when I try and explain what the problem was and how I fixed it. But now, even these Average Folks are talking about how bad Vista sucks, how they feel burned by buying a PC with it pre-installed, and wanting to know how can they get "real Windows" back.

        Fortunately, I've made more Linux converts over the past year than I had in the previous five combined.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Chas (5144)
        You forget the Microsoft Method of software classification.

        Regular software model: Microsoft software model.
        First Raw Ugly Code: Alpha
        First Revision: Beta
        Second Revision: RC1
        Cleaned Revision: Shipping
        Pre Alpha: Immediate Bugfix
        Alpha: SP1
        Beta: SP2
        RC1: SP3
        Shipping: Security Rollup
  • Remember ME? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I thought we were just going to ignore Vista until Windows 7 came out...

    It's Windows ME all over again.
    • Re:Remember ME? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:20PM (#23135254) Journal
      Indeed. This appears to be the strategy now. "Don't worry about Vista, because Windows 7 will knock your socks off". I must tell you that in the organization I work in, and in a number of others that I am familiar with, this is precisely the attitude. Windows 7 will likely fit in with the hardware upgrade cycle. Vista appears to be the great forgettable OS, though IT departments will still have to deal with it for years to come on various machines that, through OEM or upgrade, managed to become infected with it.
  • They work all those problematic details out before release.

  • interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis (1048476)
    So.. basically by implication he admits they released an unfinished project that they knew was bloatware?

    Well we knew it, buts its nice of him to admit it. (Bet MS PR just loves him)

    :-)

  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @11:32AM (#23134684) Homepage Journal
    This means Vista is still in development development development development?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Z00L00K (682162)
      And we are all betatesters as usual.

      As usual - and nothing surprising. The worst thing is that we are more or less forced into Vista unless we go to Linux, FreeBSD or AROS.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @11:32AM (#23134690)
    If builders built buildings the way Microsoft writes code... well, we'd have the US embassy in Iraq.
  • That's great Steve. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nurhussein (864532) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @11:32AM (#23134692) Homepage
    Now please explain the hefty price tag for your unfinished product.
  • Translation, please? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gazzonyx (982402) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @11:36AM (#23134710)
    OK, I've read that quote (from the summary) over a few times and I have not a single clue what Ballmer is trying to say. Would someone please translate that in to something resembling a sentence for me?
  • In Other Words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fluch (126140) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @11:37AM (#23134726)
    It is a failure. Why not just name the child by its real name?
  • XP SP2! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by headkase (533448) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @11:39AM (#23134734)
    We didn't know it at the time but XP pre-SP2 sucked. When Vista reaches SP2 it'll probably be decent (from an average persons point of view - for me it already works absolutely fine). By then Windows 7 will be out and I'll be one of the people sticking with Vista for SP3 and go to 7 when it's SP1 comes out.
    Linux and Windows both suffer from the same issue: theres so much variety of hardware out there that you just can't write it perfect for everything right off-the-bat so you need to release and incrementally improve. Mac's suffer less from this situation as Apple rules their hardware configuration with an iron fist - which is the source of their mythical "it just works®".
    • Re:XP SP2! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Sunday April 20, 2008 @11:59AM (#23134834) Homepage

      Linux and Windows both suffer from the same issue: theres so much variety of hardware out there that you just can't write it perfect for everything right off-the-bat so you need to release and incrementally improve. Mac's suffer less from this situation as Apple rules their hardware configuration with an iron fist - which is the source of their mythical "it just works®".

      The problem being your description of the phrase "it just works" as "mythical" is correct. Even with a limited number of hardware targets to run OS X on (and a relatively small software universe), Apple still can't get upgrades not to screw up on a regular basis.

      The real problem, to correct a poster a few P's above is:

      "If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy all of civilization"(Weinburg's second law).

      Despite all of the truly gifted programmers, the wonderful development tools and several decades of experience, computers still aren't toasters (except Pentium IV's of course).

    • Re:XP SP2! (Score:5, Informative)

      by mxs (42717) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @12:29PM (#23135000)

      Linux and Windows both suffer from the same issue: theres so much variety of hardware out there that you just can't write it perfect for everything right off-the-bat so you need to release and incrementally improve.
      Well, you could do a hell of a lot better if the hardware vendors support your platform with manpower, documentation, and support. The two systems don't really suffer from the same issue at all -- some of their drivers might.

      I also doubt that Steve meant hardware support when he made that statement. There are more fundamental changes needed.
    • Re:XP SP2! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by theurge14 (820596) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @02:05PM (#23135488)
      Again with the excuses about 'multiiple hardware configurations that Apple doesn't have to worry about'.

      Microsoft does operate a Winlogo program. You know, the 'Certified for Windows Vista' stickers you see on every box at Best Buy and Newegg? If Microsoft isn't operating that with the same 'iron fist' that Apple is, would you say that the Winlogo program is nothing but a marketing scheme to spread the Windows logo on every box in the store?

      And enough with the 'wait until SP2' or 'this happened with XP too' excuses. XP came 2 years after Windows 2000. Vista has been in development more than twice that amount of time.
  • People should get it for free since they're clearly helping them ready vista for completion.

    Mind you even for free I wouldn't taint my system with that crap. Ballmer is a tit.
  • Like a Turd (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 20, 2008 @11:44AM (#23134766)
    Like turd only halfway out is a work in progress.
  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Sunday April 20, 2008 @12:00PM (#23134844) Homepage

    He also admitted that the 5-year release cycle wasn't a good idea
    Windows was complete when NT 4.0 came out in 1996 -- 32-bit pre-emptive multitasking with a normal user interface (i.e. no Program Manager). With the possible exception of Active Directory, everything else could have been a service pack or patch: USB, WiFi, CD-R. When the calendar drives a release schedule rather than needed features, Microsoft is not only acting just to fill its coffers, but it costs companies massive admin overhead.

    Ballmer is right -- it shouldn't be a five-year release cycle. It should be 10 years. 64-bit is a good reason to have a new release after NT 4.0.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dHagger (1192545)

      I partially disagree. In my opinion, it is better to make small iterative releases a few times a year - while still not pushing features that might break things as patches. Smaller upgrades would make it easier to keep the system updated - instead of having to make a risky major upgrade after many years. How many of you have managed to upgrade windows from one version to another without any problems at all?

      And a calendar driven release schedule - why not? Features that are ready to be deployed will be inc

  • by 3seas (184403) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @12:05PM (#23134872) Journal
    ... There was a time when hardware resources were limited and expensive and programmers programmed accordingly and software was faster and easier to use in ways it is no longer easy.

    Granted applications have become more integrated thru the operating system improvements but as technology and its use changes from the mainframe to the cell phone, the cycle of programming should be moving from the packrat (use all the memory and resources you can in your application) back to compactness of providing the right functionality only.

    Where does this put Ballmers statement?

    He is in essence saying MS will remain stupidly behind the times while claiming to be the forefront.

    As the user base becomes more and more adapted to computing in a second nature manner, the more and more the user base will perceive the obvious babel of MS and as such move to alternatives for which third party commercial development will not be able to ignore and stay in business.

    And we all know from experience that this is not going to happen over night but more at the rate of evolution via human generations, where each generation will put up with the babel less and less.
  • Leadership... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Woodmeister (7487) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (nosaj.drofdoow)> on Sunday April 20, 2008 @12:09PM (#23134894)
    You know, Vista may be a work in progress, but Balmer's leadership of the company has most definitely stalled. Microsoft's reputation in the PC marketplace is anything but positive (i.e. neutral at best). They (and their software) are only big and popular (read: ubiquitous) due to inertia and lock-in. It's time for the tech community to just move on - completely ignore MS, deal with their s/w as needed, and replace it with "futureware" when it makes sense. Really. The "deadhorse" tag most certainly applies to this OS. Stop paying attention to anything Balmer blurts out of (any of) his orifices. He's prolly some of the most dead weight at that company anyways.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sheldon (2322)
      You know, I keep hearing these claims about how Microsoft's reputation is dying.

      But this month, Microsoft had a rollout even for Visual Studio 2008, and for the first time I can remember, it sold out and I couldn't get in. Now I probably could have contacted some friends at the local Microsoft office if i had really wanted to go, but I still found this rather surprising.

      I've been going to rollouts since Windows NT 3.5.
  • Dear Steve (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cmacb (547347) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @12:22PM (#23134958) Homepage Journal

    "I'm always interested in hearing from you on these and other issues."

    Your products suck. They threaten people's hardware, waste their time, cost them too much both in dollars and in lost productivity. They have created a far too large an infrastructure of people who could be made more productive elsewhere (MCSE and the like = Amway pyramid schemes). Furthermore they pollute useful infrastructure used by non-Microsoft solutions by serving as a growth medium for malware and by causing millions of Windows users who can't rid themselves of your products to run helplessly to those who have for help. Ultimately as with any widespread systemic defect, your products cost lives.

    Please go to hell. And take Windows with you.

    Thanks for listening.
  • by Toreo asesino (951231) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @12:34PM (#23135034) Journal
    There are reasons the earlier versions of Vista sucked, and like Balmer said, are still work in progress. To summarise the three main points I see:

    -Actual security (UAC); breaking a shed-load of applications that would write to C:\Windows and think nothing of it

    -64 bit. It's the first serious consumer Windows that's 64 bit. XP 64 bit is rare at best; Win2003 isn't for consumers.

    -New driver architecture. Video, audio, and network driver stack has been re-written from the ground up after nearly 10 years to being more or less the same. New changes are worthwhile too; a bad video driver should (in theory) never be able to bring a system crashing down like in XP, for instance.

    All these things had to be done; all these things broke stuff. They are massive and necessary changes, and in the long run will pay off, but in the short run have been a bit of a system-shock.

    Things are changing though; but Vista has been as much a change from XP under the hood as 98 -> 2000 migration was in my opinion.
    • by v1 (525388) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @12:57PM (#23135146) Homepage Journal
      This seems to be a popular route for PR to take though. Make a product, do not make it evolve for ages because "it would break things", as if they are not breaking things, for the good of the consumer. Then when we've finally had enough of this good treatment, change everything and break a bund of stuff in the process, but amazingly again it's for the good of the consumer.

      Can't have it both ways. You have to admit fault at some point in the process. You can't blame the future on the past AND the past on the future, at the same time.

      I see so many examples of this today where people made a mess in the past, and the fact that the fix is going to be unpleasant is not their fault because it's now an entrenched problem, like this was not their doing to begin with. They usually rationalize by saying "well we made a mess but we cleaned it up so it's nobody's fault". Wrong. You've wronged us twice, once by creating the problem and refusing to fix it for so long, and then a second time when you finally fixed it through an unpleasant means "because there were no other options left". (yet it was ye who got us to the "no other options" predicament)

      Fixing your own mess is an apology, not a pardon. If you deliberately direct the problem into a corner from which there is no pleasant escape, you cannot claim innocence in the hardship it produces getting free of the problem, claiming helplessness that now "there's no other choice". There was choice, you had choice, you made the decisions that brought us here, you are responsible for the results, inevitable though they may be.

      You should not be considered a savior as you try to dig the world out of the mess you created.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Toreo asesino (951231)
        "You should not be considered a savior as you try to dig the world out of the mess you created."

        It's not that simple. 10 years ago, would you have designed a driver model bearing in mind that now you'd want to want 3d graphic viewports to seamlessly interact and overlap together; for 2d plains to be treated the same as 3d? That's what Vista does now, and not even Linux does that; it's a completely different way of programming, and required a different model of driver therefore.
  • by Locutus (9039) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @12:59PM (#23135156)
    Microsoft will drive Vista through you skull just like they did with Windows 2000 and Windows XP. It may take 3 years to get it through your thick skulls that Vista is your future but you will eventually get it.

    What could possibly give them reason to not force Vista on its customers being in the position they are in?

    This stuff about Vista uptake/etc is getting old and it appears that even 8 yours is too long for people to remember how it was the last couple of times. Surprise, you're stuck with what they give you.

    LoB
  • by Unnngh! (731758) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @01:07PM (#23135198)
    I can sympathize with the drawn out development cycle. Whenever this has happened at places that I've worked, it gets impossible to keep up with the changes. Scope creeps, because what you developed last year is no longer relevant. Plus, there's something that simply *has* to go into this upcoming release because everyone knows its going to take a while and you have told a customer they can have it. If you don't know when the current release is going out, slating anything for the next one is pretty much saying it'll never get done. These kinds of things just don't stop coming up.

    The landscape changed a lot between when MS started Vista and when they released it. They were behind the times, trying to play catch-up, and they botched it. I had high hopes for Vista when they were planning it...new file system, powershell, lots of unfulfilled promises. They ended up delivering something that is passing fare IMO but is behind the times, and I don't see them changing the tune with their next release. They are wed to this beast now.
  • by bman08 (239376) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @03:26PM (#23135996)
    The Roman Empire, The Dreamcast and Soviet Communism.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @03:45PM (#23136144) Homepage Journal
    I dont want to have an "experience" with my os. i just want it to run the programs i want to have 'experience' with. so i dont care about what 'experience' vista is offering, since its not able to run what i need properly.
  • by cheros (223479) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @03:58PM (#23136234)
    They're a hardware seller, and all their sales desktops run Vista.

    Because all they use is a browser to a web back end (which clients also use) which Netcraft reports as running Windows 2003. Nothing else at all.

    In those conditions (i.e. avoiding any OS functions), Vista appears to work.

    Now here's an evil idea: if we all started to run Linux web servers reporting as Windows, MS could no longer claim the figures because they would be seriously polluted. Maybe switch Web ID every month or so, that way the figure bounces like a maniac..

    Just musing, of course. I would never do this. No, I'm just starting an editor, nothing special, tadum tadum tum tum..
  • by D Ninja (825055) on Sunday April 20, 2008 @04:20PM (#23136362)
    Work in Progress - Vista Edition
    To: Alan Jackson - Work in Progress

    Okay, look, I'm a pile of trash
    But I give the boys at Slashdot something to bash.
    My older sibling was good; He was born in 2003
    Alright I admit, my development was cursory
    And I can easily understand why you all curse me.
    I'm such a big thing; you might as well use XP

    You get tired and disgusted with me
    When I can't be just what you want me to be.
    I know I'm not held in high regard
    I leave all my users bumbling and scarred
    I even asked the coders to try and help me
    But they quickly responded, "Just use Linux, it's free."
    Just by patient, I'm a work in progress.

    I'm sorry you get mad, 'cause I'm slow as f*ck
    I think that my code has run all amok
    You didn't need to get work done, you have all night.
    I really hope that there are no hard feelings between us
    I just wiped out your files, there's no need to cuss
    But I'm starting to see now, what you been saying is right.

    You get tired and disgusted with me
    When I can't be just what you want me to be.
    I know I'm not held in high regard
    I leave all my users bumbling and scarred
    I even asked the coders to try and help me
    But they quickly responded, "Just use Linux, it's free."
    Just by patient, I'm a work in progress.

    I know they meant well with my security
    But there's something damn annoying about UAC
    I'm getting in touch with, my old Unix roots.
    I should probably do the health thing that you want me to do
    Slim down around the center; lose a "feature" or two
    Now you're probably right, sir
    But it's all good, so what should I exclude?

    You get tired and disgusted with me
    When I can't be just what you want me to be.
    I know I'm not held in high regard
    I leave all my users bumbling and scarred
    I even asked the coders to try and help me
    But they quickly responded, "Just use Linux, it's free."
    Just by patient, I'm a work in progress.

    Oh Steve B, just be patient now,
    I'm a work in progress.

    Oh, I need a major tune up.
    Maybe Windows 7 will do it.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold

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